Anxiety can be crippling. It’s described as an uneasy feeling, a feeling of worriedness or nervousness that can affect your body mentally and physically. If escalated, anxiety can lead to compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
If you suffer from anxiety, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that around 40 million adults suffer from anxiety. Anxiety can raise your blood pressure, cause shortness of breath and even cause terrible panic attacks. The good news is that you can treat anxiety naturally in many ways.
Treatment for Anxiety
Traditional treatment options for anxiety include therapy and/or medications. These are very powerful tools for feeling better, and your doctor can help you to decide the best treatment for your particular condition.
Additionally, there are also things that you can do at home for natural anxiety relief.
Get Enough Sleep
Anxious feelings can be exacerbated when a person does not get enough sleep. This can become a vicious cycle, as anxious feelings can cause a person to have difficulty sleeping.
The more anxious you feel, the more sleep you should try to get. Shoot for eight to nine hours of sleep at night, if possible. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a 20-30 minute power nap in the afternoon or on a lunch break if you’re feeling fatigued. Finally, the best way to stay on track with your sleep is to wake up at the same time every morning, and go to bed around the same time every night. Your body functions very well when on a routine.
A recent study found that people who practice gratitude experience fewer anxiety symptoms. Anxiety can create a fog around us, leaving us absorbed in our anxious thoughts and unable to interact with or enjoy the world around us. Gratitude reframes our current situation, breaking through the fog of anxiety.
There are many ways that you can practice gratitude. Name 10 things that you’re thankful for when you wake up in the morning or as you’re falling asleep at night. Many people find that a gratitude journal helps them to feel better. If you would prefer to start with a guided journal, try something like Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration.
Choose the Right Foods
The foods that you eat not only affect your physical state, but also your mental condition. When we’re feeling anxious, we might crave “comfort foods” that aren’t necessarily good for us. While grabbing a bag of chips or a donut might make us feel better in the moment, research shows that consuming processed or sugary foods can actually increase levels of anxiety long-term.
To set yourself up for success, eat a healthy diet that’s rich in vitamin B and omega-3s. Omega-3s may actually help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and vitamin B has been linked with good mental health.
Mindful meditation can be an extremely effective form of natural anxiety relief. Not only can it relieve anxiety today, it can actually change the structure and function of your brain, allowing it to function more effectively in the future. In fact, many studies have shown that meditation can rewire how your brain responds to stress.
If you’re new to meditation, start with a guide. Apps like Calm or Headspace are great ways to get started, and both apps offer a free trial. You can also search on YouTube to find meditation videos.
Create a Dream Board
Sometimes our anxiety stems from future unknowns. Creating more positive and concrete thoughts about the future can not only help to combat feelings of uncertainty, it also allows us to embrace the power of visualization and shaping our future.
To create your own dream board, cut out pictures of what you want your life to look like in the future from magazines and tape or glue them to a poster board. You can also create a virtual dream board on Pinterest. When creating your board, use the T.H.I.N.K. tool: Is the thought true, helpful, inspirational, necessary and kind? If it is, great! If not, consider revising into something more positive.