Anxiety isn’t inherently bad. It makes you aware of risks and motivates you to prepare. However, when anxiety becomes your default, it’s best to do something about it as soon as possible before it becomes out of your control.
Unchecked anxiety has a substantial impact on your quality of life. But the good news is that you can do some things to take control.
Practice deep breathing
This may seem simple, but many of us don’t realize that we take quick and shallow breaths, especially when anxious. Doing so may lead to a fast heart rate, lightheadedness, and even a panic attack.
So, practice pausing once in a while and taking slow, even, deep breaths. Start with inhaling for six seconds and exhaling for six seconds. Do this for a minute or two. Deep breathing exercises help restore normal breathing patterns and reduce anxiety.
Getting regular exercise (a minimum of 30 minutes each day) is good for your physical health and your mental health. In a 2013 study, researchers found that individuals with anxiety disorders who maintain regular physical activity were better protected against developing anxiety symptoms.
Furthermore, the American Psychological Association says that regular exercise leads to better willpower and concentration, which can help specific anxiety symptoms.
As for the type of exercise, it depends on your preference. The important thing is to make movement a part of your daily routine. If you want to start with low-impact exercises, try yoga or Pilates. But if heart-pumping workouts are more your thing, try cycling, running, or HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
Sleep is one of the cornerstones of health, and it’s been proven that getting good quality sleep is beneficial for your mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
If you find it hard to fall asleep, we suggest creating a sleep routine to help prepare your mind and body for rest. It’s best to go to sleep at the same time each night and allot at least an hour before bedtime to quiet time. This means limiting your exposure to bright lights and screens, maybe drinking a cup of chamomile tea, reading, reflecting about the day in your journal, or meditating. Doing these can help you wind down for sleep.
If the tips mentioned above don’t work for you, try these alternative sleep hacks from around the world.
Be mindful of what you eat
The food you eat impacts your mood. You may notice mood changes whenever you’re dehydrated or experience low blood sugar levels. Furthermore, overeating processed food exposes you to chemicals, such as preservatives, artificial flavoring, and artificial coloring, which have been known to cause mood changes in some people. A high-sugar diet may also impact your disposition.
If you notice your anxiety worsening after eating, inspect your eating habits. Eliminate or reduce processed foods, stay hydrated, and eat a balanced diet. Focus on eating more complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fruits and vegetables.
Drink chamomile tea
A cup of chamomile tea is perhaps one of the most recommended beverages for better sleep and calmer nerves. And there’s a reason for that.
In a 2014 study, researchers found that chamomile may be a potent ally against Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The study showed that when participants took 220mg German chamomile capsules up to five times daily, they had significant score reduction in tests that measured anxiety symptoms than those given a placebo.
The main goal of meditation is full awareness of the present moment, including allowing your thoughts to flow non-judgmentally. Mastering this can lead to a sense of calm and contentment.
Meditation is also typically used in cognitive behavioral therapy to relieve anxiety and stress. And according to research from John Hopkins, doing 30 minutes of meditation every day may relieve some anxiety symptoms and act as an antidepressant.
The bottom line
Although anxiety has some benefits, chronic anxiety needs to be addressed. The all-natural remedies above can help you relax and reduce stress and anxiety, but these tips don’t replace professional help; increased anxiety may require prescription medication or therapy. Consult a doctor when you feel like your anxiety is getting out of hand.