Anxiety, in small amounts, is a common, even vital, part of the human experience. However, when anxiety begins to plague your thoughts and hinder your everyday activities, it’s time to combat the problem. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods that you can use to defeat anxiety on your own, without the help of pharmaceutical drugs, which can be addictive and can come with a host of side effects. Read on to learn about a few anxiety-combating techniques that you can perform on your own.
To begin with, it’s important to employ some short-term fixes to immediately calm yourself in anxiety-inducing situations. You may not feel like you have any control over your mind when you’re in the midst of an anxiety attack, but you really can get that control back. In order to do this, you must learn to breathe in the correct manner. Most people, and especially anxiety sufferers, breathe far too shallowly. It’s important to take deep breaths that are initiated from your diaphragm, because the shallow breaths you usually take can lead to feeling of hyperventilation. Needless to say, this is very detrimental to anxiety sufferers.
To begin breathing the proper way, simply put your hand on your stomach and take a deep breath, counting for five seconds. Then, hold your breath for five seconds and slowly release. Make sure that you can feel you stomach rising and falling as you take your breath and release it. Continue doing this until you begin to feel relaxed. Remember, to achieve the full benefits of this exercise, you must practice it on a regular basis. Practicing deep breathing on a weekly basis may not even make a dent in your anxiety, so practice is key.
There are also a variety of herbs that can help with your anxiety. Pharmaceutical drugs that treat anxiety often come with many side effects, not to mention the fact that they can be addictive. However, there are a variety of natural alternatives at your disposal. Passionflower, Valerian root and St. John’s wort are only a few of the vast array of herbs out there that can help calm you down. Chamomile, especially in its tea form, can also be very helpful after a long, stressful day. The practice of yoga has also been shown in several studies to be incredibly beneficial for anxiety sufferers. In fact, yoga can affect a brain chemical called GABA, the same chemical that pharmaceutical drugs target to treat anxiety.
Finally, you can do wonders for yourself through exercise and good nutrition. Be sure to cut out caffeine from your diet, as it is a stimulant that can actually increase your feelings of anxiety and negate all of the work you’ve put into overcoming it. Eat a balanced diet full of whole grains and fruits and vegetables, and limit the amount of fat and sugar in your diet. As for exercise, try to get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least five days a week. This type of exercise can include anything from walking to swimming to biking, basically anything that gets your heart rate up. This will increase the endorphins, or pleasure chemicals, in your brain and help you to feel much more calm and relaxed.
“Anxiety-Home Treatment.” <http://www.webmd.com> 8 Nov 2012.