For those who experience distress from an anxiety disorder, everyday life can quickly begin to feel like a living nightmare. Physical symptoms of anxiety include chest tightness, shallow breathing, sweating, and a rapid heart rate. In addition to the physical symptoms, anxiety brings with it a host of other issues. Some of the more severe include an inability to leave the home or participate in or enjoy social interactions, and difficulties at work or school. While medication and/or therapy is helpful for a large percentage of those who experience anxiety, many cannot afford to access these interventions. Even for those who can afford treatment, it is not uncommon to desire supplemental (or more natural) methods to help manage anxiety. Here are 7 helpful, all-natural strategies for calming your anxiety the next time it strikes.
7 Ways To Calm Anxiety Naturally
1. Measured breathing
Many people who suffer from anxiety – whether they have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), or Acute Panic Disorder (better known as experiencing panic attacks), experience labored breathing when anxiety strikes. These characteristic quick, shallow breaths can often make things worse, causing fear and panic to grow. Next time you’re feeling your breath quicken with anxiety – try this: breathe in slowly and deeply, counting as you do, for 7 seconds. Then, hold that breath in as you count to 7 again. Finally, breathe out slowly as you once again count to 7. Repeat as many times as necessary. Many anxiety sufferers find that the combination of the deep breathes with consistent counting is able to interrupt the bad feelings brought on by the anxiety.
2. Herbal supplements
While this article does not seek to provide medical advice, many people who experience anxiety have found that herbal supplements like GABA, magnesium, and melatonin have greatly improved their anxiety. With supplements, it’s important to remain consistent, and know that it may take a week or more to feel the benefit. Remember to always check with your doctor before you begin taking a new supplement.
Grounding is a technique to reduce anxiety that has become increasingly popular among those who experience anxiety. While it can be helpful for individuals experiencing generalized anxiety, this is an especially helpful tip for those who experience acute panic attacks. With grounding techniques, an anxiety or panic attack can often be stopped in its track – and it’s easy too! All you need to do is find and identify 3 things to touch, smell, and hear/see. For example, feel the soft fur of your pet, the weight of a comfortable blanket, or the cool smoothness of a countertop. Smell the scent of your laundry detergent on your favorite shirt, smell a scented candle as it burns, or spritz your arm and smell your favorite perfume or cologne. Next, listen to a favorite song, tune into the sound of your pet’s breathing, or look at a tree outside swaying in the wind. By grounding yourself firmly in the current moment using your senses, you can pull out of the downward spiral of the panic attack.
4. Creating healthy routines
It’s hard to believe that something so simple could be so effective, but many people who experience anxiety have reported that creating healthy and consistent routines have been the key to improving their mental health. Start small, set yourself a reasonable bedtime and create structure around it. This can be whatever works for you: brushing teeth, showering, applying skincare products, or writing a to-do list for the next day. Whatever you choose for your routine, set an alarm on your phone for the same time each day and follow through. The stability of a simple routine might surprise you with its ability to improve your anxiety.
While it may sound counter-intuitive, making time to consistently increase your heart rate can help to drastically lower your anxiety. Regular exercise has proven helpful to many people who experience anxiety. Some feel that the sensations associated with an exercise mirror and can sometimes trigger anxiety. However, if you listen to your body and remind yourself that the increased heart rate, sweat, and increased breath rate are all normal side-effects of exercise, you can push past this fear and experience the benefits of an aerobic workout – one of which is reduced anxiety.
6. Reduce caffeine intake
This one sounds simple but can make an enormous difference in the anxiety-levels you experience day-to-day. One cup of coffee in the morning is probably not causing you additional anxiety, but if you are having 2 (or 5) cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages every day, you might be unknowingly causing yourself more anxiety. Try cutting back by one beverage per week to avoid the dreaded caffeine withdrawal headache and see how your anxiety feels.
As mentioned above, always check with your doctor before you try a new supplement. That being said, CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp plants, has proven to be a game-changer for many who live with anxiety. Because it is not psychoactive, it cannot cause the user to be high or impaired. It can, however, create a sense of calm, reduce anxiety, and reduce muscle soreness and general body pain. Make sure that CBD is legal where you live before you give it a try. It can be taken before work, after work, or before bed. Many companies sell it in convenient tinctures and even in the form of a gummy. Give CBD a try and discover how it can aid in reducing your anxiety.
Whether you prefer to go the all-natural route or combine these methods with mental health counseling and medical intervention, hopefully, these techniques can provide relief. Don’t forget to reach out and let someone else know what you are going through. Sometimes the very best remedy is the care and support of a good friend.