Are you or someone you know looking to reduce anxiety in everyday life? If your answer to this is yes and you feel that it’s continuously interfering and diminishing the quality of each new day, help is on the way!
“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb. ” ~ Najwa Zebian
You can begin to take charge and seriously reduce anxiety by incorporating any, or all of the below simple and natural (and often free) lifestyle changes.
Many are time-honored cures for anxiety (among other things) and can help you regain your emotional equilibrium very quickly.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine and sugar.
Yes, you’ll have read or heard this hundreds of times and if you’re still not yet ready to avoid them, you can at least reduce them.
Stimulants don’t just give you energy, as the consumers would have you believe. No, they fail to mention that they can make you feel jittery and may very well contribute to mood swings.
Try reducing the amount of coffee (or caffeinated drinks) and anything sugary. Do a little at a time (don’t give yourself even more anxiety by trying to eliminate caffeine and sugar all at once).
Wean yourself off stimulants and replace them with tip #2 (Moving your body). Exercise dramatically boosts energy levels but also calms anxious feelings.
- Move your body!
Studies show that in a little less than half an hour of exercise, your endorphin’s will have kicked in and be leaving you feeling better.
You don’t have to exercise hard every day, but you do have to move your body every day to avoid feeling anxious. Especially if you have a job that requires long periods of sitting!
Exercise really does make you feel good about yourself. It boosts your metabolism, so you don’t need all those stimulants. It also gets your mind off your problems ( what better way to reduce anxiety ) and gives you a fresh perspective.
For best results… exercise in the great outdoors!
- Soak up the sunshine and see the trees!
Just 15 minutes in natural sunlight increases your Vitamin D levels, which has been shown to ease symptoms of depression and reduce anxiety.
Just 20 minutes outdoors lowers your stress hormones, according to a Japanese study.
If you’re in an urban area without green spaces, try looking for a quiet tree-lined street.
- Enjoy the silence.
If thoughts about your problems just won’t let you relax or focus, learn to let them go with this simple trick: say, “Shhhh…. Listen” anytime a stressful thought threatens to hijack your attention.
This will interrupt the thought stream and the command you give yourself to listen will actually prevent another thought from coming in, at least for a few moments.
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear”. ~ Ram Dass
With practice, you can and will learn to extend the period of silence.
- Be present.
You can use mindfulness meditation to alleviate anxiety simply by focusing on your breathing.
This gives your mind a job and distracts it from your problems.
Meditation can also help you laser-focus your thoughts onto what you want to see in your life. This helps you figure out solutions, without running around in circles trying to solve problems the same way you always have.
Innovation can only come when you release “this is how things are done” and become open to alternatives. By focusing on what you want (as your point of focus in meditation), you alleviate anxiety and open your mind to new approaches to solve the problem.
- Drink chamomile tea.
Chamomile isn’t just for bedtime. Drink it several times throughout the day.
It contains luteolin and apigenin. These are two compounds known to promote relaxation.
If you’re feeling too sleepy, get up and go for a brisk 10 minute walk. This will energize you, while also helping ease anxiety!
- Practice gratitude.
Gratitude is a truly powerful practice that shifts your attention from what is wrong and what is missing in your life, to what is good and what you have. If you’re really serious and will do whatever it takes naturally to reduce anxiety in your life, learning to appreciate what you have (even if what you have isn’t exactly what you want) really is the key to it all.
There is a lesson to be learned in every situation and gratitude will open up the wisdom of every ‘bad’ situation, giving you immense peace of mind.
- Breathe in soothing scents like lavender or vanilla.
Get a small vial of lavender or vanilla essential oil and dab it on your upper lip.
Not all essential oils are suitable for topical application, but these are and have been shown to reduce blood pressure and alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
A chosen breathing technique would be incredible when combined with these essential oil scents. If you don’t already have a chosen technique, the below short video offers one of the best techniques out there.
A Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center study showed that patients undergoing MRIs had 63% less anxiety when they inhaled vanilla-scented air than those who breathed unscented air.
- Get your Omega-3s.
Omega-3 fatty acids neutralize the effects of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which will help you lift your mood.
Walnuts, flaxseed/linseed and salmon are three fantastic sources.
- Be Mindful and Responsible about what you eat.
Sugar is a HUGE contributor to anxiety so cut out as much as you can. It wreaks all kinds of havoc in the body and is highly addictive. The more sugary foods you consume, the more you will be drawn to foods that contain sugar but lack in essential nutrients.
Make sure you eat foods rich in magnesium ( you can even bathe in it or spray it on your body for maximum results ) and Vitamin B12.
Anxiety has been linked to deficiencies of these substances (magnesium is found in dark leafy greens, and B12 in animal products).
More info on vegan vitamin B12 intake here.
Instead of sugary foods, eat fruit. Yes, fruit does contain sugar but it’s the most natural form of sugar and is easier for your body to digest.
Tryptophan containing foods, like whole grains and turkey are excellent because the tryptophan is converted into serotonin, which also lifts your mood.
“Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure it all out at once. Breathe! You’re strong! You got this! Take it day by day!” ~ Karen Salmansohn