7 simple yet efficient solutions for anxiety
-Feb 4, Hannah Hargrave, Mind -
If you suffer from anxiety, you can feel like it rules your life, but you don’t have to let it. There are ways you can ease those worried, anxious feelings by making some simple lifestyle changes.
Anxiety can significantly impact every area of your life, and often comes hand in hand with other mental health conditions including stress and depression.
It can feel like a white-knuckle ride of worry, negativity and worst case scenarios. But there are ways to reduce those feelings, lower your stress levels and get a hold of your anxiety, without turning your life upside down.
Although these solutions won’t necessarily cure your anxiety, they’ll go a long way to making you feel more in control of your body and mind.
Fueling your body in the right way is about so much more than what you weigh. While when you’re down it’s easy to reach for comfort foods, the right nutrients and vitamins won’t just make you look better they’ll make you feel so much more content too.
A healthy, balanced diet is the way forward, but there are also ingredients and nutrients to look for which have been shown to lower stress and anxiety.
Omega 3 fatty acids found in the likes of salmon, mackerel and tuna for example can be uplifting and mood enhancing.
Complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, whole grain breads and quinoa, will help to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. This will issue a calming effect to combat anxiety as well.
Tryptophan rich foods – including poultry, soy and oats – are good because tryptophan has a natural relaxation component.
There are foods to avoid too though. You should pass on processed foods and refined sugars as much as possible, especially as those added sugars can create jitteriness which will only make your anxiety worse.
Relaxation techniques can reduce anxiety on the spot. If you’re anxious your breathing may be shallow, fast or you may feel like you can’t get enough air. Poor breathing can lead to hyperventilation, anxiety attacks and a rapid heartbeat. So it’s time to learn some healthier breathing habits. They may take a little time to master or to find the one which works for you, but once you have you can put it into practice and reduce your anxiety symptoms.
The NHS offers breathing techniques and there are numerous other free sources you can use to research them too.
Increase your Vitamin D and decrease your anxiety. Being outdoors has been shown to reduce stress and lift your mood. So even if you feel the last thing you want to do is leave the house, once you get outside, preferably in nature and fresh air, you’re more likely to feel a sense of calm.
If you live in an urban area there are still options to get outside and find a bit of tranquility. Discover a new park or local garden, even the grounds of a museum can do the trick.
Exercise combats stress and releases the feel good endorphins. It doesn’t have to be a heart pounding, sweat inducing gym session either. A brisk 10-minute walk can work wonders, meaning if your anxiety levels are rising at work, a lunchtime break to get your heart pumping could be just what the doctor ordered.
Cut down on caffeine
It’s understandable to turn to coffee for a quick pick me up if you’ve had an anxiety riddled night’s sleep or stress has just got you feeling fatigued. But caffeine may not be your friend if you suffer from anxiety.
It can effect your sleep – even if your last coffee of the day is mid afternoon – which can make your mental health issues even worse.
Try switching out caffeine for calming chamomile tea or other delicious flavoured teas and see how it changes your mood.
All-natural essential oils smell great and many have a calming effect on your body too. The likes of Lavender, Rose, Bergamot and Ylang Ylang have been shown to help people suffering with anxiety. If you want to try them consider using a diffuser so that the fragrance is dispersed into the air and you can inhale the scent or use a candle. You could sprinkle a few drops on your pillow or some moisturisers, oils and creams contain them too.
There’s nothing funny about suffering with anxiety, but laughter will help ease the symptoms. It’s very hard to feel anxious when you’re having a good giggle. It can relieve tension in your muscles and reduce stress. So put on a funny film, hang out with a friend who makes you laugh or pick up a joke book. It will distract you from your anxiety and hopefully lift your mood as well.
If you’re struggling with mental health issues remember you can seek advice from a health care professional.