Updated: Jun 24, 2019
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Anxiety is something many of us deal with on a daily basis. I have succumbed to it myself on many occasions. However, there are individuals who are incapacitated with constant thoughts of anxiety; so much that the daily activities of life are impacted. I've witnessed many friends who cannot find peace of mind, and actively try and get their anxiety controlled.
While medication is available to help with anxiety, it should not be the first line of treatment you seek out, as they come with lots of adverse effects and cause the user to build up a dependence. Not only that, it is pricey for the medicine and with healthcare being so expensive, it is not always an option that everyone dealing with anxiety can afford.
The better and cheaper option is to first seek out natural ways to calm the anxiety- those without lingering negative effects and which are likely to help you cope better in the long run. If you absolutely have to, then take the meds, but still try these suggestions in conjunction for better results.
So, let’s explore what your best options are:
Meditation should be a core natural strategy to manage anxiety, since it helps ground your irrational fears. While we all have apprehension of the future, meditation helps us to take each moment at a time and remain in the present.
The goal of meditation is not to block out negative emotions, but help us learn to not linger on them. It focuses on bringing you into the “now” moment instead of worrying about future plausibilities.
Get started first thing tomorrow morning- You can try to just sit peacefully for 5 minutes at the beginning of your day, let thoughts enter your mind freely, but do not let them linger. The end goal is to have control over your thoughts and not letting them negatively ruin your day.
You can set a clock for 1-5 minutes and focus only on your breath. Breath in deep, hold for a second, then exhale. Continue taking slow deep breaths. This also physically calms the nervous system responsible for fight or flight.
Basically find 5 minutes a day to quiet yourself. At first you will hear lots of thoughts, but with time and practice you will learn to enjoy and cherish that five minutes.
2) Sleep Enough At Night
I have discovered that as I get older I really cherish my sleep and find it a mandatory part of functioning. It is a huge self-care act. Plus I have awesome dreams and they make it fun to stay in dreamland. For me, not enough sleep means I get cranky and am more easily prone to emotional outbursts.
When it comes to anxiety, lack of sleep causes your brain to go haywire- playing all sorts of tricks on you and decreasing your emotional tolerance as a whole. You may find that following even just one night of sleep loss your performance will decrease, and you will be prone to anger and agitation. Strive for a minimum of 7 hours nightly to keep your brain chemistry on point.
Also, should you lose sleep due to life circumstances and need to recoup, it is okay to ALLOW yourself the extra respite when you are no longer on the go go go. Your body needs the time to “catch up” on the rest so it can function better, meaning you will feel more calm.
Exercise is one of the best medicines we have at our disposal, as there are few things that are comparable to the range of health benefits it offers. Exercise, similar to sleep, helps to naturally manage anxiety and depression, by increasing levels of feel good and stress busting chemicals known as endorphins.
Anxiety if partially worsened by high levels of adrenaline, and even though exercise does temporarily increase these levels, the endorphins temper its effects and leave your mood on a high for hours afterwards. It also gets your lymphatic system moving and aids your body in releasing toxins which can make you feel “yucky” in general.
It doesn't matter what you do for exercise. I recommend finding something that you enjoy and will actually do. Try to get the body in motion for 30 minutes a day for at least three days a week. It can be simple walking or a crazy gym routine or maybe just lifting your newborn baby in the air. There are so so many ways you can move your body to get strength, limberness, and a nice sweat.
4) Eat Dark Chocolate
It's super delicious. I like to think of dark chocolate as one of the “foods of the gods”, decadent, rich, and indulgent. I also find it diet friendly due to the lower sugar and incapacity to eat a lot since it is so rich in flavor.
Dark chocolate has numerous benefits on health, and is not your typical sugar laden variety. Dark chocolate is particularly effective in reducing the impact that the stress hormone cortisol has on our body, including precipitating anxiety.
Its mode of action is unique, as it relays relaxation from the stomach to the brain. Similar to the way that you feel nervousness in your stomach, a nerve named the vagus nerve can be exploited for soothing anxiety too. How about that!
5) Try To Get Sunlight Daily
People in colder climates have been observed to develop a condition known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which comes on during the winter months when sun exposure is limited.
Symptoms of SAD include depression, irritability and increased anxiety, all of which resolve upon exposure to sunlight. If you do live in such a climate, and are unable to get exposure to the sun when winter comes, artificial light therapy also helps improve symptoms.
If you cannot get sunlight or artificial light then supplementing with Vitamin D3 will help your body get the vitamin D it lacking from not enough sun exposure. If you burn as easily as I do then a supplement might not be a bad idea either way.
One practice I like to do in the sunlight is a short, and by short I mean only a couple minutes, breathing in of the sun. I plant both my feet on the ground, open my arms wide, and close my eyes while staring the direction of the sun. It is essential you close your eyes here. Please do not stare at the sun and lose your sight or get sun spots burned into your retina. Then I like to take in deep breaths while imaging the sunbeams thing my third eye and charging me up.
6) Consume More Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids are strong anti-oxidants, and may help to stem the cause of your anxiety. Typically, the two hormones that are elevated are cortisol and adrenaline, both of which respond negatively to the influence of oxidation.
Omega-3 fats combat excessive oxidation and are anti-inflammatory, helping boost production of serotonin and dopamine, and helping keep your anxiety response normal. A few different sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, fish oil, and black walnuts. It can easily be incorporated into daily diet or supplemented with good supplements.
I like to supplement with Omega-3's as well as incorporate the seeds and oil into my foods here and there. The more the merrier. There are so many other amazing benefits for the body that Omega-3's provide as well. Ten, ten, I highly recommend. To learn more about what Omega-3 I take daily CLICK HERE. If you incorporate these 6 things into your life you can benefit from results of less stress and decreased anxiety. Over the course of time these can become solid self-care habits in your life. Creating habits that support your physical and mental health is what can set you onto smoother sailing in life's ventures.