Holistic ways to manage everyday anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses and affect millions of adults and children.

While highly treatable, it is estimated only 37% of persons diagnosed with anxiety seek treatment. It is not uncommon for someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression, or vice versa, and anxiety disorders can range from general anxiety disorder, to social anxiety and even obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Whether you have sought treatment or not, it is good to practice holistic, natural remedies daily in order to function. Here are some things you can do to help manage daily anxiety that you can do alongside traditional treatment or in the absence of.

Exercise – regular activity is not only good for your physical health, but also your emotional well-being. For some people, the endorphins generated from exercise help them to feel good all over.

Eliminate alcohol – known as a natural sedative, we see alcohol as a relaxing way to wind down after a long work week. However, once the buzz is over, anxiety often returns worse than it was before it left. Using alcohol to treat anxiety could lead to alcohol dependence.

Go easy on the caffeine – caffeine can trigger anxiety in those who suffer chronically. Side effects include nervousness, jitters and rapid heartbeat and may worsen the effects of anxiety disorders. Swap for low to no caffeine teas.

Make sure you get enough sleep – insomnia is a common symptom of anxiety, but for our brains to function adequately, we need at least eight hours of sleep. Here are some ways to catch more Z’s:

  • Only sleeping at night when you are tired – limit naps.
  • No reading or watching TV in bed.
  • Avoid phones, tablets and computers in bed.
  • Journaling thoughts before bed.
  • Going to sleep at the same time each night.

Practice meditation and yoga before bed – meditation and yoga are praised for their ability to relieve anxiety and stress. You can start with 30 minutes of yoga practice in your home before bed, followed by 5 to 10 minutes of silent meditation. There are hundreds of resources and videos on guided meditation and yoga online that you can find for free to help you.

Stick to a healthy diet – things like low blood sugar levels, dehydration and chemicals in processed foods can cause mood changes in some people. It’s important to develop healthy eating habits and make sure you’re getting enough calories per day and drinking enough water.

Practice deep breathing – if yoga and meditation seem too difficult, you can start out easy by utilising deep breathing techniques and exercises before bed. You can start by laying in a dark, cool room, somewhere comfortable with your eyes closed and mentally timing your breathing. Make sure to take deep breaths in from your stomach and exhale longer than your inhale, emptying your entire body. If you do this about 10 to 20 times in one sitting, you will absolutely notice a difference.

Making these small changes and adapting healthy habits will not only help you physically, but mentally as well.

Source: Alex Panton Foundation