Exams, public speaking or job interviews – there are a variety of situations we face in our everyday life. No surprise, each of us knows firsthand that feeling when you start to “stress out”. But sometimes, a challenging job, family problems, or just experiencing unexpected life challenges may start to be perceived as an endless trial. Such torture in life may be a sign of chronic anxiety and a warning to use a hand to prevent this condition. Here are some long-term strategies you can consider in case of anxiety disorder and the top four tips to use when you are feeling anxious or stressed.
What Is Even An Anxiety?
Firstly, it’s essential to understand that anxiety and stress are not synonyms. Stress is the body’s response to a real or alleged threat or discomfort, whereas anxiety is a reaction to future expectations of threat.
Anxiety is an emotion accompanied by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil and nervous behaviour. Often you can notice this condition in manifestations such as walking back and forth, somatic complaints and rumination.
Long-Term Coping Strategies For Anxiety
There are a number of available coping strategies that take time to bring results. Here are some ways to manage your anxiety in the long term:
Maintain a healthy diet. The foods we decide to put into our bodies is not only fuel for our organism; it can also impact how we feel physically and emotionally. And even though foods do not trigger anxiety, they can affect mood in some people. This includes sugary snacks and processed foods that can contribute to rapid rises and falls in blood sugar levels, which can negatively influence feelings of anxiety and fatigue. So, try to cut out sugar and processed foods. Instead, opt for a healthy diet rich in complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Also, limit alcohol, nicotine and caffeine intake and as these substances are thought to aggravate anxiety and cause panic attacks.
Exercise. Moving your body is a perfect method to deal with stress. Regular exercise can help raise endorphins, release tension and clear the mind. Try something new or do something you enjoy – any physical activity will be beneficial. Make sure to maintain a consistent fitness schedule and try to work out at least three to four times a week. You can also consider a massage or progressive muscle relaxation to relieve muscle tension that often occurs in people with anxiety.
Prioritise good quality sleep. This may seem impossible if you’re used to staying up late to catch up on your to-do list, but getting good quality sleep is a must. Sleep is not only critical for our general health and wellbeing, but it also decreases the amount of stress we experience and helps us better manage stress. Therefore, try to do your best to keep a consistent sleep schedule and get quality sleep every night.
Consider therapy & medications. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps individuals that are subjected to anxiety learn to think differently and respond to different anxiety-causing situations. Also, in case your anxiety is severe enough that your doctor thinks medications will help you, there are several anti-anxiety medications intended to help, depending on your symptoms and type of anxiety.
Take CBD oil. Cannabidiol, the abbreviation for CBD, is considered a natural and generally safe alternative to common medications, which can be addictive and have the potential for abuse. This chemical compound is believed to interact with special receptors located throughout the body as part of the biological endocannabinoid system. As a result of this interaction, you can feel calmer and more focused, among other positive effects. To take CBD oil for anxiety, you can purchase various formats, from CBD oil bath bomb, gummies and drinks to traditional tinctures or capsules.
Four Ways To Ease Anxiety & Feel Calmer Right Now
There are also multiple steps you can take at times when you are feeling anxious.
Practice Deep Breathing
When you are anxious, your brain activates the sympathetic nervous system, signalling your body to enter fight-or-flight mode. During this reaction, a flood of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, are released. After, you experience physical symptoms, such as a rapid heart rate, faster breathing and constricted blood vessels.
Deep breathing exercises are the conscious process of taking slow, even, and deep breaths that can help restore normal breathing patterns, slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety. While there are several types of deep breathing exercises and many options to try, you can start with a simple exercise by inhaling deeply for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of four and then counting to four as you breathe out slowly. Repeat a few times until you feel relief.
Whether you prefer essential oil or a candle, inhaling specific scents can be very soothing. This practice, known as aromatherapy, is believed to help activate special receptors in your brain, potentially improving mood, reducing anxiety or inducing sleep.
To benefit from calming scents, you can use essential oils by inhaling them directly or adding oil drops to your diffuser or warm bath. Some of the best essential oils used to relieve anxiety include lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, bergamot, ylang-ylang, clary sage and grapefruit. As an alternative, you can simply light a candle with a particular scent.
Try A Distraction Technique
The next time you are drowning in anxiety, you can also try to distract yourself. This can be anything that takes your attention away from disturbing thoughts or emotions. Put your hands under the cold running water, look at your favourite picture, paint or draw on a piece of paper. As your brain cannot be in two places at the same time, switching your attention to any activity will interrupt the train of rushing thoughts and reduce your anxiety levels.
Engage In Meditation
Whatever it is that’s causing you anxiety, try to set a few minutes of meditation to focus your mind and relax your body. To do so, sit down, take a couple of deep breaths through the nose and exhale through the mouth while feeling the breath move through the body and noticing the rising sensation when inhaling, a feeling of falling when exhaling.
Begin by concentrating your attention on physical sensations, whether it’s your weight on the seat beneath you or your feet on the floor. Do this several times to allow the breath to return to its natural rhythm and anchor your body and mind in the present.