Read Up the 16 Ways to Banish Anxiety and Face Life Head On
All of us suffer from spates of anxiety from time to time, whenever our lives become hectic, or we’re dealing with issues in our personal relationships from family to friends and partners. There are a few things you can do to relieve yourself from that high anxiety and begin to enjoy life again. Get to know the top 16 tips to gain control of your emotions and your future once again.
#1 Soulful Yoga
Yoga is not only great for your body but also equally your mind. In reality we should not separate these from each other, as the mind is clearly an integral part of our body, not a separate entity. It promotes mindfulness not to mention it leads to a significant increase in serotonin levels and improves our immune system. In other words, being dedicated to the routine of yoga boosts you overall!
#2 Breathing Exercises
Stay calm and breath, as they say. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the nervous system. If you feel yourself overwhelmed with anxiety, take the time to breath deeply and slowly for a few minutes, leaving everything else aside so you can fully concentrate on the body’s functions.
Photo: Unstress Yourself
#3 Make a To-Do List
Oftentimes our anxiety sparks when we feel we have an insurmountable amount of work to face, and we’re left to think or feel failure looming. Something as basic as a to-do list can alleviate us of this fear, as it designates everything a time and a place, making it far more approachable.
#4 Limit Social Media Use
We live in a hyper-connected society where we get a glimpse into everyone’s lives on a daily basis, which many psychological studies have shown can actually make us feel less happy and more alone rather than connected. The fear of missing out, FOMO, is constant if you’re always on social media. Go offline and be with your friends instead!
#5 Meditation Muse
For the same reason deep breathing and yoga promotes mental health, meditation gives us peace of mind whenever we need it, with no tools, subscriptions or particular destination needed. While it seems negative, one of the major benefits of meditation is that it loosens the connections of particular neural pathways. This simply means the trigger reaction we get that makes us feel scared it less strong. Our assessment and reasoning is heightened, so overall our emotions are calmed.
#6 Give Up Caffeine
As many scientists will tell you, caffeine is the world’s favourite mood-altering drug. As caffeine stimulates the nervous system, our reactive senses are heightened, making us more likely to feel fear or pressure at things we encounter daily in life. It also inhibits the calming neurotransmitter GABA, increases stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine! Better put down that double shot Americano.
#7 Limit Sugar Intake
Sugar heightens the effects of anxiety in anyone prone to suffering with it. It stimulates numerous sensations in the body from a ‘sugar rush’ and withdrawal to blurry vision or fatigue. These feelings go unnoticed in those not suffering with anxiety, but for those already prone to it, it amps it up.
#8 Therapy is Not a Sign of Weakness
Therapy is not an easy or exact science, so this is one you can’t expect results from right away. Sometimes people have to visit a number of therapists before they find one they feel 100% comfortable with. Be prepared to keep trying, as it may take time but it’s truly worth it if you need to resolve any underlying reasons you’re dealing with such high anxiety.
#9 Turn Off the Screens
In the same way that caffeine stimulates us too much if we suffer with anxiety, using tech devices too much can do the same. Our sensory system goes into overload and our brain becomes overwhelmed with information and emotional responses, inducing that panicky feeling. It also leads to that FOMO feeling social media can trigger.
#10 Listen to Soothing Instrumental Music
Everyone knows music can calm you down and tap into your emotions in just a matter of seconds. Even if you don’t usually listen to orchestral or classical music, you should give it a try to reduce your stress levels. Slow instrumental music taps into our physiological responses to external factors and calms us, lowering our cortisol levels and slowing the heart rate.
#11 Cool Down with a Fan
The physical impact of anxiety includes vasoconstriction, which means the fight or flight response that comes into play with anxiety leads to a tightening of blood vessels. This in turn leads to the body rapidly trying to reheat itself, leading to overheating and sweating. Something as basic as a fan can counteract this, allowing you to cool down and calm down in equal portions.
Photo: The Voice/Giphy
#12 Organise Your Space
According to a study by Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, those who felt their homes were cluttered or unfinished felt more depressed, fatigued and stressed than those whose homes were organised. Clearing your space keeps you on track and on top of things essentially!
Photo: Inspire Home and Design
#13 Set a Sleep Schedule
Part of controlling your anxiety is creating a stable structure for you to follow on a daily basis. This helps you maintain stability on an emotional level too. Anxiety and insomnia often go hand in hand, so by prioritising a good night’s sleep you are warding off excess fatigue and panic induced by unbalanced hormone levels. The Journal of Neuroscience 2013 illustrated that those lacking sleep were far more likely to respond to all stimuli with strong anticipatory reactions, meaning heightened tension. If they slept well, they only responded like this to threatening stimuli.
#14 Natural Herbal Teas
Menthol in peppermint and chamomile tea is a natural muscle relaxant, so it alleviates the physical attributes of anxiety and therefore impacts our mental status, calming us down. Our cortisol levels are reduced, and natural teas like green tea even reduce our polyphenols to combat anxiety.
#15 Bring Nature Indoors
An NCIB 2008 study found that hospital patients with indoor plants reported far less stress than those who didn’t have any. Plants also filter polluted air, the scents are usually calming and they re-centre us. We need to be re-centred as most of us spend far too much time indoors, leaving a part of us pining for the natural world outdoors.
#16 Interact with Animals!
Pets and animals are non-judgemental, loving creatures that’ll bring you back down to earth whenever you may feel low. They interact and want cuddles no matter what, which curbs our anxiety greatly. If you can’t get a cat, dog or pet of your choice, try volunteer work at a shelter!
Photo: Ed Sheeran/Giphy