How to Reduce Anxiety

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You can reduce anxiety.
You can reduce anxiety. (Image: julianf at sxc.hu)

With medication side effects on the rise, more people are turning to natural remedies to reduce anxiety. Sometimes anxiety is a temporary condition or related to one's environment, and at other times it is more severe or chronic, perhaps requiring professional treatment. These tips can help you reduce anxiety overall, as well as better cope with some of the triggers for it.

Things You'll Need

  • Notebook for writing
  • <br>Meditation or NLP CDs (optional)
  • <br>Nutritional supplements (optional)
  • <br>Herbal supplements (optional)

Exercise regularly to reduce anxiety and try more vigorous exercises such as a treadmill or tae bo for especially stressful times. While Pilates, yoga and stretching can ease the mind, more vigorous workouts promote endorphin and dopamine release, brain chemicals known partly for mental well-being and reduced anxiety.

Seek out meditation techniques or neurolinguistic programming (NLP). These anxiety reducing techniques can be accomplished before you start the day or even at the office. Audio programs on NLP, meditation and hypnosis are widely available, easily played on an MP3 player, and they are a valuable resource in reducing anxiety.

Get tested for nutritional deficiencies because some types, from folic acid to B-12, can cause anxiety. Otherwise aim for a healthy diet for your age group, with plenty of protein and vegetables. Consider the benefits of supplementing your diet with B-vitamins (including inositol) and certain minerals, including calcium, zinc, selenium and magnesium as needed.

Diet can reduce anxiety.
Diet can reduce anxiety.

Investigate herbal remedies and other supplements as a potential way to reduce anxiety. While inflated claims exist, some herbal remedies such as Kava Kava appear to help some people. GABA supplementation is also endorsed by some individuals and practitioners.

Avoid alcohol and stimulants altogether when feeling anxious. This is not limited to caffeine and nicotine. Less obvious sources include sugars and high-carb foods, which can overstimulate the body and produce an insulin imbalance. Eliminating processed foods helps some people reduce anxiety. Also, be cautious of some herbal and energy drinks containing ginseng and other natural stimulants.

Start journaling regularly to help you reduce anxiety and pinpoint some of its causes. There is no wrong way to journal; simply releasing your thoughts on paper can help. For added benefit, try writing about stresses and concerns and work through the worst scenario that can happen. Then write down how you would handle the worst outcome. When the event passes, return and write about events as they really occurred and what you did to overcome any problems. Often we fear things out of proportion to the actual threat or underestimate our potential and coping ability.

Worrying too much? Try journaling.
Worrying too much? Try journaling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Notice your breathing and change it when you feel anxious. If you are a shallow breather, aim to take deeper breaths on a daily basis. Avoid hyperventilation and focus on slow breathing, “In with the good, out with the bad,” as they say.
  • <br>Keep a grateful state of mind. This helps ward off depression, which often companions anxiety. Think of 3 things you are grateful for when you wake up and again before retiring for bed.
  • <br>Laugh more. Find what tickles your funny bone, be it jokes, movies or stand-up comedy and engage in it often.
  • Consult with a professional when anxiety doesn't improve or significantly impacts your life. If a natural approach is desired, investigate therapies such as biofeedback.

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