Some anxiety is a normal part of life. It’s a byproduct of living in an often-chaotic world. Anxiety makes you aware of danger, motivates you to stay organized and prepared, and helps you calculate risks. Still, when anxiety becomes a daily struggle, it’s time to act before it snowballs. Unchecked anxiety may greatly impact your quality of life. Here are 10 ideas on ways you can take control:
1. Stay active. Regular exercise is good for your physical and emotional health. Regular exercise works as well as medication to ease anxiety for some people. And it’s not just a short-term fix; you may experience anxiety relief for hours after working out. Start with 30 minutes a day and slowly lengthen the time to 60 minutes.
2. Get some sleep. Insomnia is a common symptom of anxiety. Make sleep a priority by:
• only sleeping at night when you’re tired
• not reading or watching television in bed
• not using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed
• not tossing and turning in your bed if you can’t sleep; get up and go to another room until you feel sleepy
• avoiding caffeine, large meals, and nicotine before bedtime
• keeping your room dark and cool
• writing down your worries before going to bed
• going to sleep at the same time each night
3. Practice deep breathing. Shallow, fast breathing is common with anxiety. It may lead to a fast heart rate, dizziness or lightheadedness, or even a panic attack. Deep breathing exercises — the deliberate process of taking slow, even, deep breaths — can help restore normal breathing patterns and reduce anxiety. Try this: As you inhale count to 6, as you exhale count to 10. Repeat 5 times or until you feel calm.
4. Eat a healthy diet. Low blood sugar levels, dehydration, or chemicals in processed foods such as artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, and preservatives may cause mood changes in some people. A high-sugar diet may also impact temperament. If your anxiety worsens after eating, check your eating habits. Stay hydrated, eliminate processed foods, and eat a healthy diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.
5. Ditch caffeine. If you have chronic anxiety, caffeine is not your friend. Caffeine may cause nervousness and jitters, neither of which is good if you’re anxious. Research has shown caffeine may cause or worsen anxiety disorders. It may also cause panic attacks in people with panic disorder. In some people, eliminating caffeine may significantly improve anxiety symptoms.
6. Don’t drink alcohol. Drinking a glass of wine or a finger of whiskey when your nerves are shot may calm you at first. But Alcohol is a natural sedative. Once the buzz is over anxiety can return with a vengeance. If you rely on alcohol to relieve anxiety instead of treating the root of the problem, you may develop alcohol dependence.
3. Don’t Smoke. Smokers often reach for a cigarette during stressful times. Taking a drag on a cigarette when you’re stressed is a quick fix that may worsen anxiety over time. Research also suggests nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke alter pathways in the brain linked to anxiety.
7. Meditate. A main goal of meditation is to remove chaotic thoughts from your mind and replace them with a sense of calm and mindfulness of the present moment. Meditation is known for relieving stress and anxiety. Research from John Hopkins suggests 30 minutes of daily meditation may alleviate some anxiety symptoms and act as an antidepressant.
8. Try aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses fragrant essential oils to promote health and well-being. The oils may be inhaled directly or added to a warm bath or diffuser. Studies have shown that aromatherapy:
- helps you relax
- helps you sleep
- boosts mood
- reduces heart rate and blood pressure
Some essential oils used to relieve anxiety are: bergamot, lavender, clary sage, grapefruit, ylang ylang
10. Massage. Massage therapy can help the body relax, which in turn can help one let go of anxious and fearful thoughts. Massage can relieve muscle pain and tension, improve circulation, and increase flexibility. As a relaxation technique, massage therapy can work to manage the fight-or-flight response, or stress reaction, that is typically overactive among people with anxiety disorders.
Body & Soul Massage in Salem Ma offers a wide variety of Massage techniques. Our licensed therapists will cater your massage session to address your specific needs. To learn more about how regular massage can help with anxiety call 978-825-0040 or visit www.bodysoulsalem.com
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