Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 6, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog

Do you feel an ongoing or underlying sense of dread or unease, where you’re agitated, restless, even fearful? A constant ‘background noise’ to your whole existence that you just can’t seem to turn off?

It’s common to feel anxious when you’re confronted with a difficult situation in your life—be it health, family, finances, or work. Anxiety can be a normal response to the challenges we face, and usually resolves of its own accord once the immediate challenge has been dealt with.

For some people, however, anxiety can be persistent. It may even seem unrelated to anything specific, and can be especially frightening when it arises for no apparent reason. When this happens, it may leave you feeling on the verge of panic.

Oftentimes, the types of thought patterns we have, such as compulsive thinking or circular thoughts that just go around and around, can provoke or worsen anxiety. They lead nowhere except back to where you started! But along the way, they’ve provoked a stress response in your body that results in physical effects such as heart palpitations, sweating, tremors, dry mouth, headaches, and difficulty sleeping.

So what can you do when you’re feeling anxiety creeping up on you? BREATHE.

It sounds simplistic, but one of the most effective ways to help ease anxiety IMMEDIATELY is to breathe. Slowly, gently, deeply. Oftentimes, we don’t even realize that we’re holding our breath or only taking short, shallow breaths. This type of breathing can worsen or trigger anxiety. By bringing your attention to the breath, and inhaling and exhaling gently through the nose, you can directly influence that part of your nervous system that affects the release of adrenalin. When you do that, you also affect the heart rate and blood pressure.

1. Inhale slowly through the nose, bringing the breath down into your abdomen. If you feel comfortable holding it there, do so for a second or two. Don’t force yourself.
2. Exhale gently through the nose.
3. Repeat this breathing pattern for a few breaths, staying focused on the inhalation and exhalation with each breath. (If you become dizzy, it means that you’re overbreathing or pausing between breaths for too long. Just slow it down a bit, and don’t hold your breath between each inhalation-exhalation.)

Do this several times a day, and especially each time you feel yourself becoming anxious.

Next post we’ll be looking at some really great herbs that’ll help you turn down, if not turn off, that background noise!

Do you have an anxiety-busting tip that works for you? Send us a Comment and share it with our fans!

Read also: Perimenopause – Balance is Key!

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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