7 Tips to Try When You’re Feeling Anxious
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on November 21, 2018 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety is a natural feeling that most people experience at least once or twice over the course of their lives. It usually appears in response to challenges we face in life or something worrisome that we don’t have the answers to. For other people, anxiety is an everyday feeling that occurs for no reason at all.
Regardless of the level of anxiety you face in your day-to-day life, the symptoms of anxiety can be brutal. Common symptoms typically include an increased heart rate, sweating, difficulty focusing, increased saliva production and an unshakable feeling of fear or dread. If feelings of anxiety evolve into a panic attack, you may experience difficulty breathing, a temporary loss of vision or hearing and many other scary symptoms.
Because anxiety can be so difficult to endure, and because it is so common in our world today, management is of top priority. If you experience anxiety on a regular basis, it’s important to find the most effective management techniques for you, so anxiety doesn’t begin to have an effect on your health and wellbeing.
Tips for fighting anxiety in the moment
When feelings of anxiety seem to spring up out of nowhere, they can really take you by surprise. Although anxiety will eventually fade on its own, managing everyday tasks can be extremely difficult when you’re battling fear and can’t seem to relax.
If you start to feel anxious, here are a few tips that may help in the moment.
- Drink water: Dehydration is known to cause shifts in mood and mental stability, meaning that your feelings of anxiety might be your body’s way of telling you to drink more water. Even if you are not dehydrated, though, drinking a glass of cool water can help bring your body back into balance—after all, water is one of the most important elements of your health!
- Exercise: If you’re able, hit the gym when you begin to feel anxious. Doing just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise that raises your heart rate has been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety and can put you in a much better mood than before. Long-term, exercise also has many benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing and can actually prevent anxiety attacks. If time is an issue, try taking a short walk. Just a little bit of exercise and a change of scenery might help you center your thoughts and calm down.
- Meditate: Practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques can help promote calm during periods of anxiety. Meditation doesn’t have to be done for long periods of time, either—it could be as simple as a five-minute breathing exercise done at your desk. Take time to repeat an encouraging mantra, breathe deeply and slowly and focus on your body and surroundings to find relaxation.
- Aromatherapy: Many people with anxiety claim that being around certain types of smells in the form of oils and diffusers can help promote calm. One of the most popular calming scents is lavender.
Preventing anxiety over time
In addition to the above-mentioned tips for fighting anxiety in the moment, there are also many ways to combat feelings of anxiety over time. Implementing these methods into your daily routine can help prevent anxiety attacks long-term and help you calm down more easily if anxiety does occur.
- Adaptogens: Consider adding adaptogens to your daily diet to improve your body’s response to stress. Adaptogens are natural herbs and substances that are known for their ability to help the body adapt to stressful situations. Ashwagandha is a very popular adaptogen to help with anxiety and stress. You can also take an anxiety-aiding supplement daily. These types of supplements often combine effective adaptogens with other calming herbs and oils to help ease symptoms of anxiety long-term.
- Eat well: Your diet has a lot more to do with your mental health than you might think. Your mental state can change drastically if your body is not getting the full serving of vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly. Additionally, diets high in sugar and refined foods have been proven to influence mood and lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Eat a well-balanced diet every day and stay away from caffeine and sugar, especially if you suffer from consistent feelings of anxiety.
- Improve sleep: Sleep also has a major impact on your mental health. The relationship between sleep and anxiety can become complicated. Without enough quality sleep, you may begin to experience feelings of anxiety and depression. These feelings may then make it difficult for you to sleep well, creating a vicious cycle. Consider taking a natural sleeping supplement if you struggle to sleep well, whether or not it’s because of anxiety.
By implementing positive lifestyle changes like a better diet and more exercise, you will hopefully begin to experience fewer symptoms of anxiety. But if you do, take a few minutes for yourself, remember to breathe deeply and experiment to find coping mechanisms that work for you.
Sign up for our newsletter and receive more articles and the latest health updates and special offers.
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