Is anxiety getting the best of you? Do you feel trapped in a life of nonstop stress? Whether you feel uptight about something new happening in your life or have been stressed out for years, let me show you how to beat anxiety naturally.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is typically thought of as a “nervous disorder” characterized by feelings of restlessness, dread, panic, and even danger. It may be accompanied by trembling, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), rapid breathing (hyperventilation), sweating, and difficulty concentrating.
15 Ways To Beat Anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety at different times in their lives. Feelings of anxiety can occur when we least expect it or as the result of an anticipated event. Some people are better at dealing with stress than others. Everyone can learn to control, minimize, or avoid feelings of anxiety. Here are some of the best approaches to dealing with your anxiety.
Exercise – One of the best ways to control your feelings of anxiety is to get plenty of exercise, which can act as a physical “release” to help your body deal with stressful times in your life. Make an exercise schedule to remind you to keep active. You can also make a more substantial commitment by exercising with a group or by joining a gym. See Fast Weight Loss Exercises – 5 Easy Ways To Lose Fat Quickly! to check out easy stress-relieving exercises, even if you don’t need to lose weight.
Sleep – Sleep deprivation is a well-known cause of anxiety. It can bring on an anxiety attack unexpectedly, or it can make your ongoing anxiety worse by making you more irritable. Plan to get at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Try to stick to the same sleep schedule as much as possible. If you have been trying to figure out how to beat anxiety at work, getting some extra sleep is an excellent starting point. See Natural Ways To Help With Sleep – Feeling Refreshed Every Morning!
Relaxation training – Relaxation training is an indispensable skill to learn for anyone who suffers from frequent or chronic anxiety. Many methods can be helpful, including mindful meditation, visualization, Tai Chi, and yoga. These relaxation techniques can provide a solution to the question “how to beat anxiety without pills.” See Mind Relaxation Techniques – A Healthy Escape From Reality and Living Well With Daily Positive Thinking.
Music therapy – Listening to music at a comfortable volume level can be excellent relaxation therapy. Music has a way of taking your mind off your daily routine and anything else that might be concerning you. Classic, smooth jazz, and music for mindful listening are all good choices. Make it a habit to listen to relaxing music when you’re alone or driving in your car.
Playing an instrument can be even more therapeutic than a listening-only experience! When you perform a musical piece that you enjoy, there is the anxiety-relieving component of the music’s sound, plus the positive energy and feeling of wellness that musicians get from interacting with their instrument. If you play guitar, then be sure to check out My Guitar Lair.
Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy is commonly used to combat anxiety and is especially useful when combined with other modalities such as relaxation training or music therapy. Many scents have been shown to have beneficial calming effects, including lavender, sandalwood, and chamomile.
Biofeedback – Biofeedback is an excellent technology to de-escalate an anxiety attack quickly. It uses a device that monitors body functions like your heart rate (pulse). The device teaches you how to lower your heart rate by relaxing. With practice, you can learn to relax without using the biofeedback device. See Stop Heart Palpitations – 15 Techniques That Really Work!
Counseling, support groups, and psychotherapy – Counselling and psychotherapy are good choices if you have tried other relaxation techniques without success. They can provide you with various stress reduction techniques and teach you how to beat anxiety without medication. Talk to your health care provider to explore your best option.
An anxiety support group is a good choice if you like interacting with people that have similar issues. Group therapy can also help prevent you from isolating yourself, which can make your anxiety worse. Try not to regularly associate with people that stress you out or have a generally negative attitude.
Healthy food choices – Anxiety levels are definitely tied to your diet! A healthy diet will go a long way to making your body feel good, including your brain function and thought processes. It’s important to control your sugar intake. If your blood sugar is too high or too low, it can worsen some anxiety symptoms like tremors or interfere with your sleep pattern. See Foods High In Antioxidant – Eating Smart For Better Health.
Herbal and dietary supplements – A variety of herbal and dietary supplements have been used to control anxiety. Some of these include green tea & matcha, valerian root, chamomile, ginger, kava kava, lemon balm, Tumeric, and ashwagandha (also called Indian ginseng). Try a few to see what works best for you, but always check with your healthcare provider.
Over the counter (OTC) products – There are many OTC products to help control anxiety. Some of the most popular products are vitamin B complex, magnesium, and 5-HTP (increases serotonin levels in the brain). Benedryl is available as a sleep aid has also been used during the day to control anxiety due to its mild sedative effect. Be careful with Benedryl because it can have the opposite effect and increase your anxiety level.
CBD (cannabidiol) oil has also been used to treat anxiety. It is available in various preparations and potencies such as broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, THC, isolate, and terpenes. One downside to using CBD is that it can be a pricey option.
If you would like to try CBD for your anxiety, then the number one product I recommend is Dakota Organic Hemp Oil. It has 333 mg/serving of enriched hemp extract and three types of omega fatty acids.
Before taking any OTC medication please check with your health care provider.
Prescription medications – All the medications that are available to treat anxiety are prescription-only. Unless your anxiety is severe, I would recommend that you begin with some natural treatments and counseling before beginning prescription medications. There are several types of anti-anxiety medications.
Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRI) like Zoloft, Paxil, and Lexapro increase serotonin levels in your brain.
Beta-blockers like Inderal, typically used to treat hypertension or heart problems, are sometimes used as a “mood stabilizer.”
Benzodiazepines like Ativan, Xanax, and Klonopin are “minor tranquilizers” are for short-term use only. Continued use of benzodiazepines can be addictive and cause drowsiness, memory problems, and an increased risk of falling, especially in the elderly.
Caffeine Avoidance – Caffeine can act as both a brain and heart stimulant to bring on an anxiety attack or make your anxiety worse. Drink decaf coffee or tea, like green tea. Check for caffeine content in soda and other carbonated beverages. See Green Tea Anti Inflammatory Benefits – Feel Great Again!
Chocolate can contain quite a bit of caffeine, especially dark chocolate. I had a patient that would go into a fast and abnormal heart rhythm every time he ate a piece of death by chocolate cake.
Smoking Cessation – Although some people light up a cigarette to calm down when they are stressed out or upset, nicotine can definitely worsen both anxiety and depression. When you attempt to quit smoking, be on the lookout for nicotine withdrawal symptoms, increasing your anxiety level. For some people using an OTC product like Nicoderm patch (check with your health care provider first) or a prescription product like Chantix might be the better option.
Alcohol abstinence – Similarly to cigarette smoking, alcohol ingestion can be a “double-edged sword.” Alcohol has the potential to relax you or cause anxiety, depending on many factors like drink type, alcohol content, and your drinking history. If you are a frequent drinker or alcoholic, check with your health care provider for your best options to stop drinking. See What Is The Best Way To Prevent A Hangover? – Do This And Skip The Regrets!
Recreational drug rehabilitation – All recreational drugs can cause anxiety, no matter how sedating they may be. Cannabis, alcohol, tranquilizers, opioids, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and psychoactive substances have all been used as recreational drugs. Prescription drugs like Oxycontin or Percocet, taken by an unauthorized person, are often used recreationally.
These medications have the potential to cause serious medical problems, overdose, withdrawal, and death. If you are using any type of prescription drug recreationally, then please get help as soon as possible. There are many good drug detox programs that can help you safely address your drug dependence.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) can help you find the treatment you need. Go to https://www.findtreatment.gov/ or call 1-800-662-4357.
Here is a TEDx UHasselt video by Olivia Remes on coping with anxiety and how to beat anxiety attacks.
Common Anxiety Disorders
Here are some of the most common anxiety disorders. You can go to Wikipedia for a complete list. Everyone with anxiety issues does not necessarily fit into a particular classification. It’s important to differentiate typical day to day anxiety from an actual anxiety disorder. The best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to make an appointment to see a psychiatric health care professional.
Generalized anxiety disorder – Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is seen in people that seem to be worried almost constantly, and just about anything can make them anxious or fearful. They usually have chronic symptoms lasting for six months or more of irritability, fatigue, restlessness, poor sleep habits, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and muscle spasm. These people often have an element of depression, which may be difficult to separate from their general presentation.
Social anxiety disorder – Social anxiety disorder (SAD or “social phobia”) makes people uncomfortable with social interaction, particularly in new situations or when they feel they will be or are being judged. They may have a fear that their presence or behavior will be viewed negatively by others. Public speaking, even in small and familiar groups, can be particularly stressful and embarrassing.
Agoraphobia – Agoraphobia, which literally translates to “fear of the marketplace,” is a more severe clinical presentation of social anxiety disorder. Being in a strange or socially uncomfortable environment will often bring on a panic attack and a strong urge to “escape” to the safety of a familiar and isolated setting. People with severe agoraphobia may not ever venture outside the confines of their own home. Psychotherapy and treatment with SSRI medications like Zoloft may be effective.
Phobia-induced anxiety – This is one of the most common types of anxiety disorder, affecting up to 12% of the world population. A phobia is a fear of a certain thing like spiders or situations like heights. Phobias are often learned in childhood or acquired due to an unpleasant life experience, like being trapped in a small, enclosed space.
Being exposed to a phobia or even the thought of exposure can quickly bring on a full-blown panic attack. Desensitization of overwhelming or psychologically disabling phobias has been shown to effective when done properly by a health care professional.
Situational anxiety – Situational anxiety is typically seen in response to an unfamiliar or unexpected event. It can be something as simple as standing in line with others or brought on by an event tied to a phobia, such as having to cross a bridge (gephyrophobia) or being in the water (aquaphobia). Prolonged exposure to the situation can bring on a panic attack. Most people become very good at avoiding these situations by planning ahead whenever possible.
Panic disorder – This disorder produces panic “attacks,” which are expressions of anxiety at the highest severity level. The attacks are typically associated with a specific stimulus, such as a phobia, but may be triggered by any fear or irrational thought.
The attack can be brought on by any expected or unanticipated event or trigger perceived as a physical or psychological threat. Panic attacks may also happen without any apparent underlying cause, making them much more difficult to control or treat.
These attacks may cause severe hysteria with the following symptoms, which can last from minutes to hours in duration.
- Screaming, crying, and losing control
- Shaking and trembling
- Hyperventilation with shortness of breath and tingling or numbness of the extremities
- Rapid heartbeat with palpitations and chest pain or tightness
- Nausea with vomiting
- Dizziness, fainting, and confusion
- Fear of dying
Substance-induced anxiety – This disorder can produce intense episodes of drug-induced anxiety, panic, and confusion. It can be associated with exposure to prescription or recreational drug use and any toxic substance in the environment. Symptoms can be due to an adverse drug reaction or drug withdrawal, which can be severe and require hospitalization.
Anxiety Can Worsen Or Cause A Variety Of Ailments
Anxiety can make any ailment or situation worse and can take the joy out of the things you enjoy doing. Learning to control your anxiety can lead to a more positive, productive, and enjoyable life. Chronic anxiety can have a devastating effect on your body and thought processes. Here are some of the ways that anxiety can negatively affect your well-being.
- Poor hygiene
- Unhealthy weight gain or loss
- Chronic and inappropriate release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Excess adrenaline can cause problems like hypertension and palpitations. Excess cortisol can cause weight gain and other psychologic issues.
- Depression with suicidal ideation – See How To Deal With Depression Alone – A Rejuvenating Self-Help Guide
- Social isolation
- Difficulty sleeping
Central nervous system:
- Muscle spasm
- Rapid heartbeat
- Hypertension – See Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally – Best Tips And Tricks To Give You Quick Results!
- Chest pain or pressure
- Heart attack (if you already have heart disease)
- Hyperventilation with lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting (syncope)
- Triggering of an asthma attack
- Worsening of respiratory symptoms in people with COPD
- Loss of appetite
- Worsening of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms – See How To Diet With Irritable Bowel Syndrome And Feel Great Again!
Anxiety can affect each individual differently. A little anxiety can help you focus and perform better in a pinch, but uncontrolled anxiety can be unproductive and even disabling. Learning to control your anxiety is one of the most important things you can do to take control of each day and improve your quality of life.
The best way to control your anxiety is by understanding all the things that can potentially bring it on or make it worse. Make a list of opportunities for improving your anxiety and work on them sequentially. Keep a log of what works best and focus on those items the most.
If your anxiety is severe, then consider obtaining professional help, which may include a trial of prescription medications. Treating severe anxiety as soon as possible helps you avoid or lessen the long-term adverse effects it can have on your body and mind.
Tell Us What You Think
Please let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section, or if I can help you with anything.
- Do you have any additional tips or suggestions for dealing with anxiety?
- What works best for you to control your anxiety?
- How has learning to control your anxiety improved your life??