Natural Ways to Manage Anxiety for a Happier Life
If you're reading this, you might have anxiety or have experienced anxious thoughts and emotions. Let me start off by saying, you are not alone. Everyone feels anxious in some degree. Some people experience a very mild and situational anxiety, while others struggle with severe panic attacks. No matter what area you fall into, there are natural ways to help alleviate your pain.
A little backstory: I struggled with depression, anxiety, and disordered eating from high school and into college. I was convinced I needed medicine to feel better. I wanted a quick fix, and didn't want to spend time getting to know the real root of my issues. As you can probably tell from this blog of mine, I've overcome the idea of quick fixes. I never ended up taking medicine, and I have battled it holistically through a mind/body/spirit approach.
Now, let me also say: While medicine wasn't the right solution for me, I do know medicine can be a great help to others. Everyone's situation is different, and you should never feel guilty or ashamed of it.
I'm not a doctor. I'm not a psychologist. I can only speak from experience and share with you what has personally helped me and others I know. But first, let's break it down.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is a distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. It is also a mental state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some form of a mental disorder. [source]
What does anxiety feel like?
You have a shortness of breath.
Your heart is pounding.
You start sweating.
You feel dizzy.
You feel sick to your stomach.
You feel outside of your body.
If you've ever felt like this, please keep reading for ideas that can help, so you can go on living your happiest life.
How to Naturally Manage Your Anxiety
1. Start meditating, seriously.
Give it a try. If you think meditation is not for you or you don't have time for it, you're wrong. Meditation is for everyone. I have dabbled in meditation over the years, but it hasn't really stuck with me until recently. I meditate in the mornings before work. I meditate on the subway. I meditate in a group setting at MNDFL Meditation (which I'm newly attending). Simple breathing techniques help quiet the brain and calm the nerves. With each bright and crisp inhale, you feed your brain new information. With each exhale, you release the old and stale elements that hold you back. You release the roadblocks, and you start fresh.
Alternate Nostril Breathing: Cover the left nostril and inhale through the right nostril for 7 counts, then cover the right nostril and breath out the left nostril for 7 counts. Continue this for three rounds then switch sides, breathing through the left nostril and out the right nostril. Here's a quick video from doyogawithme.com for a more complete demonstration.
2. Try lavender aromatherapy.
Lavender essential oils are one of the most well-known natural methods proven to alleviate stress and anxiety. I recommend getting an oil diffuser, so you can breath in calming scents when you're feeling stressed at home. I also like to add a drop of lavender to coconut oil and rub it onto my temples, jaw, and chest before bed. Then, I meditate. It helps me release muscle tension, so I can sleep better. I have a problem with clenching my jaw in my sleep, which gives me terrible headaches and jaw tension when I wake up. Both meditation and aromatherapy have helped me cope with this and sleep better.
3. Practice yoga regularly.
Yoga heals. Simple as that - Yoga has helped me appreciate my body, calm my nerves, and become more self-aware. The introspection you receive from yoga is so valuable to your wellbeing, and it will help you deal with much more than your anxiety. You can read my blog posts on how yoga accidentally transforms you and how it promotes body positivity.
4. Cut back on coffee.
Ugh. I know this is the LAST thing you want to hear. But, think about it for a second. If you're nervous or anxious about something, caffeine will only make you more jittery. I straight up knock over shiz when I'm anxious and highly-caffeinated. Try drinking chamomile tea or warm water with lemon when you're feeling anxious or before a nerve-wracking event like an interview or public-speaking event.
5. Turn off technology.
Do you ever miss the good ole days when AIM was the only online channel you cared about? And the only internet-induced stress was waiting for your crush to sign on, so you could chat before dinner (and say BRB, woof down your food, and then chat some more before bed)? Haha. We can all agree that technology has greatly impacted our lives for the better, but it might have also impacted our mental health for the worse. The constant comparison is brutal, and the pressure to keep up or fall behind is real. It's real, but it's STUPID. I've become less tolerant of it - if I'm feeling any sort of social media stress, I shut it off. If I'm losing joy over something so ridiculous, then I need to take a step back. Woo, you know I could go on and on about this. Maybe I will another time.
This is a lengthy post, but it's real life with real issues. I hope this resonates with you, and I hope you can find peace from it. I love you. I'm grateful for you. I am here for you.