If you have ever experienced anxiety you will know just how debilitating and all-consuming it can be. Finding ways to reduce anxiety naturally can make your life a lot more peaceful and enjoyable.
We’ve all felt anxious and nervous about something at some point in our lives, be it our first day at work, our wedding day or any situation that is new and challenging. This experience of anxiety is normal in everyday situations where we feel we are out of our comfort zone. Regular stress typically ends with a sense of achievement, relief or even a sense of euphoria that we have done something that we had set out to do.
It’s the next level of anxiety that is detrimental to our well being. This is when the symptoms go beyond feeling nervous or experiencing an adrenaline rush. It’s when the symptoms impact your ability to function in a healthy way.
Common symptoms of an anxiety attack are:
- feelings of panic, dread or fear
- rapid heart rate
- rapid breathing
- and muscular twitching
Some sufferers report symptoms so severe they collapse and feel like they are having a heart attack.
Your particular set of symptoms can come from a variety of reasons. While anxiety is not normal, there may be certain experiences that contribute to its onset. Perhaps you have experienced a traumatic situation, are under immense stress from work, involved in toxic relationships, or recently experienced the death of loved one.
5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety
Given the broad range of situations that trigger anxiety, it’s important to know there are a number of ways to get the right support and a range of tools to aid and support you. Be open to exploring what works for you.
In the meantime, know that you are not alone. Anxiety has the awful curse of making you feel completely isolated in your experience and may even convince you that maybe you’ve gone mad! With a lot of hard work and concerted effort, you can reduce your anxiety. With long-term maintenance, you can even rid yourself of it once and for all.
Here are a few top tips for reducing anxiety that will help you through to the other side:
1. Have a Reality Check
Anxiety often comes in the face of reality, flooding our brains with worst-case-scenarios and images of doom and gloom. The best thing to do in these instances is to stop it in its tracks before it drags you down the long, dark tunnel of anxiety.
How do you do that?
When you feel anxiety creeping in, take a moment to have a reality check. When faced with anxiety, we forget the details that keep us grounded. If you’re anxious about an exam, remind yourself that you’ve taken many exams in your life and that you usually do okay. If you’re worried about money, remind yourself that you have survived thus far under your current circumstances and that you will continue to survive.
We usually do how we usually do. Meaning, just because you have a panic attack right now, it doesn’t mean that you are suddenly going to stop passing exams, stop hustling to make extra cash, or stop catching up on work. Take the time to remind yourself of times that you’ve been successful in the past and think about the steps that you took to achieve that success. Before anxiety commandeers your brain, give yourself a firm reality check.
2. Find a therapist
The next, and perhaps more important, step is to find a therapist. A therapist can help explore the anxiety with you and provide effective coping mechanisms to get through your next attack. Being able to identify triggers is an important part of managing anxiety. It is also helpful to learn how to recognize the precursor symptoms of a panic attack, such as blurred vision and dizziness, so that way you can prepare yourself for the next episode. A therapist can help you do each of these things.
On a deeper level, your anxiety may be stemming from a particular theme in your life. Your anxiety may stem from having a traumatic experience and you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Or maybe you just have too much on your plate. Either way, a therapist can help you work through them so that you’re better prepared to face each day.
3. Listen to relaxing music
Our bodies are incredible organisms that are easily influenced by its environment, as I’m sure you have already discovered with your anxiety. Knowing this, you can manipulate your body into a calmer, more relaxed state. One way to do this is by listening to calming music. A slow, gentle tempo will help guide your heart rate to a slower, gentler pace.
Think about how you feel when you listen to a relaxing piece of music compared to how it feels to hear a fast-paced song. In fact, you may have already experienced the powerful effects of music! Now, use it to guide your heart rate into a healthier zone.
4. Repeat Positive Affirmations
One of the biggest problems with anxiety is that it seems to unleash a slew of negative thoughts that remain on repeat mode for hours, days, even years at a time. When an episode hits you, these negative thoughts can spiral out of control very quickly, making the anxiety much worse.
One way to manage this is by using positive affirmations. By using positive affirmations, you are manually overriding your negative thoughts so that they no longer have the death grip on your mental stability. While they may feel silly at first, they are the best evidence-based technique that you can use without the help of professionals or medication.
Whenever you feel a negative thought loop coming on, try repeating or using a recording of affirmations you’ve made or that someone else has made. You can choose to use positive affirmations about your best attributes or qualities in order to combat self-blaming thoughts. Or you can use fact-based affirmations to combat worst-case-scenario thoughts.
For example, many people that experience anxiety report that they suddenly fear that they will lose their jobs, their spouses, their homes, and essentially their entire lives in the blink of an eye. Positive affirmations that would combat this might sound like, “I have never lost a job before because I am a good, valuable worker. My spouse loves me and I know this because he/she supports me every day. I have never missed a house payment in the past and I will likely never miss one in the future. Everything is alright, just as it always has been.”
It’s a well-known fact that doing some form of exercise can reduce the symptoms of anxiety. When you’re anxious, your body is experiencing a rush of adrenaline. By exercising, your body will expend some of this adrenaline which will leave you in a much more calm state.
Exercise also releases hormones that help regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. These hormones also come with a sense of euphoria, which is exactly why many runners are known to chase the “runner’s high”. They are basically chasing the release of hormones!
Exercise during a panic attack may not be ideal, but a regular regimen can help your body better handle daily stressors that could otherwise lead to another episode. Try incorporating gentle exercises, such as yoga or walking, to reap the benefits that exercise has to offer.
Anxiety comes from many directions and has a wide range of symptoms. One person’s anxiety may not look like another’s. Either way, it helps if you have a range of tools (and people) to aid and support you.
That’s exactly why we developed Jinglow. With Jinglow, you can record your own positive affirmations and pair them with calming music. You can use this recording during your meditation, before falling asleep, or even during a panic attack. Jinglow can be a part of your efforts to manage your anxiety, once and for all.
As always, consult your doctor to be sure that you are taking care of yourself. While medication over the long-term is never great for you, your wallet, or your brain, it is sometimes necessary to break the cycle of impending doom that cripples you.