There's no doubt anxiety can be excruciating to face, and when a person has an anxiety disorder, it can make them feel constantly on edge. Anxiety can be so severe that it paralyzes you to the point that you can't even leave your home. You may find yourself constantly worrying about what could go wrong, and creating any kind of worst-case scenario in your head. It can also make you frequently feel threatened. It's like you're constantly terrified that something terrible will happen, even though there's no indication of that being the case.
Anxiety can be so severe that it can get in the way of your daily functioning. When anxiety takes over your life, you will not be able to work or be a productive member of society. It does not only have a negative effect on your mind. Anxiety is tough to deal with physically as well. It can cause uncontrollable sweating, it causes your heart to race to the point that you think you are having a heart attack, and anxiety can make you very nauseous. This is what happens when you are having an anxiety attack.
Quite often, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is diagnosed while a person is already battling a mental illness like depression. However, there is good news. Just as depression and other mental illnesses can be controlled naturally, so can anxiety. Let's talk about 10 ways to keep your anxiety under control, naturally.
- Lose the Booze—The first thing anyone battling mental illness wants to do is grab that can of beer, or that bottle of wine, or that cocktail. As comforting as this may feel in the moment, the worst possible thing you can do is drink when you're struggling with anxiety. That is because of the fact that alcohol has a negative effect on the production of serotonin—the happy hormone. It also can manipulate other neurotransmitter levels in the brain, and not in a good way. Since alcohol can exacerbate anxiety, it's best to either keep drinking to a minimum or avoid it all together.
- Stick To Decaf—Caffeine can also increase your anxiety, so it's best if you only drink coffee with very little caffeine or none at all. The same applies to caffeinated soft drinks, and energy drinks. The caffeine rush will do a number to your neurotransmitters i(which are found both in your brain and in your gut), which can worsen anxiety.
- Keep Lavender By Your Side—Some fragrances can be quite calming, and lavender is one of those fragrances with a soothing effect. You'll want to keep a small bottle of lavender oil by your side to take a sniff each time you feel an anxiety attack coming on. It will help bring you a sense of calm right away.
- Start Journaling—If you're unsure of why you're feeling nervous and what triggered your anxiety, this is the time to analyze it. As soon as you feel like you're going to have an anxiety attack, take your journal and write out how you're feeling. As you write, explore what you're afraid will happen, and think of all the ways the exact opposite (positive situations) could also happen. You can even read this out loud, and some may find comfort in crumpling it up and throwing it away, or burning it. You may soon realize that there is no threat. Make journaling a habit and chances are you'll find yourself becoming a lot calmer.
- Get Moving—Exercise is beneficial for those suffering from depression and anxiety alike. If you take a half-hour long brisk walk 5 days each week, this is enough to get your endorphins going which will, in turn, be beneficial to the neurotransmitter levels in your body—making you feel calmer and more stable.
- Talk To A Therapist—If you are facing constant anxiety, then the best thing to do is to talk to a therapist or someone who truly understand. That will help you a lot. And a good-quality therapist will give you tips to help you control your anxiety as well. However, talking to someone about your fears, worries, and anxiety, in general, will help you feel less alone. Purging it out can bring you relief.
- Create A Mantra—If you find a mantra and believe it such as saying this feeling will pass over and over again, you will constantly remind yourself of this fact. Therefore, this alone can help keep your anxiety under control. Find any phrase that will work for you, that you believe, and stick to it to help you manage your anxiety.
- Spend Time Alone—Those who have any kind of anxiety need to take some time away from people and enjoy solitude periodically in order to decompress and recharge. Sometimes being around too much activity can heighten anxiety. If you're at work and you're feeling an anxiety attack coming on, take a washroom break. If the weather is nice you may even want to take a walk outside to help relax you. Just be sure to spend that time alone. You need those moments to level out and stay calm. You should also turn your phone off so you're not distracted.
- Eat Something Nutritious—If you've used up a lot of your daily calories and you're hungry, it can worsen your anxiety. When you're hungry you need to refuel. That being said, you'll want to eat something nutritious like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, or nuts. You'll want to make sure that you consume food high in essential micronutrients, e.g. vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. That will help you feel more balanced and will keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. Be sure to avoid foods that are high in sugars, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates. In other words, stay away from junk food—it will only worsen your anxiety!
- Take A Bath—If you're having an anxiety attack at home, it may help to go to the bathroom, play some soft music, grab some calming essential oils, light some candles, and take a warm bath. If you have Epsom salts, pour some into your bath water. Epsom salts have a calming effect on your body and will help raise serotonin levels—having a positive effect on the neurotransmitters. That is why taking a bath can be so soothing.
It's important to remember one thing—controlling your anxiety will take some time, and that's OK. Whatever you do, be gentle with yourself. Battling any kind of mental illness can feel like a terrible ordeal to go through. By creating and sustaining the anxiety-reducing habits mentioned above, you'll likely find yourself feeling calmer in no time.