More and more people are suffering from anxiety with an increase year on year, not helped by the fast-paced lifestyles many people lead and the constant pressures to be achieved in every area of life. Contemporary society surrounds people with photo-shopped images and feeds them with unrealistic aspirations, urging them to compete with the airbrushed images presented through advertising and the highly edited lifestyles people portray on social media. These external pressures have in part led to the increased rates of people suffering from anxiety, along with financial worries, personal and family concerns, and worries over the state of the world, heightened by a culture of 24-hour news. If you often feel anxious, suffer from panic attacks or have trouble sleeping then there are things that can help and techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises which can aid you in combatting anxiety and help to increase feelings of calm and peace.
The practice of meditation has long been held as a way to calm anxieties and promote mental wellbeing. Meditation can give you techniques to calm an overly active mind, helping you to become present in the current without focusing too much on the past or future. By regularly meditating you can gain valuable perspective on any problems that can loom too large in your imagination, and learn how to bring your mind back each time it drifts to anxiety-inducing places. Try incorporating a simple short meditative practice into your life a few times a week, or daily if you can. Mindfulness is a meditative practice to allow you to focus on the present and let go of negative judgments, and there are many books or audio guides to follow available online that can get you started, or join a local course to help you get into a meditative practice.
The ancient Indian practice of yoga can be a wonderful method to help increase levels of calm, provide useful breathing techniques to combat anxiety, as well as giving all the health benefits of exercise. There are many different types of yoga to choose from depending on your likes and needs, for example, Ashtanga is a more strength-based fast-paced yoga style whereas yoga Nidra is a meditative practice. If you have difficulty getting to sleep at night, try doing a bedtime yoga sequence to calm your mind and body, promoting feelings of peace and aiding a good night’s sleep.
Although often overlooked, the things that you smell can have a big impact on your moods and emotions, and essential oils can be powerful tools to combat anxiety. Essential oils are made from flowers, trees, barks, and roots, and oils such as lavender can help to lower stress and anxiety. Spray some lavender on to your pillow at night to aid your sleep, and carry a small lavender scented pillow or tissue with a few drops of lavender on it to inhale when you begin to feel anxious. Rose oil is another essential oil that promotes emotional well-being and can help calm panic attacks. Add a few drops to a bath and feel your body and mind relax as you breathe it in.
Natural supplements to combat anxiety
If you feel like your body could do with a boost in nutrients, then consider adding supplements to your diet as there are numerous ones that could help. Maca powder, made from the Maca root grown in the Andes in Peru, is said to promote hormonal balance and combat anxiety. It has a slightly sweet and nutty taste and can easily be added to smoothies, yogurt or breakfast cereals, with a recommended dose of one teaspoon a day. Try CBD oil, legally made from a compound found in Marijuana plants, which is said to have a wide range of health benefits from decreasing anxiety to giving pain relief and helping with insomnia.
Magnesium is also a natural supplement that can be taken to combat anxiety. Magnesium affects nerve, blood, and general health, and it is thought that many people are deficient in magnesium due to intensive farming and fertilizers decreasing levels in the soil. Magnesium deficiency is thought to be connected to increased anxiety and depression so try taking a supplement to help.
Contemporary society bombards people with messages that they need to be, buy or do more to be happy when in reality connecting to the simple things in life can help to boost your feelings of happiness and contentment. Try turning off all your screens for one day a week and disconnecting from the constant email and phone messages and alerts that can increase anxiety and limit focus. Make Sundays your screen-free day and spend the time reconnecting with the people that matter to you, for example, go for a long walk with friends or have a leisurely lunch with family. Or you could use the time to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby; anything that appeals to you from knitting to windsurfing can give your mood a boost. To ensure you get a good nights? sleep always turn off your screens well before bedtime, giving your brain at least one hour to unwind before you try to sleep. The blue light emitted by screens is counterproductive if you want a restful sleep as it actually stimulates the parts of your brain that keep you awake, sending messages that inhibit melatonin production, the hormone that promotes sleep, so turning off your screens can have many positive effects.
Surround yourself with nature
Going for a walk somewhere green on a regular basis can help to combat rising anxiety. Even as little as a ten-minute walk can clear your mind, releasing endorphins that make you feel good and can stop anxiety in its tracks. Walking in nature has other benefits, as surrounding yourself with greenery can actually boost your mood and give an increase in feelings of well-being, promoting positive emotions and decreasing levels of anxiety and anger. Seeing green spaces and trees can also increase your ability to concentrate and focus, so if you find anxiety creeping up on you at work then take a break and a walk to the nearest outdoor space with trees and just sit for a few minutes and focus on what you can see, letting the negative emotions pass.