How To Master Anxiety and Regain Control
It may start off as a small swirling feeling akin to butterflies in your stomach or it could be more severe like a sharp breathlessness and a feeling that the world is closing in – either way, anxiety is one of the most crippling emotions that can spiral out of control if not kept in check.
Anxiety can be triggered by an event like having to sit an exam or job interview, but in some cases, a feeling of unease, worry or fear can just creep out of nowhere. People who regularly feel anxious can have a genetic predisposition to it, while an imbalance of hormones and chemical messengers in parts of the brain could also have an effect.
That dreadful feeling of anxiety often goes hand in hand with panic disorders and depression, so it’s really important to recognise when you’re feeling worried before it becomes unmanageable.
We’ve compiled six easy and natural ways to help you master your anxiety and come out stronger on the other side:
Make Mindfulness Easy
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We can’t stress the importance of sleeping well both for your physical and mental well being. If you don’t sleep well, you will lack energy, your immune system could suffer, your creativity, patience and ability to make decisions could be impaired.
Finding a deep sense of relaxation prior to sleeping is half the battle, putting all of the day’s events into a neat box and finding your inner peace is not an easy task. Learning how to breathe to clear the mind of distractions works marvels, but have you tried other techniques like the body scan where you concentrate on different parts of your body and in doing so, you become awash with peacefulness.
Yoga Nidra is also a fantastic way to lull you into that deep relaxation phase just before you enter sleep.
Eat healthily and drink less alcohol
What we put into our bodies can have a surprising effect on our mental health. In order to rest well and stave off anxiety, it’s really important to reduce sugary foods and snacks, as well as refined carbs like white bread. These foods often can make you feel restless at night and prevent that restorative, deep sleep.
While some people believe that drinking alcohol can subdue anxiety and make you feel mellow and at ease, this is certainly not a long term solution. In fact, alcohol will worsen anxiety, as it can alter the levels of serotonin, also known as the happy chemical, and other neurotransmitters in the brain. As the effects of alcohol wear off, some people suffer from alcohol-induced anxiety which can last from a few hours to an entire day after drinking.
Deep breathing exercises can really help counter worry and stress – when people are anxious they often take short, quick inhales of breath directly from the chest.
This is called chest or thoracic breathing and can disrupt the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body which can lead to an increased heart rate or dizziness, as well as muscle tension, and other physical sensations. This will ultimately add to your anxiety and panic attack.
Try this short breathing exercise whenever you feel anxious:
Take deep inhales through the nose, whilst keeping your upper body relaxed. Allow your abdomen to broaden and your chest to rise a bit.
Exhale through your moth, allowing your lips to be pursed a little bit whilst keeping your jaw soft, and you’ll hear a short sound as you exhale.
Repeat this for several minutes, whenever you can, and wherever you may be.
Learn to love yourself
Appreciating yourself including all of your flaws, and accepting the person you are is so important. Stop worrying about what people think about you or what you do, as the most important person’s opinion, is your’s.
Negative thoughts which escalate can often lead to poor self esteem as you get bogged down by a plethora of stress and frustration.
What does being mindful mean? Basically, it means that you stay with and acknowledge feeling that you may feel are ‘difficult emotions’, but you don’t analyse or suppress them, you simply accept all your worry, or difficult emotions or hard-to-get-over memories.
The most important reason to do this, is to give yourself a chance to explore what’s driving your concerns rather than judging yourself.
By being mindful, you’re also ensuring that you don’t become overwhelmed by worries and anxiety as you’re taking the first steps to understand why you’re feeling, the way you are.