How to Manage Anxiety and Stress
With so much going on in the world today, it is no surprise that many people suffer from stress and anxiety. Living with long-term stress and anxiety is not easy and it can be daunting for you to face your daily tasks. While learning to control stress and anxiety can take some time and practice, there are some tips that can help to bring relief.
Lack of physical activity, poor diet, and bad sleeping habits can worsen the symptoms of anxiety. Scientists have found a clear link between exercise and anxiety management. Regular and moderate exercise boasts many positive side effects and is thus recommended as one of the most assessable and effective anxiety management tools.
When you suffer from a period of anxiety, your body releases large amounts of adrenaline and stress hormones. Exercise can make good use of the adrenaline and burn away the excess stress hormones. During exercise, your brain further releases endorphins to uplift your mood. After exercise, your muscles are tired and are less likely to be tight and tense.
In addition, aerobic activity such as jogging or brisk walking can help to regulate your breathing rhythm which reduces the severity of anxiety symptoms. A change of environment, especially spending time outdoors in the fresh air, can also create a healthy distraction to keep you from negative thought patterns.
Watch Your Diet
Certain dietary choices can worsen symptoms of anxiety. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Consuming a large amount of sugar may give you a temporary burst of energy but the resulting dip in your blood sugar can cause you to feel anxious. Similarly, caffeine and alcohol may improve your short-term function but bring on more fear and anxiety later.
According to research, people who are malnourished may be more prone to experiencing anxiety-related symptoms. Magnesium is an important mineral that is depleted when we experience stress. Plant-based whole foods and a magnesium supplement can help you to replenish this mineral. Magnesium can also help to relax your body and regulate your sleep.
One of the most effective ways to relieve stress and anxiety quickly is CBD (cannabidiol). CBD has been found to be effective for several anxiety conditions including panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBD gummies from JustCBD come in many different doses and are a good alternative for those who prefer not to resort to pharmaceutical drugs.
Take A Breather
Breathing exercises are a useful solution for anxiety. Many people with anxiety tend to hyperventilate. Hyperventilation causes you to exhale too quickly, leading to an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. This can result in physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and chest pains which further exacerbate the feelings of anxiety.
Research has shown that consistent and frequent hyperventilation can lead to your body learning to hyperventilate even when you do not have excess stress or anxiety present. This behavior is known as hyperventilation syndrome. Research has shown that 25 percent of patients with hyperventilation syndrome end up manifesting panic disorder. Therefore, it is important to keep your breathing under control.
You do not necessarily need to take deep breaths to control your breathing. Simply slow down your breathing. Breathe in through your nose slowly and gently, hold for a few seconds, then breathe out slowly through pursed lips. Through this exercise, you can calm your body and bring the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body back into balance. This will in turn bring down your heart rate and decrease symptoms of anxiety.
When you are feeling anxious, grounding yourself can help you to regain perspective and control your response until the anxiety passes. It can also help you to release tension and allow your physical symptoms to subside. Try to practice grounding techniques when you are feeling well so that you can easily employ them when anxiety symptoms arise.
One proven grounding method is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Acknowledge five things around you that you can see, four things that you can feel, three things that you can hear, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste. By turning to your senses, you can focus on what is tangible and prevent your mind from spiraling into more anxiety.
Another tried and tested method is progressive muscle relaxation. Start by tensing one part of your body and holding the tension for 15 seconds. Then, relax the muscles. You can practice tensing the same muscle group several times if required. As you move around the other muscle groups and tense and relax them, you release tension throughout your body.
It is difficult to struggle with anxiety. If left alone, chronic stress and anxiety can balloon into more serious mental health issues. There is no substitute for professional mental health support and therapy. But, by looking after yourself and learning how to manage your symptoms, you can build a strong foundation to address stress and beat anxiety.