Human beings have become very materialistic and want to achieve a lot in a very short span of time. When we are unable to meet our targets and when something doesn’t go as planned, we become anxious and stressed. A person may become anxious or stressed in a variety of situations.
Feeling nervous before an important presentation, worrying before an exam and uneasiness due to a challenging situation, are some of the everyday scenarios of anxiety which most people experience. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious in various life situations but often anxiety becomes a part of a person’s life and he/she feels anxious about everything. If you feel anxious very often, you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
How do you know if you are suffering from anxiety?
If you notice any of the following symptoms in your friends or siblings, they need immediate help:
• Heart Palpitations
• Sleep problems
• Dry mouth
• Shortness of breath
• Muscle tension
• Cold /sweaty hands and/or feet
• Nausea and vomiting
• Not being able to be calm
• Frequent urination
• Numbing of hands and/or feet
Causes of anxiety
Anxiety can be caused to memories of a traumatic experience in the past, fear of the unknown, due to heredity, brain illnesses and due to certain environmental factors.
There are various ways by which anxiety can be treated. It requires visiting a psychiatrist or psychologist who assesses the person and gives the diagnosis. Medication, behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and relaxation therapy are some of the most common ways to treat anxiety.
Many a times, people do not like the idea of going to a psychiatrist or psychologist since they are afraid that people in the society will call them ‘mentally ill’. In such a scenario, you can make use of the following remedies to control anxiety:
1. Stretch your body – Stretch your body and exercise for some time every day. Exercise is the most natural way to relive anxiety and stress. The best part about it is that you can exercise anywhere. Be it your home or office, just get up and move your body a bit. Not only does it help to clear your mind, it also helps to lift your mood. Regular exercise can help to keep stress at bay!
2. Avoid an empty stomach – When hunger strikes, people tend to get anxious. Surprised? Most people might not realize that they are getting stressed but this is actually true. When you’re on an empty stomach for a long time, the sugar levels in your blood drop drastically and you get an anxiety attack. Very often, people think that they have a gastric problem. If ever you are without food for more than two hours, just take a quick snack. Also, do not skip meals. Many people skip their breakfast and office-goers skip lunch when busy with work. Please remember that your body needs some fuel to keep you going.
3. Take a warm bath – Take a hot shower or a steam bath and you’ll feel relaxed instantly. Heat helps to reduce the anxiety and muscle tension. You can also use some Epsom salts to help relieve stress. Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate, which helps to lower the blood pressure and gives a very soothing effect.
4. Take deep breaths – Deep breathing is one of the easiest relaxation techniques. One must practice deep breathing since it helps to reduce anxiety and relax the body. Just sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. If you know how to meditate and can do that, just go ahead. Meditation will help to relax you and clear your thoughts. If you’re facing a challenging situation, meditation may even help you solve the problem.
5. Drink Chamomile tea – Chamomile tea is a very good relaxant. Chamomile contains two relaxation-inducing chemicals – luteolin and apigenin. One can drink chamomile tea two-three times a day and get relief from stress and anxiety.
6. Eat foods that relieve stress – According to doctors, there are certain foods that help to relieve stress. They contain nutrients which can help to reduce anxiety. Whole grains and oats that are rich in fiber increase the production o serotonin in the body. This in turn controls the sudden increase or decrease in the blood sugar levels and prevents mood swings.
7. Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet – Research has shown that consuming omega-3 fatty acids helps to relieve stress. This is because they decrease the levels of two stress hormones, namely cortisol and adrenaline in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are also very beneficial for your heart. Foods that are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, fatty fish like salmon and tuna and walnuts. Some fish oil supplements also contain a high amount of omega-3.
8. Reduce your caffeine intake – If you can’t stay without a cup of coffee or tea for long, you would need to look or healthier substitutes. Tea and coffee energize you but they also make you feel anxious. Try green tea. It has a lesser amount of caffeine and it has the same energizing effect. Unlike tea and coffee, green tea doesn’t contain added sugar.
9. Massage with lavender oil – A nice relaxing massage with lavender oil is a great way to get relief from anxiety. Lavender oil has a very soothing smell and it has a calming effect on the body. Massaging with lavender oil helps to decrease the systolic pressure and alleviates the symptoms of anxiety.
10. Reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners and refined sugars – Most artificial sweeteners and refined sugars contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), along with aspartame. Both these components are toxins that excite or stimulate the brain excessively and thus cause anxiety. Examples of food that contain MSG are sugar candies, cakes, pastries, jellies, lollies, ice cream, aerated drinks and sweetened fruit juices. Refined sugars tend to interfere with the receptors of the brain and make it function in an abnormal way.