In some circumstances, short-lived episodes of anxiety can be a good thing; they can help you remain focused long enough to ace that biology exam, nail a job interview or speak in front of a large audience. However, if you feel like you are constantly tip-toeing through life, it is possible you could be suffering from severe anxiety. Severe anxiety can, over time, damage both your physical and physiological well-being so it’s important to find relief from it.
Here are several effective ways to get anxiety relief.
Address Vitamin Deficiencies
Essential nutrients – B vitamins, Omega-3s, Zinc and magnesium – can have a positive impact on mental health. These vitamins and minerals support a well-functioning nervous system and can be found in a variety of foods, which is why it is imperative to eat a well-balanced diet, but can also be supplemented to ensure you are getting the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommended dietary allowances each day. Supplements can affect some medicines you may be taking so be sure to discuss them with your physician before adding them to your regimen.
Caffeine and other stimulates may trigger your “flight or fight response,” exacerbate anxiety, and lead to a full-blown panic attack. Skipping your daily Starbucks has been shown to decrease the symptoms of anxiety. Switching from coffee to tea is a great way to gradually reduce your caffeine intake; most teas contain less caffeine than coffee while herbal teas contain none.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils, such as lavender and cedarwood, can do wonders for calming your anxiety and relaxing the mind. Most essential oils can be used in a diffuser, inhaled directly, or as a body massage oil/moisturizer. Others can be applied topically or added to your bath. You should always read the instructions that accompany the oils before using.
Regular exercise has been shown to have several mental, emotional, and cognitive benefits. It is associated with reduced levels of stress and anxiety. Combing physical activity with nature has been proven to have an even greater effect on improving mood and cognitive function than if you were to exercise in a gym; although any exercise is better than none. Aim for thirty-minutes of exercise at least 3 times per week.
The physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation/relaxation techniques taught in yoga may decrease the symptoms of anxiety as well as help you sleep better at night – getting enough sleep is also important for anxiety relief. Practicing 20 to 30 minutes of meditation – either through a yoga class, controlled breathing at home, or meditation app – has been shown to have promising results for calming the mind.