Ways To Help Lower Anxiety Naturally
Research shows that after a full night of sleep â 7-9 hours is ideal â weâre likely to feel less anxious and more confident. Physical activity during the day will help us sleep better, too. And remember: if winding down for the night inclues reading before bed, don’t make these mistakes.
Science is discovering more about the âgut-brain connection.â Researchers often refer to the belly as the second brain, since about 95% of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. Science shows that foods containing certain vitamins and minerals may help reduce anxiety, so when weâre thinking about natural ways to help anxiety, consider filling up on these:
It might also be a good idea to limit caffeine and alcohol â both of which can aggravate symptoms of anxiety.
Research shows that B vitamins have many health and quality of life benefits, and supplementing with B vitamins is gaining scientific traction. This 2018 study found that people who ate food high in B vitamins showed significant improvements in their anxiety and stress scores than those who did not. Taking a high-quality B-complex supplement is generally very safe, since B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning the body excretes what it doesnât use. But always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements since they can interact with medications or have side effects.
How Do You Know If Your Thoughts Are Intrusive
If you have repetitive thoughts that are disturbing and something you want to push out of your mind, theyre intrusive thoughts. Remember that intrusive thoughts are often negative, so its easy to tell when you have the wrong ones. Especially if these are the thoughts youre constantly overthinking or come from your insecurities and fears, these are the thoughts you need to overcome. Intrusive thoughts will hinder you from living your best life, whether you realize this or not.
How To Ease Anxiety: 5 Ways To Feel Calmer Right Now
When we’re anxious, our breath becomes rapid and shallow. Deep belly breathing helps decrease anxiety by stimulating the bodyâs relaxation response, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Itâs a powerful technique that works because we canât breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time. There are many variations to try, including this simple exercise:
Inhale deeply for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4. Exhale for a count of 4. Repeat several times.
Exercise is one of the best anxiety remedies, immediately and long term. Going for a walk creates a diversion from worries and releases muscle tension. Grab your headphones or earbuds on the way out:studies show that listening to music brings its own calming effects.
Long term, regular exercise triggers the release of feel-good neurochemicals in the brain, building up resilience against stormy emotions. It boosts confidence and mood, and we donât need to run a marathon to feel the benefits. Washing the car, hiking, gardening, a pick-up game â anything that gets us moving counts. Research shows that 30 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week can help to significantly improve anxiety symptoms, but even 10 minutes can make a difference.
Green tea, long used in Chinese medicine to treat depression, contains the amino acid L-theanine, which relieves stress, and reduces blood pressure and muscle tension.
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Religious Thoughts That Disturb
These include inappropriate sexual thoughts regarding religious people or figures. Swearing during prayer or worship. Strong urges to misbehave during services.
Most people that I work with find it difficult to see these as harmless thoughts. They are more than likely to see them sign that something must be wrong with them to have such ideas.
Or even believe the thoughtsWhy would I be having them if I havent done..? They are just thoughts.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing down whats making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.
These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder when theyre in a bind!
However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldnt be the only kind of treatment you employ. Youll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.
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Stop Breathe And Be Kind To Yourself
A few weeks ago, I was so tired by the end of Friday that almost all my weekend plans quickly flew out the window. I saw a friend for breakfast the next day, but there was not a lot of anything else. By Sunday night, my brain was awash with negative thoughts, Ive wasted the whole weekend.
So, I told myself out loud to, Stop. I practiced some 4-7-8 breathing and thought about what Id say to my friend Sarah if she were in this position.
I could feel my heart rate slow back down to normal as I began to reframe negative thoughts into more caring ones, Its OK, you needed the rest. Perhaps you worked a bit too hard? Lets think about how you can practice some more self-care. I felt calmer, lighter, and more clear-headed.
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Quick Somatic Stress Exercises
Bob Soulliere, Oxygen Advantage instructor and level 2 Wim Hof Method instructor from Alexandria, Virginia, recommends these immediate stress interventions:
- Wide-angle vision technique: Focus on things that are distant from you, but still in your field of vision . Then, relaxing your vision, allow yourself to focus less and less for at least 20 seconds.
- Cadence breathing: Inhale for a 4-count, then exhale for a 6-count, repeating the cycle for 1 minute. You can use a stopwatch on your phone for this, or just try counting to yourself.
- The physiological sigh: Take a double-breath inhale followed by a slow exhalation. Repeat 3 times.
Both short- and long-term strategies often involve reframing your focus and perspective.
In a recent 2021 study, researchers looked at coping responses to fear and technology overload during the COVID-19 pandemic. They suggest that certain coping methods lessened anxiety in the long term more effectively than others.
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How To Break Out Of Negative Thinking Recognise Your Negative Thoughts
In order to break out of negative thinking, the first step is to recognise your negative thoughts. Since theyre often automatic, this can be tricky. Watch out for the following unhelpful thinking styles, or thinking traps:
- Catastrophising. Whats the worst that could happen? Do you find yourself jumping to the worst case scenario? When we catastrophise, we predict a negative outcome without seeing the whole picture. These negative thoughts are often what ifs. For example, do you think Shes late home from work what if shes had a terrible accident?
- Magnification/minimisation. Do you always focus on the negative and play down the positive? For example, do you give a presentation at work and get great feedback yet only focus on the one, small slip-up you made, that no one else even noticed?
- Black-and-white thinking. Do you ever think Im a complete failure and then But hes perfect? Black-and-white thinking, also known as all-or-nothing thinking, results in oversimplifying things in this way rather than seeing things in shades of grey.
- Shoulds and musts. Do you set unreasonable expectations on yourself or others? For example, do you ever think I should be perfect or I must be liked by everyone? This thinking style can lead to a lot of stress, anxiety and disappointment.
- Emotional reasoning. Is your thinking based on how youre feeling rather than on the objective facts of a situation? For example, do you think I feel anxious, so I must be in danger?
Get Rid Of An Anxious Feeling By Replacing It
If youve ever found yourself hysterically laughing after an intense crying jag, you know the healing powers of a good chuckle. Switch on an absorbing podcast, crack open a spine-tingling thriller, or hit play on a gut-busting YouTube video to swap out anxious thoughts for more pleasant ones. When we genuinely laugh, we will feel less anxious, even if just for a moment, says Goldman. Sometimes, even a brief hit of levity can stop anxiety from carrying you away. The same principle applies when redirecting your emotional energy into something that really captures your attention, whether its comedy or true crime.
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Try Some Aerobic Activity
During periods of anxiety, your body is filled with adrenaline. Putting that adrenaline toward aerobic activity can be a great way to improve your anxiety. Exercise has numerous advantages for controlling your anxiety symptoms:
- Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms.
- Exercise tires your muscles, reducing excess energy and tension.
- Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which can improve overall mood.
- Exercise is linked to healthier breathing.
- Exercise is a healthy distraction.
Aerobic activity, like light jogging or even fast walking, can be extremely effective at reducing the severity of your anxiety symptoms, as well as the anxiety itself.
Tone Your Inner Power Daily
Think of your inner power as a muscle just like any other muscle. The more you use it, the more toned it becomes and the more you are able to accomplish. Every time you practice a healthy life strategy, you actually increase your ability to conquer your anxiety. What you couldnt do yesterday, you can do today. With practice, your new skills will become automatic. This is how you create lasting freedom from anxiety.
In the words of Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
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Talk It Out And Dont Rule Out Therapy
Many people feel ashamed to admit theyre having intrusive thoughts or even experience feelings of guilt related to them. They attempt to deal with their thoughts on their own and keep them hidden from others.
However, talking through your feelings with someone you trust can be extremely beneficial. By being open and vulnerable about how youre feeling and what youre experiencing, you may develop a whole new perspective on your situation.
For some people, talking to a stranger can be easier than talking to someone you know. In this scenario, therapy can be a good option. There are many types of therapy available both in individual and group settings. Do your research and take time to evaluate all of your options.
Intrusive thoughts happen to us all from time to time. With a little bit of focus and commitment, you can overcome your intrusive thoughts. Your success depends on your ability to fight the urge to worry and obsess over them.
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Ways To Defuse Anxious Thoughts
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A core component of anxietybe it subclinical anxiety or anxiety that meets the threshold for a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosisis anxious thinking that can at times feel uncontrollable.
Psychotherapies for anxiety help people address these thoughts in different ways. In psychodynamic psychotherapy, the roots or underlying reasons for anxiety are unearthed. In cognitive-behavioral therapy , thoughts are actively challenged or tested by behavioral experiments .
In acceptance and commitment therapy , as in CBT, there is an emphasis on becoming more aware of the thoughts as thoughts and not truths. However, the next step in ACT is to learn ways to be less fused with the thoughts .
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Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers
You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.
Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.
When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you cant limit it like if its due to a stressful work environment that you cant currently change using other coping techniques may help.
Why Are Some People More Prone To Negative Thoughts
Having negative experiences in childhood, as well as adulthood, may strengthen, confirm, and/or create sticky expectations that the world is a negative place, Dr. Brenner. Such expectations can come up as negative thoughts, which are defenses against disappointment and other reactions, as well as simply accommodating to the way the world really seems to be, Dr. Brenner says.
So, for example, someone with a negative thinking parent may internalize those ways of seeing the world and oneself. However, another person in that same situation might respond adaptively by adopting a more positive way of appraising things. From a biological standpoint, less resilient people are more likely to worry and get stuck in negative thinking, Dr. Brenner says.
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Using Cognitive Defusion Exercises
The purpose of these exercises is not to change the frequency with which you experience anxious thoughts . Rather, defusion exercises are effective if they decrease your attachment to a particular belief or set of beliefs that are not currently serving you well.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
How To Make Anxious Thoughts Work For You
If you find that your anxiety is severely impacting your life, including your work, sleep or relationships, that’s a sign that you might want to try starting therapy. But there are still tools everyone can use to help make peace with their anxiety and use it to their advantage.
Try a worry journal. “Spend 10 minutes a day worrying about everything you possibly can, and get it out on paper,” Varma said. When you do this, you’ll likely see that the vast majority of the things you’re worried about don’t actually come to pass.
Make an action list. This is your plan to tackle the anxieties that you have some control over. “Who do I need to contact? Who is going to help me? What are all the possibilities?” Varma said.
From there, pick the people who can help you accomplish your tasks and make a decision about how to proceed within a finite amount of time, she recommended. “And then that’s it you make a decision, and there’s no buyer’s remorse.”
Keep a thought log. A thought log is a place to keep those negative thoughts and worries that just keep coming back. Use this space to write down those catastrophizing, worst-case possibilities, Varma said, but also think about the best-case scenarios and what is truly most likely to happen. Thinking through these other possibilities can help you break out of negative thought cycles.
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Quick Ways To Cope With Anxiety
If your anxiety is sporadic and getting in the way of your focus or tasks, there are some quick natural remedies that could help you take control of the situation.
If your anxiety is focused around a situation, such as being worried about an upcoming event, you may notice the symptoms are short-lived and usually subside after the anticipated event takes place.
Try Supplements Or Change Your Diet
Changing your diet or taking supplements is definitely a long-term strategy. Research shows certain supplements or nutrients can help anxiety reduction.
However, it can take a few months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If youre taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor as there can be adverse reactions.
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Do I Need Treatment For Anxiety
Thereâs a lot you can do on your own to relieve anxiety, but sometimes you need help. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety disorders.
Signs that itâs time to talk to a mental health professional include:
- Constant or nearly constant anxiety
- Anxiety that gets in the way of your daily activities, like work or social life
- Anxiety about things that donât actually threaten you
- Panic attacks
Check your health insurance policy to see what mental health services your plan covers. Then, review a list of your in-network providers to find one to connect with.
âYou donât want to add to your anxiety by paying big out-of-pocket fees,â Kissen says.
Your primary care doctor may also be able to recommend a mental health professional with experience treating anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Rosmarin notes that itâs important to find a provider you click with and trust. He also says therapy doesnât need to go on indefinitely to be effective.
âA course of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety may be eight to 10 sessions,â he says. âThereâs also data to suggest that people feel substantially better after just one therapy session for panic disorder.â
Is Nighttime Anxiety A Thing
Anxiety at night is common, especially among people who fixate on upsetting events of the day or who worry about every noise in the dark. People who feel anxiety at night may struggle to sleep, making the day feel more stressful and intensifying the anxiety over time. With the right help, anxiety at night is treatable.
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