There is nothing worse than a bout of anxiety that leaves you feeling tense, drained and off-kilter. Anxiety and stress can easily throw off your routines disrupting your diet, productivity, sleep and overall state of wellbeing. These easy, all natural self-care techniques will help to balance out anxiety and create calm, which can be especially helpful when you need extra time and space to address the deeper, underlying issues creating stress and anxiety.
1. Breathe & Re-Connect – A super effective practice and yet the one thing we all tend to resist. All it takes is literally ONE minute, five if you have it, to remind yourself to breathe in and out in order to reset your nervous system. Second, ask yourself, where is the tension manifesting itself? Butterflies in your stomach? A racing heart? Knots in your shoulders? A tension headache at your temples? You do not necessarily need to why you are anxious at this moment. If you receive some clear insight, consider it a bonus. Right now, however, focus on being aware and acknowledging what is happening in your physical body. Simply by acknowledging certain feelings, you can often feel your way right through them. This is a simple, effective form of mindfulness meditation that has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and mental stress.
2. Essential Oils – A very inexpensive, easy way to take a quick time out is to keep a bottle or two of essential oils in your desk, purse or medicine cabinet. You can open the bottle and inhale, or you can place a drop or two on your fingertips and dab onto your temples, inner wrists, third eye, neck or feet. Lavender essential oil is ideal and always tops the lists for relaxation and relieving stress and anxiety. Rose essential oil is another favorite especially for romantic trauma or emotional stress. Author Doreen Virtue writes, “The aroma of pink roses opens the heart chakra.” While rose essential oil can be expensive, rosewater mists are equally effective and affordable, and they keep skin hydrated and beautiful. You can also find various calming essential oil blends made specifically to address stress and anxiety.
3. Supplements – A number of supplements can be helpful for extreme anxiety without the side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs. Some alternative medicine practitioners recommend mixing things up every so often so the body does not get used to any one supplement. Everyone’s body is different and functioning under different emotional, environmental and physiological loads. Consult with your health practitioner and experiment with what works for you. Also be cognizant of the quality of the supplement company that you choose. Do your research.
Magnesium is the most powerful relaxation mineral available. Stress can cause a magnesium deficiency which is important to address as magnesium is critical to so many functions in the body. This mineral regulates the stress response and improves sleep, pain, muscle spasms, PMS and blood pressure among many other health issues.
L-Tryptophan, an amino acid naturally found in turkey, is attributed to causing people to fall asleep after their Thanksgiving turkey dinner. As a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, this supplement helps induce feelings of calm, relieves anxiety and regulates mood.
L-Theanine, a natural component of green tea, is an amino acid known to reduce anxiety and induce calm. It can also sharpen mental focus at the same time. A great choice for the work environment.
B Vitamins get depleted during times of high stress. Include a B-Vitamin Complex supplement to improve your mood, energy and brain function.
Melatonin is helpful for better sleep, regardless of whether your issue is getting to sleep or staying asleep. For some, melatonin can be strong, start with a low dosage and work your way up.
4. Diet – Anxiety and stress can often leave you prone to overindulgence in an attempt to calm your nerves, and the very act of overindulging can increase anxiety if you ingest stimulants, not to mention any guilt or judgement you might have about it. Eliminate or reduce sugar, caffeine and alcohol intake. Being proactive by simply eating protein every 2-3 hours will regulate your blood sugar, maintain your energy levels and prevent food/sugar binges. This can be as simple as having a hand full of nuts on hand to grabbing a protein shake. When you are experiencing sugar cravings, support your process by choosing wisely and deliberately with organic fruit, a smoothie or organic dark chocolate. There is nothing wrong with intelligent, pleasurable indulgences especially when you need a little comfort!
Bergland, Christopher. “How Does Meditation Reduce Anxiety at a Neural Level.” Psychology Today, 7 June 2013. Available from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201306/how-does-meditation-reduce-anxiety-neural-level
Brogan, Dr. Kelly. “Taming the Monkey Mind—How Meditation Affects Your Health and Wellbeing.” Mercola.com, 20 February 2014. Available from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/20/meditation-relaxation-response.aspx
Calm Clinic. “Sugar and Anxiety: The Relationship.” Calmclinic.com. Available from: http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/causes/sugar
Corliss, Julie. “Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress.” Harvard Health Publications, 8 January 2014. Available from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1992.
Sircus, Dr. Mark. “Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms and Diagnosis.” Greenmedinfo, 20 May 2013. Available from: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-and-diagnosis