- What’s The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety?
- Ways To Overcoming Anxiety
- 1. Regular Exercise
- 2. Spend Time With Nature
- 3. Enjoy Home Gardening
- 4. Have Sex and Enjoy It
- 5. Regular Meditation Practice
- 6. Incorporate Regular Yoga Practice
- 7. Have A Visit With An Acupuncturist
- 8. Enjoy The Scents with Aromatherapy
- 9. Relax and Treat Yourself with a Massage
- 10. Using Biofeedback
- 11. Getting Enough Quality Sleep
- 12. Limit Or (Even) Eliminate Alcohol
- 13. Always Set Your Priorities
- 14. Make It Habit To Keep a Journal
- Bottom Line
We all feel anxious at some point in our life and from time-to-time. However, when it comes to anxiety, how much is too much? Everyone is different. Others can tolerate anxiety but not for too long as it can lead to depression.
Fortunately, there are safe and natural and calming ways to counter anxiety. On the other hand, these are not substitutes to consulting a professional advice. But, these are good starting point to start calming yourself in times of anxiety attacks.
What’s The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety?
Certainly, stress is not good for the body. In fact, it is a predictor for heart disease. But what’s the difference between stress and anxiety? Although at first impression stress and anxiety are similar, they’re different.
Stress is a response to a situation or threat while anxiety is the reaction or result due to stress.
There are natural ways to combat stress such as yoga and grounding. Even eating the right foods and having quality sleep are among the natural stress relievers. Fortunately, when it comes to anxiety, almost similar activities can be done in order to achieve a calming effect.
Ways To Overcoming Anxiety
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to counter anxiety. The good news, these not only address the feeling of anxiousness but also relieve stress. Let’s explore the natural ways to achieve calmness and overcome anxiety.
1. Regular Exercise
Regular physical activity is one of the vital elements for good health. It’s true that good nutrition eating the right kinds of foods can deal with anxiety. On the other hand, maintaining physical activity on a regular basis is just as important.
There are studies1 that find regular physical activity or exercise is beneficial for reducing anxiety. So, stay active physically on a regular basis. Don’t think of exercise as a tedious task to do. There are lots of quick full body workouts you can do at home using only bodyweight.
Most people think of exercise as tedious and doing the heavy lifting in the gym for hours. Don’t think exercise that way because even walking is considered a good form of exercise. Additionally, running is another form of easy exercise which has additional benefit like longevity.
Moreover, exercise is a good and natural memory booster and increases blood flow to the brain. On the other hand, make sure you don’t overdo it as it may cause certain negative outcomes like low sex drive.
Doing high-intensity exercise 3 times a week is a good plan. Along with it, yoga and meditation practice are also vital for not only relieving anxiety but long-term prevention.
2. Spend Time With Nature
Another safe and natural way of achieving calmness is spending time with nature. Even having a plant indoors can help achieve a calming effect. Pictures of natures particular green images of mountains and brooks provide a calming effect reducing the feeling anxiousness, stress, and even anger.
Moreover, spending time in nature also improves mood, lowers blood pressure level and heart rate, reduces muscle tension and stress hormones. All these are contributors to feeling anxious. Spend some time in the countryside or in green parks when you can. Even people working in a corporate environment can enjoy some time in city parks during breaks.
3. Enjoy Home Gardening
A recent meta-analysis4 of over 20 studies find that gardening is beneficial for health. The researchers find that one of the benefits of gardening is reduction of anxiety.
A previous study5 also found gardening is beneficial for elderly people. In this study, among other benefits the researchers find include;
- lessening of stress
- improvement in attention
- modulation of agitation
- reduction of pain
- reduction of falls
- lowering of PRN medications and antipsychotics
Gardening somehow allows the brain to release mood-boosting chemicals to the body. In turn, it provides a calming effect that helps in lowering the level of anxiety or even help in eliminating it. Another benefit of gardening is you’re spending time with nature, which is beneficial for combating anxiety.
Additionally, gardening is a good outdoor exercise. However, if you don’t have a space for gardening, try using pots.
4. Have Sex and Enjoy It
Unfortunately, when you’re feeling anxious, it’s difficult to keep up your sex drive. This is where the help of your partner and understanding become vital. Although the purpose of having sex is to experience pleasure aside from reproductive purposes, sexual energy heals.
Initially, when you’re having sex with your wife or girlfriend, it actually lowers the body’s stress response. NBC News reports of a study where women reduce their stress response by simply holding their husband’s hand.
This is where healthy sex practices come into play. A healthy sex life, particularly with a committed partner, can help achieve healthier and happier life. Of course, when it happens, anxiety is at bay. If you want to learn more on how you can transform sexual energy into healing energy, read the book “The Multi-Orgasmic Man“.
5. Regular Meditation Practice
Meditation practice can be traced back thousands of years ago. However, it’s health benefits are still relevant today. In fact, our modern science is just starting to understand and embrace its benefits on health and well-being.
You might have heard the term “mindfulness” these days. And, perhaps, you might be wondering if it’s different from mediation. Well, mindfulness is a type of meditation, which is widely used in Western societies.
The more consistent the practice, the more effective it is when it comes to reducing and even eliminating anxiety.
6. Incorporate Regular Yoga Practice
Another good complement to meditation, exercise and good nutrition when it comes to keeping anxiety low or even eliminate it is yoga. Just like meditation, yoga is thousands of years old. It is a practice in Eastern cultures not also a substantial part of Western cultures.
As matter of fact, some doctors are now prescribing yoga as part of a therapy particularly in pain management, depression, anxiety and hypertension. Yoga is also helpful in combating the negative effects of sitting for long hours, which common in people working in corporate environment.
Every stretch and pose in yoga strengthen the muscles and tissues. It also beneficial for lowering blood pressure and heart rate, which is essential feeling less anxious.
7. Have A Visit With An Acupuncturist
Acupuncture helps the body achieves relaxation. This practice comes from China as part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine. Similar to meditation and yoga, acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years. The good news, it has also been brought to the West and Western medicine starts to embrace its benefits for health and wellness.
Today, acupuncture has a wide range of applications including mens health such as erectile dysfunction8 and improving fertility for both men and women. Of course, one of the widely known application of acupuncture is for stress and anxiety.
Acupuncture provides relaxation to the body. The acupuncturist puts fine needles on particular points on the body called meridian points. In Chinese medicine, these meridian points are the pathways of chi(qi) or energy. Any blockage of energy on these points manifest sickness.
There are also cases when an acupuncturist applies an electric simulation to further help muscle relaxation and release nerve tension. One drawback of acupuncture is you need a qualified person to do it for you.
Unlike the previous ones that can be done on your own, acupuncture should be performed by a professional. However, occasional acupuncture session in addition to the ones above can be a good option, too.
8. Enjoy The Scents with Aromatherapy
Another natural, safe and calming solution to anxiety is through aromatherapy. Scientists suggest that aromatherapy causes the body to send signals to parts of the brain responsible for mood and emotion. Studies11, 12 find that aromatherapy is helpful in reducing anxiety.
One of the most widely used oils in aromatherapy is lavender13. Other oils that are found effective includes rosewater and chamomile.
9. Relax and Treat Yourself with a Massage
Massage is among the natural and cheap option for anxiety treatment14. An expert therapist massages and put pressure on certain points and parts of the body such as hands, fingers, elbows, feet, back, neck, etc which is relaxing.
Regular massage sessions can help ease sore and tense muscles, which is valuable for easing stress and anxiety. Additionally, one study15 finds the effectiveness of foot reflexology in reducing anxiety.
10. Using Biofeedback
Another modern means of combating anxiety is the use of biofeedback. In its early stage, biofeedback is done by a trained therapist and used complicated computer software. In turn, it provides brain waves and feedback in which the therapist interprets on what to do to reduce the anxiety.
Today, with modern advances in technology, you’ll be able to find many biofeedback devices online such as in Amazon that can be used at home.
11. Getting Enough Quality Sleep
Earlier we’ve mentioned the importance of sleep as it recharges the brain. It boosts mood and focus and less likely to feel anxious. Aim at getting between 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep. Not everyone requires 8 hours of sleep. Some people are fine with just 5 to 6 hours of sleep.
Find your appropriate number of sleep hours. Keep your room quiet, dark, cool and free from electronic gadgets like cellphones and TV. Moreover, refrain from watching TV or use devices with screens an hour prior to bed. The blue light from screens disturbs the body’s biological clock, which keeps awake late at night.
12. Limit Or (Even) Eliminate Alcohol
A couple of shots on weekends can be relaxing but too much alcohol can cause anxiety and even rewire the brain. Heavy alcohol consumption can affect one’s life both at home and work. It can even cause various other problems that can contribute to anxiety.
Therefore, aim at minimizing alcohol consumption, or even eliminate it. If it’s difficult to eliminate alcohol initially, drink it in moderation. But what does moderation means? The CDC’s recommendation on moderate drinking is 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
13. Always Set Your Priorities
One of the primary cause of stress and eventually lead to anxiety is not setting priorities. Figure out the things that need to be done right away and what things can be done later. List them all in order of priorities keeping important things on top of the list.
When it comes to big tasks, break them down into smaller tasks and start doing each small task according to their priority. Companies and business managed by professionals have a To-Do list, which is why they’re efficient. At home, or at your work, make your own priority list, too. This makes you become efficient and productive.
14. Make It Habit To Keep a Journal
Not many people are used to keeping a journal. But having a journal and making it habit to write the events of your life particularly those stressful ones allows you to keep track of patterns. This is helpful in figuring out what makes you feel anxious. Is it things at work, school, kids, events, or even too much caffeine consumption.
Having a journal also allows you to write stressful situations that you can’t talk to anyone else. Keeping these sad moments within you is not good. Our muscles and every cell of our body stores this sad experience or feeling and can cause unhealthy consequences later on.
Therefore, voice it out and if you can’t do it, write it in your journal. A study by Eastern Michigan University16finds that writing including blogging and emailing are helpful in reducing the students stress and anxiety.
Moreover, the University of Rochester Medical Center finds the benefits of journaling for mental health. Therefore, don’t underestimate the power of pen and paper. After all, the old saying that says “the pen is mightier than the sword” is still true to this day.
Although you have these many options to relieve anxiety, you don’t have to them all at once. Choose the ones that you feel comfortable doing. You may choose one or two and stick to it.
Choosing as many as you could only add to your anxiety. Therefore, make sure you choose something that it feels good when you do it. A simple daily walk in a park or a weekend run along the countryside is a good start.