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Sick of suffering from Anxiety? Try these 7 simple tips to help reduce anxiety

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

Simple lifestyle changes can really reduce anxiety levels


Anxiety is a complex feeling that can be triggered by a number of things. It might come from being in a new environment, speaking to new people, or simply thinking about an upcoming event. Whatever the cause might be, anxiety tends to make us feel as though something terrible is going to happen at any moment.

We have all felt anxiety at some point- maybe your palms were sweaty as you get ready for a blind date, or you feel nervous about starting your first date at a new job. Feeling anxious in these moments is normal, but it becomes a problem when anxiety makes you avoid these situations altogether. Being able to recognize the symptoms of anxiety and knowing what triggers it can help you manage your stressors and better understand why you feel the way you do. By becoming more aware of your actions, thoughts, and fears, you’ll find it easier to manage your anxiety when it rears its head.


What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. It can alert us to dangers and help us prepare and pay attention. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect around 30% of adults at some point throughout their lives. Anxiety disorders range from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness and involve excessive fear or anxiety.


Nikola Tesla once said, "If you want to understand the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration". He understood a fundamental force that animates everything in the universe, including ourselves! Not only are we just energy that is vibrating very fast (Fast, but also slow compared to other frequencies in the universe), our thoughts, emotions, sensations... everything we experience can also be boiled down to different frequencies of energy. Every part of you is vibrating, down to each cell in the body and the frequency of this vibration is how that cell figures out what to do. The idea is that calm, rhythmic vibrations keep the cells healthy and functioning, whereas chaotic and unnatural frequencies will lead to sickness and disease. There is a new science, called Cymatics, that uses soundwaves and sand to explore this phenomena.



Anxious Thoughts and the Cycle of Anxiety

Everything has a pattern, or a frequency, and the thoughts we entertain are no different. Thoughts flow through the mind all day long, but it's the ones that we pay attention to that


have an effect on our lives. The more you allow positive thoughts to float around in your mind, the more you will see that positivity reflected in the world around you. The same thing goes for negative thoughts, the more you allow them to hang around, the more negativity you will see reflected in the world. Anxious thoughts lead to more anxious thoughts, which can make us avoid certain situations that we perceive as dangerous. This avoidance leads to short term relief from anxiety, but makes us more susceptible to anxious thoughts and avoidance behavior in the future.



When we experience anxiety, our heart rate rises, we start to breathe heavy, become hyper-vigilant and feel like a potential threat is looming right around the corner. Before we get into some tips to dealing with anxiety, let me say that if anxiety is a common issue in your life, talk to your doctor and maybe look into therapy. My goal is to make it easier to overcome anxiety, but I am by no means saying that you don't need help. Fighting the battle on your own can actually lead to more anxiety and suffering, so please seek help! Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.




Anxiety and the Nervous System

When we are stressed or anxious, our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activates and releases stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine through the body, which start to prepare the body to fight or fleefrom the threat. Our heart rate increases, we start to breathe shallow and rapid, our muscles fill with blood and

tense up, and our secondary systems slow down. When the threat is no longer around, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) kicks in and reverses all of the effects of from the sympathetic nervous system. If the SNS is the gas pedal, the PNS is the brake pedal. What happens with anxiety is the gas pedal gets stuck and the brake pedal stops working on top of that! So relieving anxiety is just a matter of getting that brake pedal to work when you need it.



Blowing off steam is a real thing! When weare anxious or stressed out, there is more energy flowing through us. The problem is that it doesn't know where to go, it gets stuck just wandering through the body, causing tension and tightness to take over the body. That stuck energy leads us to repeat unhealthy patterns. We repeat these patterns becausethat is how we cope with the feelings that this extra energy brings with it. Smoking cigarettes, over consumption of anything- food, alcohol, drugs, etc., they're all just repeating energy. Energy is supposed to flow through us, but with anxiety we don't let it go, we hold on to it and then are constantlyon the look out for something or someone coming to take it.


Here are a few simple tips you can use to stop anxiety before it takes over your mind!


 


1.Move your Body!

Exercising can improve your overall health and can be an excellent way to release the extra energy that we know as anxiety or stress. Our physical body is build to be challenged and exercising can become your way to challenge yourself but under your own conditions. Whether it is running, walking, weight lifting, yoga, tai chi, or a team sport, they all are challenging but not life threatening, generally anyway, and they help us develop skills that make us more confident and resilient. Moving the body and challenging your physical body can release endorphins and other good chemicals in the body that make us feel happy and relaxed.


Try a quick Yoga Practice

Start with a centering, maybe doing a breathing meditation, allowing us to check in with where we are at this present moment.Surya Namaskar 5 times then balasana or Vrkasana.- Feel your heart beating in your chest... how your breathing a little more heavy than you were in the beginning... maybe you feel your body warming up. Notice how good it feels to move your body, to challenge yourself physically. When we started moving our body had to same physiological changes that would happen with an anxiety attack, except we all attributed those changes to practicing yoga and not that there was some threat coming in the near future to ruin everything.

Here's a quick clip of how to perform a sun salutation



2. Develop Breath Awareness

Great to practice when you are calm and relaxed but it can come in handy when we are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. The problem that I noticed is that when we are anxious it's incredibly difficult to remember all of things you learned in order to cope with anxiety. It might be hard to remember a mantra, or a specific practice, but you can always become aware of the breath because it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When our fight or flight response is active, blood is sent to the muscles to prepare them for action, and the abdomen organs start to slow down. The diaphragm tightens and we start to take short rapid breaths into the chest, it becomes difficult to take deep breaths down into the body. The breath becomes shallow and rapid, which pushes us further into the fight or flight response. We have to slow the breath down in order to activate the rest and digest response, which reverses all the affects of fight or flight.



I recommend the book "Breath: The New Science of The Lost Art" by James Nestor. He explores how ancient civilizations used the breath the optimize their health, reduce stress, and even heal physical ailments! It uncovers the magic that is our breath, and provides scientific research to back some of these claims. It's a great book to get excited about the breath, and also includes some basic directions on how to practice some of these powerful techniques.





3.Drink Water!

75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Without water even our cells won't function properly
75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Without water even our cells won't function properly

According to research, 75% of Americans are dehydrated and being dehydrated has been shown to negatively impact our health. We are made up of about 60% water and electrolytes which help our bodyfunction properly. Water has many different functions in the body, from helping transport hormones andother chemicals throughout the body which allow cells to communicate with one another, to keeping our muscles and joints mobile and flexible so that we can move around and not break anything. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, dry mouth, dark urination or difficulty urinating, dry or tight skin, rapid heart beat and fast shallow breaths, and can even lead to fever, chills and a loss of consciousness.


A 2018 study found that of over 3,000 adults, those who drank more water had a lower risk of anxiety and depression than those who drank less water.



Here are a few ways that drinking water can help your body.

  • Believe it or not, water helps regulate your bowel movements. When the body doesn’t have enough liquid to perform its normal functions, it pulls moisture from your stool, making it moredifficult and uncomfortable to go to the bathroom.

  • It won’t necessarily make you lose weight, but physicians note that choosing to drink it instead of a high-calorie beverage can help you to engage in a more balanced diet. Foods that contain a lot of water are also absorbed more slowly by the body, allowing you to feel fuller for longer.

  • Basic bodily functions require regular water intake, including the production of saliva, digestion, absorption of nutrients, and the ability to regulate your body temperature. Your brain even communicates with your kidneys based on your level of hydration, instructing them whether it’s time for you to urinate or not.

  • Individuals who exercise and are specifically looking to build muscle will benefit from consistent water intake. Dehydration can lead to the shrinking of cells, meaning that the benefitsyou reaped from your last gym session might not last.


Drinking coffee, tea, or some other liquid does not mean that you are drinking enough water! Coffee is what is known as a diuretic which actually tells your body to release fluid in the body. So even though you spend the day drinking coffee and that coffee is made with water, the compounds in coffee tell the cells in your body to quickly release or flush the fluid that it contains, which means that we aren't properly absorbing the nutrients and electrolytes that we need for our body to function properly.



4. Get off of social media!

This one can easily be the break that you need but often times trying to get off social media cold turkeycan lead to more stress and anxiety. The problem is that these companies have spent years and millions of dollars figuring out what the best way to keep you interacting with the app the longest, and unfortunately for our sanity they realized that when we see something we don't agree with we tend to interact much longer than if we see something that we agree with. If we are outraged and disagree with something then we spend more time and energy trying to explain your position and arguing with peoplethat believe the opposite of what you believe. This is a great strategy for business and politics but it is horrible for our mental health. Well these companies have algorithms that are designed to show you things that bother you so you spend more time looking and interacting with their app. When you take a break from social media for a little it gives you a chance to step back and see what is truly important and what habits or patterns you just kinda fell into unconsciously. Instead of scrolling mindlessly through just to see what people are up too or what the story of the day is, try to call or text your friends directly for a little while.



5. Give yourself a Break

Yes, you might have a problem that you need to work through but we also need a break from that problem sometimes, even thought it might feel like you need to solve it right away. It can actually be more productive to take a break from the subject for a little bit, even if it's just for a few minutes because it releases us from struggle we have trying to find the solution and can also encourage good chemicals to be released in the brain that can help calm the body and ease the mind. When the mind is calm you can look at the issue from a different state of mind and then you can address it rationally instead of filled with emotions. Taking a break allows the mind to sort through all of the information without the stress of needing to find the answer. It allows the mind to make connections that wouldn't be possible if we continue to hammer down on a topic.

Research has been done showing that taking frequent breaks throughout the day can actually make us more productive. Giving your mind a break allows it to process all of the information and make sense of it all, without the added stress of trying to find the perfect solution.

Check out this article, "How Do Work Breaks Help Your Brain? 5 Surprising Answers" for more information on how taking breaks can do wonders for your productivity.


STOP method

The STOP method is a technique that can help relief stress in the moment. It is a way to break the thought pattern that is allowing stress to build, so that you can shift you perspective and lower stress levels before they become overwhelming.

The stop method is an excellent way to fight off stress in the moment


6. Volunteer Time

You can buffer the cycle of anxiety just by dedicating some time to others, volunteering your free time to some cause, visiting your grandmother or other family member, asking a loved one how their day was... just anyway you can think to show another human being that you are grateful for them, it's a great way to change your mindset from “ everything and everyone is out to destroy me” to “ I am devoting my time and energy to others regardless of my feelings”. One is a victim mentality and the other gives us strength and control when we feel like the world is completely out of control. It allows topause our personal issues and devote some energy to bring light into someone else's life.

It's a great way to change your mindset from “ everything and everyone is out to destroy me” to “ I am devoting my time and energy to others regardless of my feelings”

Buddha came up with the Four Noble Truths and in it he said that our suffering comes from our attachment to things the way they are. When we become too attached we can forget that life is always changing and then struggle against the inevitable impermanence of the world. When we can't let things go, they get stick within us and, on some level, become part of who we identify ourselves as. We can release some of that stuck energy justby throwing it all into our exercise routine, it feels good to challenge ourselves to push passed the pointof safety and try something difficult that we thought we couldn't accomplish! Do something to help someone else. When we feel like something is going to go wrong or that we are not safe, we become selfish because we think that we need to protect ourselves or solve some big problem in our life.



7. Probiotics

Studies have found that fermented foods help to balance the bacteria in our gut and recent studies have uncovered the fact that some very important neurotransmitters are created in the gut and then sent throughout the body. Serotonin, for example, is made in the gut and serotonin is an important hormone that regulates many functions of the body. Serontonin regulates our mood, our metabolism, sleep routine, even blood clotting, bone density and sexual function.Evidence suggests that fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt, work to ease neuroticism and social phobias.

This is called a "SCOBY" which is the mother of the bacteria that creates fermentation. This is Kombucha tea by the way.
This is called a "SCOBY" which is the mother of the bacteria that creates fermentation. This is Kombucha tea by the way.

It is believed that the probiotics—the “good bacteria”—in those foods “favorably [change] the environment in the gut, and changes inthe gut in turn influence social anxiety,”




A New View of Anxiety

Learning to see anxiety as just energy can be liberating, but it isn't exactly the easiest thing to do. Anxiety develops overtime so the fears that develop are deeply rooted and hard to break. It takes consistent practice, mindful awareness, and an open mind in order to change your perspective. These tips can help you shift your perspective, but they are by no means supposed to be the cure. The cure to your anxiety is personal to you meaning you have your own triggers for anxiety, so the road to relief starts by looking for and understanding what causes anxiety within you.



These are just a few ways to fight against anxiety and cultivate a healthy and balanced life. I'm not saying that you should try these instead of medication, so if you are prescribed medication, please take it! This is a list of lifestyle changes that can be done with, or without, medication to help cope with anxiety. When you change these lifestyle "patterns" it changes your response to the parts of the world that are causing the problem in the first place. When you can face the root of the problem, you can learn how to overcome it.... that is what these practices are all about!


Now you know what anxiety is, how it feels, and how it can negatively impact your life. There are lots of ways to fight back against anxiety, and we hope that this article has been helpful to you! Anxiety can be a scary thing to deal with, so we hope that you feel more equipped to take care of it with the right tools and knowledge.


For more information check out this article "How to Deal with Anxiety"

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