A Holistic Approach to Anxiety: Relieving your stress without medication

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Did you know anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the United States?

With nearly 40 million people in America alone suffering from one form of anxiety disorder or another, it is important to discuss all treatment options available to this portion of the population.

Holistic approaches to anxiety as a form of management can be very effective for combatting anxious feelings and thoughts and reducing the impact these have on your daily life.

While the experience of this disorder can be frightening in and of itself for some, trying different approaches may allow you to more easily handle situations and triggers for anxiety.

Read on to discover what anxiety is, as well as eight key ways to incorporate a holistic approach to anxiety management.

What is Anxiety? A Holistic Approach to Anxiety!

At its core, anxiety is the body’s response to stress, as filtered through the mind.

The brain identifies a threat, and the body reacts by releasing a cascade of hormones that speed up the heart rate, provoke fear, and disrupt your ability to overcome the perceived stressor.

This response to stress is vital for the survival of many species on Earth, including our own. It allowed up evolutionarily to avoid becoming prey.

However, in current times, anxiety often is misplaced. Typically, the situation in which one feels anxious is not life or death, but rather the everyday stressors of modernity, such as finances.

There are many different forms that anxiety can take, and it is important to identify how it presents in your individual body before proceeding with a plan for change.

A Holistic Approach to Anxiety: Eight ways to release anxious feelings

If you are interested in combatting your anxiety in a natural and holistic way, there are several options available. Most involve lifestyle change to decrease the effect and likelihood of anxiety.

However, it is important to always discuss with management strategies, both in terms of medication or lifestyle changes with your healthcare provider.

Here are a few options to embark on a holistic approach to anxiety for your long-term mental health.

1. Reduce dietary triggers

Certain foods may worsen anxiety in some people, and it is important to identify these in your diet.

Caffeine, in particular, can exacerbate the effect of anxiety by further speeding up your heart rate, as well as making the feeling more acute.

Alcohol can also trigger anxiety and create dependency. While it is a sedative, it often leads to worse experiences down the line.

Diet pills, teas, and chocolate can also be common triggers. A food diary can allow you to decide if certain foods may be making your symptoms worse, and it is best to avoid them if you see a pattern.

2. Meditate

While often touted as a method for increased productivity, meditation and mindfulness is also a great way to decrease the effect of anxiety.

Meditation allows you to identify and separate thoughts and feelings in your everyday life. Further, it can also help you escape negative thought loops, which are common in those with an anxiety disorder.

3. Consider supplements

Over the counter anxiety supplements, can potentially improve feelings of anxiety. Certain deficiencies can either cause anxiety or make it worse and testing for these is important in your overall treatment plan with your healthcare provider.

Magnesium, St. John’s Wort, CBD, and 5-HTP have anecdotally provided relief for many of those with an anxiety disorder.

Check out this CBD post to learn more about how it could be the over the counter option for you.

4. Get plenty of rest

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy body, with many researchers arguing that its function is more important than diet or exercise.

During sleep, the body regenerates many of its tissues, in addition to producing several hormones that contribute to mood and stress levels.

Insomnia commonly occurs in those that suffer from anxiety and can worsen its effects further. Try to do everything possible to create an ideal sleep environment to reduce the chance of sleep-deprivation.

A dark, cool room is the best place to get some Zs. Other additions to improve sleep could include aromatherapy, weight blankets, or sound machines.

5. Keep active

Exercise can give you an opportunity to channel your anxious feelings into something constructive. Running, in particular, can help relieve your body of the perceived stress.

Additionally, walking, especially with a friend, can be a great way to take a break from what may be triggering you.

6. Use breathing exercises

Learning to control and manipulate your breathing might be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for.

In taking deep, peaceful breaths, you can essentially ‘trick’ your mind into a calmer state, thereby reducing some of the intense feelings you may have.

These exercises often work best with meditation and mindfulness, as both of these tend to start with breathwork as a way to get you out of your own head and into the bodily sensation of breathing.

7. Schedule in some green space

Greenspace and time in nature is an important part of mental health for most people. Even a short, 20-minute stroll in a garden or park can help put your mind at ease.

Try to make space in your schedule, especially during high-stress, high-anxiety times, to get outside and remind yourself of the bigger picture.

8. Have sex

In the event that you have a willing partner, sex can be a very effective way to combat anxiety. The hormones released during sex often provide a sense of calm and well-being.

Further, even without intercourse, companionship through physical touch, romantic or platonic, can help take the edge off of the experience.

Don’t let anxiety rule your life

Overall, there are many different ways to decrease the amount of control anxiety has over your life.

A holistic approach to anxiety, whether it be complementary or alternative, allows you to decide what changes work best for you. Further, it puts the power in your hands to reduce the effect anxiety may have on you.

Most importantly, remember that you are not alone in experiencing this disorder, as millions live with it every day.

No one should have to face anxiety disorder alone: share this article and find your tribe of supporters, and remind yourself how strong you are.

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