11 Simple Ways to Cope with Anxiety
Anxiety is a basic emotion necessary for survival, which each of us experiences many times in life. It is associated with the automatic fight or flight reaction, which produces the necessary changes in the body to fight or flee in case of an attack or imminent danger. But when this emotion intensifies, attaching to situations or people who do not present a real danger, or when it becomes ubiquitous, it can affect the power of concentration, appetite, sleep, social relationships and quality of life.
We can describe anxiety as a state of stress that we feel throughout the body and that fills our minds with doubts, worries, obsessions and negative assumptions about future events. According to the World Health Organization, annually, about a quarter of Europe’s population suffers from symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Here are some easy to take measures to deal with your anxiety:
- Limit the consumption of tea, coffee or cola to one cup a day. Research has shown that people with anxiety symptoms may be particularly sensitive to caffeine.
- Monitor your consumption of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages. Although they seem to initially relieve anxiety, when alcohol is eliminated, the symptoms may worsen.
- Make time for aerobic exercise. A walk in nature for 30 minutes stimulates the release of endorphins, chemicals that block pain and improve your mood.
- Whether you meditate, pray, or pick roses, or look at your goldfish, do any kind of meditative activity for 15 minutes, several times a day.
- Try a natural anxiety reliever like valerian. Research has shown that valerian active ingredients attach to the same receptors in the brain affected by antidepressant drugs such as diazepam (better known as Valium). Take 250 mg twice a day and up to 500 mg at bedtime.
- Take vitamin B complex every day. Research has shown that B vitamins naturally reduce stress – for example, the human body needs vitamin B6 to produce serotonin – their deficiency can contribute to the development of anxiety.
- Take a warm bath, and enhance its effects with a little oil (or dried flowers if you have it). Lavender has a history of about 2,000 years old for relaxing the nervous system. If you do not have a bath, rub with lavender oil on the forehead and relax for a few minutes.
- Breathe slowly and deeply. Regular breathing can help you quickly control your anxiety. To breathe slowly and deeply, sit up, put a hand on your abdomen and inhale slowly, feeling the abdomen dilate under your hand, but your shoulders do not rise. Hold your breath for four or five seconds, then exhale very slowly. Repeat until you feel calm.
- Drink a glass of warm milk. It really works sometimes. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid used by the brain to produce serotonin, enhancing the feeling of well-being. Bananas are also rich in tryptophan.
- Hops, which give beer its specific aroma, have a long history as a sedative. Workers who harvest hops suffer from the drowsiness known as “hop harvester fatigue.” In a cup of very hot water, put two tablespoons of dried herbs and drink a maximum of three cups of this anti-anxiety tea.
- Drink a relaxing tea. To prepare a relaxing tea, you can use three types of Seville orange blossom, lavender and lemon. Any of these aromatic and sweet teas, drunk before bed, promote sleep.
Anxiety is a reaction to a vague or even unknown threat or danger. You’re worried, but you’re not sure why. It can be manifested by many types of symptoms, such as sweating, abdominal cramps, tachycardia, tremors, nervousness, poor concentration, shallow breathing, thoughts or unwanted behaviour.
Severe and prolonged anxiety can affect your physical health. See a doctor if your anxiety persists, if you can’t sleep or concentrate, or if you feel you can hurt others or yourself. It should be noted that the symptoms of anxiety may mimic those of serious conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or myocardial infarction, or may occur as side effects of some medications. Therefore, it is advisable to talk to your doctor about your symptoms.