Anxiety is a condition that humanity has struggled with for time untold, and in the modern era, the world has become more aware of it than ever. The everyday stresses of life constantly push employees, students, and people of nearly every occupation and lifestyle into fretting, anxious patterns of thought. And the effects go further than that.
In fact, anxiety has been connected to many different symptoms and health concerns. For instance, while it is clearly related to temporary spikes in blood pressure, the effects of those increases have actually been shown to be as damaging as long-term hypertension, creating the same effect in a fraction of the time. In other words, while anxiety may not directly lead to hypertension, its effects in the short-term are just as harmful to your body. In addition, anxiety has also been shown to be a direct consequence of and emotional reaction to chronic pain, a condition leads tens of millions of Americans to find ways to deal with pain, and many people in the disability community are quite familiar with these approaches.
And yet, anxiety is far too often treated as a secondary illness of little concern or consequence. It’s seen as an issue that can be solved with a simple pep talk or encouragement to “calm down.” As is so often the case in life, though, the best solution for anxiety comes not from one specific panacea, but from a collection of integrated activities and options that work together towards one united solution.
If you struggle to cope with stress, here are a few different ways that you can attempt to address those anxious thoughts, behaviors, and your overall health in order to manage stress.
Understanding Your Mind
While things like anxiety medication and exercise often come to mind when addressing acute mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, the truth is, the process begins in your mind. Facing your anxiety “on its own turf” so to speak, is an excellent way to quickly get to the bottom of what has you so stressed out.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has long been used as an effective tool to diagnose and manage stress and anxiety. Identify warped patterns of thinking that most anxious people — no matter their circumstances, culture, background, or limitations — slip into in one way or another. Things like mental filters, all-or-nothing thinking, and jumping to conclusions all factor into an anxious mindset, and the simple act of being aware of them can help you begin to regain control over your thoughts.
In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, it can be incredibly helpful to take the time to meditate each day. The simple act of slowing yourself down and calming your mind in order to focus on what truly matters can do wonders to increase relaxation, decrease muscle tension, and reduce those anxious thoughts.
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Along with taking care of your mental health, it’s critical that an anxious person takes the time to care for their physical body. Regular exercise is an obvious solution. Even though it can be challenging to work up the motivation to find new methods to exercise, there are many different yet effective options the disability community has explored in order to get some reps in throughout the day. From seated tricep dips to water aerobics and even, if you’re the competitive type, wheelchair sports, there are plenty of opportunities to get your heart rate up.
While physical exercise is key, it’s just as important that you also take the time to regulate your diet in order to keep yourself healthy. Food is typically seen as fuel, but it’s actually much more than that. When properly used, food can serve as medicine in and of itself. For instance, zinc-rich foods like cashews, beef, egg yolks, fatty fish (with Omega-3 fatty acid), kefir, and even pickles have been linked to reduced levels of anxiety. You can also avoid things like processed meat and bleached flours in order to reduce chronic pain — and often, by extension, anxiety symptoms as well.
In summary, how you exercise and what you eat can factor heavily into how you treat your anxiety.
Along with a healthy diet and exercise, it’s important to be aware of the many natural remedies for anxiety that don’t necessarily require prescription medicine. Passionflower supplements, for instance, have long been seen as an ancient yet excellent natural anxiety solution. The same goes for other herbal supplements like lavender and chamomile.
Another trending solution is CBD oil. Humans’ endocannabinoid systems have been directly connected to regulating emotions and can affect both anxiety and depression. Evidence is mounting to support the fact that taking CBD oil can have a direct impact on the struggle against anxiety.
Seek Professional Advice
Not all doctors are equal. However, many modern medical professionals are well aware of the power of an integrated approach to dealing with anxiety. Therefore, it can be worth taking the time to seek out professional help in order to make sure you’re taking every possible step towards both the healing of current symptoms as well as future prevention.
As you do so, though, make sure you inquire about their knowledge of mental health in order to vet their methods and beliefs when it comes to using a holistic approach. Roughly 77 million Americans still live in areas with a shortage of mental health professionals, and you want to make sure that you find a doctor or nurse practitioner who is both informed and willing to work with you.
A Holistic Solution for Mental Health
As a quick review, some of the best ways to deal with anxiety in a holistic manner include:
- Implementing cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Practicing meditation and mindfulness.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Getting exercise regularly.
- Using natural remedies like herbal supplements or CBD oil.
- Seeking informed professional advice.
When approached from multiple angles like this, it’s much easier to diagnose, address, and reduce the numerous physical and mental symptoms of anxiety. This, in turn, helps to restore a sense of peace and tranquility to your thoughts, no matter what stressful situations you may find yourself confronted with.