3 Unbeatable Ways to Help Control Anxiety
Anxiety is likely at an all time high as people seek to thrive amidst one of most difficult years in recent memory.
I know that tons of the people coming into our office are struggling with anxiety.
Many of them have never dealt with anxiety before, but these current circumstances have made it so they’re temporarily afflicted by this mental hardship.
Anxiety is one of the more pernicious issues we deal with here in America. I wish it weren’t the case but it’s not like anxiety is exactly new to the medical community.
Jesus talked about it in the Gospel of Luke when he said “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
And many of the ancient religions that predate Christiainity and Judaism are obsessed with helping people achieve inner peace, and/or Nirvana - which is freedom from anxiety.
So why is anxiety a thing?
Well, because we’re human.
As human beings we’re filled with a number of hormones and neurotransmitters that are careening through our body helping us to navigate a relatively dangerous world.
Biologically speaking, we have a dangerous and unpredictable world to blame.
Environmental factors like toxins and pollution can negatively influence the balance of hormones and neurotransmitters being released and that too can cause anxiety.
And something I won’t discuss in great detail here is our perspective on life can also create (or ease) symptoms of anxiety.
At the end of the day occasional anxiety can result when the amount of control we feel over our lives begins to feel compromised.
Either that, or we’re under a great deal of stress for a short or prolonged period of time.
The factors above are what cause us to feel anxiety… and the methods I list below are ones you can employ to try to get yourself back on level ground so to speak, and start to feel less anxious.
None of these are a silver bullet, but if you occasionally are hit with feelings of anxiousness and want solid advice you can’t go wrong following these tips.
3 Techniques For Naturally Reversing Occasional Anxiety
Occasional anxiety can take on a life of its own for those who allow it to infect their psyche.
That’s why many of the techniques I’ll list out here are meant to adjust your mind.
By taking measured steps to change how your mind operates you can change how your body releases neurotransmitters and hormones to feel less anxiety.
One of the more important and more effective techniques for achieving reductions in anxiety is meditation.
1 - Meditation:
Like I mentioned above, ancient religions have been helping adherents to their theologies attempt to rise above anxiety for thousands of years.
One of the techniques they use is meditation.
I know many of you are Christians, (as am I), and the thought of meditation might seem like a dangerous practice, But meditation is not to be feared.
In reality, meditation is a contemplative act to release feelings of control and to tune into the present moment so that you can find peace and rest.
I could go on about how people of any religion can benefit from meditation as a centering practice, but the most important nugget of truth here to understand is meditation works at reducing anxiety.
Here’s what Julie Corliss said in an article about meditation and mental health in a recent article:
When researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD sifted through nearly 19,000 meditation studies, they found 47 trials that ... met their criteria for well-designed studies … [that] suggest that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety. “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power,” she explains. “They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit. If you have unproductive worries,” says Dr. Hoge, you can train yourself to experience those thoughts completely differently. “You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’ Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that—a thought, and not a part of my core self,’” says Dr. Hoge.
The truth is meditation works. It’s free, and is easy to practice and has been shown to have real benefit for those who suffer from anxiety.
In as little as 10 minutes a day, a person practicing daily meditation rituals, whether guided, on their own, as part of a secular approach, or meditating on scripture or other religious texts can see a reversal in anxiety symptoms.
2 - Elimination of Caffeine and Alcohol from Diet
So many “prescriptions” for anxiety involve taking something, or introducing something into your diet so that you can relieve yourself of anxiety.
Which is why it might catch you by surprise that by eliminating your intake of alcohol and caffeine you can help to reduce how bad your anxiety is.
Many people, actually, most people who drink these drugs (and that’s what they are) tend to have caffeine in the morning and alcohol in the evening.
As caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol a depressant, that kind of yo-yo on your nervous system can have some pretty harsh effects on how neurotransmitters function later in the day.
Basically, a constant supply of both drugs is like slamming your car into reverse and drive and back into reverse and back into drive, over and over again.
There’s a wealth of research to support the cessation of imbibing in these beverages has positive effects on mood and lessens symptoms of anxiety. For instance, the British Journal of Psychiatry published a study that indicated not drinking alcohol has a dramatic effect on anxiety risk.
And a steady-intake of caffeine can exacerbate pre-existing anxiety, and in some cases, lead to disruptions in sleep patterns that later cause the development of anxiety and panic disorders.
3 - Take Magnesium
If you occasionally feel anxious then one of the most effective things you can do is make sure that your magnesium intake is normal.
Magnesium plays a role in hundreds of processes within our body. To support a healthy mood your body needs certain minerals that help to carry neurotransmitters from one synapse to the next.
Magnesium is one of those.
Evidence suggests that magnesium may influence an area in your brain called the hypothalamus, which helps regulate the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for your response to stress.
By having a calming effect and regulating neurotransmitters it can take you from a place where you’re feeling high-strung for a bit and bring you back down to Earth.
I should note that magnesium is great for temporary or occasional anxiety as it has a powerful and nearly instant effect. Just a little bit applied topically and/or taken internally can have dramatic effects.