Background: “How to Fight Anxiety Naturally” was inspired because the issue of mental health is affecting over 40 million adults in the U.S. alone.
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon
Does it ever seem like you have more anxiety and worry in your life than other people do?
As if everyone around you is having an easier time of things than you are?
You begin to feel sorry for yourself and think, “Why is this happening to ME?”
When I feel like this I take a deep breath.
Not working? Breathe some more.
Still not working? Hide?!
You might wonder if can anyone else can see what’s going on inside you?
Something bad is happening, you just know it. Clutching your chest panic sets in, is this a heart attack?
You blindly stumble to the washroom and hide out in the stall. Taking deep breaths you curse your parents for everything they ever did wrong to make you so crazy.
Why can’t you just be normal like everyone else?
This is the ugly face of anxiety, an unpleasant, state of inner turmoil and apprehension.
And guess what?
You don’t have to feel this way any longer.
There are ways to reduce and even prevent anxiety.
And I’m going to show you three powerful ways to stop anxiety naturally (without drugs).
Let’s get to it, shall we?
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Table of Contents
- Three Effective Ways to Fight Anxiety Naturally
- 1. Fight Anxiety Naturally Tip #1 – Meditation and Mindfulness
- 2. Fight Anxiety Naturally Tip #2 – Exercise
- 3. Fight Anxiety Naturally Tip #3 – Diet
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. It is characterized by fear, tension, worried thoughts and manifests into physical symptoms such as sweating, dizziness and heart palpitations.
Maybe your disorder is not as severe as Raymond Babbitt from “Rain Man”, but for those dealing with anxiety, it can sure feel pretty serious.
Effects range from mild disruption of everyday life to detrimental effects on your work, family and social life.
Whether you suffer from generalized or social anxiety, panic, OCD, phobia’s or post-traumatic stress disorders, these are all different forms of the ‘loosely’ used term anxiety.
Many natural remedies exist to keep anxiety under control. I’m going to share three big ones that will help you fight anxiety naturally and take back control of your life.
Before we get started I’d like to offer you a FREE copy of Mindfulmazing’s Worry Workbook a fillable journal, with quotes, writing prompts and proven techniques to help you release stress, reduce anxious thoughts, feel happier, and more in control of your mind and life.Yes! I Want To Be Calmer!
Three Effective Ways to Fight Anxiety Naturally
1. Fight Anxiety Naturally Tip #1 – Meditation and Mindfulness
Maybe you’ve heard this before but fluffed it off and opted for the drugs, meditation is a free, natural remedy that can help you.
With a family history of general anxiety disorder trailing me, I’m no stranger to its devastating effects.
Struggling to overcome my own personal urges to let my mind take over, one thing I can tell you is that whoever ‘they’ are that says meditation can help, well they are right.
I suggest you read 10 tips to start meditating today. This will give you a good foundation to start a simple practice.
How Can Meditation Help You Fight Anxiety Naturally?
a) Meditation is about relaxing and calming the mind, if we experience a peaceful mind, we will be free from worry and hopelessness.
In our hectic lives, most of us are overworked and stressed out. We have bills, kids, work, tests, health; whatever your life looks like, you have stressors.
Stress begins in the mind and therefore the first key to overcoming anxiety is being able to relax not only our bodies but our minds as well.
Even if your life is perfect if your mind is not peaceful you will find it very difficult to cultivate happiness.
Remember you don’t need to rush out, purchase the robes and become a member of your nearest temple, just taking even 2 minutes a day to sit peacefully will begin to train you to focus.
Notice where your carry stress in your body and can send the breath there. Notice your current state of mind. Are you compiling to-do lists? Worrying about your health? Obsessing over an ex-boyfriend?
The first step is noticing what’s going on in there; when you pay attention to your thoughts you can begin to rewire them into positive ones.
b) Meditation will recondition your mind
Meditation creates space to re-evaluate and generate new pathways. Anxiety is a learned response, a flight or fight reaction to a thought. Control your thoughts.Usually we find it difficult to control our mind. It seems as if our mind is like a balloon in the wind – blown here and there by external circumstances. ~kadampa
The mind operates in a stubborn and destructive manner, much like most of our favorite cartoon characters, it will not like you get in the way of its antics. It may fight back and become very agitated throwing all sorts of hurdles at you…
Reconditioning your mind will take work and focus, but slowly you will begin to realize that your fears and hopelessness are a product of your imagination. Instead of holding on tightly to the balloons fighting against us in the wind, just let them go.
Ask yourself this question: Can I fix the problem? If there is a solution, well then with fix it. If you can not then what is the point of endless worry and suffering. Accept it. Stressors are outer problems, don’t make them inner problems.
c) There are proven medical studies, it’s not just hippy talk, its official!
- Meditation lowers blood pressure, normalizes your heart rate and regulates breathing
- Mediation can reverse the stress response of the body, the adrenal glands produce less cortisol, reducing aging and boosting immunity
- Meditation increases serotonin which influences mood
- Meditation helps fight addictions a huge contributing factor to anxiety disorders
Practice regularly, find a style that suits your life and interests. Attend a class, make it fun and don’t expect results overnight.
Types of meditation:
There are many styles you can practice, a few of the most common types:
- Guided meditation – Use of mental images of places or situations you find relaxing.
- Mindfulness meditation – An increased awareness of living in the present. Focus on breath and observe thoughts and emotions without judgment.
- Mantra meditation – Silently repeat a word, phrase or thought to prevent distracting thoughts. The goal is to achieve a perfect stillness.
- Yoga – Performing a series of postures with controlled breath. Promoting a more flexible body and a calm mind.
If you are unable to attend a class you can do it yourself right now; watch this video, find a quiet spot, sit comfortably and focus on your breath. Start with just 2 minutes per day and within a month you will have a habit.
Meditation is an important habit to adopt if you want to change other habits, it has a natural ability to seep in and influence other areas of your life. It’s first on the list because even without your knowing it, it will help you achieve the other two remedies.
Grab your free meditation starter kit right here!
That’s it! One simple natural technique that will change your life. Why not start today, six months from now you’ll wish you had.
2. Fight Anxiety Naturally Tip #2 – Exercise
Use Exercise to Fight Anxiety Naturally
The first natural remedy we looked at was meditation. Meditation was listed first because of its unique ability to naturally reinforce other positive habits including remedy # 2 – I just love this one……
I work in a busy accounting office. During tax season we hunker down in our worn chairs and prepare for seems like a long nuclear winter. Resisting the urge to run circles like a caged dog, we convince ourselves not to lunge through the second-story window.
After a couple of months when the dust clears, rubbing our aching necks we anxiously emerge from our cubicles, shielding our eyes from the light and cracking our carpal tunnel infected hands.
In the olden day’s exercise came effortlessly, men hunted and women took care of the household chores. They expended energy on a daily basis, maybe documentation was an issue but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of reports of mental health issues plaguing villages.
The reality of our modern world is we sit, sometimes all day. We have no reason to hunt; a quick stop at the grocery store provides dinner and beating our clothes over rocks to wash them is long outdated; our high powered front loader washing machines will do the trick!
How Can Exercise Help Us?
So we sit, and this is directly related to epidemic states of anxiety and stress. Exercise releases endorphins, this makes the brain feel good and reduces the body’s stress hormones. Scientists throw around terms such as cortisol and adrenaline, but I’ll take their word for it; I have already made my own conclusions based on how I feel after a run. Great!
So I’m just going to get to the point; being sedentary causes anxiety.
We need to exercise.
I’m sure our ancestors would have been confused and a little humored if they could have looked through time telescopes at images of us running on treadmills going nowhere, but this is a reality of our modern world. Dust off those running shoes.
Tips for incorporating exercise into your daily routine:
1. Find an exercise you love
Yoga, running, walking, hiking, sports, weightlifting, Zumba; whatever it is, make sure you enjoy it and you’ll increase your chances of sticking with it.
My exercise of choice is yoga and running. These practices have changed my life. Yoga incorporates mind, body, and spirit and I love the philosophy. And running because there is nothing better than being out in nature, smelling the fresh air while experiencing a runner’s high.
2. Set a goal and write it down
Start with realistic, achievable short-term goals. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you will progress.
My first goal was a 5K race, which I was able to achieve in two months. I began with intervals of one minute of running followed by one minute of walking, I gradually increased my running intervals until I was running 30 minutes without rest. My goal was realistic and I had a plan. After my 5K race, I set a new goal, a 10K race.
3. Make time
My office recently had a fitness challenge and being on the Wellness committee the most common complaint I heard was “we don’t have time.” This is just an excuse for people who want results without putting in any work. Everyone has time.
10 minutes a day is all you need to get started. Wake up slightly earlier than the rest of your household and go for a walk. Keep a time inventory for a few days, you will begin to see trends of wasted time blocks, use this information to schedule fitness into your day.
4. Find a work out buddy
You are more likely to stick to your workout goals if you are accountable to someone. If you plan to meet a friend at 9 am, you’re not likely to bail. Choose your spouse, friend or co-worker, but make sure it’s someone who will motivate you and encourage a weekly routine.
If your work out buddy is constantly bailing, they might not be the best motivator, choose your fitness pal wisely. My running mate is a co-worker of mine, not only it is a lot of fun but it has also made work more enjoyable by infusing friendly competition into ho-hum days at the office.
5. Exercise is a lifestyle, not a destination
Realize that exercise is a lifestyle, not a six-week boot camp program. Once the six weeks are over it’s not finished. Like washing your hair or eating, you need to incorporate exercise into your daily life. Exercise has changed my life immensely. Read here about how yoga can ground and calm you.
It takes 3 weeks to create a habit, so start now!
“‘A crust eaten is peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.’ ~ Aesop ” quote=”‘A crust eaten is peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.’ ~ Aesop “]
Now that we’ve looked at meditation and exercise, let’s have a look at our final natural anxiety fighter.
3. Fight Anxiety Naturally Tip #3 – Diet
Overcoming anxiety without medications involves making significant lifestyle changes, and that includes changing your diet. There are foods that will help cure anxiety and foods that will contribute to anxiety, and by choosing the right foods, you can drastically cut down on the amount of anxiety you experience. Diet paired with exercise and a meditation practice will significantly improve your wellbeing.
Foods you should eat:
These are direct recommendations from Dr. Oz – Anxiety Fighting Tips:
- Vitamin C – Helps out our adrenal glands. Eat foods such as apples, broccoli, red peppers, spinach, and kiwis.
- Get your Omega’s – Omega’s fight the stress-causing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Include foods rich in flax, walnuts and soya beans.
- Complex Carbs – Don’t rush out and eat that French Baguette just yet, we only want the good carbs. Whole wheat bread, oats, beans, and barley. These foods help keep your blood sugar stable and send a feel-good message to your brain.
- What is Tryptophan? This is an amino acid that produces serotonin; which regulates your hormones. Eat foods such as bananas, soya sauce, pumpkin seeds, and kale.
This is a great list of anxiety fighters compiled by Dr. Oz. To further add to the list I’ve compiled a few more tips that I’ve personally found helpful.
Anxiety fighting tips:
- Water – Along with so many other health reasons to stay hydrated, dehydration will almost always lead to anxiety.
- Magnesium supplements – This is my number one anxiety fighter when I notice symptoms creeping in it’s the first thing I reach for. Magnesium, also known as a natural tranquilizer plays a role in 300 different chemical reactions in the body. Our modern food processing systems now strip magnesium from our diets leaving the majority of the population deficient. It’s a yo-yo effect when deficient it causes anxiety which in turn causes the body to use up magnesium, which in turn leads to more anxiety.
- Vitamin B supplements – Also called the stress vitamin, take a B complex supplement daily – Click here for more information on Vitamin B and Magnesium.
- Omega 3 supplements – There are many studies on the positive effects of Omega 3 – Click here for more information. Along with eating Omega-rich foods I also take Genuine Health pharmaceutical grade supplements daily.
- Don’t skip meals – this will play havoc with your blood sugar levels.
6 Foods to avoid if you suffer from anxiety:
- Fried foods – These foods force your body to work really hard and elevate your heart rate.
- Alcohol – Alcohol can be deceiving with its initial stimulating effects, but it is actually a depressant. Have you ever had a bad hangover? It’s not pleasant mentally or physically. Alcohol causes dehydration (which always leads to anxiety) not to mention it distorts your judgment and can lead to destructive behavior, leaving you embarrassed, ashamed or worried.
- Coffee – The most widely used mood-altering drug in the world – it leaves you feeling jittery and increases your heart rate. Caffeine can greatly pronounce your symptoms. If you suffer from anxiety you should absolutely avoid coffee. Period.
- Dairy – While dairy is not a cause of anxiety it can heighten your adrenaline levels. Dairy is also a common allergy which many people are not aware they have, this allergy manifests into anxiety.
- Refined sugars – produce negative effects on the body and cause jitteriness. Cut out soft drinks, sweets, and junk food.
- Acid forming foods – These foods drop magnesium levels. Indulge in acid-forming foods with discretion: Red wine, soft drinks, red meat, ice cream, white flour.
Mental health is not an easy road, but you don’t have to suffer silently, with more recognition and attention being given by society there are many helpful resources.
I decided to take control of my life, I now have a dedicated yoga practice, run twice a week and attend a weekly meditation class.
My participation in these activities has led to healthy eating habits, mental awareness and a decrease in my alcohol intake. While doing any of these activities; remember to be mindful, including mindful eating (Please read here for instructions on how to eat mindfully). I resist the urge to blare my iPod and compile to-do lists while I run, instead I focus on being fully present.
Anxiety can be a long road to recovery, the articles below are recommended to reduce the stress in your life.
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