Approaches to Manage Anxiety Naturally

manage anxiety naturally Anxiety. I bet you can’t go a day without hearing someone talk about it. The National Institute of Health estimates over 30% of all adults will have difficulty managing anxiety at some point in their lives. I also bet you can’t go a day without feeling it at some point. Anxiety is that feeling of unease, tension, and fear. But not all anxiety is bad – anxiety is the warning system that tells us there is danger or when we are in new and unfamiliar situations and need to pay attention. Especially today, after countless resurgences of a pandemic and natural and man-made disasters, it seems like many of us cannot turn off the anxious setting in our brains. this article provides eleven steps to help you manage anxiety naturally.

  1. Clean up your diet: The connection between nutrition and mental health is critical. You may need to see a healthcare provider to determine if you have special food allergies or sensitivities but you can begin by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and high quality proteins and limiting the amount of processed foods and fast foods. You may need to begin with supplements to get back on track, but if you eat more fruits and veggies, you will begin to get the nutrients you require for good health and mental health with less supplements.
  2. Vitamins and supplements: If you seek out a healthcare provider, ask them to perform lab tests (consider testing your thyroid, hormone levels, Vitamins D and B as a minimum) to determine if you are deficient in any vital nutrients. Work with your healthcare provider to find the right supplements, dosage and quality to meet your needs.
  3. Cut caffeine and sugar: It may seem difficult, but cutting out caffeine and drastically decreasing your sugar intake will make a big difference in your symptoms. Ask your healthcare provider or nutritionist to help you develop a plan to stop using caffeine and decrease your sugar intake. Be careful – sugar substitutes (we’re looking at you, Splenda) may be worse for you than sugar. Consider Stevia or other natural substitutes but limit those as well.
  4. Exercise: Exercise is a great stress reducer. 30 minutes or more 3-5 times per week will improve your health and decrease your anxiety and help you sleep better. Exercise helps the brain by forcing the production of more feel-good chemicals, increasing the creation of new brain pathways, and increasing its supply of oxygen.
  5. Neurofeedback: Neurofeedback is a non-invasive method of turning off the anxious brain by teaching the brain to calm down. If you think about your mental processing like a computer, neurofeedback and the previous steps are working on fixing the hardware (the physical brain function). The following steps work on the software (our thinking and belief systems).
  6. Stress management: Many anxiety symptoms are self-inflicted. Over-scheduling, clutter, making promises that are near impossible to keep, and poor boundaries are among the culprits. Take a look at your priorities and get control of your schedule and life.
  7. Learn to say ‘no:’ This will help with some of the issues in the previous bullet point. If you need it, take an assertiveness class. Many of us are people-pleasers and we pay the price for it. You can say “no” to your boss, your friends, your partner, and even your kids.
  8. Self-care: People who have trouble saying ‘no’ or being assertive often place others’ needs before their own. Mothers are usually at the top of the list for poor self care. Try to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you will be less effective in taking care of anyone else.
  9. Stop the feedback loop: Most people with anxiety have a barrage of worried, anxious, critical and/or intrusive thoughts running through their minds endlessly. These thoughts create much of the distress we experience. Learn ways to manage these thoughts. Once you get the underlying causes of anxiety under control, this may get easier.
  10. Mindfulness: Mindfulness is about living in the present moment. It has been found to be very helpful in managing anxiety, including OCD and PTSD. Take a class, find an online audio or video or work with me to learn this useful tool.
  11. Deep breathing and relaxation: People with anxiety often take shallow, quick breaths from the top of their chests. This type of breathing can worsen anxiety symptoms, leading to hyperventilation. Learn to take deep, belly breaths to calm yourself and to breathe slower. Call me, take a class or find an online resource to help you with this.

If you need more support, our therapists are available to help you. Contact us to find out more.