5 Ways to Handle Anxiety
More and more people in Southern Oregon are taking medication because of increased stress and anxiety. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines anxiety as extreme and unrealistic concerns brought on by everyday events or activities. Well sometimes that feels like every day for me! I don’t know about you….
Commonly, patients who suffer from extreme anxiety are prescribed Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and other brands of beta blockers, benzodiazepines, and anti-depressant drugs.
For those with clinical Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Clinical Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and other similar mental health disorders, medication may be the only solution. But for those who are battling anxiety without having been diagnosed with one of these illnesses, or those who would like to try other methods of
reaching a peaceful state, here are five of the most recommended choices:
1. Yoga - The process of practicing yoga is a combination of calming the mind, slowing and controlling the breath, and stretching and relaxing the body. A happy side-benefit is that the body is strengthened by learning the body postures that make up the yoga regimen. Dr. Sejal Shah, a yoga teacher, says those who are being treated for a mental health issue and those who simply need something in their lives to calm their brains and bodies can find the practice of yoga a soothing part of their day.
2. Meditation - Although the act of meditating is rooted in the great religions of the world, even those who do not follow a strict spiritual path will find that emptying their minds and being still for a period of time each day can make a big difference in the way they view the world. There are various ways to meditate, several techniques that can be used, and differing postures and methods. But whatever the style, for those who take the time to meditate, the payoff is tranquility and, say many practitioners, enlightenment.
Personally, I can never turn my brain off long enough for this to be effective. But I have friends and family that swear by this and I continue to recommend it as a potential remedy.
3. Music - Who among us has not been transported to another state while listening to certain types of music? Interestingly, there are playlists online that contain music that help to reduce anxiety. But most of us have our own playlist of songs that make us happy and calm us down. Remember, music soothes the savage beast.
Turn on Hotel California and I am quickly teleported to happy times with my parents, playing in the yard or baking cookies!
4. Exercise - The Anxiety and Depression Association of America explains that exercise can often lead to the reduction of anxiety levels. As little as 30 minutes of walking, biking, or dancing can play a large part in decreasing symptoms of anxiety and stress.
A significant life changer for me in 2015 was a choice to workout at least 3 days a week. We all hear about the benefits, but I never took the time because I believed I didn’t have the time…. Well my anxiety caught up to me. I was burning the candle at both ends, managing a household and two young children, two businesses and always worrying about the wellbeing of my senior clients in the Rogue Valley! Doc said something has to give and instead of cutting back – I added working out. For one full year I have hit the gym three days a week and I feel like a different person.
Go for a walk, today!
5. Diet - What is ingested into our bodies does alter our mental health. Scientists at the University of Minnesota point out that nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol can affect how the brain reacts to certain situations, events, and personalities. Just as important is what we put in our bodies for fuel. The Mayo Clinic physicians say that watching their diets may help individuals deal with tension in a better way. They suggest drinking plenty of water, including protein in the breakfast meal, eating complex carbohydrates, which may increase the serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the brain, and sticking to healthy, well-balanced, appropriately portioned meals.
The occasional overload of activities, expectations, duties, projects, and responsibilities cannot be avoided, but knowing there are methods that, if utilized, can make our ability to handle stress a bit easier, could be the safety net for which we have been searching.
Hope these tips help to ease your stressful loads folks.