While it’s normal to be nervous before a big exam or event, it’s estimated 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, which is more than a normal worry or fear. Anxiety disorders can range from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is characterized of compulsive behaviors and obsessive thoughts, to Panic Disorders – spontaneous episodes of fear followed by panic.
For those suffering from an anxiety disorder, it’s important to look into practices that can help reduce anxiety. Medication is always an option for individuals with anxiety disorders, however it should be the last resort, especially if the anxiety can be controlled through lifestyle changes.
Below, we’ve listed 5 tips that can help reduce anxiety and live an enjoyable life.
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If you suffer from generalized anxiety, practicing meditation on a daily basis can help overcome anxiety and reduce stress. Meditation allows the body to enter a deep state of relaxation or state of restful alertness. Since meditation promotes relaxation, it can be easily understood how meditation can be beneficial for individuals suffering from anxiety. Meditation does not need to be practiced for a long duration of time to be effective (5-10 minutes), and can be practiced any time of the day.
Here are some tips for mindful meditation:
- Sit in an upright position with feet on the floor.
- Maintain the same rhythm with each inhale and exhale.
- Stay focused on breathing and resist the urge to wonder off and think about other things.
- Meditate with eyes closed for 10 minutes.
- Open your eyes and observe how you feel.
2. Physical Exercise
Exercise is considered essential for mental fitness, which promotes less anxiety and stress. When stress affects the brain, the rest of the body is impacted by the stress as well. On the other hand, if your body feels good, so will your mind. Research indicates physical exercise can quickly work to elevate depressed moods in people. Even though the effects may be temporary, they show exercising can provide hours of relief.
3. CBD Products
What is CBD? CBD products are fairly new to the market, however research indicates CBD oil can help promote a sense of calmness and relaxation. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is one of the chemicals found in the cannabis sativa plant. It’s not exactly clear how CBD alleviates anxiety, however some believe it may work by affecting serotonin in the brain. A 2011 study showed CBD being affective during public speaking by reducing anxiety for individuals who suffered from social anxiety disorder. Another study in 2019 used CBD on individuals who suffer from insomnia due to anxiety. The results were astonishing! 80% of the individuals anxiety improved, and 70% of the individuals experienced positive results within the first month.
CBD is currently available in many forms, such as CBD gummies, tinctures, capsules, edibles, and vape products. CBD is available in stores all over the country, and can be purchased easily from an online CBD store.
4. Reducing Alcohol Intake
After a stressful day or when going through a nervous situation, you can be tempted to have a glass of wine, beer, or a cocktail. What many don’t know is, alcohol can actually increase anxiety, especially over a long period of time.
Occasional alcohol drinking isn’t necessarily dangerous if approved by a physician. However, many individuals who start drinking begin building a tolerance because of the relaxing effects. A dependence on alcohol can cause anxiety and stress to be even more difficult to deal with.
Over time, alcohol alters serotonin levels in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. Some individuals may even experience worse anxiety once the alcohol has worn off.
5. Changing Diet
People who suffer from anxiety disorders should keep in mind that low blood sugar, poor hydration, alcohol use, caffeine, and smoking can induce anxiety. It’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats is a recommended diet for those who suffer from anxiety. Staying away from processed foods can help avoid highs and lows of blood sugar, which can help reduce feelings of anxiety. For example, eating a dinner consisting of chicken, broccoli, and whole grain pasta will provide a different feeling than eating a dinner consisting of frozen food and ice cream. The first meal consists of unprocessed food, and allows you to control sugar intake. It takes the body a longer period of time to metabolize these types of foods. As a result, you will feel fuller for a longer period of time and maintain steady blood sugar levels.