Everyday anxiety and nervousness are typically rooted in the “fight or flight” instinct. You may experience this type of occasional behavior before a public speaking event, a presentation, or a test. These would be examples of acute anxiety, a perfectly natural response to these situations that’s nothing to stress over. Your body may trigger chronic anxiety, however, if you constantly worry about finances, health, family members, or other, long-term situations outside of your control. If you feel you have chronic anxiety, it’s important to develop a plan to consistently manage your stress.
The physical symptoms of stress can include:
- Digestive issues
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Tense muscles and achiness
Chronic stress can lead you to avoid other people and social situations. It may also be the root of feelings of loneliness, depression, and overwhelm. 18% of women, 6% of men, and 10% of children in the U.S. are struggling with migraines or headaches possibly related to chronic stress–and are searching for relief.
Although there are dozens of anti-anxiety medications on the market, you can lower the typical stress and anxiety you feel with several ways to calm your nerves without the use of medication by incorporating lifestyle and diet changes.
1. Essential Oils
Your sense of smell can actually help to relieve stress and anxiety. You can inhale the scent of essential oils to alter your emotions and mood through the limbic system and amygdala. Essential oils absorb through the skin and can trigger a calming effect through the central nervous system. You can try lavender essential oil in your bath water or inhale the scent from an essential oil diffuser or during a massage to possibly lower your blood pressure and heart rate and induce a calm mental state. (Before jumping in, check out these 7 Must-Follow Essential Oil Safety Tips.)
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Increased cortisol levels play a role in the high anxiety and stress you may feel at times. By adding more foods with omega-3 fatty acids, you may be able to lower the cortisol levels in your body as well as the adrenaline level and improve memory. Walnuts and flax seeds are high in this beneficial fatty acid. Here are some additional vegan sources of Omega 3.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise can fight the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety. The endorphins produced through physical activity counteract the negative effects of stress and can decrease tension, lift your mood, and improve sleep. A brisk walk may give you temporary relief from the stress of everyday life. Also, certain yoga poses can help ease the feelings of stress.
4. Chamomile Tea
According to one study, participants with generalized anxiety disorder who received chamomile supplements experienced decreased anxiety symptoms after eight weeks. Drinking the tea may produce different results since it is not as concentrated as capsules; however, the hot drink can work at calming your nerves and inducing sleep.
5. Time Out
Even adults need a period of “time out” to relax and unwind after a stressful day. Taking a walk in daylight in a quiet setting may help lower stress hormones and alleviate depression. The natural light will increase your Vitamin D levels, which can elevate your sense of well-being. Walking meditation can quiet your mind and help you manage stress. The practice forces you to redirect your thoughts and focus on sensations rather than worries. Even a 10- to 20-minute walk may make you feel more in control and refreshed.
Anxiety disorders are a bit more complicated and may require medication and/or therapy to manage if severe. This includes generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. If you are currently managing your anxiety disorder with medication, consult with your physician before implementing any of the above calming ideas, and never stop your medication unless directed by your doctor.
What natural methods do you use to calm your nerves?
Also by Cori: 4 Health-Sabotaging Workplace Habits to Break in 2017
Related: 5 Creative Pastimes To Ease Anxiety
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