Overcome Anxiety & Be Your Best
Anxiety is a condition that is most likely experienced by an individual at different stages of their lives. For some people, medication may seem to be the easiest way to overcome anxiety, but that is not necessarily the best way for everyone.
Anxiety Management vs Curing Anxiety
Improving your wellbeing ideally starts by making a conscious choice and taking small consistent steps towards managing your anxiety. Think about the last time you wanted to get in shape for the summer. You knew you had to exercise, but you couldn't do it sporadically. Achieving fitness goals required a consistent and healthy diet and exercise. When it comes to dealing with anxiety, there are a number of healthy choices that can be considered to help you best manage anxiety.
- Breathing Exercises
Practicing breathing is very useful for people who are anxious, especially those who experience symptoms like habitual hyperventilation. According to Better Health Victoria, habitual hyperventilation disturbs the balance of blood gases because there is not enough carbon dioxide in the blood.
Hyperventilation is very common in people with panic attacks and often causes physical symptoms and, by itself, causes more anxiety. To prevent recurrence, breathing techniques can be used to calm the body and reduce the likelihood of hyperventilation. There are many different breathing methods, here is one you can try:
- Slowly inhale through your nose for 5-6 seconds.
- Press and hold for 3 seconds.
- Exhale for 7 seconds from pursed lip breathing (like a whistle).
This type of breathing restores the proper balance of carbon dioxide to the body. This keeps your heart rate at a proper pace and reduces the severity of some anxiety symptoms.
According to Better Health Victoria, people who exerise regularly have better mental health, emotional wellbeing and have lower rates of mental illness (Better Health Victoria, 2021). Exercise itself has proven to be a valuable tool in managing anxiety. When exercising, chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters are released within your nervous system resulting in a mood-boosting effect. Not only does this reduce stress, but it can also have a positive impact on your self esteem, contribute to better quality sleep and sharper cognitive focus (Healthline, 2022). Exercise is a naturally healthy way to overcome anxiety and can be enjoyed in many forms such as yoga, weight training or hiking.
According to Mind Health 360, Mental health problems such as memory loss, anxiety, depression, irritability, and insomnia have been associated with deficiencies in particular vitamins.
More specifically, studies have suggested low levels of magnesium contribute to:
- Higher levels of stress
- Insomnia or sleep disturbances
- Headaches or muscle pain/tightness
Magnesium supports the brain in two important ways. Firstly, it blocks the function of stimulating neurotransmitters and connects it to more soothing receptors which results in having a calming effect on an individual. Secondly, it supports the regulation of stress hormones such as cortisol which supports the nervous system (Chandra, 2021).
This can mean people who have low magnesium levels can experience daily situations that are seemingly stressful, in a more profound way if they suffer from long-term anxiety and stress. This will further reduce serum magnesium. Keep in mind that low magnesium levels are unlikely to actually cause anxiety, but rather help cause anxiety-related physical symptoms. Talk to your doctor before adding magnesium or other vitamins / minerals to your diet to make sure you're getting the right nutrition your body actually needs.
- Let Off Steam
Another strategy that people can use a lot is the idea of deliberately "letting off steam." You should always do this in a private area where you can express yourself in an uninhibited way, without judgement. But the idea is that you're essentially releasing all the stress you've bottled. This strategy is not only liberating, but it's also a good way to feel like you're not caught in your head. You can start by finding a private spot and scream to your heart's content. Another option is to get creative. Painting on a blank canvass to express yourself creatively in order to offload pent up energy is a fantastic way to reduce stress or anxiety. Few people take the opportunity to do this, but it can truly be a great tool to help you let go of your worries and return to the present moment.
These are just some of the strategies for reducing anxiety. Alternatively, some people may find relaxation exercises such as visualization and progressive muscle relaxation useful. Others find that setting goals, staying socially active, and spending time with fun and enjoyable activities is all they need. This journey starts by making a conscious choice, a commitment to managing your anxiety and improving your wellbeing.
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How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety, These 7 Steps Can Help (betterup.com)
10 Ways to Stop and Calm Anxiety Quickly (calmclinic.com)
16 Best Ways to Overcome Anxiety Disorder (powerofpositivity.com)
Best forms of magnesium for anxiety and depression(https://www.chandramd.com/blog/magnesium-supplements-anxiety)
Exercise and the Brain: The mental health benefits of exercise (https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/exercise)
Imbalances in Vitamins (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/exercise-and-mental-health)