4 Tips to Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health struggles in the nation. At times, it can seem like a mystery when it comes to figuring out how to reduce anxiety. While anxiety is something everyone feels at times—it’s a natural response to stress—it becomes a problem when it develops into a part of your everyday life. Unchecked, anxiety can drastically affect your quality of life. This is when we begin to classify anxiety as a disorder.
Anxiety affects everyone differently. Some might experience panic attacks or nightmares, while others get frequent headaches or feel tightness in their chest.
Some turn to medication for relief and it works well for them. However, others are not as interested in medication and want to try natural ways to reduce anxiety. There’s no right or wrong answer. It all depends on the individual.
Let’s look at four effective ways to reduce anxiety naturally.
How to Reduce Anxiety Naturally
Exercise isn’t just beneficial physically—it helps us mentally, too. There are a few reasons exercise might help reduce your anxiety.
One is that it can divert your focus away from what is making you anxious. This distraction stops us from furthering a cycle of rumination. Another way it might help is due to brain chemistry. When we exercise, we increase feel-good brain chemicals, including serotonin and endocannabinoids—both known as anxiety-reducing neurotransmitters.
In terms of what types of exercises work best, that’s up to you! Many people enjoy light impact exercise like walking or yoga. Others might enjoy the challenge of a HIIT workout. Do what’s most enjoyable for you.
Meditation and/or mindfulness can be extremely useful for those struggling with anxiety. The goal here is to focus on the present and notice your thoughts and feelings without judgement. Over time, this leads to a sense of calm and can increase your ability to tolerate distressing thoughts and feelings.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness. You might partake in yoga-based meditation, guided meditation, breath work, or other mindfulness exercises.
Sleep is incredibly important for mental health. A lack of restful sleep can make anxiety symptoms worse. Here are some ways to improve your Z’s:
- Turn off blue light devices at least an hour before bed
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
- Try going to bed around the same time each night
- Keep your room dark and cool
- Do some gentle stretching
- Take a relaxing bath
There’s a surprisingly strong link between our sense of smell and our brain. Not only is it the strongest tie when it comes to memories, but it can play a role in reducing anxiety. Soothing smells are known to reduce stress and anxiety. Certain smells might work better for you than others—it all depends on the person!
A common relaxing scent people turn to is lavender. Many report reduced heart rate and improved sleep when using lavender in aromatherapy. Other scents you might look into are:
- Clary sage
- Ylang ylang
Try different combinations to see what you like best. You can add these to a diffuser or a warm bath to get the full benefits.
Regardless of the source of your anxiety, there are many natural ways to reduce your symptoms. Although it is important to remember that while these home remedies may help, they aren’t a replacement for professional help. A therapist is crucial in helping you learn the source of your anxiety, as well as healthy coping mechanisms.
If you’re ready to take control of your anxiety, reach out today. Together, we can get you on a path to sustainable relief.