What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of great fear and worry. Everybody feels worried and anxious from time to time, and this is a normal part of life. If your anxiety makes you unhappy, or stops you from doing the things you want to do, it may be a problem. Anxiety can cause fast heartbeat and breathing as well as problems concentrating.
Why am I anxious?
It is hard to point to the cause of anxiety. Each person is different and is anxious for different reasons. Life stresses, some medications and diseases, and events in the past can all make you anxious.
What can I do?
Exercise is a great way to reduce anxiety. Aerobic exercises like running, swimming or cycling. are the best. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. For anxiety even 20-30 minutes three times a week can help.
Smoking may relax you while you are smoking but it makes you feel more anxious the rest of the time. Quitting will actually make you feel a lot better, not worse.
Eat vegetables and fruit every day and fish and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans etc.) at least 2-3 times a week. Cut down on bread, potatoes and sugar as these foods can make your anxiety worse by causing ups and downs in your blood sugar levels.
Cut out caffeine
Coffee, tea and many types of soda have caffeine in them. Caffeine can wake you up, but it can also make you feel nervous and anxious. Even just one cup of coffee a day could be too much. Try seltzer, with a bit of fruit juice, or an herbal tea instead.
Drink less alcohol
Alcohol can increase your anxiety so it could helpful to drink less or stop drinking. If you do drink, do not drink more than one drink a day and don?t drink every day.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish like salmon and sardines, and walnuts, flax and pumpkin seeds. They help keep the heart healthy and also may be good for depression and anxiety. Try to eat some of these foods every day. Fish oil supplements are also an option if you find it hard to eat these foods.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the best therapies for anxiety. With a therapist you will talk the about the thoughts that give you anxiety and what happens when you feel anxious. Together you will learn how to think in a more positive way and learn ways to calm yourself if you feel anxious.
Deep breaths slow your heart, which is good for anxiety. You can do breathing exercises like abdominal breathing on your own or with the help of a biofeedback machine.
Yoga helps connect mind and body to give a deep sense of calm. Whatever your age or fitness level, there is a type of yoga for you.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a type of meditation training that helps people overcome pain and stress. Among other things, it teaches you to be aware of your body by focusing your attention on it.
Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese treatment using very thin needles in the skin which can be very helpful for anxiety
These herbal medicines can help with anxiety, but be sure to let your health care professional know if you are taking them.
Valerian can help with sleep and may help you feel less anxious and stressed You can take it in capsules, tablets, or extract for best effect.
Passionflower helps some people relax. It can work well in either tea form or as a liquid extract or a capsule.
Some people find the smell of lavender relaxing. You can mix 2-3 drops of lavender oil with 10 drops of good quality vegetable oil and rub this into the back of your neck to help with anxiety.
Lakhan SE and Vieira KE Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:42 DOI: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-42 http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/42
Sarris J1, Moylan S, Camfield DA, Pase MP, Mischoulon D, Berk M, Jacka FN, Schweitzer I. Complementary medicine, exercise, meditation, diet, and lifestyle modification for anxiety disorders: a review of current evidence. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:809653. doi: 10.1155/2012/809653. Epub 2012 Aug 27.
Carek PJ. Libstain SE, Carek SM EXERCISE FOR THE TREATMENT OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY INT'L. J. PSYCHIATRY IN MEDICINE, Vol. 41(1) 15-28, 2011
Smriga M1, Ando T, R. Perry, , R. Terry, L.K. Watson, E. Ernst Is lavender an anxiolytic drug? A systematic review of randomised clinical trials Phytomedicine Volume 19, Issues 8&mdash9, 15 June 2012, Pages 825-835
Appleton KM1, Sallis HM, Perry R, Ness AR, Churchill R. Omega-3 fatty acids for depression in adults.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Nov 5;11:CD004692. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004692.pub4
Gustavo Kinrys, M.D.,Eliza Coleman, B.A.,and Ethan Rothstein, B.A.1NATURAL REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY DISORDERS:POTENTIAL USE AND CLINICAL APPLICATIONS DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY 26:259?265 (2009)
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