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April 30, 2015 12 min read
Imagine your brain constantly yelling “Ahhhh!” at random moments of the day. Imagine that you continuously find yourself incapable of controlling the fearful thought patterns weaving their way into every action or move you make during the course of a typical schedule. A rapid fire of inner dialogue consists of phrases like “I’ll never get anywhere; why bother?” or “What will everyone think of me?” A borage of self-doubt, fear, and worry about nearly everything follows you around, always lurking and waiting to pounce and take over either every second of the day or at unplanned moments. This is anxiety, a continuous cycle of low self-esteem, constant worry about not being good enough, and wondering why bother because you might seriously mess it up anyway. It nags and nags, sticking around as you talk to friends and family, making you afraid of what they will say about you. It prevents you from concentrating because it may not be good enough, whatever you are doing.
Around eighteen percent of all American adults struggle with anxiety, with twenty two percent of that group living with a severe version of it. Anxiety can mean a number of unpleasant thought patterns every single day for many of those dealing with it. From fear of judgement and disturbed sleep patterns to phobias and panic attacks, it shifts around in people from one symptom to another, making general life a more than difficult task for many people. It can make simple functions a major challenge, from simply talking to others to concentrating on school or work. The constant nag in the mind leads to a combination of complex behavior and perceptions, often followed by a fear of being viewed negatively. Anxiety makes its way into the habits and life of the person, weaving into their very behavior. What contributes to this mindset? And how does one manage it – in a natural manner that does not require mind-altering medications that could cause unwanted side effects? Discover anxiety’s roots, and how to manage it in a way that suits you.
Chances are that if you struggle with anxiety now, then it has probably hung around for years. The National Institute of Mental Health states that the typical age that anxiety starts to rare its ugly head happens at about the age of eleven for most people. It can either be a symptom of some of a mental disorder, the result of a number of environmental factors, result of physical health, or a combination of these three, as they may all feed into each other. Often, it is triggered by something uncontrollable. It generally describes habitual thought patterns and behaviors that derive from or result in excessive nervousness, phobic tendencies, continuous worry, and apprehensive tendencies that occur regularly over a long period of time in a consistent, persistent manner. Symptoms you may experience or notice in someone else include digestive issues resulting in nausea or diarrhea, migraines or headaches, or insomnia or sleeping too much.
The symptoms not only take over the physical body, but encompass the behaviors and attitudes as well. Irritability may prevail in the way a person operates with other people. Becoming snippy or too easily frustrated or a lack of focus on a task because a constant stream of worry disrupts the ability to think are both results of a general anxiety disorder. You may struggle with destructive thought patterns directed toward yourself including doubt in what you do or enjoy and belief that something about yourself does not work quite right. These negative thoughts make it difficult to maintain a positive outlook and attitude, and other destructive habits such as disordered eating, compulsive behaviors, and outbursts come from the pressure constantly piling as you attempt to deflect and keep it a secret from the rest of the world.
Other physical symptoms that you may notice within yourself can include rapid heart rate or heart palpitations. Sometimes, achiness in muscles may also result, as anxiety affects your entire body. It makes your body more tense, and can cause you to use a different posture than you typically would, like slumping more. Many people even avoid tasks like going shopping at the grocery store, or general interactions with other people as it sets their mind racing on subjects about what people may think or how they are supposed to handle the situation. The outlook and the physical effects both go hand in hand, and result in a life of less quality and joy than that of a person who does not struggle with a generalized anxiety disorder. Yet, this thought pattern can be healed with time and patience, and the first step to keeping anxiety from weighing you down everyday starts from understanding where it comes from.
Many of those struggling with anxiety do not know where it originates, as it can play as a symptom to another disorder or issue, or it may be the actual problem itself. Anxiety comes from a number of different environmental factors as well, snowballing into a more noticeable and debilitating problem when stress levels go up. Some general stress factors that often feed anxiety include simple things. School can bring on exams, final papers, and projects. Work can mean stress from your boss or coworkers, or an important meeting or presentation. Concern about an overwhelming financial situation or interpersonal relationship can also play into the list of environmental factors that contribute to the severity of anxiety. Much of the time, a variety of different things add to the incredible weight, causing a person to retreat into anxious habits and lifestyles.
Other times, the fuel comes from a deeply rooted issue, such as a symptom or concern about a mental disorder, a trigger, or an imbalance in the body’s chemistry whether in the brain, from hormones, or other bodily factors that throw off an individual’s mental equilibrium. Disorders such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia, or body dysmorphia all either include anxiety as a symptom or are key players into a person’s development of generalized anxiety. Many women going through biological changes such as pregnancy, menopause, or the ever changing body of a teenage girl may experience anxiety due to hormones. An unhealthy thyroid makes the list of biological problems as well, as it controls a great deal of synthesis in the body. These kinds of changes (present also in men) contribute to the development of generalized anxiety. Other people have triggers from a past event that cause them to develop chronic anxiety. For instance, if you had bad or traumatic experiences from adults yelling at you as a child, then someone yelling at you could trigger anxiety for you.
The general health of your digestive system is also yet another, highly important factor into a generalized anxiety disorder that often goes overlooked. What you put into your body will dictate how your body, and subsequently your mind, handles stress. Your stress response becomes stronger and more difficult to manage when the body does not absorb enough of the right nutrients to keep hormones, biochemicals, and systematic functions in check and in a balanced order. Thus, it becomes extremely difficult to handle stressful situations, and your responses may translate into peculiar, isolatory behavior that keeps you locked down in a room, away from others to avoid the glances and judgements of others, and ultimately the imminent failure that you dread. Add some medications that alter your body’s functions, a few stressful situations in your daily life, and the anxiety-driven desire to isolate, and you have a recipe for mental disaster. Luckily, you will enjoy an easier time managing your anxiety if you make a few changes in your daily routine, and take better note of your own thought patterns or behaviors.
If your thoughts take a turn toward suicidal or self-destructive tendencies, then we highly recommend you get professional help from a therapist or psychiatrist. This may help you pinpoint what your exact needs are, while helping you steer away from those thoughts and tendencies. These professionals have resources and therapy plans that will help you learn to maintain a mental equilibrium, so that your mind does not drag you to all corners of existence. However, whether you see a professional counselor or not, supplementing your lifestyle a few healthier habits can greatly reduce the amount of tension and anxiety you experience in your life – without function-altering medicines that could completely derail your ability to function normally. The small changes may surprise you, and are easy to start and maintain once you get going. Check out some of these natural medicines that you can either get for free or at your local grocery store.
First, know exactly what to cut out of your life to improve your stress and anxiety management. Many substances can contribute to your anxiety problem, and you may not even realize you indulge in them. For instance, consuming too much caffeine will result in your body physically reacting in an anxious manner. It causes your heart to beat faster, disrupts your sleep patterns, and can deplete your ability to absorb nutrients. Either start reducing your intake daily, swap out your coffee brand for a brand that contains less, or substitute your coffee with tea or tisanes entirely. This will greatly reduce the impact that stress has on your body.
Believe it or not, you can actually feed your anxiety through your eating habits. You can feed it with refined, processed foods high in sugar but low in micronutrients. As mentioned in some of our previous articles, the effects of what you chose to eat not only show up physically, but can also disrupt your sleep patterns and attitude. When your body does not the substances it needs to handle stress correctly, your mind is sure to follow. Plus, anxiety can cause people to tend more toward disordered eating habits. No, this does not necessarily mean an eating disorder. It means that you may eat more foods to find comfort and control, or you may forget to eat altogether since your mind runs wild with a million other negative thoughts. Eating for comfort often results in eating even more processed, readily available foods. Skipping meals forces the body to work more than it should have to, increasing anxiety levels. Stabilize your eating habits, and your body and mind will show the difference.
Finally, giving in to your anxious desire to stay confined from the rest of society will also send you down a treacherous path. It keeps you from getting the needed daily exercise, sunlight, and social activity that your body requires to stay healthy. Plus, it allows you to stew in your negativity as your mind continues to circle in destructive thought patterns. Psychological studies show evidence that getting your body moving outside everyday will provide improvement. It gets your blood flowing, and relieves excess energy that contributes to restlessness and disturbed sleep patterns. It works on anxiety in the same way that taking an aspirin works on a headache, offering relaxation . Plus, many people struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder may also experience anxiety. This disorder comes directly from the change of the seasons, from the warm weather to the cold. Getting out in the sunlight and moving around will certainly help individuals struggling with it.
Now, you know which habits to kick out of your life to achieve a more balanced, positive, and calm outlook and mindset. The next step lies in implementing new habits that will decrease the feelings of isolation, fear, and constant fight-or-flight response that beats through your head. Getting your body back on track to benefit your mind is one of the first habits to implement. Taking care of yourself consciously and maintaining your health with purpose will reignite feelings of self-appreciation, positive self-esteem, and reinforce a positive outlook. It means that you are looking after yourself, and therefore accomplishing something each and every day. Here are a few methods that I tried to get myself back on track when I struggle with anxiety and depression.
If you thought about replacing your caffeine intake with teas or tisanes, then selecting teas specifically formulated to calm your nerves is definitely a good place to start. Chamomile, the most popular option for anxiety, offers relief for those with mild symptoms. Plus, it encourages a better, healthier appetite for those who experience an appetite decrease due to stressful situations. Another option lies in green tea. While most commonly known for its antioxidants, green tea also contains a protein-based compound called theanine, linked to the brains ability to produce relaxing alpha waves. This will enhance your ability to stay calm and maintain balance without getting derailed by a cacophony of negative thought patterns.
Now that you know to stay away from processed or refined foods, carefully select a new diet that feeds your needs, not your anxiety. Consume foods rich with B vitamins, as a lack of proper folic acid or B12 will easily set the stage for feelings of depression and negativity. Eat lots of citrus fruits and leaves like spinach and romaine to keep your B vitamins flowing to your brain. You can also get some relief by eating plenty of protein, which enhances your brain’s ability to produce serotonin and dopamine – two hormones needed to feel good and relax. You can increase your intake of protein through eating more free-range eggs, Greek yogurt, organic nuts, and organic beans. Also, make sure you supplement your meals with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which serve as anti-inflammatories, especially in the brain. A diet deficient in omega-3s has shown to increase your chances of developing anxiety and depression.
Regulating your sleep habits will also decrease feelings of persistent anxiety. Since it already may cause disruptions in healthy sleep habits, anxiety can be best treating by getting more of what it already deprives your body. Practice healthy sleep hygiene for optimal results. Anxiety can cause either insomnia, or a lack of proper sleep, or it can make you oversleep from lack of motivation and extreme amounts of fatigue. Learn more about good sleep hygiene by reading our blog posts ‘How Your Sleep Habits Affect Your Health’ and ‘How Lack of Sleep Lacks Life‘ to discover ways to regulate and balance your sleep patterns for a more healthy lifestyle.
Finally, you can add some natural supplements to your diet as a means of enriching your intake of the nutrients your body needs to create balanced hormones and biochemicals. Taking melatonin to balance out sleep will help you get your waking and sleeping schedule back on track for the better. It is a hormone your body produces naturally to keep your cycle in tact. Take the recommended dosage an hour or two before you go to sleep, and dedicate a full eight hours to rest for the night when taking melatonin. You can also take supplements of magnesium, a mineral which helps to control and maintain up to three hundred functions of your body. It improves your sleeping cycles, and is even called the ‘relaxation mineral.’ Vitamin C also plays a key role in ensuring a healthy adrenal function by regulating your fight-or-flight responses. You can take a multimineral as well to increase your body’s trace mineral uptake. Calcium, zinc, and potassium all encourage proper brain functions.
Nobody enjoys anxiety taking such a firm grip on their lives to the point that it affects all relationships and all daily activities. While the contributing factors may vary from mindset in general to intake of nutrients and healthy habits, making small but effective changes to the way we treat ourselves can greatly affect the severity and the way you handle stress. Keep your body and mind calm and relaxed by trying some of these suggestions, and let yourself be at ease. Comment below to share some natural remedies that helped you deal with anxiety. You can help others like yourself learn how to better handle the daily stressors that greatly impact their ability to live a healthy life. Eliminate all toxic habits, from diet to bad sleep patterns, and you are sure to notice a difference. For more information about treating depression naturally, see our blog post.
Let some skin-loving aromatherapy into your life too! Face naturals offers a full line of nontoxic, botanical products made from organic ingredients. We have a number of different aromas in our products that can naturally help calm and relax you all while pampering your skin with healing nourishment. Select from our lavender products or give our Chamomile Hydrosol a go. We also have the soothing tingle of organic peppermint, which eases muscle aches and physical tension. You are sure to discover a skincare routine to supplement your anti-anxiety lifestyle. Heal yourself from the inside out the natural way, and join our healthy mission today. Keep up with blog posts that touch on hot health topics, natural beauty secrets, and other interesting information with a unique and healthy approach to staying positive and full of life. Contact us to find out which products will work best for you, and we will get you started on a skincare plan that actually works.
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