Coping with Anxiety and understanding and addressing anxiety are crucial for fostering mental health and improving the quality of life for those affected.
First, what is Anxiety? Anxiety is a complex emotional state characterized by intense unease, fear, and worry, often accompanied by physical sensations like restlessness and increased heart rate. It is a normal response to stress or perceived threats, but when persistent or disproportionate, it can develop into a mental health disorder.
Here are some tips on how to cope with Anxiety;
Although gazing at something may not directly slow down or alleviate an anxiety attack, it is widely known that certain colors have a calming effect. Blue and green are often associated with a sense of calmness, while yellow can also be beneficial depending on the type of anxiety. For those who are visually inclined, finding solace in large blocks of color can bring peace, whether it’s looking up at the sky, observing flowers through a window, or simply focusing on the ground. The soothing effect of these colors might be attributed to their connection with nature, as being outdoors has healing qualities. However, it’s important to prioritize taking the necessary steps to address anxiety before exploring external factors.
2. Natural Scents.
Lavender is not the only option for creating a calming environment in your home. There are other household items with immediate calming effects, such as orange, cardamom, rose, vanilla, and patchouli—scents that are earthy and musky. Additionally, burning dried rosemary as incense can be particularly effective. Opening the windows, if possible, can also help by refreshing the air and promoting deep breathing, which can aid in reducing anxiety.
Tea is known to have a calming effect, partly due to the ritualistic nature of preparing and enjoying it. Rosemary is an excellent herb for making tea; simply steep a teaspoon of it in boiling water for 10 minutes. Chamomile is another well-known calming herb used in teas worldwide, especially those marketed for better sleep. Peppermint can soothe the digestive tract and provide a calming effect in small doses, but caution is advised as it can also be stimulating. Drinking tea benefits us through its calming properties and helps with hydration. Anxiety can stress our bodies, and staying hydrated can alleviate some of that strain.
To address a racing heart caused by anxiety, consider drinking a cup of orange juice with a dash of nutmeg and a tablespoon of honey. Note that if you follow a vegan diet, you can omit the honey, but the nutmeg and orange juice alone should suffice. Including celery and onion in your long-term diet may also be beneficial. Both vegetables are rich in potassium and folic acid, deficiencies of which can contribute to feelings of nervousness.
Sounds that are soothing, such as water or white noise, can help calm the mind. Classical music or any music with a slow and gentle tempo has been shown to reduce brain activity and promote relaxation. A technique that may work is cupping your hands over your ears, which could draw your attention to your breath and the sensations on your face.
5. Pressure Points.
While not an expert on acupressure, I can vouch for the effectiveness of one particular pressure point: Heart Seven, also known as the Spirit Gate. The beauty of this point is its accessibility—it is located on the wrist, making it possible to apply pressure discreetly anywhere. To find the Heart Seven point, examine the palm of either hand. On the outer side, where the pinkie finger is located, look for the crease where the hand meets the wrist. About the width of one pinkie finger toward the center of the wrist, you will feel a tendon. Apply pressure to that tendon, right at the crease of your hand. Within moments, you should experience a sense of calmness. As your breathing stabilizes, your thoughts will become clearer, enabling you to make better decisions for yourself. As a bonus, household oils like corn, sunflower, sesame, avocado, or coconut oils can be warmed and gently massaged into the skin for an instant calming effect.
6. Legs Up the Wall Pose
While this pose may be more challenging to do in public and requires some time, it is highly beneficial. By assuming the Legs Up the Wall Pose, you allow your body to reverse the typical strain from sitting or standing. When your lower back is supported, it facilitates the free flow of your lymphatic system. Furthermore, this pose improves blood flow in your chest and core, which helps slow down your heart rate.
7. Four/Seven/Eight Breath.
Although breathing can initially be difficult during moments of anxiety, it is crucial to deliver oxygen to your body once you have grounded yourself. One calming breathing technique I particularly enjoy is a classic and simple cycle: inhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight. Having explored various breathing techniques, I have found this rhythmical pattern to be the most effective and relaxing.
When caught in the grip of anxiety, visualizing can be a powerful tool for complete relaxation. There are countless visualization techniques available, or you can create one tailored to your individual preferences. Personally, I have found solace in a visualization where I imagine my worry as a stone set in a ring. I gently release the clasps holding the stone and set it free, symbolizing letting go of my anxiety. While these suggestions may help alleviate immediate symptoms of anxiety, it is important to note that long-term relief often comes from paying close attention to our diet and physical activity.
May these tips provide some breathing room, enabling us all to foster healthier well-being.