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15 Natural Strategies to Overcome Stress and Anxiety
By Wee Peng Ho
Don't let chronic anxiety cripple your life and sap your energy. Reclaim your vigor today by following these natural, drug-free ways that work.
Are you perpetually anxious, exhausted and burnt-out? While occasional anxiety over a person you care about or an upcoming event is normal, recurring anxiety that gets out of control is certainly not.
If left unchecked, anxiety can literally cripples lives. People suffering from chronic anxiety are often plagued by all sorts of possible worst case scenarios which in turn trigger secondary symptoms like panic, fear, worry, anguish, stress and chronic fatigue that threaten to incapacitate them.
They become anxious about getting out of bed in the morning, about going to work, about meeting other people, about staying alive, and even about anxiety itself.
Healing Your Anxieties Naturally
If you are experiencing some form of anxiety, it is important to acknowledge the condition. Denial can only delay proactive actions to address your condition and potentially compound the intensity of your next anxiety attack.
Perhaps some areas of your life that have been neglected for sometime need your attention, and anxiety is your body’s way of getting your attention.
No matter what is the source of your anxiety, pick up some simple and natural ways below to rule your anxiety before it rules you.
Back to Basics
Habits that Eliminate Anxiety
- Return to Nature. Separation from Mother Nature coupled with constant bombardment with urban stress, electromagnetic radiations and poor nutrition can induce anxiety response. Our body has a primordial need to be nourished by nature and when this deprivation becomes chronic, physical and mental ailments occur. Replenish your manna reserve by scheduling regular breaks to spend time at the seaside, forest, or nature reserve alone or with your loved ones. Even a fifteen-minute walk through the park after a dinner can be invigorating to the body, mind and soul.
- Feed on Wholesome Foods. All living things are meant to be sustained by whole living foods, not highly processed foods, drugs, synthetic preservatives or man-made additives, which may cause anxiety, insomnia and restlessness. Introduce as much fresh whole foods into your diet as you can to supply your body with essential nutrients. They may require more time to prepare, but the extra time you put in will mean spending lesser time in the clinic and more quality time with your loved ones.
- Learn the Art of Resting. Each night we need at least seven hours of sleep, and we perform and learn better when we take a 10-minute break for every sixty to ninety minutes of concentrated work. Depriving yourself of rest can easily induce stress, irritability and anxiety. Do not brush aside any sleep problem that lasts for more than a week. Pick up at least one form of self-help relaxation technique that works well for you, such as yoga, aromatherapy, meditation or Tai Chi.
- Manage Modern-Day Stimulation. People in the past may not have TV, radio, mobile or the Internet. But they also have less anxiety attack cases. These communication channels have a role to play in our modern life. But most of us abuse the use of them and just can’t turn them off when it’s clearly time to do so. With the ever-increasing stimulation and information we get on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that many of us suffer from anxiety. Allocate time for selected media that really matter to your work and your well-being, and stick to the scheduled time.
- Let Go and Stop Worrying. Are you trying to control and perfect everything in your life? If this sounds like you, check your rationale and assess your results so far. Are you trying to satisfy your own selfishness in the name of service to others? Are you happier by being a control freak? Many things in life are out of our control and therefore are pointless to worry about. Learn to recognize things that are within your control and those that are not. Then cut your anxiety by at least fifty percent by letting go of those in the latter.
When Anxiety Attack Strikes…
- Tune In to Life. Anxiety is caused by the interplay of our dreadful thoughts about the future and unpleasant experiences of the past. It disconnects us from the now and disassociate us from our body. Cure this disengagement by learning how to tune in to your surroundings completely, rather than taking a detached stance which we often assume for most things in life. Live passionately! Unfurl your dormant senses as if you’re using them for the first time and really look, hear, smell, taste and feel the pulse of every moment.
- Watch Your Mind with Meditation. Silent contemplation is another great way to learn how to stay in the now as it familiarizes you with your own thoughts and the feelings associated with them. Meditation can also help you to identify anxiety-inducing thoughts which you may not be conscious of, giving you a chance to let go of them and be freed from their grip.
- Think Positive Thoughts. Anxiety may be a nasty experience but do you know that you can get addicted to it? Research shows that we unconsciously sought out familiar mental states and emotions even though they may be making us miserable. But the good news is you can rewire your mind to think and feel positively. Give your brain a daily dose of positive affirmations to replace anxiety-promoting thoughts and bolster self-confidence. Remind yourself that you’re equally cherished and sustained by the source of all lives, and you have the same inner potential and resources like everyone else.
- Nurture Inner Peace. Cultivate the habit of nurturing a peace of mind in your everyday life. Telling lies and doing things that conflict with your conscience create huge emotional burdens and energy black holes that can eventually manifest as recurring anxiety. Do what’s necessary to make peace with your heart and eliminate actions that will bring about more anxiety.
- Move Your Body Everyday. You know that exercise produces chemicals in the body that melt stress and calm frazzled nerves. But you are not doing it because you thought you’ve got to work out really hard to reap the benefits. But contrary to common beliefs, you only require moderate physical activity, thirty minutes a day to stay healthy and anxiety-free. What’s more, gardening and brisk walking to your grocer count!
- Breathe with Gusto. When you are anxious, breathing becomes short and shallow unconsciously. You start to gasp for air like a fish out of water, taking in less oxygen which your organs need for optimal function. This lack of oxygen hampers clear thinking which may explain why thoughts and decisions made during anxiety usually perpetuate nervousness rather than relieving it. You can reduce the effects of anxiety and calm yourself down by breathing consciously. Take slow and gradually deep breaths like the way you do when you are up on top of a mountain. Feel your anxiety dissolving as you focus on your breathing.
- Take One Step at a Time. When anxiety strikes, we are often derailed from our intended course and start making choices based on fear. Instead of allowing anxiety to run your life, why not put your trust on what is happening and live life one step at a time? Have faith in nature and let it unfold itself. Regardless of what is going to happen, rest in the belief that everything happens for a purpose.
- Melt Your Anxiety with Visualization. Imagine someone who possesses strong inner strength transferring his or her power to you, while at the same time condensing your anxiety to the size of a frozen pea. The person can be Jesus Christ, Buddha, or even your favorite celebrity if inner strength is what you associated with him or her. Now with the frozen pea in your palm, throw it to the furthest corners of the universe as far as you can and see it disappear with a glimmer in the horizon.
- Laugh Your Anxiety Away. When you feel an anxiety attack is imminent, faking laughter may fool your body into creating feel-good chemicals that can counteract with the anxiety’s fight or fight response. Watch a funny video clip or read a couple of jokes can make laughter easier if you find it hard to fake a laugh. Click here if you need more ideas on how to use humor to cure anxiety.
- 5. Pour Out Your Anxiety with Free Writing. Bottling up all your emotions during an anxiety attack only creates an infinite loop that can get out of hand. Take out a few pieces of paper and pour out your anxiety with free writing. When you free write, you let go of your usual inhibitions, disengage from your inner critic and give your anxiety an outlet to express itself.
Wee Peng Ho conducts mindfulness-based business transformation training as well as stress reduction classes for companies and organizations. To learn more about how to better manage stress and anxiety, do check out the library of Stress and Anxiety Resources on his website, and sign up for his free newsletter for monthly tips.
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