4 Natural Ways to Decrease Anxiety and Stress
Most everyone deals with some level of anxiety or stress on a daily or weekly basis. Maybe you have a job interview, a big test coming up, or you are meeting your significant other's family. That is completely normal but more than 40 million Americans actually deal with more significant chronic anxiety. For those people, such things as social phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD are the reality they have to deal with on a day to day basis. I am one of the 40 million people who battle anxiety on a daily basis. There was a time I thought I would be ruled by my disorder for the rest of my life, but thankfully that was not the case. There are many ways natural ways one can cope with having an anxiety disorder in addition to medication and treatment.
Over the past ten years, I have learned healthy ways to face my anxiety head on to learn new ways of dealing with attacks. Today I am going to share a few of those things with you.
In my opinion, exercise should be a requirement for every single person on the planet. Exercise can help to heal or lessen so many ailments including anxiety! Getting active and exercising releases endorphins and breaks the pattern of obsessive thoughts. By being active regularly and removing yourself from a place of worry you release endorphins and break the cycle. According to scientists, physical activity may improve mental health by helping your brain to cope better with stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, in addition to helping those who already suffer from anxiety, people who regularly exercise are 25% less likely to develop an anxiety disorder over the next 5 years.
In a stressful situation have you ever stopped and realized that you weren't breathing? I have. In fact, I have noticed quite a few times that I was either not breathing or taking really shallow breaths. Since I have noticed I now not only am conscious of my breath in stressful situations but practice breathing on a regular basis. Concentrating on your breath and taking it slow can help to calm you down and bring your body back into balance. The video below teaches a few breathing exercises to use in times of stress. Check it out!
3. Control Your Mind
One of the main reasons I was feeling SO much anxiety was because of my obsessive negative thoughts. Throughout a day I would say or think negatively about myself hundreds of times. Any situation I thought of, my mind automatically thought of everything that could go wrong. One way to control these thoughts and your anxiety is by gaining mind control. I started practicing yoga and meditation to calm myself. In addition to that, I retrained my brain. Anytime I had a negative thought I stopped myself and changed it to a positive thought. It was awkward at first, but with repetition, I found that I was having negative thoughts less frequently and eventually not much at all. Practicing mindfulness meditation paired with re-training my brain has allowed me to get those negative thoughts under control. Try it out!
4. Laugh and Smile Often
Did you know that even if you are feeling miserable forcing yourself to smile sends signals to your brain that can change your mood? The act of smiling activated neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. Dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are all released when you smile whether you mean that smile or not. So the next time you are feeling down or anxious, flash a big smile!
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