Do you feel as though you are hard-wired to be anxious? The most mundane tasks put you on edge: answering a phone call from a strange number, meeting with a client, or spending weeks dreading the annual family Christmas party. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that may quell your social jitters.
Although it may seem like a comically simple solution, breathing techniques can be helpful for the chronically stressed. Panic attacks may include symptoms such as hyperventilation and set off the body’s alarm bells. By taking slow, deep breaths through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, you may reduce your heart rate and relax your tense muscles.
Practise mindfulness and muscle relaxation
When you are perpetually anxious, you may react to stressful situations in the same manner you typically have in the past. However, with practice, you may be able to train yourself to take a different approach to anxiety.
Mindfulness is a skill that many people can achieve, but it takes discipline and practice.You might begin by trying to sit in a quiet space and closing your eyes; allowing yourself to be aware of any thoughts racing through your mind. Take an inventory of the way your body feels. Are you holding tension in certain parts of your body?
For five seconds, tense and then release each group of muscles starting from your toes and work your way up through your legs, midsection, shoulders, all the way up to your head. While your muscles are relaxing, focus your mind on feeling a calm sensation.
Now that your body is relaxed, try focusing on quieting your mind. See if you can direct your attention away from any intrusive thoughts, even if it’s something as simple as: ‘I really need to finish the dishes.’
With each session, you have the opportunity to practice redirecting your thoughts. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work for you the first time, keep practising.
Regular exercise has the potential to reduce adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol. As an added bonus, exercise could give you a boost of endorphins, the feel-good chemical that has the potential to reduce pain and stress levels.
As enjoyable as it might be downing a heaping helping of red velvet cake, food has one function: fuelling your body. What you eat matters. If you’re not getting the proper nutrition, it could contribute to poor physical and mental health.
In addition to providing beneficial vitamins and minerals that contribute to mental health, a proper diet may change the makeup of our gut microbiome, which could potentially affect your emotional state.
Magnesium is also important for maintaining proper health. Magnesium helps support the immune system, muscle and nerve function, maintaining a healthy heartbeat, and it may help relieve anxiety.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium intake for adults can be around 300–420mg per day, depending on a variety of factors. Consult with a medical professional before choosing to supplement to be sure supplementing with magnesium is right for you and to discuss possible side effects.
This fragrant flower from the daisy family may also assist with anxiety. Its flavonoids can be taken via capsule or tincture, though it is best known as a pleasant herbal tea.
Native to Asia and Europe, this popular herb may help with sleep and anxiety. Its sedating effects may be related to increasing the amount of GABA in synapses between nerve cells. It is available in the form of capsules, extracts, and herbal tea.
It is important to talk with your doctor, or consider consulting with a psychiatrist in Boulder before trying new supplements as they are not indicated for everyone and can have possible side effects or medication interactions.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.
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