The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that anxiety disorder is the most common mental health problem, with around 301 million people suffering from it worldwide in 2019. If you also suffer from it, it is normal to feel hopeless or as if something is wrong with you. But mental health problems are normal and can be treated like other health complications.
If the symptoms of anxiety are serious, one should always seek help from a trained mental health professional. But if that’s not the case, there are some home treatments, mostly in the form of lifestyle changes that one can follow. These treatments won’t always treat your symptoms directly but will make you better prepared to cope with them.
Follow A Healthy Lifestyle
When we talk about a healthy lifestyle, it involves a combination of diet, exercise, and a good night’s sleep.
Diet should be high in nutrients, low in sugar, and processed foods. Consuming too many sugary foods can make you feel anxious by disrupting your blood sugar levels. Make sure you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and avoid junk food as much as possible.
Moderate to intense exercise can help reduce stress levels by releasing endorphins which make you feel happier and more relaxed afterward. A 45 to 60 minutes workout session 3-5 times a week is something you should opt for. If you exercise regularly as part of your routine, that’s already one less thing to worry about.
Doctors recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night so that our bodies function correctly. When we don’t get enough sleep, we start feeling tired throughout the day, which leads us back down the spiral again.
Aside from balancing your hormones and energizing, a healthy lifestyle can also make you feel more in control of your life and lessen your anxiety about your future.
Steer Clear Of Alcohol And Cigarettes
One thing you should avoid during periods of high stress is alcohol. Alcohol can help you feel relaxed in the short term, but it isn’t good for your mind or body over time and can worsen your symptoms.
Although the effects have not been quantified as of yet, research has established a clear link between alcohol addiction and anxiety disorder. Many patients with anxiety disorder often self-medicate with alcohol, but studies have shown that in the long run, it forms a feedback loop where their alcohol addiction increases anxiety symptoms.
The same thing goes for nicotine as well. Cigarettes can temporarily relax your nerves, but in the long run, they will worsen your symptoms.
If this sounds like it might apply to you, consider taking up another hobby instead. Even without its impact on your mental health, smoking and drinking are harmful in the long run. Therefore look for ways you can cut off or at least limit their consumption. It will undoubtedly be difficult at first, but you will see clear benefits after the first week or two.
Find Yourself A Therapist If Your Symptoms Persist
Now, this might seem like a break from the article since visiting a therapist is not a form of home treatment in any sense of the term. But if you are going to take care of your anxiety on your own, you also need to know when you get out of your depth.
It is common for patients with anxiety to not want to share their thoughts with anyone. But there is no point in continuing to live in agony when you can improve your life simply by seeking help from a trained therapist.
So when should you seek professional help? If your symptoms persist for a long time, or if it is causing you significant physical distress, you should definitely visit a therapist. Also, if your anxiety is disrupting your daily functioning or your social life, you need to consider therapy.
It is normal when you are suffering from mental health problems to feel that therapy won’t help, but the American Psychiatric Association reports that 75% of the people who undertake therapy see positive results from it.
Being socially active also plays an important part in keeping us out of our heads. Therefore, if you are suffering from loneliness, it can alleviate your symptoms of anxiety, and it should be an added reason for you to consider visiting a therapist.
Take Florida as an example. A survey by AgingInPlace ranked Florida as the second loneliest state in the US. NAMI reports that nearly 41% of adults in Florida suffer from symptoms of anxiety or depression. Although it does not prove causation, it does indicate a correlation between the two. If you want to find a therapist in Florida, you can start by visiting websites that pair you up with a local therapist who would be right for you.
You can also visit your healthcare provider’s website to find a therapist who would be covered by your insurance plan. If that doesn’t work out and you can’t afford to visit one without insurance coverage, ask for help from your regular physician or check your nearby mental health training institutes to see if they offer any free or low-cost services.
Meditation And Mindfulness Exercises
Meditation and other mindfulness exercises can be immensely helpful when trying to control one’s anxiety.
Meditation helps reduce stress by teaching people how to focus their attention on one thing at a time instead of worrying about everything going on around them. This allows them to be more present at the moment instead of thinking about what happened earlier or what might happen later.
Keep in mind that meditation can seem boring or unhelpful in the beginning. Therefore it would be a good idea not to dive in head first. Start with a 10-minute session. Keep at it even if you don’t like it. If it starts to feel good after a couple of weeks, slowly increase your time day by day. If you don’t find it useful, you can always discontinue it. But make sure you give it an honest try.
Try Aromatherapy And Herbal Teas
Aromatherapy is a popular form of alternative medicine used to treat stress or anxiety. If it is something you might be interested in, here are some essential oils you can try out to see if they work for you.
- Lavender – It is a powerful calming agent. It helps with insomnia and stress.
- Ylang-ylang oil – This oil has a balancing effect on the nervous system and can help ease feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Vetivert – Vetivert is known to be an effective treatment for stress-related disorders like panic attacks. It also helps strengthen the immune system and improves sleep quality by reducing fatigue caused by stress or anxiety.
Other than applying essential oils, you can also drink chamomile tea. Many studies have shown that drinking chamomile tea daily can have a noticeable positive impact on people undergoing stress.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a substance commonly extracted from marijuana. Studies show that CBD oil can drastically reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, but unlike THC (another chemical found in marijuana), it does not get you high. Other than marijuana, CBD can also be extracted from Hemp.
Remember that this does not mean you can simply smoke a lot of weed and expect your anxiety to go away. First of all, when plotted on a graph, the application of CBD and its remedial effect produces a bell-shaped curve. This means after a certain point using more CBD will not only be ineffective but also reduce its effectiveness. Other than that, if you aren’t careful, the high from marijuana can end up worsening your anxiety.
However, CBD oil is legally available in most states in the US. So if you check the dosage and use it carefully, it can help you immensely with coping with anxiety.
Anxiety is a very serious mental health disorder that can have a huge impact on your life if not treated properly. Therefore even with these treatments in mind, remember to reach out to a trained therapist if your problems get out of hand. It is perfectly natural needing a bit of help every now and then. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your happiness.