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How to deal with anxiety: 4 proven methods
Feelings of anxiety are a common, almost universal experience, but when anxiety begins to get in the way of your everyday life, then it is time to make changes. Thankfully there are many ways to deal with anxiety naturally and effectively. Here are 4 of the best:
1. Keep moving
Exercise is one of the most effective ways of managing your stress levels and keeping your body active at the same time. If you are one of the many people that tends to stop exercising when you are stressed, then you should think again! Exercise causes the release of a number of beneficial brain chemicals, working to stabilize your mood and decrease stress and anxiety and generally make you feel good.
2. Calming foods
Although it might be tempting, steer clear of junk and processed foods when you are feeling stressed and anxious. Filling your body full of processed foods that are high in fat, sugar and artificial chemicals will only add to your stress burden. Food can make a huge difference to how you feel and how you deal with anxiety, so take extra special care about what you eat. Foods that are great to include are peaches (contain a natural calmative), almonds (stabilize mood), dark chocolate (anti-oxidant and mood stabilizer), avocado (lots of b-group vitamins to enhance mood), salmon (omega 3s stabilize your stress hormone levels) and milk (has a sedative effect, especially if warmed).
3. Learn meditation
Of all the techniques you can use to help deal with anxiety, learning to meditate is the one that is most rapidly effective and can lead to real and long-term change. Meditation can be as simple as sitting, quieting your mind, and becoming aware of your breath as you breathe in and out. This is a great starting point, but to get full benefit you need to practice regularly and as you progress you may want to move on to more effective techniques.
Meditation has been extensively studied over the last few years – modern science is now finally catching up with what wise people for many years have known for centuries – meditation has profound and long-lasting benefits through all aspects of our minds and bodies.
In terms of dealing with anxiety, meditating causes a release of beneficial brain chemicals in a similar way to exercising your body. A number of these chemicals strongly influence your moods and emotional state. Endorphins are one such group – this group of neurotransmitters is responsible for ‘the runner’s high’ but is also released during meditation where it causes a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. Other beneficial hormones released during meditation include DHEA (improves memory, enhances mood and immunity), GABA (acts to strongly stabilize mood and assists with relieving mood disorders) and serotonin (profound influence on mood and behavior). On the other hand, meditation leads to a marked decrease in the levels of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ in your bloodstream.
Meditation also calms and alters your brain patterns, allowing you to enter a state of consciousness where you will feel deeply relaxed and calm. You will feel your anxiety lifting off you and as you stay in this relaxed state, you will be able to perceive your situation with much greater clarity and creativity. Many people have reported that amazing solutions and ideas come to them while they are meditating. It’s no surprise really as meditation opens the door to your subconscious self.
4. Take control
Feelings of anxiety very often come with feeling out of control. Psychologists have suggested that it is precisely the feeling of being out of control that causes the feeling of anxiety in the first place.
To deal effectively with your anxiety, it is really vital to take back that feeling of control. Own the problem that is causing you the anxiety. This can take a great deal of courage, but can totally transform the way you deal with stressful times.
High levels of anxiety can be disabling and prevent you from realizing your goals and potential. Learning how to deal with anxiety, by using these 4 proven methods, can open the door to healing and growth in your life.