Everyone feels anxious and stressed at some point in their lives, but for some people anxiety can become a frequent and unwelcome guest on a day to day basis, even causing them to take time of work and claim on their income protection cover. Natural remedies are a popular way of treating anxiety, and can sometimes be used as an alternative or as a complement to drugs like antidepressants.
Regular aerobic exercise
Regular aerobic exercise is often the last thing you feel like doing when your mind is preoccupied with other things, but working out is actually one of the best ways of combating anxiety. Numerous studies have shown that exercise not only reduces anxious thoughts, but it also reduces the physical symptoms of the disorder.
If vigorous exercise seems like an intimidating prospect, consider a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day. Even this small amount of physical activity will have a positive effect on your mental state by releasing stored up adrenaline and endorphins, and keep your body healthy by strengthening your cardiovascular system.
Change your diet
We all know that we are supposed to eat our five a day of fruit and veg, but how many of us actually do so? When anxiety hits, our first instinct is to turn to comfort foods, but a diet that is high in vitamins, minerals and fibre will be much more beneficial to your body and your mind. Not only do fruit and vegetables provide you with essential nutrients, they are also an excellent source of dietary fibre which will reduce your risk of bowel cancer. A healthy body means a healthy mind, so don’t fill it with junk.
It also needs to be said that alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink when you are feeling anxious. Alcohol is a depressant, so whilst it may make you feel better in the short term it will actually lead to a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and dependence. If you feel unable to cut down on your drinking why not chat to your GP who can help you reduce your alcohol intake.
Meditation (instead of medication!) could be another way of helping your anxiety. There are countless studies showing that meditation, when done currently, is a great way of relieving stress and anxious thoughts. You could try many different types of meditation, such as mindfulness, mantra-based meditation and Zen meditation, until you find one that works for you.
Yoga is also a popular method of relaxing the mind and the body. Preliminary studies suggest that that benefits of the activity are similar to exercise and relaxation techniques. Why not see whether your local gym carries out yoga classes? These are an easy way of getting started and learning the poses- you can choose whether you want a gentle session or a strenuous workout.
If you find that you are unable to combat your anxiety on your own, or if you would simply like some support along the way, then consider visiting your GP to ask for a referral for talking therapies.
some support along the way, then consider visiting your GP to ask for a referral for talking therapies.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has proved an effective method of learning to control anxiety disorder, and it treats the cause rather than the effects. The NHS offers talking therapies for free in the UK, or you could claim on your medical insurance policy for a quicker referral.
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