Dealing with anxiety – how to reduce anxiety using simple healing methods and natural anxiety remedies.
As a therapist and healer supporting clients with anxiety, I’ve become well versed in simple anxiety treatments you can do at home.
I’ve had stretches of high anxiety at various stages of life. I’ve also experienced spikes of anxiety and overwhelm in the last few years. Ironically, while running a business that is focused on mental health!
My own anxiety has been caused by a combination of moving and settling in foreign country, starting a new business, overseeing a building renovation and navigating Brexit legalities.
Many of the factors of these circumstances have been out of my control. They have forced me to use inventive ways to monitor and deal with anxiety on a daily basis.
Some simple healing methods and natural anxiety remedies have been more effective than others.
You may be dealing with anxiety due to factors outside your control too. Not least the implications of Covid 19 / Coronavirus.
Depression and anxiety are considered ‘common mental health issues’ as they affect millions of people worldwide. Anxiety disorders affect up to 40 million people in the USA alone.
The great thing is that simple methods of anxiety treatment are free and easy to learn. For you and your family.
Try to make these simple healing methods and natural anxiety remedies a regular part of your life.
If you do, you will notice that your anxiety is more manageable.
Before we go further into dealing with anxiety and how to reduce anxiety, let’s start with an…
According to the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP):
“Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear that is a normal response to a range of different situations. It can affect your mental health when you feel anxious every day and can’t remember when you last felt relaxed.”
Anxiety is caused by the body’s fight or flight response. This is a reaction of the amygdala part of the brain in response to perceived danger. Cortisol, the stress hormones
This article is focused on anxiety states and not panic attacks, phobias or Generalised Anxiety Disorders. If you have symptoms of any of the above, please consult your doctor.
Symptoms of anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety are different from person to person. Below are some example of anxiety symptoms in body, mind and emotions.
Symptoms of anxiety in your body
- Feeling restless, agitated or unable to sit still.
- Difficulty sleeping or broken sleep
- Feeling ungrounded, dizzy or lightheaded
- Pounding heart or tightening of throat or chest area
- Shortened breath or very light breathing from chest
- High pitched ringing in ears
- Churning stomach or feeling sick
- Unexplained aches, sensations or pains
- Craving for sugar, alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, marijuana or carbohydrates
- Increase or decrease in appetite.
Symptoms of anxiety in your mind
- Feeling tense, under pressure, overwhelmed, out of control or on edge.
- Being unable to relax and switch off
- Drasticising or catastrophising – anticipating the worst
- Feeling self conscious
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Lack of motivation or low productivity
- Paranoia – feeling that people are talking, thinking or saying bad things about you
- Feeling under threat of attack or that people are angry with you
- Dwelling on something that has happened, or problem solving unsolvable problems
- Disassociation where your mind / awareness separates from your body and it feels like you are looking down at yourself. You feel detached from your body sensations, i.e. you may not realise your are thirsty or cold, for example.
- Disconnection where the rest of the world takes on an unreal or cinematic quality.
Symptoms of anxiety – emotions
- Mood swings – for example, from optimism to pessimism
- Low self-esteem
- Negative self talk
- Feeling low or depressed
- Feeling anti-social and avoiding people / relationships
- Loneliness or shame as you feel no one would be able to understand or help
You may not realise you are dealing with anxiety until you recognise these symptoms. Identifying symptoms of anxiety is the first step towards dealing with anxiety.
Causes of anxiety
Anxiety can be linked to specific life circumstances – moving house, changing jobs, losing a loved one, financial difficulty, family problems or the end of a relationship, for example.
Anxiety symptoms caused by life circumstances my stop once your circumstances change.
Ongoing anxiety, that may be harder to pinpoint, can also be caused by:
- Lifestyle (e.g. drinking too much alcohol or coffee, not getting enough sleep)
- Environment (e.g. dealing with noise, clutter or neighbour issues)
- Habitual behaviour (such as too much time on social media, over-spending, or negative self-talk, for example)
- Poor health (e.g. lack of nutrition or exercise)
- Social situations, online or offline
- World issues and events (such as the Coronavirus or the climate crisis).
…amongst other things.
As a highly sensitive empath, you may feel increased anxiety when you read the news, or when you visit certain websites online.
You may also be aware that certain places or people increase your anxiety levels.
Identifying causes of anxiety is the second step towards dealing with anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety
If you recognise some of the symptoms of anxiety and causes of anxiety listed above, the third step is learning how to reduce anxiety.
You can break down the causes of anxiety into two main groups:
A) Things you can control (such as attitude, habits, choices, time management, self care, self talk, lifestyle, intention, where you go / don’t go, who you spend time with and immediate environment).
B) Things outside your control (such as world events, other people’s behaviour, attitudes or decisions, demands of a job, government rules or restrictions, wider environment, economy, etc)
Simple healing methods and natural anxiety remedies can help you manage anxiety until your circumstances change. This can mean that you avoid the long term negative effects of chronic anxiety, such as burnout, fatigue and exhaustion.
As well as reducing exposure to stressors, dealing with anxiety should be a combination of consistent, small, daily actions and a reliable ‘anxiety toolkit’. You can draw on your anxiety toolkit in emergency situations, i.e. whenever you anxiety spikes and overtakes your ability to function well.
Long term ways of dealing with anxiety may include creating plan to change your circumstances or setting boundaries / creating space and distance between you and any situations, people or behaviours that persistently causes you anxiety or stress.
See Escape The Toxic Office and Setting Boundaries for Mental Health for more information.
Preventative short term ways to reduce anxiety – liking cutting out caffeine – can be instant. The benefits of good habits and routines are usually more evident over time.
How to reduce anxiety
The fourth step to deal with and reduce anxiety is action in the form of self-care.
Incorporating a few simple healing methods into your daily life can make all the difference. Yet, the main obstacles to reducing anxiety are remembering to look after yourself, and then making the time!
These are six ways I effectively reduce my everyday anxiety. I have found all three very helpful for dealing with anxiety linked to circumstances.
Furthermore, these natural anxiety remedies are helpful for reducing background anxiety that has no immediately evident cause.
- Meditation / Morning Check-In – Slow your breathing and practice mindfulness with my Simple Meditation for Highly Sensitive People. When we’re anxious our breathing quickens and becomes more shallow. This sends a signal to our body that we are in danger, releasing the stress hormone cortisol. You can reverse this cycle by paying attention to and slowing your breath. Do simple meditation on a daily basis to notice an automatically calmer response to life and less anxiety.
- Tapping / Emotional Freedom Technique – For persistent anxiety, lightly tap or massage the meridian point on the inside of your wrist while slowly breathing. Try this Anxiety and Fear Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping sequence. Tapping is believed to work on the amygdala – the part of the brain that controls our stress responses (fight or flight) and signals our glands to release cortisol (stress hormone), as mentioned above.
Tapping can calm this anxiety state down and until a safety returns. If going through challenging times, tap everyday. You can fit tapping in around your normal routine. For example, you can tap / massage your wrist while on public transport to / from work, or tap on your thymus / collar bone while watching television!
I’m an AAMET certified EFT practitioner and have used this EFT technique on myself and clients with anxiety.
- Be present – Notice your thoughts. If you are worrying about the future or ruminating on the past, this is how to stop:
Trick your mind into being present be doing a short and straightforward manual task. Do it within a short time limit to distract your mind.
By concentrating on a manual task, you will give your mind a rest and take back a sense of control.
For example, clean your house / room / car, de-clutter, cook something delicious, do gardening, organise your closet, finish a pile of ironing, paint a wall. Use a Pomodoro timer if it helps.
As well as feeling calmer afterwards, you’ll have accomplished something useful.
- Grounding – Find a way to bring your energy down from your head and into your physical body. Some examples are walking / sitting / lying on the ground / earth, sauna, steam room, hot bath, cold shower or foot bath, aerobic exercise, walking in nature, massage, cranio-sacral therapy or more napping / sleep.
- Get off your gadgets – follow my digital declutter tips here.
- Have more contact with nature – Did you know that studies show city dwellers have a higher risk of anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centres? (Source: New York Times, July 2015).
Science now recognises that trees – and woods, in particular – have a restorative and therapeutic effect on the human mind. Research shows that recovery rates improve if patients can view trees from their hospital window.
Even a garden is enough. NHS hospital gardens have sprung up across the UK to help patients recover faster. These gardens facilitate stress reduction and help patients summon up their own inner healing resources.
Bring plants or flowers into the house if you cannot make a walk in nature or a local park everyday.
Dealing with anxiety long term
In 2013, I got a really bad case of tinnitus due to overwhelm, anxiety and stress. I needed to radically overhaul how I managed my life.
That process included assessing a range of factors before making changes.
Due to the lifestyle changes and a committed effort towards self-care and healing habits, the tinnitus has now completely disappeared.
You can start to plan long lasting change too.
Goodbye Formula – Assess Your Stress
As with most things, awareness is the first step. Use the Goodbye Formula below to review the areas that cause you anxiety in your life. Perhaps you will find some surprises?
Learn to Self Soothe + Emotionally Regulate
Here are some simple free actions you can take to calm your nervous system + reduce anxiety.
Get support to help you reduce anxiety from someone who is experienced at dealing with anxiety + helping others with anxiety, if necessary.
Article copyright Amy Garner 2021. See my Copyright Notice and Disclaimer.
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