There’s a feeling you get when you’re extremely overwhelmed and your heart is beating so fast that you can almost hear it. Then there’s also those silent chest pains that come at the height of your stress and you just can’t explain why. And additionally, that gasping for air when you haven’t worked out isn’t just your body on fumes, but can also be signs that you have anxiety.
Anxiety is a natural response to stress in the body. It can take many forms in how it shows up, so it’s important to learn how to stabilize your mind and body because each person has different triggers that exacerbate their symptoms. To ensure that your anxiety does not escalate into worse conditions such as a heart attack or stroke, here are 5 ways to manage your anxiety.
Take Deep Breaths
It sounds so basic, but learning to control your breathing when you are feeling anxious can help remove shallow breathing or chest pains. Breath in deeply for a count of 4 and exhale like you’re blowing out a candle for a count of 4. You can continuously do this until you feel like your body is relaxed and your breathing has returned to normal.
This practice of deep breathing goes with many healing forms such as yoga because it helps to center your body and your mind, simultaneously.
Oftentimes anxiety arrives when we are thinking of things that have yet to even happen. To practice mindfulness, ask yourself:
- Is this true?
- Will this actually happen?
Sitting in gratitude for all the things that are true and jotting down positive words or affirmations to repeat to yourself, can also help lessen the anxiety. Start with saying, “I am”…
- I am powerful
- I am alive
- I am protected
- I am valued
Feel free to keep a journal to write down moments where you feel anxious and partner that with writing down things you are grateful for.
Taking a walk outside can help with managing anxiety. Allow yourself to listen to the sounds of the wind and the birds, inhale the fresh air, take in the beauty of your surroundings (small children, elderly, the clouds, the hue of the sky, etc.). Sometimes anxiety is exacerbated due to feeling boxed in, so it’s always good to leave an area that makes you feel small and go outdoors where it is more expansive of a space.
Aromatherapy is indeed a form of therapy for relaxation and helping the body to feel less tense. Using scented candles, incense, or diffusers can positively impact your anxiety. Some great scents to have are lavender, lemon, rosemary, mints, eucalyptus, and frankincense. Aromatherapy helps because it sends messages to the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Change Your Diet
Adjusting your diet can be anything you intake that has a negative effect on your mind and body.
- What are you eating?
- What are you watching?
- Who’s in your circle?
- Do you have a toxic boss?
A healthy diet can encompass everything from ingesting supplements that offer vital nutrients to lessening the amount of people around you who are toxic or only like to hold conversations that are filled with drama. Balance is the key to a healthy diet so if you need to separate yourself from comfort foods, uninspiring shows, or a circle of friends/co-workers that make you feel small, do it.
Anxiety is not a one-size fits all, however with taking small steps to help manage your anxiety, you can go a long way. If you find that your anxiety has reached a level that goes beyond these steps, please seek medical or professional help.