One of the most debilitating aspects of anxiety is its power of making us believe we are alone, with no support and no way out of its stronghold. When the familiar anxious feelings begin to arise in our bodies, we inundate ourselves with thoughts of doubt about our strength, abilities, and worthiness. The truth is, we are not alone and we can empower ourselves with knowledge and hands-on tools to support our journeys with anxiety.
Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. We can be anxious about a deadline, a project, a pleasant surprise, or an impending threat. In these cases, becoming anxious helps us to be organized, to calculate our risks, and to be prepared. Life will always be full of unpredictable moments which often go hand in hand with anxiety.
This article will give you some tips on how to support anxiety with holistic approaches. I will also provide you with some hands-on tools for supporting anxiety which will complement any approach you decide to take to address your anxiety.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 19.1% of the population every year. When anxiety begins to arise regularly in situations that don’t pose an immediate threat, it can affect our emotional well-being, our relationships, and our overall health.
Finding the best approach for supporting our anxiety that fits our lifestyle is of paramount importance so we can begin to heal. While some prefer the allopathic approach to heal with medications, others prefer a more holistic approach. Whether or not we choose to use medications, there are many things we can do to support our anxiety.
6 Tips for Holistically Support Anxiety
1) Strengthen The Immune System
Having a strong immune system is one of the most crucial steps we can take toward supporting anxiety. When our immune systems are strong, we are less susceptible to illness and disease, thus better equipped to cope with any unpredictable, life events.
Our bodies have trillions of cells that are constantly communicating with one another to support our brain and our body functions. Ensuring our cells have a healthy environment to support that communication is an integral component in cultivating a strong immune system. We can create a healthy cell environment by incorporating more plant-based foods into our diets. Green, leafy vegetables and a wide variety of fruits can help energize our cells and fuel them with the proper nutrients they need to better communicate with one another.
Plant-based diets also help our digestive systems by making it easier for foods to be digested, which in turn helps our body to free up the energy it requires to digest foods and send more of that energy to the areas of the body which might need more healing. You can even raise your energy levels and your frequency by eating high-frequency foods! When you are feeling anxious, reach for a banana and sit in the sun!
For more information on energy frequencies and high-frequency foods, join me in a class on how to elevate your emotions just by eating the best, high-frequency foods here at WellMeRight.
2) Meditation and Breathing Techniques
Over the past decade, meditation has become front and center in mainstream and social media as a hands-on tool anyone can add to their wellness practices to reduce stress and anxiety. There are many peer-reviewed studies on its benefits. You can find meditation how-to videos all over YouTube and even find applications you can download to any device dedicated to meditating. Many people, however, are somewhat resistant to the practice believing they cannot “do it right”, don’t have the time, or believe meditation can’t possibly work. If you have some resistance to meditation, try connecting with a meditation teacher who could offer you another perspective. The benefits of meditation outweigh the resistance you might feel. Here are just a few of the benefits of meditation:
• Discover a new perspective on a stressful situation
• Cultivate ways to manage stress and anxiety consistently
• Increase your self-awareness
• Focus on the present moment
• Reduce negative thoughts
• Improve the quality of your sleep
• Elevate your concentration
There are many more benefits to meditation and many different types of meditation to choose from, such as mindfulness, movement, mantra, and transcendental meditations. The easiest way to begin a meditation practice is to sit find a quiet space you feel comfortable in and simply focus on your breath. Breathe in through your nose while counting to five, hold your breath for a count of five, and exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of five. If this practice resonates with you, keep trying this for a few days and see how you feel. Through hands-on practices such as meditation, you can take back your power to rise above anxiety and enjoy a less stressful life. Visit WellMeRight to learn more about meditation.
3) Essential Oils
The use of essential oils and aromatherapy for alleviating many different illnesses can be dated back well over a thousand years. A newfound interest in holistic wellness practices has helped to create a ‘comeback’ for essential oils, particularly when managing anxiety.
Certain scents can trigger emotional and physical reactions in the body, which is why essential oils can be so effective when supporting anxiety. As our autonomic nervous systems help to ignite our ‘fight-or-flight’ response when we are facing a stressful situation, our bodies respond with physical symptoms such as shallow breathing and a quicker heart rate to protect us. Certain essential oils can slow this physical response and even prevent it. There are many well-documented calming properties of the following essential oils for anxiety:
• Ylang Ylang
• Roman Chamomille
There is a myriad of ways you can incorporate essential oils into your daily routine. You can use a diffuser that disperses them into the air, you can keep a rollerball near you to apply directly to your skin whenever you need it, add them to your favorite lotions, or spritz some onto your favorite blanket or pillow. Multiple companies sell essential oils so you want to be sure to look for one with a good reputation, as some can be polluted with fillers and toxins. Also, using a carrier oil and informing yourself of the dangers of using essential oils with children and pets is of paramount importance. Essential oils are an easy, effective, and natural addition to any wellness plan for supporting anxiety and can be used in conjunction with other traditional and holistic practices.
Affirmations are positive statements and can be referred to as mantras, which we can use to reduce and eliminate the negative talk we often circulate in our heads when we are confronted with an unpredictable and perceived threat. These powerful phrases can help us support our anxiety by increasing our self-awareness and self-esteem. Many dictionaries define affirmations as statements for declaring something in a positive manner or recognition and assertion of the value of oneself.
All of us have experienced negativity in our lives, as we often believe the words, opinions, and labels given to us by others. It can be a daily cultivation practice for some of us to let go of those statements, beliefs, and labels that no longer serve our wellness goals and to formulate new and more accurate ones. Our thoughts and beliefs control our bodies and our minds and it can be empowering to know we have accessibility to this control just by changing our thoughts.
One way to practice using affirmations is beginning with “I am” statements when developing a list. “I am” statements are positive statements of who you are. Even if you are not ready to believe some of your affirmations, that’s okay. Just develop the ones you want to believe. That way even though you are not ready to believe the affirmation just yet, you are letting your inner self know you recognize and have the ability to change your thoughts. You can create a new you with new thoughts! Here are some examples of “I am” statements:
• I am strong.
• I am capable.
• I am always worthy.
• I am choosing happiness.
• I am always healing.
• I am safe.
• I am choosing calm.
Affirmations have a relaxing and tranquil impact when we repeat them out loud and can support anxiety by assisting you to change your mindset. Through affirmations, we can get rid of negative thinking quickly and provide ourselves with the assurance that everything is okay and we are okay. Repeating affirmations can reduce our anxiety at the moment by guiding us away from being fearful and towards being confident in our abilities to handle our emotional distress.
5) Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogenic herbs help to support a more balanced response to ongoing anxiety.
Specifically, adaptogens are active ingredients in particular plants and mushrooms that can impact how your body copes with stress, anxiety, and fatigue. When we consume these plants, they target specific stressors in the body and help to restore balance. You can add adaptogenic herbs to your food or drinks or take them in a liquid or capsule form. When taken regularly, adaptogenic herbs can alleviate anxiety and boost your immune system.
Numerous adaptogenic herbs can offer a great deal of support for anxiety such as:
Ashwagandha: This powerful herb has a positive effect on the body’s endocrine, nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems by helping to regulate your metabolism and assisting the brain in calming the body and mind. Ashwagandha also offers protection for your cells, as it is an antioxidant that works to reduce inflammation.
Rhodiola: This herb has been used for centuries in China and Russia to treat anxiety, fatigue, and depression due to its ability to strengthen the body’s response to physical stressors.
Holy Basil (Tulsi): This herb is used in many Asian culinary dishes. It is considered a sacred plant in India and apart from using it in recipes, Ayurvedic medicine uses it as an adaptogen to help support anxiety.
These are just a few of the most common adaptogens used to support anxiety. It is imperative to mention a few words of caution when using adaptogenic herbs:
- Always consult with a physician or a licensed wellness professional before consuming any herbal remedy.
- If you are pregnant or nursing, adaptogenic herbs are not recommended. • Please consult a physician or a licensed wellness professional before giving any adaptogenic herbs to children.
- Many herbs can be adulterated, and thus unsafe, so be sure to do your research and check the ingredients and sourcing information for any herb you are interested in trying.
Many adaptogenic herbs are out there, and some work better than others. What works for one person may not work for another, as one size does not fit all when it comes to adaptogens. Take comfort in knowing adaptogenic herbs offer yet another holistic tool for supporting anxiety.
6) Stay Active
Many wellness experts agree regular exercise isn’t solely about improving our physical health. Exercise can be a highly effective way to improve our mental health and anxiety. In fact, a study in 2013 found people who had anxiety and participated in regular physical activity were better protected against developing anxiety symptoms.
Regular exercise can help to divert our attention from the stressors we face each day, thereby encouraging us to experience the present moment. In the present moment of exercise, we can appreciate a new skill we are trying to achieve, such as balance during a yoga class or the serenity of the environment we are exercising in like a beautiful park or trail.
According to the American Psychological Association, regular physical movement can enhance our memory, concentration, and willpower; which also helps with certain anxiety symptoms. With exercise being a personal preference, choose an activity that brings you joy such as dancing, bouncing on a trampoline or rebounder, or chasing after your children on a sunny afternoon.
Remember, any amount of time you spend exercising throughout the day can be counted towards the total minutes you are active. So for example, ten minutes of jumping on a rebounder plus ten minutes walking your dog and ten minutes of gardening all count towards thirty minutes of physical activity.
Exercise is also a way to counter the chemical imbalances which cause anxiety, as it produces endorphins which are “feel-good” neurotransmitters. Endorphins produced through exercise can interact with the brain and create a euphoric sensation in the body. A feeling of accomplishment and overall elation can support anxiety by uplifting our emotions. Even in the middle of an anxious moment, moving to a safe place and jumping up and down or taking a brisk and brief walk outside, or doing a breathing exercise can calm the body and mind and help us re-center ourselves.
Not only does regular movement help us to release our anxiety, but it also improves our self-esteem. When we make physical activity a regular part of our lives, we begin to see physical improvements in our appearance, which can elevate our emotions and distract us from any negative thoughts.
When being active, try to set some smart goals for yourself. Be specific about the number of minutes you can easily be active each day, find a partner to help you stay accountable and have some fun with as you exercise, and celebrate your achievements.
If anxiety has a stronghold over your daily life, try some of the above holistic approaches to empower yourself with knowledge and hands-on tools to support your healing. Attend an informative class personalized to meet your unique healing and wellness goals in a class with me where we can cover these and many other holistic approaches to support anxiety. It is highly recommended you seek the assistance of a qualified health professional if you experience debilitating anxiety daily. Patience is key on your wellness journey and trying one or a combination of the above methods can help you regain your control and live the life you deserve with vitality and empowerment.
About The Author
Jennifer Debelak is a health and wellness enthusiast, educator, and empowerment coach. She has a passion for helping people achieve their wellness goals through empowerment, guidance, knowledge, experience, and hands-on tools they can use every day to reach those goals.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Wellness, certification as a Therapeutic Nutritional Counselor through the Association of Natural Health, and a certification as a Health Coach and a Behavior Change Specialist through the American Council on Exercise. She is also a Reiki Master Teacher/Practitioner and an Essential Oil health advocate.
Book Wellness Expert sessions offered by Jennifer on Well Me Right.
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