I'd love to tell you everything is smooth and jammy over here on my side on the pond, but that wouldn't be entirely truthful. Like many people, I struggle with anxiety. It's usually nonsensical anxiety that my body pushes on me like a large, unwanted gift of straight-up awful. My mind knows it's silly. My mind doesn't want it (No, thank you!), but can't seem to reject it. Thanks a lot body!
Am I destined to choking down beta-blockers and SSRIs to ease my racing heart and trembling hands? To help quell my social awkwardness? Nah. Here are just a few things that I personally implement to help deal with daily anxiety. As always, check with your doctor before undertaking a new health routine. I'm not a doctor. Only you and your provider and/or counselor can determine what's best for you.
These are some of the things I do daily. I've listed them in order of my day. The holidays can be stressful, so try some of these out and get to relaxing.
Shocking, right? Fo' real though. A 2012 study found that eliminating animal products from one's diet resulted in improved mood within two weeks! Animal products can have an inflammatory effect on the body.
Why do fruits and vegetables improve our mood? Because of the inhibitors of the depression-associated enzymes that are found in various plants. So eat those plants up! Really though, you don't need me telling you to eat plants...
It works. Sounds hokey, I know, but try it out. At the very least you'll smell nice!
In the morning and throughout the day I like to dab lavender oil on my wrists and neck. It's a very light and unoffending scent (unless you hate lavender). I use Aura Cacia 100% Pure Essential Lavender Oil. It's an easy buy at my grocery store, but you can find it on Amazon too.
Lavender is known to have a very calming effect. That's why it's always in the heating pads. For more interesting information on lavender with regards to treating anxiety, check out this video and this video.
If you really don't like lavender, orange oil is also known to lower anxiety levels. I use the doTerra Wild Orange Oil the same way as the lavender oil. Find out more about that in this great video. You can purchase orange oil at Amazon.
Incredibly, saffron has anti-anxiety properties. I actually started huffing saffron for my crippling cramps. However, I learned that it's reported to be just as effective as Prozac. Legit stuff. Look into it, you'll want to, from the video here. The best part is that you can buy it from the grocery store! Or from Amazon. Plus I really, really, like the way saffron smells. It's kind of pricy, but you don't actual use any of it. Just sniff it. Maybe try to refrain from doing it in public though...
Rooibos, or red tea, can ease stress and anxiety. Researchers recently found that human adrenal gland cells in a petri dish produce about 4 times less steroid hormones, like cortisol, in the presence of rooibos.
I really like this organic Rooibos Chai by Numi. You can read more about how it beats stress here. Also, green tea is good for relaxing the mind. I drink tea throughout the day to keep me in relaxed state. Todd calls Rooibos, "monk tea" because it makes him feel super zen. Like a monk!
Soothing and/or Uplifting Music
Listen to your favorite tunes to cheer you up or calm you down. These are some of my very favorites.
I meditate (or practice "mindfulness") at least four days a week for 15-30 minutes. It takes a little practice. Often I hear people say they could never meditate because they just can't stop thinking! Yeah...that's kind of the point of doing it. Your brain will always be thinking of things, even during meditation. The best advice I've heard is to let the thoughts come and go. Don't follow them and don't push them away. Like a cloud, just let them pass. If I'm really having trouble, I will focus on my breathing.
I really like to use guided meditation, because I find the words of another very soothing. This isn't "image" guided meditation, mind you. I'm not a big fan of that for some reason. If you're interested, there a few apps I use and like a lot. The first is called Insight Timer. I have it on my phone. I also subscribe to Meditation Oasis with Mary Maddox, as a podcast on my phone. She is very relaxing to listen to. Loving kindness meditation is a wonderful thing to practice. Meditation is all about being "in the moment" and not worrying on the future, or regretting the past.
I always meditate laying down, because it's more comfortable for me. There's no right or wrong way to go about doing it. Meditate however suits you best. Also, yoga is also a great way to slow down. I do yoga three days a week and meditate during the day and sometimes at night as well.
"The Original Chill Pill". Yep. Read ALL about it here, from Psychology Today. I won't go into detail, but magnesium has been scientifically proven to chill ya out, bro. I take a 250 mg supplement at night. It also helps with sleep (yay!) and constipation (no troubles in that department..) I make sure to get it from the foods I eat too. Foods that are high in magnesium are chard, pumpkin seeds, spinach, edamame, black beans, and quinoa.
I was gifted a flannel flaxseed filled bag for Christmas a few years ago and it is THE BEST THING EVER. Things are about to get real strange okay, but it's the truth.
I call it my "puppy" and Todd heats it up for three minutes every night in the microwave and I sleep with it. It's seriously my life. Sometimes if I'm really chilled or just need a snuggle bunny, I heat it up and lay it on my chest or neck. The weight and heat of it is so soothing. This is similar to what I have.
Exercise!! Very important. Get outside!! Also important. Snuggles with your favorite furry companion is definitely a stress soother. Breathing exercises are effective too. I like to take a big breath in and hold it for five seconds, let it out slowly and hold it out for five seconds. Repeat until you're as zen as a monk .