|Posted on 7 February, 2018 at 22:50|
Stress effects everyone at some stage and short periods of stress are normal and can actually be quite helpful - think about the stress before an exam that helps you perform at your best. But chronic stress can be harmful and lead to additional health issues. So having a few techniques to fall back on and help you manage your stress is always a good thing!
- Regular physical exercise - Exercise can help combat stress and anxiety. It also helps you to feel good by stimulating the production of endorphin’s and increases your energy levels. Aim for 20 mins a day.
- Mindfulness meditation - Originally a Buddhist practice but now a mainstream therapy, it is particularly effective in treating anxiety.
- Relaxing baths - Warm water can be incredibly beneficial for reducing anxiety. Add Epsom salts for additional relaxation.
- Journaling - Writing out your thoughts and feelings in a journal can help release them from your mind. The brain is more comfortable forgetting things when it knows it's in a permanent place, like a journal, so you're less likely to have nagging thoughts you can't shake.
- Slow breathing - Many anxiety sufferers breathe too fast and shallow leading to hyperventilation. Symptoms of hyperventilation include dizziness, light-headedness, fatigue, racing heart, shortness of breath and chest pain. Slow breathing can relieve anxiety. Hold your breath and count to 10. Then breathe out and think’ relax’ to yourself. Then inhale slowly through your nose for 3 seconds. Then exhale through your mouth for three seconds. After a minute of breathing in and out in a six second cycle, hold your breath again for 10 seconds. Keep repeating this process for 5 minutes. Do this deep breathing for 20 minutes a day and any time when you feel yourself becoming anxious. Breathing exercises can help with a variety of anxiety issues, however they are only part of the work needed to cure your anxiety.
- Avoid or limit caffeine. Chocolate, some high energy drinks, hot chocolate beverages, coffee, tea & cola drinks all contain caffeine, a stimulant which accelerates the fight or flight response. Caffeine can interfere with your sleep and make you more nervous. Switch to decaffeinated coffee, herbal tea and/or decaffeinated cola drinks, or reduce the number of cups of coffee/cola you have.
- Alcohol can aggravate anxiety. People with anxiety are often tempted to drink alcohol before and/or during social engagements as it initially decreases anxiety. However, after alcohol has been in your system for a few hours it acts as a stimulant, making you more likely to hyperventilate and putting you at increased risk of having a panic attack.
- Try to quit smoking or at least reduce the number of cigarettes you have. Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant which accelerates the fight or flight response.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep. Being overly tired can make you more anxious and increase the likelihood of you having a panic attack.
- Camomile Tea - Some compounds in chamomile bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium.
- Green Tea - An amino acid found in green tea called L-theanine, helps curb a rising heart rate and blood pressure and reduces anxiety.
- Omega 3 oils – are great for your brain and also help in treating anxiety and depression.
- Magnesium - during periods of stress, magnesium is often used up by the body. It is useful in treating anxiety and depression.