Updated 10/8/23; Originally posted 1/7/22
Life gives you plenty of opportunities to feel stressed and anxious, no matter how hard you work to avoid them. When you are stressed much of the time, it is all too common to develop anxiety. Techniques to reduce anxiety naturally will focus on helping you take away the reasons for anxiety – not covering up the issue.
Anxiety causes problems with your sleep, decision-making and thinking, breathing and heart function, digestion, mood, muscle tension, pain level, and social skills. Anxiety can be debilitating, accompany depression, and is connected to chronic diseases. Many end up down the rabbit hole of medical intervention for anxiety, however there are many effective, natural, wellness activities to incorporate into your anxiety reducing lifestyle!
Wellness Oriented Ways for Reducing Anxiety
- Breathe Deep to Activate Your Vagus Nerve and Calm Your Anxiety
- Exercise Your Whole Body to Reduce Stress Induced Anxiety
- Use Mediation to Decrease Your Anxiety By Shifting Your Mindset
- Supplement or Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods to Lower Your Anxiety
- Lower Your Anxiety by Skipping Caffeine and Drinking Your B Vitamins Instead
1: Breathe Deep to Activate Your Vagus Nerve and Calm Your Anxiety
Anxiety and panic attacks usually involve shallow light breathing which adds to your existing stress. Deep breaths that use your entire body reduce your overall stress level and lower your anxiety. These deep breaths definitely require you to think about them and breathe with the intention to calm down.
When you combine mindful deep breaths with feedback, your are better able to breathe in a way tjhat reduces anxiety. HeartMath Inner Balance is a wearable biofeedback device that enables you to visualize your progress in shifting your breath to a slower, deeper, more calming pattern. If you live near La Plata, MD, you can request a monthly rental of my HeartMath device.
For those of you who need kinesthetic (touch based) feedback, the Sensate wearable device provides vibration and sound to help calm you while you breath and relax. It rests on your breastbone during your session to provide the gentle vibrations that work their anxiety-reducing vagus nerve magic! My Sensate is available for monthly rental to clients living near Waldorf, MD.
2: Exercise Your Whole Body to Reduce Stress Induced Anxiety
Whether you take a class, follow a video, go for a walk, or play a sport, whole body movement helps reduce your anxiety in the moment and long term. Movement creates changes to the hormones in your body and the neurotransmitters in your brain (endorphins – your natural pain relievers). Movement increases blood flow to the body and actually brings you oxygen and energy. Movement makes space for deep breaths!
Movement styles like Yoga and Pilates activate the parasympathetic portion of your nervous system which calms your body and mind. Fast moving and power based workouts add stress to the body which may or may not be helpful in reducing your personal anxiety. My Zen Flow Yoga classes, Brain Vitality Classes, and Fascial Release Classes use this combination to encourage the release of tension and stress to help your anxiety flow away. Give all 3 a try and see what works for you!
3: Use Meditation to Decrease Anxiety by Shifting your Mindset
When your thoughts dwell on the issues that create mental stress, your anxiety will stay and can even strengthen. Meditation is a tool for shifting your thoughts and focus to what is more important and helpful for your goals as a person. That does not mean it is easy! Your mind will wander. Meditation is not about emptying your mind – but focusing it!
Meditation is a learned skill. Feedback is helpful. Guidance is helpful. Patience is a must! You do not have to be physically still. You do not have to chant. You will get better. Meditation will get easier. Meditation is personal. You need a chance to find out what works. I would love to introduce you to meditation and to participate in selecting guided meditation recordings that are perfect for you!
4: Supplement or Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods to Lower Your Anxiety
Magnesium is a wonder mineral in my book. It participates in over 300 processes in the body and is crucial to having a good mood, a relaxed body, and handling stressors.
One of the easiest ways to get a quick boost of magnesium is to relax in an Epsom Salts foot bath or whole body bath. There are 11 forms of magnesium that are each absorbed differently and used by different parts of the body. Epsom salts are the easiest and probably cheapest form – although not necessarily ideal for every need. Doesn’t a warm, relaxing, magnesium rich foot bath sound fabulous?
If foot baths make you cringe, never fear Neuro-Mag is here! You can enjoy the blood sugar friendly tropical punch flavored drink in the morning (or anytime!) and get a good dose of magnesium to lower your tension and allow you to think during the day and sleep so your brain is not so anxious tomorrow!
5: Lower Anxiety by Skipping Caffeine and Drinking your B Vitamins Instead
B vitamins (at least 4 of them) are very important in helping you reduce anxiety. Caffeine will stimulate you and get you to think better and faster – for a few hours or more. Then you might crash! B vitamins are necessary ingredients to your body’s energy production chemistry and partners with magnesium. A vitamin B complex can smooth your energy throughout the day and also help reduce your anxiety levels. You can pop a B Complex supplement, use Liposomal Methyl B Complex, or your can hydrate yourself as you get your B’s by drinking Ting! My tongue enjoys the mango flavoring and my blood sugar appreciates the the monkfruit sweetener. My brain and nervous system appreciate the B vitamins. Yours will too!