Natural Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
It is of no surprise that anxiety affects one's functioning on multiple domains. Anxiety can affect your appetite, sleeping patterns, physical functioning, thoughts, attitude, and mood. While anxiety is a natural reaction to stress, consistent or constant anxiety can impede your life. Various events can provoke feelings of anxiety such as taking a test, being confronted, instability in a career, and financial insecurity. In some cases, minimal anxiety can be beneficial. However, it is when anxiety is excessive in quantity or frequency that it becomes detrimental and can produce somatic reactions. Thankfully, there are readily accessible ways to naturally reduce anxiety.
- Listen to Music-Research has proven that music is an easy, cost effective way to reduce anxiety (and even pain) during a stressful situation. Simply turn on slow-rhythmic music either during or after the anxiety inducing event and anxiety symptoms are shown to alleviate in frequency and severity.
- Get a Foot Massage-Research conducted on cancer patients going through chemotherapy suggest that a foot massage can reduce feelings of anxiety and assist individuals in feeling better. Of course, massaging does not have to stop at the feet. Relieving stress and anxiety through massage can be done at various points on the body including neck, shoulders, legs, and back.
- Employ Relaxation Techniques- Understanding your breathing patterns and being able to control them can effectively help you control and reduce anxiety symptoms. Meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are two common relaxation techniques that you can employ when feelings of anxiety strike. Not sure how to meditate or relax your muscles? Simply search the internet for meditation/relaxation techniques for beginners or you can speak to a mental health professional. Keep in mind that reading is a simple and easy way to meditate and calm the mind.
- Communicate- As simple and straightforward as it sounds, communicating anxiety with others in a safe, nonthreatening environment has shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety. The initial step in communicating feelings of anxiety recognizing that anxiety exists and then identifying the source of the anxiety; which may involve self-reflection and admittance. Communication can be in the form of writing or verbal expression. Communicating with others who are experiencing the same anxiety-producing event also instills a sense of normalcy that assists in reducing feelings of anxiety.
- Attend an Art Making Class- A pilot study conducted on family caregivers of patients with cancer shows that attending an art making class significantly reduces anxiety. Actively participating in a creative, hands-on project provides a mental "relief" from feelings of sorrow, grief, and sadness and preoccupies the mind with a hands-on task that produces immediate results.
- Exercise-Exercising releases endorphins which produce feelings of happiness and positivity. Feelings of happiness and positivity counteract feelings of anxiety and stress and can change your entire mood. Exercise also has the ability to boost confidence, improve your overall health, and help you lose weight. Not only does exercise assist in overcoming feelings of anxiety but it is a preventative measure as well because weight and illness are common sources of anxiety.
The techniques listed above are effective coping strategies that can be used to deal with stress and anxiety that are a result of life experiences. Anxiety and stress can leave you feeling out of control and employing simple anxiety-reducing techniques can help put you back in the driver's seat of your own life. All of the techniques listed are cost effective, readily accessible, and can be done independently of others. Another advantage is that they don't leave you with detrimental side effects that accompany most anti-anxiety psychotropic medications.