10 Tips To Naturally Heal AnxietyJan 08, 2018
It is estimated that about 1 in 9 people in Ireland suffer with the effects of Anxiety. It is a subject which I feel so strong about because of how close it has touched my heart.
It was when my beautiful 6 year old son Dylan experienced anxiety that I began to really go deeply into the natural ways I could relieve this for him.
For me, I believe firmly in all of the below ways of easing anxiety, I've experienced it first hand with myself, Dylan, friends and many many many wonderful clients of mine who have all of their symptoms eased and under control for the future.
#1: Meditation & Yoga:
Ok ok, hear me out! I know it sounds very hippy dippy but the effects of meditation and yoga for anxiety is incredible!
My dear friend Darragh O'Boyle wrote an article called "My Anxiety and Me" (you should go check him out) - http://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/
He is a fantastic poster boy for his meditation practice easing his anxiety.
I teach yoga and guided meditation weekly, but the real healing began when I joined my amazing Japa Meditation group with my teacher and friend - Emer O'Grady.
Japa meditation is the repetition of beautiful mantras that come from many different religions. It is such a wonderful healing experience. Not only does it feel amazing but the effect of this yoga and meditation on the brain is wonderful. When we meditate and have a practice like yoga or mindfulness our brain produces beautiful happy hormones like oxytocin, melatonin, endorphins and serotonin. These are the opposite to adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones). See? Not just hippy dippy...
Our mind follows our breath, therefore when we slow our breath we slow our mind. When we feel anxious we tend to breath shallowly into our chest usually with our mouths. This produces stress hormones like I mentioned above. When we slow our breath to a simple practice, for example inhaling for 6 seconds, exhaling for 6 seconds, we can gain control of our mind and slow our heart rate, our nervous system but especially our mind down.
My favourite breath to teach is "yogic breath" a very simple form of breathing all the way down to our tummy so that we notice the expansion and then slowly exhale as we draw our naval in towards our spine. It is very simple but effective and brings our focus from our worries to our breath.
#3: Physical Movement
Physical movement and exercise creates endorphins and calms our mind and body with melatonin. This hormone helps our mind and body to relax and sleep well. So grab some physical exercise that you enjoy. This is the most important part - don't hit the gym if you hate the gym. Take up a Candle Lit Yoga class or some Tai Chi if you would prefer a more meditative exercise. Research shows that 10-20 minutes of exercise is enough to stabilise mood and anxiety.
#4: Essential Oils
Essential oils are a fantastic natural way of relieving anxiety. My favourite essential oils and the ones I use mostly during healing sessions would be Lavander and Camomile. These can be used blended with some Almond oil and massaged into your body. Or left to burn in a diffuser, popped in the bath, or put a few drops on your pillow. Even deeply inhaling the essential oil can be enough to calm worries, anxieties and fears.
There has been scientific research carried out to prove the amazing effects gratitude has on the mind. My favourite practice is to give myself a gratitude challenge. I write at least 4 things I am happy for per day, and the reason why I am grateful. For example, “I am so happy and grateful for my family because they help me to feel loved and supported”. It is always a nice practice to understand why you feel grateful. This can shift the energy from the negative to the positive.
The most healing action when it comes to feelings of anxiety is to talk. Find a therapist that you can relate to and who you feel is supportive. Talk to your friends, talk to your family. Try not to hold back from speaking about your feelings, allow them to move in your body and allow them to be released. There is a number of support helplines online or on the phone. Here is a link to a list of support groups. http://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/need-help-now/
Sometimes you may not feel like talking and that is ok. Whenever I feel like this and my clients have found huge benefit in journaling their thoughts. Particularly if you feel overwhelmed or anxious it is immensely healing to get those thoughts out of your body and mind and onto a piece of paper.
It can be a beautifully releasing practice to burn the page when you are finished and watch as those thoughts are released. Ripping the page up into small pieces is also a brilliant way of letting go and releasing.
Scientific research has proven that we tend to be more irritable and anxious when we haven’t eaten due to our blood sugar dropping.
Eating regular, healthy food to avoid this occurring. Eating a healthy and well balanced diet, will increase your mood and create a more positive feeling in your body, particularly in your digestive system.
#9: Holistic Therapies
Many holistic therapies have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety. Reiki, Bio Energy, Homeopathy, Reflexology, Massage, Hypnotherapy are all amazing therapies that I’ve seen amazing benefits from. Find a practitioner that you feel drawn to and that has been highly recommended.
#10: Laugh it off
Have a good laugh. Watch a funny movie. Meet with friends for a laugh. Join a laughter yoga class. Even if your too tense or anxious to laugh, even faking a laugh will have the same effect on the brain by producing dopamine, Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls feelings of reward and pleasure - says Karen Lynn Cassiday, PhD, president-elect of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and a clinical psychologist in Chicago.
So there you have it, 10 simple and enjoyable ways to relieve the symptoms of anxiety.
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