Many of us get anxious throughout the day, some more than
others, and some don’t understand or feel like they can do anything to change
this. I’m here to help you fight that little Satan in your head when you are
feeling anxious. I myself have been a very anxious person in the past.
Throughout high school was a very difficult time for me as I was becoming more
aware of my surroundings and what people thought of me as a person. I hung out
with a group of lads that were always mocking each other, and when everyone’s
doing it, at the time you may feel it’s normal because everyone’s doing it, but
I realised after some time, this was not the case. I realised they were the
source of my anxiety, always feeling judged if I wore something new or did
something different, and if you have experienced that too, then you understand
that feeling of always being on edge around them and not being your true self.
What I have just explained is more related to social anxiety because that is my
own experience and I understand it very well. However, I know there are many
types of anxiety and some can seem like the smallest things to the outside
world but to you they have the biggest effect, and they need to be addressed. I’m
going to give you some things to try, that you can include in your daily
routine that will help you deal with your anxiety, without needing medication.
I recently learned some ways in which to take away the nerves
you may feel when you’re about to do something for the first time, like meet a
group of new people etc. Something you may have heard of is taking a deep
breath and counting to 10 in your head to regain your composure for a
presentation. This works for meeting people too, as you approach focus on the
numbers as opposed to what you’re going to say or what this person is going to
think of you. If you literally don’t know what to say, as starting point is just
introducing yourself and asking how this person is doing. The same applies
during a presentation for example, address the audience directing first, and
ease them into your topic. Another way to remain calm is to focus on your
breathing through your nose. This is important. As you breath in through your
nose, sense it. Bear with me that might sound confusing! This technique links
to being calm whilst meditating, you use the same slow and steady breathing
which makes you feel calm. When I had a counsellor, she gave me the analogy of
a tree sucking up water from its roots and all the way up into its trunk and
branches. Imagine you are that tree and as you breathe the air you breathe in is
the water that tree takes in, and the branches are your muscles and your organs
and every part of you.
I’ve seen people do this for a long time, I thought maybe
they’re tapping because they’re bored or impatiently waiting in a queue, but
another reason could also be to let out nerves. I’ve tried tapping and it does seem to release some negative energy, it may work well for you too!
Tapping is associated with the meridian points in the Chinese concept of “chi”. In Chinese
medicine, these points are harbours of energy and when tapped are believed to
release that energy. Whilst tapping, focus on the problem going away and
emptying your harbours. The process of tapping on these meridian points is called emotional freedom techniques (EFT). Here is a book on how to properly use EFT and the order in which to use the points.
Researchers carried out tests with acupuncture with meridian acupoints and three Anmian acupoints. They found that both together improve depression and anxiety and also improved the quality of sleep with patients who had insomnia.
Drink green tea and avoid caffeine
You may be thinking, I can’t drink that it’s disgusting! I
agree, most green tea isn’t nice at first but just like anything else, your
body will get used to it, and the benefits are worth far more than the bad
taste stopping you drink it at all. Green tea contains L-theanine which is
useful for treating anxiety as it does not produce the same “hyper” boost that
caffeine does. Caffeine can cause a massive high which can quickly turn into a
massive low so it is best to go with decaffeinated drinks, or at least cut down
on the caffeine. Researchers have found that L-theanine can be particularly
effective in helping one’s mental state, possibly useful for sufferers of
bipolar disorder or depression.
Listen to music
This may seem like an obvious one and many of you probably
do it. It can be good to listen to the music you love whenever you’re feeling
anxious. This is because music can help you escape, and you can focus more on
the music than whatever your problems are. However, I’ve learned from
experience that although I like listening to rap or rock music, some of it does
put me in a worse mood and I start thinking more negatively about things. I
recently focused more on what the lyrics were and any song that has mostly
negative lyrics I tend to avoid when I’m feeling anxious as it can bring me
lower. I switch to uplifting music, whether that’s typing in “happy/uplifting
playlist” or using specific positive music scientifically proven to help mood,
focus or relaxation. There are many options available on YouTube by simply
typing in “positive music”, “study music” and “relaxing music” for example.
Alternatively, you can buy CDs or mp3 downloads on sites like Amazon.
Get lost (not literally) in nature, or a book
Going for a walk on your own or with a friend and taking in
all the beauty that is around you can be a perfect stress reliever. Many people
are too focused on the working day and have little time to relax, but it is
important for your mental health and you must make some time daily or if not
daily at least a few times a week to just forget about things. If you’re not a
fan of nature, or the weather isn’t great, which is quite often here in the UK,
then try reading a new book. I have found that reading fiction books help me to
escape reality for a bit, I can let my imagination loose and get lost in that
world and not mine. Also, books that are very realistic can help people as they
feel comfortable in reading that others experience the same issues as them.
I hope you’ve got some new things to try to help with the anxiety and I’d love to know what works for you! I haven’t covered the importance of exercise in helping relieve anxiety as I have
mentioned that in a lot of detail in a previous post which can be found here. If
you enjoyed the read, then let me know in the comments. Have any thoughts you’d
like to share? Also, if I missed something feel free to comment any questions you
have, and I’ll get back to you!
Huo, Z. J., Guo, J., & Li, D. (2013). Effects of acupuncture with meridian acupoints and three Anmian acupoints on insomnia and related depression and anxiety state. Chinese journal of integrative medicine, 19(3), 187-191.
Hwang, Y. C. (1992). Anatomy and classification of
acupoints. Problems in veterinary medicine, 4(1), 12-15.
Nobre, A. C., Rao, A., & Owen, G. N. (2008). L-theanine,
a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific journal
of clinical nutrition, 17(S1), 167-168.
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