Being always anxious can be unhealthy, while until now, the stigma about mental health is still present. Yet, did you know that stress and anxiety are one of the mental disorders having the highest prevalence in the US?
As sighted by NIMH, around 19.1% of U.S. adults are suffering from an anxiety disorder, and most of them are females, which is 23.4% more than their opposite gender. Meanwhile, around 31.1% of US adults were reported to experience some symptoms of anxiety in their lives. As for the latest edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-V, anxiety disorders come with different types, but they share the same hallmark, which is the “excessive fear and anxiety and related behavioral disturbances.”
Anxiety and fear are different concepts. For instance, DSM-V differentiates fear as “emotional response to a real or perceived imminent threat” from anxiety, as the “anticipation of future threat”. Such disturbances can impact different areas of your functioning such as your school, work, and even your overall personal and social life. Thus, you may need some anxiety relief.
The Effects of Stress on Your Body
Stress can be normal, especially that it is already part of our daily lives. When you experience stress, a part of your brain, specifically the hypothalamus reacts, allowing the release of stress hormones. Stress hormones are the same hormones that make you sense the “fight or flight response” of your body.
When you are threatened, stressed, or having an intense emotion, you will feel that your heart is beating fast, as your heart rate increases. Your breath also becomes faster, your muscles start to shake, and for some, it leads to uncontrollable shedding of tears.
Chronic stress can affect your body, both in terms of your physical health and mental health. If left untreated or unmanaged, it may result in consistent irritability, anxiety disorder, depression or major depressive disorder, insomnia, headache, back pain, shoulder pain, diarrhea, constipation, stomachache, and nausea and vomiting.
For some, stress is diverted to overeating, substance abuse (including drugs, seaters, and alcohol), as well as social withdrawal. It can even lead to certain illnesses and serious health conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, heartburn or acid reflux, erectile dysfunction for males, and irregular, heavier, or more painful menstruation for females.
How to Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Too much stress can result in chronic anxiety and depression. Yet, it does not mean that we cannot control them anymore. Of course, stress can be normal or destructive. So, we do not want stress to rule over your life. In this sense, we provide you with the top seven tips to reduce or relieve these disturbances.
One of the natural remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression is exercising. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), exercise can help improve overall physical wellness and mental fitness. It does not only reduce anxiety, but it can serve as a good stress relief. Indeed, there are some studies showing that exercising can reduce fatigue, help you to stay alert, and let you have better concentration.
One exercise you can do is aerobic exercise. Such exercise can help your body lower the level of stress or tension, improve your sleep pattern, maintain a stable mood, and promote healthy self-esteem. In most cases, participating in the said exercise for five minutes can already produce an anti-anxiety effect in your body.
Similarly, psychology research found out that a 10-minute walk is as effective as a 45-minute workout. It can be enough to alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms. However, effects are often temporary. Nevertheless, exercising can help you stay healthy and give you many hours of stress relief.
As for a more scientific explanation, exercising can help the production of endorphins. These are the brain chemicals acting like a natural painkillers. The same brain chemical helps you in coping with stress. Indeed, exercising can become a part of therapy and medication.
Pay Attention to Sleep
Some people have a hard time going to sleep even at night, because of too much stress or worry. Sometimes, such worry or stress leads to sleep disorders. On the other hand, a sleep disorder may come first, and result in anxiety in the long run. Having said that, research has found out that sleep deprivation may contribute to the aggravations of anxiety.
Moreover, a lack of sleep also increases your risk of developing heart disease or heart failure. Some may also increase their risk of having high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and irregular heartbeat. These are just some of the reasons why you should pay attention to your sleep pattern.
On a much deeper view, disrupted sleep is almost present in other mental health issues like depression, affecting your daily living. For instance, it can negatively impact your work performance, academic performance, cognitive ability, and increases the risk of physical injury. Surely, these health problems that may arise in the future may create additional worries. Therefore, it is better to take care of your sleeping pattern as early as possible.
CBD Oil and Gummies
Some people choose natural remedies for anxiety rather than taking prescription medicine. The use of CBD oil for anxiety is becoming popular because of the existing preliminary studies about its effects on mental health, particularly in major depressive and anxiety disorders.
CBD oil is one of the newest advancements in health care, and it’s being used to alleviate anxiety. CBD has been discovered to help with anxiety by altering the brain’s serotonin receptor response, according to research.
CBD contains several helpful properties such as neuroprotective property, antipsychotic property, and anti-inflammatory property. Such CBD properties were found to have a good contribution to the treatment of anxiety and depression. Added to that are its anti-asthmatic property, antitumor property, antiepileptic property, and anxiolytic property, which provide more health benefits.
Vitamins & Supplements
If you do not question your doctor prescribing you Vitamins & Supplements, which you can buy from different pharmacies to retain your physical wellness, it may work the same with your mental health status. For instance, there was a study, which showed that Omega-3 supplements can lower inflammation and anxiety. Supplements with green tea included may also be effective in increasing the natural production of serotonin. Take note that a low level of increasing serotonin may contribute to the manifestation of symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you decide to take over-the-counter vitamins and/or supplements, but you have other health conditions or are taking other products, it is better to consult your doctor first. Over-the-counter supplements may react to other medications or may aggravate your existing medical condition. Thus, implementing such precautions is recommended.
Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine is a great stimulant, and many nonprofessionals believe that it is good for fighting depression. For this, you need to be careful, as Caffeine being a stimulant may worsen anxiety.
On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant. While you may seem to notice that alcohol is helpful in making you fall asleep during the night, it does not automatically mean that you get quality sleep. Instead, it can harm you even more, as alcohol and depression have a reciprocal need and interaction.
For instance, alcohol intake can worsen the symptoms of depression, and depression makes a person attracted to alcohol use.
When anxiety disorder, depression, and related mental health becomes deeper or uncontrolled, therapy may help for the treatment and control of those disturbing signs and symptoms. Yet, you do not have to wait for your symptoms or stress to become worse before you can go to therapy. Instead, you can combine the therapy with other stress management techniques. It also works even if your anxiety and depression coexist.
When the anxiety, stress, or depression is continuously becoming out of control, therapy and medication treatment can be combined. Nowadays, online therapy is also available. All you must do is to find legit websites with qualified mental health professionals.
Yoga and Meditation
Other natural ways that can serve as a good helping treatment for anxiety disorder are yoga and meditation. While some people believe that it is a helping treatment for different clinical or medical problems, there are still some who are not convinced of its efficacy yet.
However, there is already evidence that it may help improve the life of a person with anxiety and depression. It is also a good stress-relieving tool like how exercise does. Also, yoga is even considered as a type of meditation, where you do a series of postures with controlled breathing
Meanwhile, there is another form of Meditation, where you are becoming more mindful of yourself, leading you to acceptance and increased awareness of the present events in your life. We call it mindfulness.
Here, you also focus on your breathing or even just the natural flow of your breath. Of course, there are more other types of meditation. Yet, whichever you choose, they share the same goals and elements.
Dealing with too much emotional stress and anxiety may be troublesome. We understand that persistent anxious feelings are often hard to manage, despite the presence of medications or prescriptions along with calming or relaxation techniques. However, it is also essential to keep in mind that deep depression and strong anxiety are often caused by excessive stressors. Thus, the treatment progress may be kind of slow compared to some common physical clinical conditions. Having said that, we encourage you to stay calm and find other ways to stop the worry or manage depression, stress, and anxiety symptoms.
Adjusting your diet
Diet, if not managed well may worsen your deep sadness and/or anxious feelings. In this sense, there is such a thing as nutritional psychiatry. Yet, it is not an entire substitute for medication and prescription, therapy, and the combination of medical intervention. Nevertheless, there are some foods that you can include in your diet. For example, foods rich in magnesium can help you stay calm and relax.
Foods rich in zinc are also linked to lower levels of stress and anxiety. Similarly, some research suggests that there can be potential evidence to believe that omega-3 is also effective in managing the said mental disorder.
Laughing and support groups
While many believe that laughter is the best medicine, studies have already proven that laughing promotes many physical and mental health benefits. For instance, it can boost your immune system, can make your brain and muscles relax, can slow down the production of stress hormones, and can help the production of endorphins.
Plus, your support group may also provide their strategies in coping with such disturbing symptoms. Lastly, do not be afraid to talk to your doctor or mental health professional about what you are going through. They can provide or recommend therapy or medical intervention for your well-being.
The Bottom Line
The brain plays a great role in our lives. If not taken care of, it may affect both your overall physical wellness and mental wellness. Yet, dealing with uncontrolled feelings such as intense worry and anxious feelings can be tough, especially if it becomes too deep. Sometimes, you may find that medications are not helpful enough to get you out of the trap.
We encourage you not to worry too much, relax, and stay calm. Try to focus on the good news for a moment such as the reality that we have different ways on how to calm our mind and body. With practice, you may start feeling comfortable doing exercise, calming and relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and a controlled diet. This way, you may be able to manage stress better than usual, and decrease the risk of developing harmful medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, and other mental disturbances.