Anxiety is a constant feeling of unease or dread. It can make us feel restless, tense, and constantly on edge. It can also affect our body, making us not only fatigued but it can make muscles become sore and achy.
Anxiety can become all-consuming when it is severe. It can halt us in our tracks, interfere with our daily life, and stop us from doing what we want to do. It can make our lives feel smaller, interfering with relationships and changing our behaviour when it becomes severe.
When anxiety is holding you back from living an authentic life it is a problem. You deserve a happy and fulfilled life. But it is also important to remember that you are not alone. As many as a quarter of Australians experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime. But there are steps you can take to control and manage anxiety, and in this article we share these with you.
"Anxiety dims your light and steals your zest for life."
When we experience anxiety we can feel a range of symptoms. They can be momentary symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweating, and increased heart rate. Or they can manifest over a long period of time, making us feel easily overwhelmed, finding it difficult to concentrate, and struggling to sleep.
We can feel anxiety for a variety of reasons. Examples can include our upbringing, a difficult and stressful event, or something that has happened to us. It is also something many women experience during the menopause or just before their period. Let us explain how.
The Science Behind Anxiety
Adrenaline is a hormone made by the adrenal glands when your system is in the ‘fight or flight’ mode. During menopause or the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (day 14-28), the adrenals take on the extra task of contributing oestrogen to the hormonal dance. During these times they can easily become depleted due to the extra burden. As a result, the taxed adrenal glands tend to overreact, giving rise to sudden sensations of anxiety, fear or nervousness. In an acutely stressful situation, the rise in stress hormones (adrenaline surge) can trigger PMS symptoms, or a hot flush and leave you feeling blank, physically wiped out, anxious or even worse.
Though anxiety can be distressing and overwhelming, there are things we can do. There are steps we can take both short-term and long-term to improve symptoms, feel calmer, and get back our zest for life. Read on for our top tips for managing anxiety.
Tips to ease tension and anxiety
Here are some tips for when we feel anxious and need something to immediately feel calm and ease tension.
- Rescue Remedy
Bach Flower or Australian Bush Flower Essences remedies such as Rescue Remedy™ can immediately help to ease anxiety. Keep this in your bag to use as soon as you feel the tension building.
If you are overcome with anxiety, stop, focus your eyes on something close to you and concentrate on your breath. Steady it, slow it down and feel it. Becoming aware of the feelings of anxiety and how they affect your breathing and the body as a whole helps to stop it from reeling out of control. Centre yourself by connecting with something in your surroundings - a sight, a sound, a smell, or a view. Feel the earth under your feet, smell the coffee, hear the music, or look at the sunset.
- Speak to someone
Speak to someone you trust. Often, voicing your feelings puts things into perspective. It can help when worries go round and round in your head. If you have severe anxiety our practitioner team is available in our online clinic and can explore all the possible triggers and causes. It can also be a good idea to talk to your local health practitioner or a therapist if you have severe anxiety.
Use aromatherapy to create a calm environment.
Tips for longer-term solutions
Here are some tips for longer-term solutions to ease tension and anxiety. By taking some of these steps we can support adrenal strength, encourage a calm state of mind, and encourage a healthier lifestyle.
- Self-love practices
With our busy lives sometimes we don’t give ourselves the attention we need and deserve. Self-love practices give importance to our body and raise awareness that it’s our temple that deserves a lot of care and attention. This can include taking a long, relaxing bath. It could be getting a regular massage or hitting the spa. Therapy and healing sessions like Reiki are also good examples of giving yourself some love, care, and time.
- Time Out Sessions
Taking some time out to do something purely for you and your mental wellbeing is so important for feeling calm. Take out a period of time a day and use it for you. No interruptions, no disruptions — just time where you can connect with yourself and your loved ones. Deep breathing, meditation, journaling and reading are examples of how we can de-stress in the evening to improve sleep quality. Leisure walks and spending time in nature can help us to think more clearly and feel calm. Take it slow and always remember to nourish yourself properly. Retreating into a calm state reduces the excitation of excess cortisol (the stress hormone), leaving you in an improved state of wellbeing.
Meditation is a great way to take time out. Meditating before sleep can help the brain to stop stressing and overthinking. Instead, it encourages the mind to think positively and bring our awareness to our body and surroundings rather than our thoughts. Guided meditation can help the brain to switch from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system. This relaxes the body and mind to enable deeper sleep.
Gentle and nourishing exercises like walking, yin yoga and swimming help to ensure that your body is getting the movement it requires. The body is more likely to store emotions and feelings when it is inactive and this entrapment means that you stay in your head, reliving events, issues and dramas. Get out of your head and into your body!
Claim your boundaries. Anxiety rises when you feel unsafe. If you are uncomfortable with a situation then it is important to say no. You can always just say no. By setting clear boundaries you can outline what you are comfortable with and what you are not, which can reduce stress levels.
Herbs & Vitamins That Help Anxiety
There are also herbs and supplements that can improve symptoms of anxiety and leave us feeling calmer and less stressed.
This is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to relieve sleeplessness, mild anxiety irritability, reduce nervous tension and calm nerves.
Rhodiola helps the body adapt to stress, relieve feelings of general debility and supports mental function.
This rejuvenating tonic helps the body adapt to stress and relieves symptoms of mild anxiety.
This vitamin is important for maintaining nervous system health and function.
All of the above natural medicines can be found in Happy Calm, our natural supplement. This supplement can be taken daily to soothe nerves, help the body adapt to stress, and relieve symptoms of mild anxiety. In combination with our lifestyle tips for managing anxiety, this supplement can help us to get back our zest.
Anxiety can feel overwhelming. But you are not alone. Talk to someone, give yourself some self care and love, and start taking steps to manage anxiety. With some small changes we can work towards being our best, healthiest, most confident self.