What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an all encompassing feeling of uneasiness that is experienced by most people at some point in their life. It can be short lived and attached to a particular event, for example a job interview or phobia, or it can last for months or indefinitely, wreaking havoc on people’s lives. Anxiety can be caused by stress, bereavement, illness, or financial worry, to name just a few of the many potential triggers.
Symptoms of anxiety can vary from one person to another. As your body responds to an unshakable feeling of potential danger, commonly known as fight or flight, it experiences symptoms such as chest pain, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, gastric problems such as constipation and diarrhoea, excessive sweating, flatulence, nausea, and loss of feeling in extremities such as fingers and toes.
In 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK. Many people suffer in silence or struggle to find successful solutions to their symptoms. But there are a number of natural ways to reduce anxiety and different avenues to try to find some relief.
Regular exercise is one of the most natural ways to reduce anxiety through helping to boost your mood. When you exercise, the body releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones that help you cope with stress and pain. If stress is causing your anxiety then this is an excellent option for you.
Physical movement also acts as a distraction from any worries that may be causing your anxiety, taking your mind off your problems and giving you back a feeling of control.
Exercise is also good for self-esteem and confidence. It can help you to tone up, lose weight, and get healthy. If you feel stronger, it can be useful to help you tackle your problems. Team sports and running clubs can also be vital social interaction which is often a fantastic boost for anxious individuals; social support groups are a great way to unburden your worries through talking to friends or even someone you don’t know, who might be able to offer non-judgmental, impartial advice.
Meditation focuses the mind and enforces your body to slow down and take some time out. The conscious decision to pause, relax, and concentrate on your own wellbeing can bring much needed calm and balance when you are suffering with anxiety. It also helps to tackle stress and fatigue, both of which can be linked to anxiety and particularly for insomnia caused by worry.
Research findings presented at the 2018 Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego showed that people can gain significant psychological and physiological benefits from a single session of meditation including reduced stress on the arteries and decreased anxiety.
More than one third of CBD oil users in the UK choose it to tackle anxiety or stress as it brings feelings of serenity and relaxation. CBD oil supports the human endocannabinoid system by binding to the receptors found in the body’s nervous system to keep the body well balanced.
CBD reacts with a receptor in the human body known as serotonin – the happiness and wellbeing chemical – changing the way your body responds to anxiety.
A 2009 research study found that CBD “induces an antidepressant-like effect” in mice, while a more recent review noted that “CBD increased stress-coping behaviors in a behavioral test largely used for the screening of antidepressant drugs.”
Drinking CBD tea can also be a calming and relaxing ritual. Many people would choose a hot drink to start or end their day and the relaxing properties of CBD teamed with the boost of caffeine is a perfect pairing to allow the user to focus with a bright, clear mind.
The chamomile plant has been readily used to treat people therapeutically for a long time. It is renowned for its calming properties and is often used to treat stomach complaints as well as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Chamomile can be taken in capsule form or as a tea and contains a compound which reacts with the receptors in the body to promote relaxation and anti-inflammatory action.
The scent of lavender can also have a calming effect on the human body. It has been used by herbal therapists for centuries to treat anxiety as the scent creates a relaxing experience as the linalool compound in the lavender interacts with messages being sent to the brain, improving mood and increasing feelings of peace and contentment.