Anxiety is normal when it helps us stay alert and prepared for our daily lives. It becomes a problem when it interferes with the quality of our relationships, our performance at work or school, or our moods and self-confidence. We may try to hide it or be afraid we’ll have a panic attack, causing symptoms like a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or obsessive thinking. Life is stressful, but there are things you can do to boost your mood and ease anxiety.
1. Change your thoughts
The way you think affects the way you feel and behave. Try these tips:
- Admit your feelings, and share them with someone you trust.
- Learn ways to nip your anxious feelings in the bud.
- Avoid negative language or thoughts.
- Find constructive ways to replace unhealthy thinking and actions.
2. Watch your diet
Dehydration and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) can cause anxiety or confusion, and additives like preservatives, artificial color, and flavor cause some people to have mood swings. It helps to limit sugar and eat complex carbohydrates, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. A 2009 study found that chamomile tea had a modest anti-anxiety effect on participants.
3. Get plenty of sleep
Anxiety makes it harder to get a good night’s sleep, but sleep deprivation also makes anxiety worse. Practice these habits to improve your sleep:
- Don’t read or watch TV in bed.
- Don’t use your phone or computer in bed.
- Don’t go to bed until you’re sleepy.
- If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and come back when you’re sleepy.
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
- Have a regular bedtime.
- Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and big meals before bedtime.
4. Stay active
Exercise produces “feel-good” endorphins that decrease depression and anxiety, and studies show it is as effective as medication for some people. Physical activity also takes your mind off your troubles and makes it easier to interact with other people. Regular exercise helps, but so do activities like planting a garden or taking a walk.
Relaxation comes in many forms, and it has many health benefits, including these:
- It slows the heart rate and breathing rate.
- It lowers blood pressure and reduces “fight or flight” hormones
- It balances blood sugar levels.
- It improves blood flow to muscles and reduces muscle tension.
- It improves mood, sleep, concentration, and mood.
- It reduces mood swings and lowers fatigue.
You can learn to relax on your own or participate in classes and activities led by therapists, healers, and teachers, or find your own way to unwind. Here are some of your choices:
- Learn to do meditation, deep breathing, or visualization exercises.
- Get a massage to calm the body, mind, and spirit.
- Practice yoga or Tai chai to relax tense muscles, improve circulation, and relax the nervous system.
- Use aromatherapy essential oils like lavender and peppermint for their therapeutic healing effects.
- Get biofeedback or learn heart-centered breathing from the HeartMath Institute.
- Listen to healing music designed to promote activities like sleep, meditation, or concentration.
- Book a session of hydrotherapy, acupuncture, or energy healing.
CBD Products for Anxiety
You’ve heard the hype about CBD products, but how do you sort the facts from the fiction? Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that it helps with anxiety and mood disorders.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil comes from the cannabis plant, but it doesn’t cause you to become intoxicated or feel high like THC does. CBD products come in tinctures and oils, capsules or pills, edible foods, and creams, and lotions. You can learn more about CBD products at reputable websites.
Whether it’s journaling about your feelings or spending time with your pet, anything that helps with self-care and positive emotions has the potential to reduce anxiety. Researchers even found that caring for crickets improved the psychological health of elderly participants, and social connections are essential for everyone’s well-being.