our top 10 tips to naturally reduce your anxiety
Modern life is a balancing act and there are times where we all worry, feel overwhelmed and start to experience feelings of anxiety. Negotiating your time and energy between the many different areas of life; friends, family, work, fitness, travelling and fun can often be a source of worry, and for some, destabilising. The result of spreading yourself too thinly results in increased levels of stress and anxiety and not knowing how to regain your balance.
So, what actually is anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a deep rooted feeling of fear or worry that’s possibly caused by a combination of factors.1 Researchers believe these factors range from genetics to your environment to brain chemistry. Some people may already be familiar with the feelings and symptoms that come with anxiety but some of the most common symptoms are:
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Trouble concentrating
However, anxiety looks and feels different to everyone. While one person might experience a physical symptom of butterflies in their stomach, another person might have panic attacks or nightmares.
It’s important to note that there’s a difference between anxiety you may experience every day and an anxiety disorder. If you feel anxious about something new or particularly stressful, that would be defined as everyday anxiety. However when it gets to an uncontrollable or excessive point and is starting to affect your quality of life, it could be a disorder.
Some anxiety disorders include:
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Separation anxiety
- Illness anxiety
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Social anxiety disorder
If you feel you are experiencing anxiety disorder, these methods may help you but you should consider seeking professional medical assistance and advice.
How can I treat everyday anxiety?
So, what happens if you feel those familiar symptoms and you know that anxiety is setting in? Here at moment wellbeing, we believe that there are some simple, natural techniques you can use to help ground you and bring you back to the present moment, in turn, reducing your anxiety. Remember that different techniques will work better for different people so give them all a try and work out what works for you.
Reduce your anxiety naturally with these 10 simple techniques.
The most powerful technique to naturally reduce your anxiety is simply breathing.
Sheryl Ankrom, MS, LCPC at verywellmind.com says ‘People tend to take rapid, shallow breaths that come directly from the chest when they are anxious.’2
Ankrom says this type of breathing, which is called thoracic breathing, causes a positive feedback loop which reinforces your fight-or-flight response. Deep breathing is the antidote to this, creating a circuit breaker in the loop and helping you to calm you down.
Deep breathing is great for bringing you back to the present moment and to help increase mental clarity and improve lung function.
There are so many different deep breathing techniques available but here are three of our favourites to get you started:
Step 1: Inhale to the count of four.
Step 2: Hold in your lungs for the count of four.
Step 3: Exhale for the count of four.
Step 4: Hold your lungs empty for the count of four.
You have completed one box breath! Continue for as long as you need.
Step 1: Inhale to the count of four.
Step 2: Hold the breath in your lungs for the count of seven.
Step 3: Exhale to the count of eight.
Step 4: Repeat.
Step 1: Come to a seated position and press your palms against your knees.
Step 2: Inhale deeply through your nose.
Step 3: Open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue.
Step 4: Exhale out through your mouth and make a long ‘ha’ sound.
Step 5: Relax your shoulders and let everything go.
Step 6: Do this breath as many times as you need.3
You can do these breathing exercises, standing, sitting or even lying down. You may want to practise deep breathing daily or just when you feel you need it. Setting aside some time daily, with your wellbeing hub™ and serene scene™ blend to help you feel that extra level of calm.
2. Do some exercise
Exercise is not only a great way to improve your physical health, it improves your mental health by building resilience and works as a distraction when you feel anxiety set in.
As the feeling of anxiety is not universal, neither is exercise. You might want to sweat out those feelings with some feisty HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Or fancy adding some serene scene essential oil blend to your moment wellbeing hub, and doing some gentle yoga or pilates. Even going for a short walk or jog can vastly improve how you feel.
Studies have shown regular exercise can lead to enhancing concentration and willpower which can help ease certain anxiety symptoms.
3. Put some music on
If you feel yourself spiralling down an anxious rabbit-hole, popping out for a quick jog or meditating might not always be an available option. A great way to shift that anxious nagging is by listening to your favourite music. Create some playlists of tunes that resonate with you and make you feel great, in readiness.
Listening to music can have a calming effect on your body and mind, lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels, it can also lift your mood and help you to feel motivated.
4. Choose nourishing foods
If you feel your anxiety heightens after eating, investigate your eating habits. Consuming artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives often found in processed food can cause mood changes and make you feel lethargic. Low blood sugar levels and being dehydrated may also affect your temperament and lead you to feel hungry again soon.
According to Cathleen Crichton-Stuart for mnt.com there are some foods that you can incorporate into your balanced diet to help promote feelings of calm and ease some anxiety and stress. They are as follows:
- Chamomile - Chamomile tea is used by many people as an anxiety antidote due to its reported relaxant properties.
- Brazil nuts - High in selenium, a great antioxidant.
- Dark chocolate - Contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps create serotonin.
- Pumpkin seeds - An excellent source of potassium, which may reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Fatty fish - Contains high amounts of Omega-3 which has a strong relationship with cognitive function.
- Eggs - Also containing tryptophan, an amino acid that helps create serotonin.
- Turmeric - Contains curcumin which may help lower feelings of anxiety by reducing inflammation.
- Yogurt - High in healthy bacteria for the gut biome, with increasing reports that mental health and a healthy gut biome are linked.
- Green tea - Contains theanine which may increase serotonin and dopamine.
Ensure you choose foods that are going to nourish your body and mind, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Try to work on eliminating anything processed from your diet and make sure you stay hydrated.4
5. Prioritise sleep
Having good sleep health has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health. Although everyone is different, it’s recommended that you aim to get between 7-9 hours sleep each night.5 Sleep is an area we feel very passionate about at moment wellbeing and will be posting more about, however we have some tips about preparing your space and body for a good night’s rest:
- Keep the temperature in your room around 18C.
- Aim to go to sleep and get up at the same time each day.
- Keep your room dark.
- Only getting into bed when you’re tired.
- Staying away from red light emitting devices 1-2 hours before you want to sleep.
- Not using your phone or laptop in bed.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol or large meals before bed.
Prepare your room for sleep by adding your slumber number™ essential oil blend to your wellbeing hub™ and selecting a mist setting for 1 hour before bed. Your space will be infused with our essential oil blend that helps prepare your mind and body for a great sleep and help you wake up rested. You might also want to wind down by drawing yourself a hot bath and adding our slumber number luxury bath oil™.
By creating a sleep routine that works for you, you’re ensuring you wake up feeling rested and that your body knows when it’s time to wind down and get ready for that all important rest.
Meditation is the practice of concentrated focus. By setting aside some time each day with no distractions, you’re giving your mind, body and soul time to reconnect. It’s very easy to get started and practising meditation is brilliant for bringing you back to the present moment. Here are some simple steps to get you started:
- Sit down somewhere quiet with your back straight, this may be on a chair or on the floor.
- Set a timer for your planned meditation length and close down your eyes.
- Notice your body, start at your feet and make your way all the way up to the top of your head.
- Notice and feel your breath going in and out.
- When your mind inevitably wanders, take notice, be kind to yourself and bring it back to your breath.
If you find the idea of going it alone a bit daunting, there are many guided meditations available online which will guide you through without the need to set your own timer. If you integrate daily meditation practice into your routine, take notice of how you feel before and after your practice.
7. Limit your caffeine intake
Caffeine is renowned for being able to help you concentrate and provide you with an energy boost when you need it. However research has shown that people identifying symptoms of anxiety may want to limit their intake to help reduce those unsettling feelings. Robert Preidt at webmd.com reports that ‘consuming more than 400mg of caffeine at once may lead to feeling overstimulated and anxious’.6 Bringing on or enhancing symptoms such as nausea, racing heart and abdominal pain. If you are relying on caffeine daily you may also find that this is causing issues with low mood and interfering with your sleep pattern if you have a caffeine boost too late in the evening.
8. Welcome humour
Laughing is a brilliant way of reducing your anxiety and helping your mind to focus on something else. Not to mention the physical benefits: laughter can also aid muscle relaxation and stimulate blood circulation, both of which can lower anxiety and stress levels. Why not call a friend who always has some amusing stories to share, or pop on a funny podcast, series or film to get the giggles going.
9. Try aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is the usage of natural plant extracts in an aromatic way to promote good health and wellbeing in a holistic manner. Humans have used aromatherapy for thousands of years and there is ongoing research into using essential oils and their unique benefits for different ailments. Aromatherapy works by absorption through the skin and sense of smell, usually in products such as diffusers, bath oils and essential oil blends. There are many different essential oils boasting different benefits, however our blends have been expertly crafted to include allstar oils that will help you achieve your goal, here’s the spotlight on one from each blend:
- Our serene scene™ blend contains bergamot, which has a sunny and slightly citrus scent. When inhaled, bergamot essential oil reportedly signals to the brain to release serotonin and dopamine.
- Looking for an energy boost? Our energise me™ blend contains rosemary essential oil that helps relieve fatigue and give you that pick me up when you need it.
- Our chill out™ blend contains neroli, its delicate floral scent has extremely calming benefits and can help relieve symptoms of stress.
- Containing eucalyptus, our high spirits™ blend is refreshing and eucalyptus is well known for stimulating your brain and putting a positive spin on your mood.
- Our slumber number™ blend contains lavender, amongst other properties, lavender classic scent is known for promoting relaxation and alleviating the symptoms of insomnia.
Our serene scene™, chill out™ and slumber number™ blends are available as a luxury bath oil, for that extra level of relaxation. However our five original essential oil blends are perfect to use with your moment wellbeing hub™. This ultrasonic essential oil diffuser makes achieving your wellbeing goal so easy, with the touch of a button.
Follow these simple steps to get your wellbeing hub™ up and running:
- Carefully remove the wellbeing hub™’s outer cover and tank lid.
- Add 150ml water (to the water line) and 15 drops of your chosen moment wellbeing essential oil blend.
- Carefully replace the tank lid and outer cover. Then align the spout of the tank lid with the mist outlet.
- With dry hands, plug in and switch on your wellbeing hub™ with the remote control.
Last but not least on our top ten is journaling. Journaling is a great way to reduce your anxiety. Sometimes it makes the world of difference to get things down on paper and it is very cathartic to feel the words flowing from the pen. By writing things down and working through them, it can reduce rumination and those anxious feelings that surround the topic. Journaling can be a very powerful tool to help shift your mindset from one filled with anxiety, to an action orientated one. Everyone is different, it may be helpful to some just to put pen to paper and get a scenario down on paper to put it to rest, almost ticking it off a list. For others, it may be helpful to write out scenario, re-read and ask yourself some questions surrounding it. How likely is this scenario to happen? What can you do to prepare yourself if it does happen?7
Hopefully being able to integrate some or all of these tips into your day or week will provide some natural anxiety relief from the stresses and strains of modern day living.
1 - Juby, Bethany. “Natural Remedies for Anxiety.” Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/natural-ways-to-reduce-anxiety#what-anxiety-is. Accessed 9 June 2022.
2 - Ankrom, Sheryl. “8 Breathing Techniques and Breathing Exercises for Anxiety.” Verywell Mind, 14 February 2022, https://www.verywellmind.com/abdominal-breathing-2584115. Accessed 9 June 2022.
3 - “10 Breathing Exercises to Try: For Stress, Training & Lung Capacity.” Healthline, 9 April 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercise#lions-breath. Accessed 9 June 2022.
4 - Crichton-Stuart, Cathleen, and Natalie Butler. “9 foods that help reduce anxiety.” Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652. Accessed 9 June 2022.
5 - Littlehales, Nick. Sleep: Redefine Your Rest, for Success in Work, Sport and Life. Penguin Books, Limited, 2016.
6 - Preidt, Robert, and Dan Brennan. “Is Caffeine Fueling Your Anxieties?” WebMD, 19 July 2019, https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/news/20190719/is-caffeine-fueling-your-anxieties. Accessed 9 June 2022.
7 - Scott, Elizabeth. “Journaling for Anxiety Relief.” Verywell Mind, 31 March 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/journaling-a-great-tool-for-coping-with-anxiety-3144672. Accessed 9 June 2022.