Anxiety is a common condition that affects many children and adults, causing a sense of unease, fear or worry. Most of us have experienced anxiety at some point in our lives – exams, job interviews, first dates, weddings and other life events no matter how small or large, can cause us to feel temporarily anxious.
But sometimes, anxiety becomes a much bigger mental health problem that can take over our lives. If you’re suffering with anxiety that’s overwhelming you, its important to speak to a medical professional who can help you. The mental health charities, Mind and the Samaritans can also help lend a listening ear and support.
There are things we can do ourselves to help manage our anxiety, which can be especially helpful at the moment whilst we’re living with the effects and the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s our tips on reducing anxiety.
Take regular exercise, preferably outside
When we exercise, we release feel good chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins help to lift the mood and reduce the level of stress hormones in the body, helping to reduce anxiety and worry.
Exercise also helps to improve our confidence, both by helping us to maintain a healthy weight and by giving us a sense of achievement. This in turn helps us to feel more positive and better able to tackle the things that stress us.
There’s no need to join a gym with expensive fees, or feel like you have to run a marathon. Half an hour each day walking briskly, jogging or cycling outside is enough. The great outdoors also adds to the benefits of exercise by making us feel more relaxed. Fresh air, sunlight and the sounds, smells and sights of nature all help to boost the mood and reduce anxiety.
Doing things that you enjoy, fill your cup and nourish your soul are also beneficial if you suffer with anxiety. But only if you do them without guilt. So many of us feel guilty or even selfish when we do things that we enjoy, purely for ourselves. However, the benefits of doing so are so fulfilling, that self-care should be part of everyone’s daily routine.
When we do, we make ourselves feel better, and our loved ones get a better version of us. So take a bath, organise a date with friends, go for a walk alone or indulge in your favourite cake; whatever it takes, whatever you feel like doing, do it!
Drink a warming tonic
Part of living a healthy life is eating a healthy diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, lean protein and healthy fats. As part of this healthy diet, it’s important to also stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear fluids. Doing so helps us with our cognitive function, which also supports good mental health.
Soothing, comforting, warming drinks also help us to stay hydrated at the same time as acting as a warming blanket as we take five minutes out to drink them. So try adding a teaspoon of active healing honey to warm water or a herbal tea (wait until the water has cooled to drinking temperature before adding the honey so that the delicate active enzymes remain intact) and drink mindfully.
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