Ten Easy Steps to Get Over Anxiety

Here is the Anxiety2calm.com top ten on how to get over anxiety. Let me count you down!

10. Learn to relax. Relaxation is important for anxiety sufferers. You should do ten to twenty minutes of relaxation everyday.

9. Take regular exercise. It’s a fact! Exercising regularly, and getting out of breath, raises your serotonin levels. It is a great stress-buster.

8. Cut out chocolate, coffee and any other caffeine in your diet. It really can have an effect on anxiety and you will quickly get used to doing without. If you have a sweet tooth and are a chocoholic then it’s OK to substitute with other sweet snacks that don’t have caffeine (although it’s better to eat more healthily – see #7)

7. Keep your blood sugar levels stable. Many people get anxiety, or at least worse anxiety symptoms, when their blood sugar levels are low. Eat complex carbohydrates and protein, and avoid sugar and processed foods (including refined wheat products) to keep your blood sugar and mood stable.

6. Use soothing herbs like Valerian, Passiflora and Chamomile. Drink them as tea or buy a tincture. They really do work!


5. Practise good breathing. Lots of anxiety sufferers have Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome which can be corrected by regular breathing practice.

4. Write down your thoughts. Doing “Morning Pages” where you just let your thoughts flow onto the paper first thing in the morning (or whenever) is very cathartic and therapeutic. It helps with sleep, motivation and relaxation.

3. Think about getting more tryptophan in your diet. It is the building block of serotonin and being deficient can cause anxiety.

2. Learn the techniques of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy). They are useful to get you through anxiety symptoms and help with negative thought patterns.

1. Practise Mindfulness Meditation. It is a fantastic long term solution to anxiety. It’s best to buy a book or a CD, or go on a course. Like all the best things, it takes dedication.


If you think I have missed something please add it below as a comment!

Anxiety Symptoms: Vision

Anxiety can cause distorted vision and tricks of the mind. It doesn’t mean you are going mad or losing the plot. Common visual disturbances are:

  • Thinking you saw something that wasn’t there
  • Things being hyper-real or surreal
  • Colours being very vivid and strong
  • Things appearing as if in a dream
  • Strange swirly patterns and flashing lights

Why do these strange visual symptoms happen? The fight or flight response brings about some very real physical, physiological changes in our bodies. I hearts beat faster, we take in more oxygen and we are on alert.

The amount of blood pumping through our veins increases and this can put a bit of extra pressure on the brain and nervous system. In fact most of the vision problems experienced during anxiety are identical to the kind of vision experienced while doing heavy exercise.

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It is common to mistake visual symptoms of anxiety for a sign or something much more sinister. Often people think they might be having a stroke or that a brain tumour is developing.

Of course strokes and brain tumours are thankfully very rare, you should always discuss new and unusual symptoms with a doctor. You will often feel much better when nasty sounding illnesses have been ruled out. Worrying about your health just makes anxiety worse.

Anxiety Symptoms: Nausea

Nausea is a common symptom of anxiety. It is also one of the most annoying. Often people report feeling sick to the stomach, sick with worry or fear and of losing their appetite.

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In actual fact, anxiety attacks very rarely make people vomit. The idea of anxiety, the reason that is has evolved as part of human nature, is to keep us safe. It is unpleasant but not in itself dangerous.

Why do we feel nauseous when we are anxious? Basically, our bodies are preparing for defence and that means getting oxygen and energy to where it is needed, such as our muscles. It also means diverting resources away from less important tasks such as digestion and that is why both nausea and Diarrhoea can be a problem.

The best thing to do is to try to calm yourself down by relaxing the upper-body as much as possible and breathing slowly and gently down into the abdomen.

There are a few gentle remedies for nausea that are worth a try:

  • Bach’s Rescue Remedy
  • Peppermint Tea

If nausea is a big problem for you or you are prone to vomiting, the doctor might prescribe a drug like prochloperazine (Stemitil) which is an anti-emetic. All of the general anti-anxiety techniques on this site should help diminish and finally eliminate anxiety and its associated nausea.

Anxiety: Fear of Dying

Anxiety attacks can not kill you yet a fear of dying is one of the most common worries anxiety sufferers report.

Anxiety is part of the body’s powerful fight or flight response and as such has evolved to keep you alive, not harm you. It is a warning signal and is as unpleasant as possible without harming you.

The fact is, you won’t die from anxiety. Even though your heart is beating faster and your breathing is rapid and laboured, your body is not in any danger from the anxiety. In fact, only those people with very weak and compromised organs (such as those with a history of heart disease) should be mildly concerned. But even in those cases  if your symptoms are well-managed it shouldn’t be a problem.

The main challenge is to stop the fear of dying from interfering in your life. And the best way to challenge these intrusive thoughts is by writing them down and arguing them out.

You know, deep inside, that you won’t die. So write down all your fears and then put forward some opposing arguments. (This post about self-help for anxiety disorders might be useful) In no time you will start to see your fear of dying for what it really is: a myth.

Anxiety Symptoms: Breathing

Anxiety symptoms to do with breathing can be some of the most frightening that we have to deal with.

Breathing is the vital bodily function we are most aware of. We can have terrible problems with our heart and other organs and not know about it for years, but the second breathing becomes difficult we feel anxiety and maybe even panic, because we know that without air we won’t survive for long.

But our fear is misguided. The breathing problems caused by anxiety are not real physical problems, they are just our throat becoming slightly congested due to the extra blood flowing through the veins in our necks (read anxiety symptoms: throat for more details).

Often we feel these symptoms to do with breathing when we have anxiety:

  • Feel like we can’t swallow
  • Feel we can’t breath in or breath out
  • Feel we can’t get a full breath
  • Feel we can’t control our breathing
  • Feel like our breathing is too fast and is getting out of control.

In fact all of these are symptoms of anxiety and specifically symptoms of hyperventilation (please read this post on Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome and Anxiety for more info.)

If we learn to relax our breathing and breath slowly and gently from the abdomen, then our symptoms will subside. Good breathing is not just for anxiety attacks, it is for life and should be practised every day.

Hyperventilation is not just a symptom of anxiety, it is also a cause. If you can improve your breathing habits, your default breathing pattern, then anxiety can be banished for good.

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Anxiety Symptoms: Throat

The throat is an area of the body where symptoms of anxiety are often felt. There are two kinds of symptoms that particularly effect the throat: difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing.

Having difficulty breathing when we are suffering from anxiety is common, but the description is inaccurate. Actually, we are managing to get plenty of air in to our bodies: too much. Please read this post on Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome and Anxiety.

This feeling of resistance to breathing is probably due to the blood pumping through the veins in our necks, making our windpipes ever so slightly narrower. It is not even close to being dangerous and if you make an effort to relax your upper body it will pass. Also this post is dedicated to Anxiety Symptoms: Breathing.

The same enlargement of the throat leads us to feeling that we can’t swallow, and eating and drinking when anxious can be hard. Again though, this feels bad but is completely harmless.

The best thing to do to combat all of the symptoms of anxiety that you feel in your throat is to practice relaxing your upper body, including your jaw and your chest.

Also check out  Anxiety Symptoms: Tingling.

And, if you are interested in the physical causes of anxiety, read Killing Anxiety From The Roots. It has a lot of information on this.

Anxiety Symptoms Tingling

Tingling is just one of many symptoms of anxiety. When we feel anxious and our bodies go into fight or flight mode, oxygen and energy is diverted to our muscles and adrenalin rushes through our system. One side effect of this is that we can feel a tingling sensation, which can be anywhere but is often in hand, feet or legs.

Like all symptoms of anxiety, tingling is harmless and will pass with the anxiety. Worrying about it just makes the problem worse as you should be trying to focus on your breathing and relaxing. This will make the tingling stop.

Doing some physical activity like walking might also help to loosen up the muscles and relax you, ending the bout of anxiety. You can also sometimes feel anxiety in your throat. This is all part of the same fight or flight reaction and not to be feared.

And, if you are interested in the physical causes of anxiety, read Killing Anxiety From The Roots. It has a lot of information on this.

Vestibular Anxiety

Vestibular disorders can cause anxiety. Some vestibular disorders can be so subtle that you might not realize that you are suffering from some kind of dizziness or vertigo and assume your anxiety has a psychological cause (read Anxiety and Dizziness for more information).

Take the case of someone who feels anxious and “strange” in a supermarket. A psychologist might tell them that they crave control and feel trapped in a supermarket and this causes anxiety. A cognitive behavior therapist might suggest that they tackle the negative thoughts they have around supermarkets. But they might be missing the fact that supermarkets, with their long isles, tiled floor and strip lighting are prone to exaggerating small vestibular weaknesses and making people feel slightly odd or slightly dizzy and detached.

Lots of anti anxiety medication also works as vestibular depressants, which numb the message from your ear to your brain and stops vertigo, dizziness and anxiety.

The best ways to tackle vestibular anxiety are:

  • Vestibular Rehabilitation – a series of physiotherapy exercises that help your  brain correctly interpret the signal from your ears. Takes time and commitment!
  • Vestibular Suppressants – drugs which control dizziness and may also control anxiety.  Only treats the symptoms and does not provide a solution.
  • Ginkgo Biloba – may work by increasing the blood supply to the brain and some people swear by it for dizziness and vertigo.

If you are interested in the physical causes of anxiety, read Killing Anxiety From The Roots. It has a lot of information on this.

Cure Anxiety Panic Attacks Naturally

The best way to cure anxiety and panic attacks naturally is to look for the cause of the problem. The medication doctors prescribe, as well as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) works by treating the symptom and not the cause. The natural approach should be more solution focused: it’s kinder to your body, works better and makes anxiety history sooner.

So how do you cure anxiety and panic attacks naturally? In an ideal world you would discover the cause of anxiety and treat it accordingly. In reality no two people are the same and figuring out what causes anxiety inside you is not easy. That means you are left with a process of trial and error, and more often than not it will be a combination of things that ultimately cures you of anxiety.

You need to examine yourself in these areas:

Brain Chemistry

It is possible that you are not producing enough serotonin due to a tryptophan deficiency. You could try a 5-HTP supplement. Or maybe you need an amino acid boost to raise your GABA levels. Naturally balancing your brain chemistry is much better than taking anti-depressants  and is much more of a permanent solution.

Nutrition

In this day and age it is easy to become deficient in vitamins and minerals. It is easy to correct these deficiencies but you need to be careful that you don’t overdose. You should pay particular attention to calcium and magnesium as well as Vitamin D. These vitamins and minerals can have a surprising effect on our psychological well-being.

Balance. A surprising amount of anxiety and agoraphobia is caused by balance problems. Very slight vestibular disorders (disorders of the inner-ear) can cause panic attacks in wide open spaces and supermarkets (typical of agoraphobia). While psychologists might still insist that these problems have their roots in childhood memory, science is moving on and finding many non-psychological causes of anxiety. Killing Anxiety From The Roots has a lot of information on this.

Breathing

Chronic Hyperventilation is linked to anxiety as a cause and symptom of anxiety. It is essential to practice good breathing everyday and this will pay dividends in a short time.

Magnesium for Anxiety

Magnesium deficiency can result in anxiety. There are several reasons for this but the main one is that we tend to produce more adrenaline when we are magnesium deficient and more adrenaline equals more anxiety.

But the  relationship between magnesium and anxiety is more complex than that. Magnesium is something of a “wonder” nutrient, performing more than three hundred critical roles in our bodies. Many of those roles can actually aid anxiety and keep us calmer. For example magnesium is important for relaxing muscles. The easier it is to relax our bodies the less anxiety we will have.

There is no doubt that we all need to get sufficient magnesium into our bodies. The fact is that several generations ago people got more magnesium naturally through their diet. Convenience and Fast food is often low on magnesium so obviously eating more natural and whole foods will go some way to increasing your magnesium intake, and this is an important part of an anti-anxiety diet. But, some people argue that there is still not enough magnesium available in a healthy diet. It’s not just diet that has changed over the generations, its farming practices as well. Intensive farming has robbed the soil of nutrients like magnesium, so even organic food doesn’t have enough.

So if you ave a magnesium deficiency that is linked to anxiety then supplements might be your only option.

Correcting a magnesium deficiency takes time.  I have heard people say that they felt better after three days, but I suspect this is the placebo effect. Normally you would expect to wait three months at least before seeing any change in your anxiety.

There are lots of types of magnesium on the market, and choosing can be confusing. Typically, nutritional science hasn’t yet decided whcuh type is best. Generally, magnesium citrate is the one to go for, offering a good balance between cost, absorbency and side-effects.

Dose-wise I recommend using 2-300mg per day divided into at least two doses. If you find magnesium causes insomnia (some people do find it over-energizing) then take it earlier in the day.

Some books suggest higher doses, even as high as 6-800mg a day. I have it on good authority from a doctor that your body can’t absorb much beyond 300mg a day so I suggest saving your money and being patient for results!

Magnesium works with Calcium (Calcium is also important for anxiety) and you need to have both. If you supplement Magnesiums try and supplement at least as much Calcium. The ideal ratio of Magnesium to Calcium is much argued about, and I suspect that different ratios are correct for different people. If you feel you have a high calcium diet then you nay want to supplement less calcium or none at all.

If you are interested in the physical causes of anxiety then Killing Anxiety From The Roots will be of interest to you.