At some point almost everyone will suffer some form of anxiety. In the high-stress society we live in it’s almost inevitable that eventually you will get overwhelmed, whether by a culmination of little things or one huge life screw-up. What determines how we cope is what we choose to do to handle it. Some people choose to take the medicated route, and if it works for them then great, but some people don’t want to rely on medicine to fix the problem and would rather do it themselves.
For those people, I have a few hints:
- Speak to someone. It could be a close friend, old acquaintance, anxiety helpline or a random stranger from the Web. Talking through your issues will help you rationalise them, realise how you got to where you are and probably how to get back to where you want to be
- If you don’t want to speak to a person, speak to a pet or a plant (I prefer aloe Vera because I kill most other plants). Just the act of talking it out will help you make sense of what’s going on
- Make use of your garden. Certain herbs have excellent anti-anxiety effects; try drying some lavender and putting it into a small sachet to keep with you – the smell can really help bring you back to earth in an unpleasant moment. Another favorite of mine is a perky cup of tea, such as matcha with lemon balm and garden mint. Cinnamon and ginger are also excellently scented and flavoured – they’re brilliant for bringing your thoughts back under control and grounding yourself
- Avoid high levels of caffeine and sugar. They give you a semi-unnatural high and you’ll end up feeling worse once you crash, not to mention the other adverse effects they have on your health. Both are fine in moderation, but you might want to skip the Coke every now and then
- Keep a plant in your bedroom and your window open. Plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, purifying the air in the room, and keeping the window open lets the fresh air circulate; this extra oxygen can give you a boost of energy and positivity all day long
- Get some sleep! The more run down and tired you are, the worse you’ll feel. Cut out all caffeine after 4pm, and put the phone, TV, tablet, games etc away at least an hour before bed. Try to keep your room nice and cool, and as a place for quiet time only. If your TV is in your room find a cloth to throw over it or turn it around at night; it’ll help your brain recognise that this is now a sleeping space. Maybe get a lavender pillow spray, the smell is amazing. Also, if you have an eye mask, pop it in the fridge for a bit before bed so it’s nice and cold – it’ll soothe the irritation in your eyes caused by tech, tiredness etc
- Do some yin yoga. This style focuses on being kind to the body, giving yourself a bit of love, restoring, and calming you rather than a more intense normal session; there are plenty of tutorials on youtube, don’t worry!
- Try meditation. It isn’t for everyone, but if you can find what works it can really help you calm down and face your anxiety without getting stressed out. I like to put shamanic drumming chants or binaural music on while I meditate because silence is the most distracting thing ever for me
- Create your safe place. For those familiar with the TV show Sherlock, the safe place is like a mind palace for happy memories, hopeful thoughts, and inner peace. Your safe place could be anywhere, from a desert island to a luxury hotel to an underground cave filled with beautiful plants. It’s somewhere you can hide your mind from the damaging thoughts and tackle them as and when you can. I like to visit my safe place before bed so I can tackle any stresses from the day before trying to sleep
- Do something you enjoy. Whether alone or work a friend, get out of the house and do something. It can be as small as sitting in the sun and reading a book, or as big as going rock climbing with a group of friends. Just find something to do that makes you happy
These are just a few hints for natural anxiety management. For those taking the medicated route, you might find that incorporating some of these techniques into your daily routine along with your tablets gives you an extra boost. I’d love to hear other people’s suggestions, or feedback if you’ve tried any of these!
We will fight anxiety, and we will fight it together.
Walk in beauty,