Holistic Anxiety Cures
The psychological condition referred to as “anxiety” is a hardwired biological feature that alerts us humans to impending danger.
The resulting fight-or-flight response gives us two options for managing the situation at hand, to flee when the danger is life-threatening, or to duke it out when it appears, we have a fair chance of emerging victorious. Going back to the caveman days, anxiety has served human beings as an essential life preserver.
Fast forward to modern society, where it seems anxiety has become an all-consuming life destroyer for many. With approximately 40 million American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder, it is clear our society is riding a roller coaster of stress.
Of course, there are medications for that, pharmaceutical interventions that may offer a temporary respite from the sometimes-debilitating anxiety symptoms. But these drugs come with their own worries, such as being highly addictive.
Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Ativan, and Valium, are the most often prescribed medications for managing anxiety, and have the potential to lead to both psychological addiction and physical dependence.
While in some cases medication is a necessity for restoring daily functioning when an anxiety disorder leads to serious impairment, in general, these drugs are overprescribed. Benzos can quickly become a crutch, a pill popped at the slightest hint of worry or stress.
For people struggling with generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety, holistic practices can go a long way in reducing the unpleasant symptoms. Why not approach anxiety treatment using natural methods first, and then if there is no treatment response, resort to the medications.
Either way, whether used as a standalone therapy or a complimentary therapy, having an arsenal of holistic activities in your anxiety-regulating toolbox is most definitely beneficial.
A Word or Two About Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term for a cluster of types of anxiety, each having their own features and remedies. Undergirding all anxiety disorders are such symptoms as irrational fear and worry, a sense of losing control, and physical symptoms like trembling, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating, and shortness of breath, and sleep problems. Common behavioral responses include avoidance behaviors and social isolation.
The types of anxiety disorders include:
Generalized anxiety disorder
The conventional treatment protocol for anxiety disorder is a combination of anti-anxiety drug therapy and psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy in particular. Increasingly, holistic activities are being added to the treatment plan.
8 Holistic Anxiety Cures
An intrinsic aspect of managing anxiety is identifying the sources of stress that cause the symptoms to erupt. By knowing one’s triggers, whether a person, a situation, a place, or a thing, it is easier to anticipate the potential for experiencing these often-debilitating symptoms. A trigger alert can then lead to proactive steps to calm the negative energy and irrational fear that may otherwise overwhelm the individual.
Some of these holistic practices can be done on the fly, while others are preemptive stress-reducing practices that can assist with emotion-regulation by inducing a relaxed state of mind. There is a holistic anxiety cure for everyone in this list:
Deep-breathing exercise. When one finds him or herself sliding into stress mode deep-breathing techniques can be used anywhere, anytime. There are different types of deep breathing exercises, but generally the practice involves slowly inhaling until reaching lung capacity, holding the breath for 5-7 counts, and then slowly releasing the breath until it is completely expelled. Repeat this a minimum of six times to enjoy a calming effect.
Mindfulness training. The practice of mindfulness involves a purposeful reining in of wandering thoughts toward focusing on the present moment. Too often we allow our fears to run rampant by replaying past events or mistakes, or worrying about a future event. By training the mind to focus on the present, and to acknowledge the sensory experience as well as the breathing process, the body will naturally become more relaxed.
Yoga. Yoga is the Eastern practice of using slow, purposeful movements and poses while focusing on the rhythm of breathing. The yoga styles vary, but generally the practice of using these postures promotes flexibility, strength, muscle control, and promotes relaxation. This results in a calmer mind, which can have help the individual better manage stress.
Aromatherapy. Essential oils are the product of plant and flower parts that have been distilled. The medicinal grade oil that results is used in a holistic practice called aromatherapy or using the essence of the particular oil to produce a certain effect. Aromatherapy using lavender oil, chamomile oil, and ylang ylang essential oil can help anxiety promote relaxation and calm the mind.
Exercise. Much research has been conducted on the physical and psychological benefits of engaging in regular exercise. Regular physical activity, especially cardio activities such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, or dancing, reduces anxiety in the mind and tension in the body. It also enhances sleep quality and boosts mood.
Meditation or prayer. Spending 10-15 minutes a day in quiet solitude can help produce a calm, serene state of mind. Using meditation techniques, such as guided meditation, or prayer enhances this silent quiet time by helping the individual focus on things outside themselves.
Massage therapy. Massage can have both physical and psychological benefits by helping to release muscle tension and toxins from the body. A deep relaxation massage targets the points on the body where we tend to hold our stress, leaving the individual feeling calm and relaxed.
Diet. The dietary choices we make can have a profound affect on our mood and state of mind. Processed foods, sugary snacks and sodas, and excess caffeine are all antagonistic to a peaceful state of being. Instead, individuals are encouraged to load up on veggies, lean protein, legumes, seeds, whole grains, and nuts. Dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, and turmeric are especially good at regulating anxiety.
While there is no silver bullet for managing symptoms of anxiety, including medications, incorporating these holistic practices can go a long way toward improving quality of life.
Gaspar Melikyan is the co-founder of Quest 2 Recovery located in Lancaster, California. At Quest 2 Recovery, we have a team of professionals whose expertise, experience, and dedication are guaranteed to satisfy the needs of all of our clients.
At Quest 2 Recovery, their team of doctors, psychotherapists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals have unparalleled expertise in treating drug and alcohol addiction, as well as psychological disorders that commonly accompany substance abuse. They are responsible for creating and implementing an individual treatment plan that is designed to address and treat clients’ unique psychological and physical needs.
Begin your quest to end addiction today, call (888) 453-9396.