What is anxiety and what causes it?
Before we talk about how to control anxiety, it is essential to understand what anxiety is and what causes it.
This is especially important to understand since we are all living in chaotic times. Times that overload us with information, pressure to conform, and achieve the ‘best’ of everything. The result is feeling restless and tensed as if awaiting an impending danger. This is how you define anxiety.
The causes of anxiety can be tricky. While at times you may know the exact cause of your anxiety, at times you may be feeling anxious for no reason. Anxiety is a feeling that almost all of us have felt at least once in our lifetime. While there is no one answer to what causes anxiety, here are some of the probable causes:
- Experiencing excessive or unresolved stress often leads to chronic anxiety.
- Having a family history of anxiety.
- Growing up amidst an overtly critical familial environment.
- Past or recent traumatic incident.
- Having a chronic disease that makes daily living a challenge.
- Major life changes such as losing a loved one, going through a divorce or getting married.
- Long-term dependence on medications used to treat ADHD or those containing caffeine.
- Excessive exposure to the Internet particularly social media.
- Inadequate sleep.
- Having mental disorders such as phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder.
How do you know if you are anxious?
Anxiety comes with that all too familiar feeling of being unable to get through the day. This can be divided into physical, mental, and behavioural signs and symptoms that indicate anxiety and induce you to think negatively. These include:
- Negative thinking and self-deprecation.
- Feeling fear, worry, and uneasiness.
- Uncontrollable racing thoughts.
- Having trouble concentrating.
- Losing interest in everything that’s going around you.
- Feeling panicked or doomed.
- Cold and sweaty hands.
- Feeling tired
- Experiencing stomach problems such as constipation and diarrhoea.
- Displaying obsessive behaviour such as checking the locks repeatedly.
- Feeling jittery and constantly moving from one spot to the other.
How is anxiety treated?
The treatment for anxiety is subjective to the person feeling it and the severity of the condition. In case you have had chronic anxiety that is not dissipating with time, and is interfering with your daily life, causing suicidal thoughts, or leading to dependence or substance abuse, you need immediate medical attention. This includes counselling, therapy, and medications such as anti-depressants.
However, when your anxiety is not chronic, subsides after a potentially stressful event, and is not affecting your personal or professional life, it can be self-managed.
Wondering how to control anxiety through methods that are easy, economical, and free of side effects?
This is where natural anxiety control methods come in. These are natural remedies to control anxiety that are holistic, which are easy to access and offer long-term solutions.
What relieves anxiety fast?
Whether you are experiencing a mild situation-induced anxiety attack or a full-blown and uncontrollable panic attack complete with palpitations, tremors, and obsessive thoughts, here are some fool-proof tips on how to control anxiety in less than five minutes:
1. The best way to deal with anxiety is to accept it. Evading your feelings or feeling embarrassed about them, will only cause your anxiety to snowball. Accepting a difficult situation is the only way to fight it. Once you agree that you do feel anxious from time to time, you should be taking efforts to stop anxiety thoughts.
2. One of the most effective ways to control anxiety naturally is to change your posture. When you are anxious, you are more likely to cower down or shake. Instead of hunching, pull your back up, open up your chest, and place your feet firmly on the ground while breathing deeply. This is not just a great anxiety control activity but also a way to feel confident about yourself. This also gives a subtle message to your brain that you are not in any immediate danger.
3. One of the best tips to control anxiety is to give your body some movement. While this may sound like something undoable when you are feeling anxiety, trust us, it works. Try any gentle exercise that gets you moving. It could be yoga, tai chi, or a long walk in the park. Just ensure that the exercise that you choose isn’t too taxing and doesn’t get your heart rate up. This, instead of helping with anxiety control, may stress you out more.
4. One of the best ways to control anxiety attacks is to reach out to people you trust. While you may worry about how people would react, this is certainly an effective way to talk out your thoughts and is an effective anxiety control activity. Or, if you don’t want to sit around, call over your friends for a coffee or movie. Changing your surroundings does wonders to calm anxiety. What’s more, you may even gain a new perspective on your situation.
What is the 3-3-3 rule for anxiety?
There is no single way to overcome and reduce anxiety. Amongst all the tips to control anxiety, the 3-3-3 rule is also an excellent way to help control your mind when thoughts come rushing in.
Thinking of how to control anxiety using this rule? This is how it works (in this order):
1.Sight: Look around you and focus your gaze on the surrounding physical objects. Then, name three things that catch your attention. Follow it up by noticing these things in minute detail.
2. Sound: Perk up your ears and start absorbing all the sounds around you. Then, focus on the three most identifiable sounds and take note of everything unique about them.
3. Touch/ Movement: Now, move to your sense of touch. Choose three parts of your body and activate them. For instance, you can tap your toes, shrug your shoulders, and wriggle your fingers.
The 3-3-3 rule works on the principle of distracting your mind and giving you a break from all the overwhelming thoughts. This is a great way to learn to live in the present and control anxiety attacks quickly.
As effective as this rule is in controlling anxiety, you may not be able to practise it in the spur of the moment, especially when in the middle of an anxiety attack. Here are some tips to make this rule work for you when you need it to overcome anxiety:
- Practise the 3-3-3 rule even when you are not feeling stressed or anxious. This helps your brain get used to it.
- Focus your mind while practising this. Don’t let your mind wander.
- After this exercise, always reflect to assess whether it worked for you or not.
What is the best natural remedy for anxiety?
Wondering how to control anxiety and what is the best natural remedy to do so? Well, therapists around the world recommend it and millions swear by it.
The answer is a cup of tea! And not just any tea, it’s chamomile tea that wins hands down as the best natural remedy to get rid of anxiety.
It is not just the therapeutic impact of the act of sitting down and sipping on a steaming cup of tea. Several studies back the claim that having chamomile tea is an excellent way to calm your mind and cure anxiety. Interestingly, it has been used for hundreds of years to relax the mind and cure insomnia. Though it may not be as effective as an anti-depressant, chamomile has been known to reduce mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety.
Thinking of how to control anxiety using chamomile? You can either use store-bought tea or make the concoction yourself. Take three to four tablespoons of dried chamomile and pour hot water on them. Let them steep for ten to fifteen minutes and see the tea work its magic!
How can I calm my anxiety at home?
Whether you are at home or work, anxiety can strike anytime. Wherever you are, you just need to tweak these tips to match your surroundings. Wondering how to control anxiety when you are at home?
Here are some of the best anxiety control tips for when you are homebound:
1.The next time you feel anxiety taking over your mind, try journaling. This means writing down what you are feeling at the moment. Seeing your thoughts spelt out helps in simplifying them and doesn’t allow them to overwhelm your mind. Plus, this is also a superb way to reflect and gain a newer perspective on the situation. Your journal can also serve as a reference point to consult the next time you feel bogged down by anxiety.
2. People who have dealt with anxiety, swear by meditation. This is an effective way to practice mindfulness i.e. being fully aware of your present surroundings and feelings. One of the best ways to control anxiety, meditation helps you focus and eliminate crowding thoughts, which may be the root cause of your anxiety.
If you are thinking about how to control anxiety through meditation and mindfulness, make it a habit to practise it daily. This strengthens your mind and regulates your emotions as you deal with triggers of anxiety.
3. Another great way to control anxiety naturally while you are at home is to use the magic of aromatherapy. This involves using concentrated essential oils of flowers, plants, and herbs for their therapeutic benefits. These aromatic extracts can be used in diffusers, inhalers, or body oils.
If you are thinking about how to control anxiety with aromatherapy, here’s a tried and tested tip. Put a few drops of lavender essential oil in your bath or on your pillow and inhale for quick relief from anxiety. The fruity aroma of lavender coupled with woody undertones has been used since the 19th-century to relieve people’s minds off anxiety. The lavender essential oil also has a positive impact on reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety such as palpitations, tremors, and excessive sweating.
4. One of the most effective anxiety control tips that we recommend is listening to music. But not any music will do. Especially not the high-octane pieces that get your pulse rushing and mind thumping. Choose soothing and slow music that calms your mind. People who are stressed or anxious show higher levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Music is a great idea because it has a direct impact on these hormones and helps curtail their production. This regulates your emotions and allows you to relax.
The Final Word
While these time-tested strategies work well and have an immediate positive impact on anxiety, it is always better to prevent anxiety from dominating your mind. For this, we advise making holistic lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, choosing to quit smoking, organizing your personal and professional life, and having a support group.