“I don’t know how to be happy, I can’t stop the negative thoughts, and I’m always feeling overwhelmed. What’s wrong with me?”
If this sounds familiar, you may be dealing with feelings of anxiety. Anxiety can appear in many forms: obsessive thoughts, constant worrying, physical pain, twitches, mood swings. Anxiety can be a huge weight on a person, many people often saying they feel suffocated by it's heaviness.
What is an Anxiety Attack?
Put simply, anxiety is an overreaction to a threat. The fight or flight response that is meant to help us, to even save our life, now sends us spiraling into fear and worry that significantly diminishes the quality of life for many.
Anxiety attack symptoms, or panic attack symptoms, can manifest as:
- breathing difficulties and shortness of breath
- chest pain, palpitations, increased heart rate
- numbness, tingling
- lightheadedness, dizziness
- feelings of fear, danger and nervousness
These symptoms can rob us of our happiness and take away our sense of control.
Causes of Anxiety
Much of our anxiety is caused by mental and emotional factors, and social susceptibility. There is also a significant amount of anxiety that is directly caused by lifestyle factors. Some anxiety is rooted in our diets, the drugs we ingest, and our lack of exercise, and nothing more.
To achieve long term relief from chronic anxiety and put an end to these responses, it's necessary to break anxiety down to understand it, and ultimately take away its power.
This is not an easy process, and takes patience and introspection. But it is possible, and if you are suffering from anxiety, you should have hope that you can take measurable action to overcome it.
So that we can better cope with our anxieties, it’s important to re-train our brains so we can be successful in overcoming anxiety by focusing on these obtainable goals:
- Taking our anxiety less seriously
- Focusing on something else instead of our anxiety
- Allowing our anxious thoughts to exist without letting them disturb us
- Believing that life is still good and worthy of living despite uncertainties or negativity.
We encourage you to actively implement the following strategies in your life in order to begin gaining control over the thoughts and fears that are causing your anxiety.
Examples of Coping Mechanisms:
- Visualization: Next time you are feeling stressed, sit down and visualize yourself succeeding at whatever is giving you anxiety.
- Changing your thought process: Stop with the unhelpful thinking. Focus on your behavior, instead of an intended result.
- Detachment: Overcome anxious thoughts by letting them exist without reacting to them. A guided meditation for anxiety would be helpful to practice the skills of detachment and letting go of control.
Breathing exercises for anxiety: Most of your anxiety symptoms are a result of hyperventilation, breathing fast and shallow. To counter-act this, practice deep breathing into your belly.
More and more people are making the switch from a pharmaceutically-dominated approach to healthcare, to a more holistic, natural approach to things.
Popular and effective natural remedies:
Natural supplements for Anxiety - Powerful herbs like Passion Flower, Kava Kava Root, Lobelia, Lemon Balm, St. John's Wart, and Valerian Root are great options if you're looking for an over the counter anxiety medication. Many of these are available at your local health food market chains like Whole Foods or Sprouts.
Adaptogens - These plants can be used as natural anxiety medication as they help the body adapt to stress and fatigue, while also regulating hormones. Popular adaptogenic herbs include: Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Cordyceps, and Chaga Mushroom.
Medical Marijuana - People have been using Marijuana for anxiety for decades and as cannabis laws loosen nationwide, farmers are growing more complex strains specifically for anxiety. If you catch yourself in a dispensary, the main difference between indica and sativa is that indica provides more of a body high, which tends to be better for anxiety; and sativa is more of a head high which can sometimes accentuate anxiety. Although puff lightly the next time you spark up a joint, as it is quite easy to have an adverse reaction.
CBD oil for anxiety - CBD is the non-psychoactive counterpart of Cannabis (the part that doesn't get you high!) People have been turning to CBD salves, extracts, balms, and oils for anxiety, reducing inflammation, treating depression, and helping with insomnia.
It’s important to remember that you cannot get rid of anxiety. As humans, these stress responses are deeply engrained in our DNA. Trying too hard to "solve" anxiety or put a total stop to it will often result in more anxiety, because you will inevitably fail.
Of course, anxiety varies from person to person, and it is always best to seek professional help if your anxiety is causing you severe distress. No matter where you are and no matter what form of anxiety you suffer from, we hope this course can give you a plan to work through and understand your anxiety and set you on a path to overcoming it.