Anxiety is a normal human emotion. The feeling of uneasiness, apprehension, or dread is hard-wired into our DNA and capable of manifesting in any human being. But anxiety disorders — a group of mental disturbances characterized by anxiety as a core symptom — are of an entirely different magnitude that can interfere with the ability to lead a normal life.
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From generalized anxiety disorders to panic attacks to post-traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorder — all manifestations of psychologically damaging anxiety issues — the symptoms can become both crippling and painful to live with. Sufferers often contend with symptoms such as obsessive behavior, uncontrollable repetitive thoughts, nervousness, heart palpitations, and other unpleasant sensations.
Though a large number of prescription medications and conventional treatments have been developed to treat anxiety, more and more people have begun to turn to holistic treatment approaches as a safer option. The side effects of the over-the-counter medication have been known to cause such side effects as digestive disturbances, sleep problems, depression, and sometimes even greater anxiety, without providing a long-term solution. Holistic approaches, which aim to address the patient as a whole and address the root causes of a condition, have become an indispensable alternative in the treatment of anxiety.
Holistic Methods for Anxiety Disorders
A holistic approach has proven effective in combating anxiety. Common natural treatment options for dealing with anxiety disorders include the following.
Many issues such as anxiety can be addressed with a healthier diet. This can be done in several ways:
- Reduction and elimination. Several studies have shown that certain foods act as stimulants to anxiety. Eliminating items such as caffeine, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, sugar, and foods with additives and chemicals will go a long way in keeping you calmer. Eliminating these items will boost your mood while replacing them with healthier foods will provide you with more nutrients.
- Healthy foods. Similarly, several foods and vitamins have a positive, calming effect on your body. Consuming tryptophan-rich foods like turkey, bananas, oats, and milk, for example, have been found to have a positive effect on stress because the amino acids they release help your brain to produce feel-good chemicals. A range of other healthy foods has remarkable effects of mood and anxiety.
- Supplements. Because anxiety is largely considered a nervous and sometimes neurological disorder, consuming higher levels of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B complex can be very helpful as well. They, along with other valuable supplements, help contribute to the healthy functioning of your body’s nervous system.
The science of yoga reveals that controlled breathing exercises are a powerful tool in managing overall physical and emotional health. They can be particularly useful in dealing with panic attacks too.
One of the first symptoms of a panic attack is rapid breathing — also known as hyperventilation — which leads our body to incorrectly assume that we are running, exercising hard, or in trouble. Instead of giving in to its dramatic effects — giddiness, heart palpitations etc. — force yourself to breathe in deeply, count to four and then exhale again with the same focus. Keep repeating this technique, and you will soon find that the attack will pass.
Controlled breathing can also become an ongoing therapeutic technique in your life, even when you aren’t hyperventilating. Indeed, a regular breathing practice can help prevent these episodes while contributing to overall well-being.
Engaging in regular exercise and practicing relaxation techniques simultaneously can prove remarkably beneficial for those struggling with anxiety disorders. Cardiovascular exercises such as running, cross-training, and climbing are particularly effective as they help in burning lactic acid in your body. This, in turn, helps your body release more endorphins (mood-enhancing chemicals) and use oxygen more effectively. It also contributes to overall health, longevity, energy, and well-being.
Overcoming Anxiety the Holistic Way
Anxiety is a common feature of modern life, and many people struggle with its symptoms. Traditional approaches have developed around the disorder, but holistic techniques offer a healthy, natural, low-risk solution to mitigating anxiety. With these techniques, patients will find new hope for an old disorder and tailor the right approach to their unique conditions.
If you would like more information on holistic methods for anxiety disorders, please contact us today.