Anxiety is undoubtedly one of the evils of our time. According to the World Health Organization, more than 260 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety disorders. That is, about 3.5% of the global population. However, those who suffer the effects of anxiety without it reaching the degree of disorder are many more.
Mindfulness, mindfulness: effective therapy or commercial fad?
A survey on Perception and habits of the Spanish population around stress, published in 2017, pointed out that among those who suffer from stress, anxiety is the second most recurrent symptom (only surpassed by irritability).
If it is taken into account that -according to the investigation- 42% of the inhabitants are stressed “frequently or continuously”, and that in 39.5% of cases this leads to anxiety, means that this problem affects some 7.7 million Spaniards. One in six people.
Therefore, beyond the professional help that may be important or essential in many of these cases, it is also good to know natural ways of reduce the anxiety that everyday life often leads to: too much work, too many social commitments, financial difficulties, relationship problems, etc. Listed below are nine non-pharmacological alternatives to combat, at least in the first instance, anxiety.
1. Do physical activity
The aforementioned work, prepared by CinfaSalud, mentions that physical activity is one of the main ways mentioned by those surveyed to reduce their stress levels. It makes sense, because exercise favors the production of norepinephrine.
It is a substance that moderates the brain’s response to stress, and endorphins, the neurotransmitter known as “the happiness hormone” since it produces well-being and joy. It also helps to secrete dopamine and serotonin, other chemical agents that contribute to those pleasant sensations.
2. Take nature walks
Recent studies showed that walks through the woods, fields and other natural environments help to relax and leave behind the so-called “morbid rumination”, the thoughts that return to the mind again and again, which can become obsessive and cause stress and anxiety.
On the other hand, the same researchers they discovered that those walks have other benefits, like that result in improved operating memory, the short-term, which is needed for complex cognitive tasks, such as reading or mathematical operations.
3. Overcome procrastination
Also they elevated levels of Procrastination – the habit of putting off necessary tasks to dedicate time to more entertaining but less relevant tasks – is related to stress and anxiety (as well as poor school and work performance and worsening of some diseases).
How to fight against this tendency to leave for tomorrow what we could do today? Some simple tips They consist of visualizing how good it will be to “have done it”, thinking about the damages of the task being pending and giving small rewards for each advance.
4. Drink herbal teas
The infusions of certain herbs have been drunk for centuries by many cultures, which have attributed various properties to them, including a relaxing and anxiolytic effect. Science has proven these effects in the case of some infusions, such as those of chamomile, the linden, the valerian and the ashwagandha tea (widely used by practitioners of Hinduism).
In other herbs, such as kava tea and the passionflower, studies have not yet been able to come up with conclusive results. However, the mere act of pausing to prepare the infusion and sitting down to drink it can help slow down the rhythm of the day and thus reduce anxiety.
5. Meditate and breathe
Beyond all the religious aspects associated with meditation, the different conscious ways of breathing and other relaxation techniques, there are scientific works according to which eThese practices have lots of benefits.
Among them, the reduction of stress and the risk of suffering from depression, and therefore also less possibilities of suffering from anxiety. These advantages are maximized in the case of people who practice meditation and breathing exercises regularly and for long periods of time.
6. Breathing into a bag
Unlike the breathing exercises mentioned in the previous point, whose positive effects are noticed especially in the long term, that of breathing in a paper bag is a resource to try to control the hyperventilation which, in many cases, comes with an anxiety attack.
The advice is to breathe – in the most natural way possible – between six and twelve times with a paper bag over your mouth and nose. This will help the hyperventilation to stop by returning the pH of the blood to neutral values due to the recovery of the balance of O2 and CO2.
However, you have to be careful: this technique is discouraged by many specialists, since if the person has any respiratory condition (asthma, lung edema, pulmonary embolism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.), and you may not even know you have it, the consequence of breathing into a bag could be a worsening of the situation.
Writing also has therapeutic effects. Psychology has studied the way that keeping a personal journal or simply writing down certain traumatic situations can improve the emotional health and even physical.
Writing is a cathartic exercise, in which the person often feels that they are “lifting a weight off their shoulders.” That relaxes you and reduces stress and feelings of anxiety.
8. Have sex, with yourself or with other people
It is well known that sex has powerful anxiolytic and analgesic effects, especially in men, where it releases a series of relaxing compounds with an action very similar to that of opiates. We explained it in his day in Benefits of masturbation beyond orgasm.
Therefore it is not understood that sometimes we stop practicing it, either with other people or masturbating, perhaps because of the hurried life we lead.
9. Have indoor plants or a garden
In August last year, doctors at a Manchester, UK internship center, were News for the treatment they had started with their patients suffering from anxiety and depression: give them indoor plants, so they have to take care of them indoor plants and bring them back on later appointments.
“Having something to take care of represents many benefits for people, especially for those who do not have a garden and who cannot live with pets,” explained Augusta Ward, one of the specialists responsible for the initiative.
The motivation to take care of plants, both indoors and in a garden, can then become a way to combat the risk of suffering from anxiety or some other problem related to it. In addition, indoor plants improve air quality.
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