According to Dr. Peter Norton, an anxiety specialist from the Anxiety Center in Houston, the symptoms can also include overwhelming fears, sleepless nights and extreme fatigue. It is very widespread, noting that it occurs more so in women than in men, affecting over 7 million adults nationwide.
So, how can you manage anxiety? Here are a few methods that I have tried, and that have worked.
1. Massage Therapy. This is a heavenly take me away from all anxiety method. How does it work? It helps to slow the release of the stress hormone cortisol. It does encourage a relaxation response. Can’t afford regular massage therapy? Try using a tennis ball to apply appropriate pressure, taking a hot shower and letting the water take you away, or even taking a bottle of water (or anything) and use it to apply pressure to the afflicted areas.
2. Exercise. The sensations of breathing variations and keeping you more aware of your you-ness can help to decrease anxiety by over 50%.
3. Meditation. One of my most favorite methods of anxiety relief that is right at your fingertips. Meditation is shown to decrease active areas in your body that is in charge of thoughts. Daily meditations, even a few per day, will help cut the cycle of worry from your life.
4. Yoga. This one of a favorite of so many because it can be done in the comfort of your own home. (or you can go to a class) Studies show that just 3 hours per week can greatly decrease your moods and anxiety levels. Consistency is the key with this form of release. The major help in this case, is the deep breathing you must do which affects those areas of the brain that you need to relax,
5. Sleep. If you get less than your share of sleep that your body needs nightly, it is known that people have increased anxiety. Proper sleep will help to activate areas of the brain which cause worry and let it melt away.
6. Hot Showers/Baths. “Calgon take me away!” This has never been so true. If you find yourself uncomfortable or your thoughts go to a negative place, one of the best ways to “shake it off” is to immerse yourself in water. Hot water. The heat relaxes the muscles and your brain calms down.
7. Watch Movies. Another great, and fun way to alleviate anxiety is as simple as turning on the TV and watch a favorite show or a movie. This method decreases your worry significantly as your brain and thoughts are focused on something else for a while. So much so that it causes you a reprieve from the excessiveness of worry. My recommendations? For concentration and putting your mind on laughter mode, choose something like “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, “Reno 911” or “The Mindy Project.” Tearjerkers such as “Titanic”, “The Perfect Storm” or “Pearl Harbor” are good choices to help release tears, therefore reducing excessive worry. And movies such as “Inception”, “Dirty Dancing” or any of the “Fast and Furious” movies help various places of the brain that controls thinking which helps to slow down your thoughts.
8. Let the music play. Music is known and shown to reduce anxiety and fear. And really, all kinds are useful. From the rock to get your confidence levels up, to the slower songs that bring up emotions and to those keep on keeping on such as dance and hip hop. My thoughts? “Three Days Grace”, “Within Temptation” and “Bruno Mars” just to name a select few.
9, And finally, there are medications that will help if you get to that point. Herbs of certain kinds are also available to you. I do not recommend this choice, but I am also not against it either. Some people with excessive worry benefit from a controlled dose of medication, only to be used when you need to.
In the end, nothing can be substituted for a doctor’s advice or expertise. And I am not a doctor. But I do know a bit about a variety of feelings and needs, and I feel this is just the beginning of other ways to handle life overall. Like the song states : Don’t Worry, Be Happy!