Anxiety can strike anytime and in many ways. Sometimes you wake up with an inexplicable sense of dread, and you can barely bring yourself to get out of bed. Other times, it feels like nervous excess energy that makes it difficult to focus.
No matter where and how it happens, you are still in control. Here are some holistic ways to help you deal with anxiety.
1. Focus on Your Breathing
When you’re afraid or anxious, you tend to take very fast, shallow breaths. This disturbs the natural balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your body. Your heart starts to pump faster to deliver more oxygen to your organs. Eventually, you start to feel dizzy or nauseous.
Deep breathing breaks this cycle and is one of the best ways how to calm anxiety fast. Here are some great holistic techniques:
Either sit down or lie on your back with pillows under your head and knees. Put one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly. Breathe in through your nose, and count from one to five.
Feel your belly rise as the air enters your body. You can imagine that it is bringing in positive, calming energy.
Slowly exhale, and count from one to five. The hand on your belly slowly sinks as the air leaves your body. Imagine that it is releasing your anxiety and nervous energy.
During the entire exercise, keep the tip of your tongue on the bridge of tissue that’s right behind the upper front teeth.
Slowly breathe in through your nose, with your mouth closed. Then, open your mouth and forcibly exhale while making a whooshing sound.
This method combines breathing techniques with meditation. When you’re anxious, you tend to worry about the future or dwell on painful events in the past. The mind plays scripts or scenarios that fan the flames of your fear. “I am going to fail again. People are going to laugh at me.”
During mindful breathing, you think of an image (ex. a calming brook, flowers) or word (ex. Om, I am okay). So as your body takes deep breaths and relaxes, your mind is led to focus on the present.
2. Ask These 2 Questions
Anxiety will often make us think in terms of worst-case scenarios or all-or-nothing outcomes. Similar to depression, you may think there is no way out. Try questioning those thoughts, by asking these two questions:
- Is it true? What are the chances of that worst-case scenario actually happening? If it does happen, will it really affect you the way as much as you think it will?
- Is this helpful? What can you do to lower the chances of something bad happening? For example, if you’re anxious about COVID-19 (and who isn’t?!) taking precautions when you go out is more productive than reading stories of death tolls.
3. Reframe Your Feelings
Anxiety doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Anger can either drain your energy or motivate you to do something. Fear can paralyze you or make you reflect and learn from your mistakes. Sadness can make you shut people out, or reach out and ask for help.
So instead of getting anxious about feeling anxious, see it as a starting point. Holistic practices can be simple, even with anxiety. Think about this … “I can’t choose how I feel now, but I can choose what to do with it.”
4. Write in a Journal
Julia Cameron, author of Artist’s Way, encourages everyone to do Morning Pages. As soon as you wake up, set a timer for three minutes and freely write whatever’s on your mind.
Don’t edit your thoughts or try to make sense of it. Dump everything on that page, even if it’s random and mundane. The idea is to clear your head so you don’t carry that “mental load” for the rest of the day.
It’s also a great way to silence the little demons in your head that say “You’re not good enough” or “You can’t do anything right.” Writing those thoughts down can help you let go. “Okay, I’ve heard you and acknowledged you, now go away.”
In that way, you deal with anxiety even before it gains momentum in your mind.
5. Move Your Body
Exercise is scientifically proven to help manage anxiety and stress. You enjoy a natural endorphin rush, and release some of the nervous energy. You also get that sense of accomplishment that you’ve done something good for yourself!
If you can’t exercise, do any physical activity: clean the house, take your dog for a walk, wash dishes. Japanese Buddhist monks actually believe that cleaning and chores can be a form of meditation. The quiet, repetitive movements help clear your mind and make you more aware of your body.
6. Keep a “Calming Token”
Sometimes, anxiety can suddenly strike in situations when you can’t leave to do deep breathing or even take a quick walk.
That’s when a Calming Token works. It is any object that you can hold and discreetly use to focus on until you feel better. Some people like to use healing crystals, others prefer something more personally symbolic like a pendant with a picture of a loved one.
7. Try Network Spinal Analysis
Your mind and body are connected. Your nervous system turns any emotional and mental stress into tension, which is stored in the spine.
That’s why anxiety attacks can make you feel tired, tense, or even develop chronic pain. Over time, the stored toxic energy and tension can make your body weaker, and may increase your risk for serious health conditions.
Dealing with anxiety in a holistic way
Network spinal is a chiropractic technique that sees the spine and the nervous system in a holistic way. Instead of just seeing it as sections of bones and nerves, it recognizes the trauma and energy that can be trapped in the body.
Network spinal chiropractors receive special training to release the energy and help the body heal itself. They use a process called entrainment to align and synchronize your spirit, mind and body to free you to become “your best, whole self.”
Dr. Suzanna Wong, DC and Dr. Kira Capozzolo DC provide Network Spinal at their Twin Waves Wellness Center in California. They have helped many people overcome anxiety through holistic care.
What to expect in a Network Spinal session
During the 30-minute sessions, the Network chiropractors will gently tap points along the spine, and the waves around it. Customers recall feeling more relaxed during the entrainments. It’s not uncommon for people to suddenly break down in tears as stored trauma is released.
Over time, as the sessions help their body and mind reconnect and heal, people have been able to deal with their anxiety in a much better way. Instead of just coping with it, they are confronting it and freeing themselves from it.
You are more than your feelings
Anxiety can be overwhelming, but don’t let it define you or prevent you from getting the joy and happiness you deserve.
You are more than your anxiety. Your life and your spirit are bigger and stronger than even the worst fear or most horrible thought. We hope these tips and tools can help you deal with anxiety so it doesn’t take over your life.
Natural Ways to Cope with Anxiety
If you ever feel that it’s too much, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. There are natural and holistic ways to cope with anxiety. It is not a sign of weakness, but a brave decision to take care of yourself.