Did you know that our body has a natural response to handle stress. Yep, it's called Anxiety. What?! Anxiety is a normal feeling? It sure is! Let's dig a bit further into understanding anxiety and how to manage anxiety.
Anxiety is a natural response to help combat stressful feelings. There’s no such thing as stress free living.In fact stress can be a good thing - it keeps us alert and provides the adrenaline we need to get going. Usually, your body can deal with stress just fine.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is common - we've all experienced it at some time. Remember how you felt
- before that big exam?
- during that job interview that made you sweat?
- when you had to deliver that speech in front of all those people?
Many people would be scared and nervous as well in these situations.
Anxiety definition is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
Anxiety feeling is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s in store for you and what’s to come.
It’s completely normal.
In simple terms, anxiety meaning is really a feeling of fear and worry about an uncertain outcome.
However, if these feelings of anxiety are extreme, last a long time and end up interfering with your day-to-day life, that type of anxiety needs to be handled and managed as it can really paralyze you in life.
Our Body’s Natural Alarm System To Combat Anxiety
Inside your body is a brilliant alarm system to protect you against predators and stressors. Though we may not be facing sabre-tooth tigers like we did in the cave-man days, our lives are full of demands - work demands, family demands, relationship demands, financial demands, the list of demands go on.
With these demands you may find yourself waking up with anxiety in the morning, or experiencing anxiety from work deadlines or interactions with your co-workers or boss. You may even experience anxiety in relationships. This accumulated anxiety leaves us feeling overwhelmed, stressed and hopeless.
What happens inside us when we feel anxiety?
When you face stress and demands in your day - a tiny region of your brain pulls the red “Stress Alarm’ trigger and shouts out
“Potential threat - get ready to fight or flight”
Nerve signals and hormone signals combine and shout out to your adrenals (located on your kidneys):
‘Potential Danger: Release Adrenaline and Cortisol Now!’
Both hormones are released - the Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy.
While the Cortisol (known as your Stress hormone) increases sugar (glucose) in your blood, enhances how your brain uses the glucose and increases ingredients needed to repair tissues.
The Cortisol also curbs what is sees as not-necessary-at-this-time functions such as your immune system responses, digestive system, reproductive system and growth process. This alarm system (complex as it is) also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear.
When Our Natural Stress Response Goes Bananas!
The body’s natural stress response is temporary - once the threat has been eliminated or passes here’s what should happen:
- Hormone levels return to normal
- Adrenaline and Cortisol levels drop
- Heart rate returns to normal
- Blood pressure drops to baseline levels
- Other internal systems in your body return to normal
But when you feel like you can’t keep up with your demands and you feel the pressure of threats constantly, the flight-or-fight switch is stuck in the ‘on’ position - this is where things start to go haywire in your body.
When The Flight-or-Fight Switch Is Stuck in the 'On' Position
Cortisol is constantly released into the bloodstream and your entire body’s processes are thrown off. Your internal systems essentially go bananas and are thrown off track. This results is increased risk of many health issues and challenges such as:
- Digestive Issues
- Heart Disease
- Blood Pressure Issues
- Sleep Problems
- Weight Gain
- Memory and Cognitive Impairment
You can’t afford to let this alarm system be constantly active in your body - you need to find a way to brain it back to the middle, to turn the switch off and have the systems in the body return to their normal baseline levels and functions.
Anxiety doesn’t just go away, you need to find ways to manage your anxiety. There are a number of ways to manage anxiety which include therapy, medication and even anxiety supplements.
Before trying out a solution, it's important to try to figure out what triggers your anxiety - is it work? family? school?
Track your anxiety and stress moments in a journal (what were you doing at the time?) and look for a pattern.
Once you know what triggers your anxiety, you’re better equipped to manage it!
Here are 7 coping strategies to try when you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Not every one of them may work for you but try as many of them as you can and keep doing the ones that you find help.
7 Strategies to Help You Manage Anxiety
1 - Stop and Breathe
Our daily schedules and demands keep us jumping around from task to task. We have to, with only 24 hours to get it all in it would be impossible to do at a snail pace. However, take a few minutes to stop, clear your head and do some deep breathing. Before reacting to a situation - be mindful to stop the thoughts right away and start your deep breaths. Start to count to 20 - slowly. This will give your body a chance to calm down before reacting to the stress or anxious thoughts. It’s ok if the thoughts creep in - with practice, controlling those thoughts gets easier.
2 - Take Breaks
Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from the daily routine and be proactive in managing our mental health. Incorporate relaxation techniques in to your day - including yoga, mindful meditation, massages or take up a hobby, listen to music, or take small vacations to get away. Sometimes stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
3 - Get Enough Undisturbed Sleep
Research conducted at the UCLA Berkley has shown a strong connection between your mood, feelings of stress and anxiety and your quality and quantity of sleep. They suggest 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Anything less than that can highly impact your anxiety and stress management.
4 - Get Moving (Exercise)
We all know that exercise is a great way to get our serotonin levels up and feel good. Don’t sweat if you can’t join a gym or an organized class - simply do what you can. Brisk walks, a cardio routine you can do at home, using a staircase to get your workout in - all these are great ways to keep you moving.
5 - Create a Positive Mindset
Your mindset has a huge impact on how you feel, decisions you make, risks you take, etc. Work on creating a positive mindset by knowing you can do the best you can do with what you have and focusing on the accomplishments rather than what didn’t go right. Remember the term ‘Perfection is a Trap’. Do your best in putting things in perspective - ask yourself ‘Is it really as bad as I am making it out to be?’ or ‘will this truly matter in my life 5 years down the road’ or ‘what’s the worst case scenario and what can I do to recover from that scenario’
6 - Hang with Your Tribe
When you’re feeling anxious and stressed you probably don’t feel like being around people and feel you have to deal with these feelings yourself. Know that you have a support network and many times just talking about your anxiety and hearing some encouraging positive words helps diminish the anxious feelings. Look for social causes that are near and dear to your heart and offer to volunteer. Finding ways to be active in your community creates a support network and will give you a time out from the everyday stress you endure. You can also reach out to your doctor or a therapist for professional help.
7 - Look for Natural Remedies to Help You Deal with Anxiety and Stress
There are a number of natural ways that help reduce the Cortisol levels in your body (that are responsible for your feelings of stress and anxiety). Try some of the suggestions above - they work for many, are free and allow you to take charge of your anxiety.
There are natural herb supplements that have been used for thousands of years to help calm feelings of stress and anxiety.
We've discovered an herb called KSM-66 Ashwagandha, an adaptogen, that has human-clinical trials behind it. The clinical trials show KSM66 Ashwagandha can help reduce feelings of anxiety by 79! That's huge!
After months of research, we've developed a fantastic, proven natural solution called ‘Shanti’ (that’s sanskrit for peace and serenity).
What makes Shanti different?
We use pure, tested, clean ingredients (with no contaminants) at the exact dose needed for results.
There are ways to take control of life’s reins again, Shanti helps you get there. If you’re interested in learning more about Shanti - simply click here.
Here's to your health and happiness!
Anxiety is our body's natural response to deal with stress. When anxiety accumulates and you constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed, you need to find ways to manage your anxiety before it takes over your life. 7 tips have been provided in helping you cope and manage with anxiety. It can be under control if you take the right actions to manage it.
(1) Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)