Do you suffer from excessive worry, panic attacks or social anxiety where even being out with your friends can cause discomfort? If you do you are not alone, in fact in Australia around 470,000 men and 830,000 women suffer with an anxiety disorder of some kind.
Of course we can all experience anxiety in short bursts when the boss calls you into their office for a chat, or when you’re trying to strike up a conversation with the girl/boy of your dreams. However if you suffer with an “anxiety disorder” you’ll find the discomfort persists outside of the stressful event or your reaction will be out of proportion to the event you’re experiencing.
There are plenty of pharmaceutical approaches to numbing the intensity of anxiety, one of the most popular is Xanax which is effective in the short term but as well as being addictive has many known side effects such as excessive sedation, memory problems, and can cause or make depression worse. If you’re using Xanax in a social setting be aware that it can interact dangerously with alcohol as both are depressants. These days many people are searching for solutions that seek to address the cause rather than just mask the symptoms – leading them more holistic approaches like natural therapies.
A simple way to understand anxiety from a holistic perspective is that anxiety occurs when your nervous system has become overstimulated, which means it’s very good at switching on but not so good at switching off. Whether coming on suddenly following a traumatic event or developing slowly as stress and tension levels build, the cure is the same – restoring the body’s ability to relax and unwind.
Natural ways to beat anxiety
One of the best-kept secrets is that acupuncture is a deeply relaxing and restorative treatment. Acupuncture works to put the body and mind back into balance, and is backed by research that supports centuries of clinical evidence showing acupuncture is a highly effective anxiety treatment.
Herbs such as Passionflower, Skullcap and Hops can be used to reduce stress, improve sleep and lay the foundations for a healthy and resilient nervous system. By treating the cause of anxiety, herbs can be used to keep you in balance and prevent relapses. Always seek professional advice before taking any herbal supplements.
Many can attest to the feel good effect of exercise. It’s well established that the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters leads to feelings of relaxation and elevated mood. Exercise can also give you a positive focus, help build confidence and give you time in the day when you don’t focus on your thoughts.
Meditation involves learning to bring the mind’s focus away from worrying thoughts and towards the present moment. With practice even the most anxious can learn to quieten the mind and restore a state of ease and calm.
Talking with a trained professional who will listen to you with empathy and understanding and help you explore your thoughts, feelings and options is a highly effective way to deal with anxiety. For many people, a few sessions of counselling can ease symptoms and equip you with tools to support greater resilience.