Anxiety can have long-term, chronic medical consequences such as cardiovascular disease, according to a study by the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom. So how can we stop being nervous?
Although exercise is usually prescribed to reduce anxiety levels, it is actually better than using Xanax (the commercial name for the sedative Alprazolam). This is because sports trigger the release of mood hormones – but what other things can help you calm your anxiety other than medicine? Learn about it here.
Top Unusual Things That Can Calm Your Anxiety
Here are seven things you can do to take your mind off your problems and calm your nerves.
1. Change Your Sleep Time
Anyone who enjoys staying awake late should know that in this way, inner anxiety increases. Researchers at Binghamton University in New York have found that people who go to bed very late and do not sleep much are more likely to have negative thoughts than those who follow healthy sleep patterns.
Those who do not get enough sleep tend to worry about the future, reliving the events of the past over and over again. Such people are prone to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to Jacob Nota, healthy and adequate sleep at the right time is an inexpensive and easy way to influence your condition for people suffering from obsessive thoughts.
2. Avoid Consumption of Alcohol
Many people start relying on alcohol to feel better and calm their nerves when anxiety hits them hard. In such a situation, alcohol would only worsen the situation as it acts as a depressant. The effect of alcohol is only temporary and short-term, so do not abuse alcohol at all when stressed.
If you have an addiction to alcohol, you really need to give it up for living an anxiety-free life. For this matter, popular insurance companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance can provide assistance. Its insurance plans cover mental illness as well as substance abuse problems. So if you have their insurance plan, you can surely get rid of all these health problems.
3. Smell The Scent Of Grapefruit
Breathing in certain scents reduces stress. In a study conducted at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, scientists tested the effects of pleasant-smelling essential oils by decomposing oil containers in a central medical facility. Oncology nurses, who often suffer from work-related stress, compassion fatigue, and burnout, reported significant improvements in their condition, decreased tension, and anxiety.
One of the essential oils tested during the study was grapefruit. This scent is refreshing and revitalizing and helps to heighten the body’s sense of energy and happiness. Thus, you can also give it a try whenever anxiety takes control over you.
4. Breathe Slowly
Deep breathing, also called yoga breathing, is known to reduce tension and anxiety. Andrew Weil suggests combating bad moods using a technique he calls 4-7-8 breathing. In this technique, you need to exhale thoroughly from your mouth first and then, for a count of four, inhale from your nose.
You need to hold your breath for the next seven seconds and exhale all the air for a count of eight from your mouth. It’s not possible to breathe deeply and continue worrying, Weil says. He recommends using the 4-7-8 breathing method at least twice a day or whenever you feel being under pressure.
5. Eat Dark Chocolate
While candy can significantly raise blood sugar levels and be harmful to health, researchers have found that a little dark chocolate can help ease anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, dark chocolate can help calm the nerves.
Participants who ate one and a half ounces of dark chocolate a day for two weeks lowered their stress hormones. Just keep dark chocolate in your bag and eat it to calm your nerves in challenging situations.
6. Get Into Forest Therapy
Walking in the woods and enjoying the sounds of nature can relieve stress. The term shinrin-yoku translated from Japanese, means “soak up the atmosphere of the forest,” “take a forest bath.” This practice is much more effective in relieving stress than walking in an urban area.
According to research, spending time in a forest helps to decrease depressive symptoms and psychological stress. It also helps to increase activity, improve the quality of sleep, and help you feel good about yourself and your life. Japanese researchers investigated and found that spending 20 minutes in the forest or shinrin-yoku can help your brain relax and calm your nerves.
7. Write Down Your Worries On Paper
Reducing the intensity of emotions with paper seems unthinkable. It seems that in this way, passions flare up even more. But according to a study from the University of Chicago, published in the journal Science, fixing your thoughts and emotions on paper can help you cope with them.
Students who participated in this study were asked to write about their fears about the exam in order to check their level of anxiety. Those who agreed to the experiment increased their exam results by almost one point.
“It may be a paradox, but the effect of the process of reflecting thoughts and emotions on paper can be compared to freeing the mind from fears,” says Xi’an Beilock, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Chicago USA. According to the researchers, writing the thoughts gives some time to a person to re-evaluate the fears, and then it then bothers a person lesser than before.
8. Get Involved In Knitting
By keeping your hands busy, you automatically distract yourself from disturbing thoughts. As part of a study conducted at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, volunteers watched video footage of car accidents. Participants who were asked to type on the keyboard while watching the footage had fewer memories of what they saw.
However, verbal distractions, such as counting aloud, had no effect. Researchers have found that keeping your hands busy hinders the process of storing and encoding visual images. This explains why beading or knitting calms us down.
We all know about usual ways to calm ourselves down, but in this article, we took things further and provided you with some unusual yet effective ways that can reduce your anxiety. Thus, do not forget to try out these things and chose the one that works perfectly for you.
Looking for ways to reduce stress is important, but it’s also important to try to understand your reactions. Not sure if you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks? Check out the infographic below for more information.
Infographic created by MD Infusions, a provider of ketamine treatment for mood disorders