If you are someone that suffers from anxiety, then you know that anxiety does not just disappear overnight. It is really about changing the way you think, learning new coping strategies and things you can do to help you chill out. If you are looking at how to get rid of anxiety, then you know that there are quite a few treatment options available. This article will focus on alternative methods of combating anxiety.
Does therapy work for anxiety?
Therapy is a traditional way of managing and treating anxiety and for good reason. Often, people with anxiety feel isolated or like they can’t talk to those around them, which is why therapy is useful as it allows you to open up to someone and express how you are feeling, which is one step forward to fighting it.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy, often shortened to CBT, is a relatively modern treatment for psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression. CBT differs from psychotherapy in that rather than looking into the past, it focuses on the present you.
The aim of CBT is to change your thought pattern that leads to your anxiety and to provide you with better ways to cope. There is no denying that changing the way you think seems impossible. It is not impossible, but it will be difficult and will take time though it will be worth it in the end.
When you think of therapy the first thing that usually comes to mind – for me anyway- is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, or counselling, is a type of talking therapy which involves you conversing with a trained professional who is specialized at dealing with situations just likes yours.
The aim of psychotherapy is to explore your anxious thoughts by delving into your past and looking at your present relationships; the idea is to discover what the underlying issue that causes your anxiety is.
Many people have found talking to a psychotherapist a very effective way at managing long-term conditions like GAD.
You usually associate hypnotherapy with stopping smoking or weight loss, but it is also a great way to help with anxiety. Hypnotherapy is a complimentary medicine and while not everyone agrees that it works, it has been an effective treatment for many people.
This type of therapy involves putting you into a hypnotic state (a state of deep relaxation) using special relaxation techniques. This deep state of deep relaxation allows for focused attention, which enables your mind to be more open for suggestions of change.
In relation to anxiety, hypnotherapy tends not to be used on its own but as an aid to other therapies, such as psychotherapy and CBT.
As with anything, there are many people out there who claim to be hypnotherapists but are not, so it is important to avoid those type of people at all costs. Make sure you do some thorough research before making a decision.
Foods That Get Rid of Anxiety
When I say eat foods that improve your mood I am not referring to comfort food. As well as sticking to a healthy diet to ensure that you are receiving the right nutrients, there are certain foods that you can eat, which will improve your mood.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that your body needs in order to produce serotonin, a chemical which regulates mood, as well as other things. If you are deficient in serotonin you are likely to feel low as it can increase your emotional sensitivity.
To ensure that you are getting enough dietary tryptophan, you should increase your intake of protein, dairy and eat lots of bananas.
If you are not exercising already then you had better start now. There are amazing emotional benefits of physical activity. Exercise is increasingly being seen as an effective treatment and preventative measure for various health conditions, including anxiety-related disorders.
You’ve probably heard this before but when you exercise your brain releases endorphins, which are essentially your body’s natural painkiller that can leave you feeling euphoric.
A good workout session will also mean that you are less focused on the thinking that causes the anxiety and more on the task at hand, which may help to shed some of what you are feeling. I’ve just started jogging a few times a week and have actually found that after the session I feel refreshed and refocused, so it’s definitely something for you to consider.
Additionally, you will find that you feel more relaxed after exercising, which can help to slow down a busy mind, making it great for those of you who have difficulty falling asleep.
If you are not used to exercising then you don’t have to start with some crazy intense workout, it is better to gradually increase time and intensity.
Affirmations to Reduce Anxiety
Affirmations are essentially powerful statements that you say to yourself, which encourage a positive attitude and outlook. To give you an example, I found some that I liked from the Huffington Post:
- Though these times are difficult, they are only a short phase of life
- I wake up today with strength in my heart and clarity in my mind
- I am conquering my illness; I am defeating it steadily each day
- My fears of tomorrow are simply melting away
If you’ve never heard of affirmations before then it may seem weird that something as simple as repeating a statement can affect your life, but it can.
Affirmations are based on the New Age principle that your thought pattern, whether negative or positive, can manifest itself physically. It’s pretty much ‘you are what you think.’ So if you keep telling yourself that you can’t do something, more than likely you won’t be able to do it.
Therefore, by repeating an affirmation, which is a statement based on positivity and empowerment, you will attract good energy and believe and live what you are saying.
Affirmations are used for practically everything, from weight loss to career success; they have proven to work. There are many websites and books that provide affirmations for anxiety, which is a good starting point. You can even write your own. Then, once you have chosen your affirmation, all you have to do is repeat it, see it and believe it.
Stay Away From Stimulants
If you suffer from anxiety then the last thing you want to do is add a stimulant to the mix – it is essentially like adding fuel to a fire.
As well as avoiding illegal drugs, a different story altogether, you should try to cut down on your caffeine and alcohol intake. Although, these substances are usually taken when you feel like you need to unwind, they actually have the opposite effect.
Drinking caffeinated drinks, like coffee, leaves you feeling more alert and heightens your body’s emotional response system, which is the opposite of what you want if you are already feeling anxious. The problem with alcohol is that while it may be okay to occasionally drink it to unwind, using it as a tool to dampen anxious feelings can lead to a dependency in the long run.
Reduce Stress With Meditation
How does meditation help anxiety? When you think of meditation, you think of relaxation. Meditation, once reserved for religious practices, is extremely popular in the West for people who want to transform their mind and find inner peace.
There are several types of meditation techniques, but experts believe that mindfulness meditation is the most effective for anxiety.
Mindfulness meditation works by putting all your concentration on your breathing, allowing negative thoughts to come and go without judging or putting too much emphasis on them. Eventually, you will find that you are able to control your thought pattern, leading to a more relaxed you.
The best way to learn how to meditate is to join a class, but it is really important that you find a reputable practitioner otherwise you may end up doing more harm than good. If you do want to do it by yourself, then there are a range of books that offer a step by step guide.
Try Some Herbal Remedies
Many people have found that using herbal remedies to treat anxiety is very effective, which is no surprise as some are said to be as good as prescribed medication but without the side effects. Some popular herbal remedies for anxiety include:
Passion flower, also known as passiflora, is a plant that has long been used as a traditional medicine for insomnia and hysteria, due to its calming properties. Studies that have compared the effectiveness of passion flower against anti-anxiety medication have actually shown that passion flower is pretty much as effective but has few side effects, like drowsiness. Passion flower is available as a tea , in tablet form, and as a tincture.
Studies that have compared the effectiveness of passion flower against anti-anxiety medication have actually shown that passion flower is pretty much as effective but has few side effects, like drowsiness. Passion flower is available as a tea , in tablet form, and as a tincture.
Valerian root, produced from the roots of the Valerian plant, is favored by the homeopathic community as a powerful remedy for anxiety. It is similar to passion flower but a lot more powerful.
Traditionally, valerian root was used as a cure for insomnia and it is still used to that effect today, so much so that people reliant on sleeping pills use valerian root to wean themselves off.
Valerian root acts as a sedative for anxiety. It can reduce irritability and calm you down. It also acts as an anxiolytic, which is a type of medication that prevents anxiety. Like passion flower, it comes in tea, tablet, and as a tincture. Note: Valerian should not be taken by pregnant women.
Anxious thoughts are extremely hard to get rid of, especially if you are someone who suffers from GAD as it has been a part of you for so long. Hopefully, reading this article will have put you on the right path on getting rid of anxiety for good.
What works for you?