The average person’s anxiety level today is so significant that it would have been equal to or greater than the anxiety level of the average psychiatric patient during the early to mid 19th century. In other words, anxiety levels have risen at such a sharp rate that we now tend to normalize it. And when we do deal with it, we just write a prescription.
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Getting to the Root of Anxiety
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of apprehension about something that is to come in the future, whether five minutes from now or five years from now. People often experience acute anxiety about a job interview or first day of school – something that’s totally normal. What’s not natural is to experience chronic anxiety – i.e. anxiety that lasts for weeks, months, or years at a time.
Symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, rapid breathing, restlessness, trouble concentrating, and difficulty following asleep. Because of the way western medicine is structured, doctors often target these symptoms with specific medication designed to slow down your heart rate, promote tranquility, or aid in sleep. While this might make you feel better, it does nothing to address the underlying cause.
In order to get to the root of anxiety, it’s important to avoid prescription drugs and actually address the issue at hand. This can be done naturally and effectively using tips and strategies like these:
1. Improve Nutrition
Believe it or not, anxiety levels are directly affected by nutrition. If your diet is poor, it’s going to exacerbate feelings of stress and uneasiness. If your diet is healthy, you’re much more likely to feel balanced (both emotionally and physically).
“Some naturopathic approaches to holistically treating anxiety include nutritional supplements such as Magnesium and L-Theanine,” explains Dr. Krystal Tellier of Health for Life Naturopathic Medicine.
“Additionally, treatments such as acupuncture, acupressure, massage, naturopathic manipulative therapy, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and more may aid in the treatment and management of anxiety symptoms.”
2. Eliminate Stimulants
Our culture is addicted to caffeine. Whether via coffee or soda, most people consume inordinate amounts of this stimulant. Sadly, it does nothing but elevate anxiety.
How so? Well, when you’re caffeinated, your nervous system is ready for a fight. Your brain and muscles are kicking on all cylinders, just looking for something to do. Introduce a stressor and anxiety is the easy response. By weaning off of caffeine, you may experience lower anxiety, better sleep, and greater stability in your energy level.
3. Get More Sleep
In addition to eliminating caffeine and other stimulants, it’s important that you maintain a stable blood sugar level, remove light from your sleep environment (including blue light from electronics), and slowly wind down at the end of the day.
If you follow these suggestions, you’ll fall asleep quicker, wake up feeling more refreshed, and experience less anxiety around the clock.
4. Simplify Responsibilities and Obligations
What is it that’s causing your anxiety? In other words, what are the two or three things in your life that you spend the most time worrying about? Common issues are money, job security, relationships, health, responsibilities, children, and safety.
One way to reduce stress is to eliminate any responsibilities or obligations that aren’t necessary. For example, if you’re really stressed out about a jogging club you joined that forces you to wake up at 5 a.m. every morning, it’s probably a good idea to cut ties and simplify your schedule. Sure, you may upset some people, but this is about putting your interests first for a change.
Treat the Problem, Not the Symptom
Western medicine likes to treat the symptoms, as opposed to addressing the underlying problems. While this might provide momentary relief, it ultimately sets patients up for long-term dependency on prescription medication that may or may not be healthy for all systems of the body.
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By turning to natural solutions, we can begin to tackle the underlying causes of anxiety and enjoy greater long-term health. Are you willing to give it a try?