Ya know what is one of the trickiest parts of adulthood? I’m sure you already know, but I’ll tell you. It’s anxiety.
Anxiety is everywhere, and for a lot of people, it feels constant. It sits on your chest or presses down on your shoulders. Perhaps it lives in the muscles of your upper back.
But if you’re one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from anxiety, like I am, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a mental health condition, yes. But the truth is, it can also feel intensely physical.
If you suffer from anxiety, you’re probably no stranger to searching for answers. The truth is, there aren’t many quick fixes. If there were, no one would be struggling with this incredibly common mood disorder.
Medication can help many people who have been diagnosed to live their lives more fully. However, there are tricks and tools to calm anxiety naturally that you can try. I’ve tried just about everything there is, so I know what I’m talking about.
Lower Your Caffeine Intake
I hate myself for writing this, but caffeine is not great for anxiety. It’s just the truth. I love coffee, and I drink it until my chest is literally screaming at me from the inside out to STOP.
IT. Then I switch to sparkling water. Caffeine is great for productivity, but it’s not often great for your mental health.
If you really love your coffee, try switching to half-caf. You’ll still get a brain boost, but you might be surprised that you don’t feel like you’re spinning in circles by noon.
Use an Acupressure Mat
If you suffer from anxiety and you don’t use an acupressure mat, I’m telling you, you need to be. This mat does not actually have needles, of course. Instead, you lie on plastic spikes that press into your skin and hit pressure points.
Resting on the mat can help you unplug from a long day, calm your brain when feelings of panic hit, and help you get to sleep.
I personally lie on my mat any time I’m having trouble dozing off, which is often, and 9 times out of 10, it helps me get to sleep. In a world of people who have difficulty sleeping, this feels like an underutilized tool, for sure.
Exercise for Mental Wellness, Not Just Booty Sculpting
A lot of people focus on the physical benefits of exercise. That’s totally understandable and OK! But when you realize that exercise can also boost your mood and lower stress hormones, your motivation for hitting the trail or the gym might change. That’s been true for me.
When I started opting for workouts that I knew would have a positive impact on my mental health by lowering my anxiety, I started doing it more.
I also started choosing the exact workout I needed that day that would benefit my mental health, rather than my booty, the most. If I needed to be outside, I’d go for a long hike. If I felt my shoulders and back tensing up, I’d get on my yoga mat.
If I was really cranky or mad about something, I’d get down with a kickboxing workout. In turn, approaching exercise as a tool for mental wellness has helped my anxiety in major ways.
Get an Emotional Support Pet
Can pets cause stress and anxiety? For sure they can. As the owner of a very challenging 1-year-old rescue dog with his own anxiety issues, I’ll be the first one to admit that. But contrary to popular belief, pets are really good for mental wellness.
They can even have therapeutic benefits and, if you’re choosing a pet for that specific purpose, you can focus on finding one who is calm and helps you feel safe and secure!
Adopting an animal is a huge commitment, but it’s one that can have big benefits. That’s specifically true for sufferers of anxiety and depression.
Try Olly Supplements
I’m not a huge supplement person, but when you’re an anxiety sufferer, I do think it’s smart to do your own experimenting. There are a lot of natural ingredients that can definitely have calming effects.
One that I’ve found to be useful is Goodbye Stress by Olly. It’s made with GABA, L-theanine, and lemon balm. When I took it consistently, I absolutely noticed that my anxiety felt a bit more chilled out.
And at under $13 for over a month’s supply, it’s pretty affordable.
Learn About Breathwork
It’s probably the former yoga teacher in me, but I’m a big believer in the power of the breath. Your breath is the thing that gives you life, and it’s also the thing that makes you know you’re alive. That also means that when you’re anxious, your breathing patterns are the first thing to change.
Taking action by controlling and slowing your breathing can help you game the system, however. There are many different breathing techniques aimed specifically at lowering stress and anxiety. But for starters, taking long, slow, deep breaths, filling your belly, then letting all of the breath out can be a huge help.
Address the Stress
This is not an easy exercise, but it’s bound to be effective. Anxiety can be something you cope with on the regular, or it can be situational. One important thing to do, if you’re suffering, is to try to understand where your anxiety is coming from.
Is there a life situation that, when alleviated, could shift your mental health for the better?
Assess what’s going on in your life so that you can make positive changes. They might not all be easy to make, but your health is worth it.