We all get into the Halloween spirit this time of year. Many people wait all year for the thrill of a haunted trail ride or a good horror flick. But for people living with an anxiety disorder, that fearful feeling is all too familiar…and far from fun.
It’s estimated that as much as 30% of the adult population in the U.S. is living with anxiety disorders. Of those individuals, 30% don’t even know they have issues with anxiety. And only 10% receive effective treatment.
This is a real problem, because mental health issues have a way of creeping in and negatively affecting your physical health too. People with an anxiety disorder are 3-5x more likely to go to the doctor for things like stomachaches, headaches, and other physical pains related to stress. They’re also 6x more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders.
Since women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men, it’s important for us to understand how to treat anxiety disorders. Here are three natural anxiety treatments you can try at home.
1. Go for a walk. Spending time in nature, combined with physical exercise, is one of the best preventative measures to keep you balanced. Ecotherapy, as it’s known in the scientific world, has been proven to lower stress levels, blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and more. We’re genetically programmed to be attracted to trees, water, and plants, and they create an innately peaceful feeling when we’re surrounded by them. Adding an outdoor walk to your daily routine can help reduce the severity of anxiety, or prevent it altogether.
2. Watch what you eat. Certain foods can trigger anxiety so pay close attention to how different foods make you feel. Caffeine and alcohol, for example, are often linked to heightened levels of anxiety, whereas turkey and salmon produce feel-good neurochemicals. Everybody is different, though, so keep a food journal of what you eat, when you eat it, and how you feel afterward. You’ll start to notice unique patterns and foods that make you feel good versus feel anxious. Add more of the feel-good foods and avoid the ones that worsen your anxiety.
3. Meditate daily. Meditation is one of the most powerful natural ways to fight anxiety (along with a slew of other mental and physical health issues). At its core, anxiety is an inability to control your emotional reactions to what you perceive as threats. Meditation, on the other hand, helps strengthen a person’s ability to regulate their emotions. That’s why it has such a drastic effect on controlling anxiety. Taking 10 minutes a day to meditate can have a profound effect on your wellbeing. Calm.com is a great free website and app to help you take a short break and quiet your mind.
If you’re living with anxiety, please don’t keep it bottled up. Try the above treatments and if you’re still struggling, reach out to a friend, family, or one of our staff for help. We’re always here for you — call us at 717-840-9885 or click on the button below and we can chat at your next appointment.
Dr. Julie Drolet
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