“Remember what an emotion is – it’s a change on the inside, in response to an event on the outside. And it’s a necessary and useful change. It’s as if a lightning bolt has struck you, and now you are now carrying that electricity inside of you.” – Steve Biddulph
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come.
In South Africa, according to the SA Federation for Mental Health in 2018 , one in six South Africans suffers from anxiety,depression or substance abuse. (During the pandemic, I think the number is getting much higher. )
It’s normal to feel anxious,fearful and nervous about going to a job interview, giving a speech, moving to a new place, or taking a test. This type of anxiety is unpleasant, but it may motivate you to work harder and to do a better job. Ordinary anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes, but does not interfere with your everyday life.
But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life, you may have an anxiety disorder. If left untreated, the anxiety will keep getting worse.
Our Body Has The Ability of Healing It Self
With the right tools/skills and lifestyle changes, we can regulate our emotions better and train our brain to view daily life with a more balanced, less stressful perspective. Here’s how to relieve anxiety naturally, and with awareness.
1. Take some deep breaths with fingers/hand touching the center of your chest (Heart Chakra)
Deep belly breathing helps decrease anxiety by stimulating the body’s relaxation response, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. With fingers or right/left hand touching the center of our chest will give the body a sense of safe (the ventral vagal system connect organs above diaphragm-heart,lung). This is a powerful technique that works because you can’t breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time.
2. Sip some herbal, chamomile, or green tea
If you’re feeling anxious,nervous, jittery – pour a cup of chamomile or green tea. Chamomile is known as a sleep aid,it contains a compound called Matricaria recutita, which binds to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium. Green tea, long used in Chinese medicine to treat depression, contains the amino acid L-theanine ( including nuts, whole grains, and broccoli), which relieves stress, and reduces blood pressure and muscle tension.
3. Rub two drops essential lavender oil on to the insides of your wrist and breathe in the fragrance whenever you need to.
4. Be active and distract yourself
Washing your car, hiking, knitting, doodling, gardening, looking and tracing your hand’s outline with your breath ,a pick-up game — anything that gets you moving and distracting you counts. Just 10 minutes with playing your favorite music, 3 to 5 days a week can help significantly improve anxiety symptoms. Distractions work because your brain can’t be in two places at once, and shifting your attention to any activity will interrupt a string of racing thoughts.
Look how knitting helped Olympic gold medalist Tom Daely got through the Olympics.