23 Lifestyle Tips for reducing anxiety and preventing panic attacks - page 2
Reducing anxiety levels has never been a more common goal than it is in this century, particularly in the West. The speed of life, the increased levels of choice, increased demands placed on us and a lifestyle that has become even more removed from the one for which nature designed us, have all led to the number of people experiencing anxiety states to skyrocket.
Here are tips 7 to 12 for reducing anxiety (see previous page for 1 to 6).
7. Take non-strenuous exercise
- Gentle yoga, walking, dancing, light bicycling, swimming when it is warm, are appropriate forms of exercise when your goal is reducing anxiety and preventing panic attacks.
- Do not exercise to the extent of your limit. A good guide is that if you have to start breathing through your mouth you are exerting yourself too much. Recent studies have shown that breathing through the mouth creates more free radicals (reactive and destructive molecules that speed up aging) than breathing through the nose – another good reason for not overdoing it.
- Half an hour a day is sufficient. If you feel exhausted, trembling, dizzy or have cramps you have done too much. (In Ayurveda these are all signs of Vata or nervous system imbalance.)
8. Drink plenty of warm fluids
- Sip hot water frequently throughout the day.
- Warmth is settling to the nervous system (think of how when we are cold and anxious we often tense up and shiver or get shaky) but also plenty of hot water is very cleansing to the system, helping to dislodge any toxicity that may have contributed to your problem.
- Adding a few slices of fresh ginger to make a ginger tea is particularly recommended as it improves the weakened digestion that is often a problem for anxious people and it’s cleansing and warming.
9. Make your surroundings light, bright and cheerful
- A gloomy, untidy living space won’t contribute to maintaining a positive attitude.
10. Doubt doubt!
- When you are anxious you can become indecisive, lacking in confidence and doubt everything and anything. One of my great teachers says if you’re going to doubt anything, doubt doubt!
- Doubt and uncertainty can be useful at times and help you become more discriminating; for example, not taking everything you are taught as the truth and making sure that you are satisfied about the validity of a statement before accepting it. But, they can also become the greatest cause of self-sabotage.
- Make sure you understand the logic behind any treatment approach you choose, if it makes sense use it and stick to it. When your nervous system is aggravated you can flit from thing to thing, looking desperately for the quick cure, succumbing to doubt about whether an approach is working or not without ever giving anything a real chance.
11. Don’t give energy to unhelpful thoughts or worries.
- Don’t allow yourself to spend time endlessly worrying about something. In my experience worry is one of the things that most strongly aggravates the nervous system and creates the physiology where anxiety states can take hold - in other words, feeling anxious all the time regardless of what you are thinking.
- Worry never makes any difference to an outcome but it will perpetuate your anxiety state. Do what you can to deal with a problem. If it can’t be dealt with or things cannot change straightaway it is important to accept that for the time being. Get help from a counsellor if need be.
- A useful tool for helping you to let go of worry, reducing anxiety and for solving the seemingly insoluble problem is the GOD BOX. You could also call this your Higher Self Box, or Angel Box whatever suits you. It doesn’t have to be a box – it could be a jar or bag – whatever is convenient, but it feels good to make it special in some way. Read more about the God Box here.
12. Avoid mental strain or any overstimulation (especially in the evening).
- Those of us with the constitution most prone to developing anxiety problems, and anyone whose nervous system has gone out of balance, can easily become excited – this can be a very pleasant experience and most people wouldn’t want a life without some excitement. However, we can let it get out of control so that the nervous system is overstimulated and sleep is affected.
- When your mind has been stimulated to engage in lots of thought the nervous system will start to be thrown out of balance. This means primarily when there is a lot of effort involved in the thinking process or it feels as though there is some compulsion to think about something and it consumes your attention, almost obsessively.
- If you need to use your mind in this way it is best to do so earlier in the day if possible. If you need to bring work home it would be better to get an early night and get up earlier in the morning to do it.
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