1. Anxiety is a normal reaction that people may have when they are under stress.
However, it can become a problem when it starts to affect your daily routine. Here are some things that may help reduce your anxiety:
Causes of Anxiety
Anxiety does not have a single cause, and it can affect people in different ways. They are not limited to but can include:
Past or childhood experiences
Things that may have happened in the past, either as a child, adolescent, or adult, can trigger anxiety at the time, as well as for many years afterward. Some experiences that can lead to mental health problems later in life are physical or emotional abuse, neglect, being bullied, being socially excluded, or losing a parent.
Current life situations
People can feel anxious about current life situations or problems. These examples make it difficult to cope with day-to-day life.
New and existing physical or mental health problems
These types of issues can trigger anxiety or make existing anxiety worse. Serious, ongoing health issues can cause anxiety. People often develop anxiety while also dealing with other mental health problems, such as depression.
Drugs or medication
Feeling anxious can be a side effect of taking certain psychiatric medications, physical health medications, or using recreational drugs or alcohol.
What causes panic attacks?
Panic attacks are a symptom of panic disorders. This disorder is characterized by feeling anxious, stressed, and panicked at any time, for no apparent reason, according to the NHS.
They usually happen on a regular basis too.
The most severe form of anxiety is panic, and worrying about experiencing a new attack can make people feel more on edge and susceptible to having more panic attacks.3
Anxiety during lockdown
Anxiety is often caused by changes to your daily routine. Many people are feeling uncertain and anxious about the future because of the disruptions the national lockdown has caused. If you’re feeling worried about your mental health during the lockdown, it’s normal. You’re not alone in how you’re feeling.
Even though we’re getting close to the end of the lockdown in the UK, there are still some factors that might be causing you anxiety. Although restrictions are gradually being lifted, the idea of adapting to a new lifestyle after months of being at home can be tough to adjust to.
If you find yourself feeling anxious about going to work or public places when the lockdown ends, it may be helpful to understand more about the feeling, where it comes from, and how to manage it.
Fortunately, there are many ways to cope with anxiety. If you have the right support, you can learn how to manage it in a way that is best for you.
Symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety can cause physical and mental changes, as well as behavioral changes.
Anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, and it can be difficult to know when it is the cause of how you are feeling or acting. Be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms:
Physical symptoms of anxiety
- Faster breathing that is hard to control
- Increased or irregular heartbeat – this may feel more noticeable than normal
- Headaches and other aches throughout the body
- Sweating and hot flushes
- Nausea and loss of appetite
Mental symptoms of anxiety
- Feeling tense, nervous, and unable to relax
- Increased worry about the past and future but also the inability to stop worrying about everything (e.g. fear that people can see you’re anxious, people are angry at you, the possibility of a panic attack)
- Feeling emotional
- Ruminating on bad experiences
Behavioral Changes Caused by Anxiety
- Problems with your concentration that can affect your work
- Not taking care of yourself
- Inability to form or maintain relationships
- Feeling you can’t enjoy any leisure or downtime
- Worries about trying new things
The importance of acknowledging anxiety
When you’re able to identify your anxiety, it becomes easier to understand the root cause of your anxious feelings. This, in turn, can help you develop coping mechanisms that work for you.
If you’re feeling anxious but don’t know why try writing in a journal and talking to someone who can help you figure out the source of your anxiety.
5 Ways of dealing with anxiety
There are many ways to cope with the problem, and finding the right support can help you find the best way for you. There are a few steps that may help control your anxiety:
- Talking to someone you trust can help relieve you of any worries, and a listening ear from someone that cares about you can be of comfort. If you’re unable to speak to someone close, there are free helplines available.
- Managing your worries can seem impossible and, at times, uncontrollable. Writing down your fears and storing them away can help take them from your mind for a time. If you’re worried about avoiding bad things happening, dedicate a specific time for these worries to reassure yourself you have thought about them once that day.
- Getting peer support from people who’ve been through what you are going through, or are experiencing something similar, enables you to learn from others. It also acts as a valuable reminder you’re not the only one experiencing what you are experiencing. Some examples of peer support groups include Anxiety Care, Anxiety UK, No More Panic, and Elefriends.
- Turning to complementary and alternative therapies can also be highly effective for some people. For instance, yoga, massage, and herbal treatments are just some of the therapies people use to help them relax and sleep better. There are also alternative therapies, such as meditation and hypnotherapy, that can help people relax and let go of their worries. Anxiety supplements can also be helpful.
- Exercising on a regular basis can also have a positive effect on anxiety levels. Some people find activities, such as swimming, walking, running, and yoga, help them to switch off and relax.8
How do you calm down anxiety instantly?
If you’re feeling anxious while driving, working, or in another public space, try to calm down as soon as possible.
Although it may not be possible to feel less anxious immediately, there are various self-help methods you can follow to help make yourself feel more relaxed sooner. They include:
- Taking time out from what you are doing.
- Taking deep breaths.
- Counting to ten slowly.
- Focusing on positive thoughts.
- Accepting you cannot control everything.
- Thinking about what’s triggered your anxiety.
- Talking to somebody – a friend, a colleague, a family member or a therapist.
The Therapeutic Supplements
-There are a few natural supplements that can help alleviate anxiety symptoms.
L-theanine has a calming and relaxing effect. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has a calming and relaxing effect. In order to receive a therapeutic dose of theanine, you would need to consume a large quantity of it. You can improve your health by taking a green tea extract or a supplement containing L-theanine. This substance can be taken alone or in combination with other calming agents.
EEG measurements of brain waves have shown that it changes them to promote a relaxed and alert state associated with alpha waves.4 This is unusual because it can sharpen mental focus and calm anxiety at the same time.
L-theanine is a common treatment for anxiety and may be effective for any of the seven types of anxiety. You should take it 50-200 mg once or twice daily. The recommended dosage for severe anxiety is three or four times per day. It is not habit-forming like so many anti-anxiety medications.
NAC is short for N-acetylcysteine. It has been used for years in emergency rooms for patients who are at risk of liver damage from something they have ingested (such as the common pain medication acetaminophen). N-cetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant that is known to protect the brain and the liver. This is because it helps to increase the levels of glutathione in the body, which is the body’s primary antioxidant.
As researchers have realized the connection between glutamate/GABA balance and anxiety conditions, they have begun experimenting with NAC. Recently, it has been used to treat OCD, which is a complex anxiety disorder. Pathological gambling and compulsive hair-pulling can be improved with a simple and inexpensive nutritional supplement, according to researchers. Yale researchers are now conducting a placebo-controlled trial with patients whose OCD symptoms have not improved with other treatments in order to see if the supplement may help them as well.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for calming down an overactive brain. GABA is available as a nutritional supplement without a prescription. Why isn’t it higher on our list of recommendations? If you consume it orally, a majority of it gets metabolized before it reaches the brain, so it isn’t as effective as you might believe. Some of GABA’s calming effects may occur throughout the body, not just in the brain. This is especially apparent with muscle relaxation. Some studies have found that this amino acid can be more effective than L-theanine at creating a relaxed alpha brainwave pattern in humans. It may also help boost immune function in people who have experienced stress.
The recommended dosage of GABA is 100-750 mg, taken three times per day. If drowsiness occurs, take it just at bedtime.
DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands, where cortisol and adrenaline are also made. DHEA can be converted into testosterone and estrogen, and male levels of DHEA are typically higher than female levels. DHEA is a hormone that is being recommended by more and more physicians, especially for those over the age of 40 when levels of the hormone drop below normal. Some clinicians recommend doses up to 50 mg or more. This is a high dose and should only be used if the lower doses don’t work. To prevent the level from becoming too high, it can be monitored.
Taurine is an amino acid that reduces the harmful effects of excess glutamate 8 and also increases glycine and GABA to calm the brain. You may be familiar with it, as it is added to some of the popular energy drinks, such as Red Bull. The manufacturers believe that taurine can help support people during periods of extreme exertion.
You should take taurine 500 mg once to three times every day. If it causes slight drowsiness, it may be taken at bedtime. It can also lower blood pressure, so be careful if you’re susceptible to hypotension or feeling lightheaded. It may be taken with or without food.
Though inositol is technically not a vitamin since the body can produce it, it is often classified as a B vitamin. It is commonly known that taking this supplement can reduce general anxiety, panic, and OCD symptoms. A study found that inositol was just as effective as a popular antidepressant for panic disorder and participants tolerated it well at up to 18 grams per day.
In most cases, 1,500 mg of inositol is taken daily, even though higher doses have been used in studies. The occasional side effects of this medication are nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, and headache. According to a recent report, inositol may actually worsen bipolar disorder. I, therefore, do not recommend its use for people suffering from this condition.
Ingestible supplements If you are already taking medication, be sure to speak to your doctor before adding any ingestible supplements to your regime. If you are thinking about stopping your medication, always talk to your doctor first. They will be able to help you safely decrease your dosage.
A few final words about anxiety…
Anxiety affects people in different ways and can be caused by different things, both past and present experiences. Fortunately, there is help available to understand and manage anxiety. The hardest part is recognizing it in the first place.
We hope that this article has been helpful in answering any questions you may have had about anxiety and provides a good starting point for dealing with anxiety.