Are you ever short of breath, experience dizziness, shaking, or have a sense that something bad is going to happen for no reason? I have suffered from anxiety for years and would have continued to if I didn’t make some serious life changes. I personally would become anxious over nothing. It could be a social setting that set it off, riding in a car, virtually anything. My life had been turned upside down to the point where I found it hard to go to work or even want to get out of bed some days.
Anxiety and panic attacks can be serious medical conditions. I don’t say that to scare you by any means. I at one point felt there was no hope for solving what was wrong with me, but with some guidance I was able to get my anxious feelings under control and begin to enjoy my life again. I actually couldn’t believe how long I had been living with anxiety and how it felt to feel normal again. Anxiety is something that forms slowly overtime and usually we do no treat it until it begins to effect things in our daily lives such as work and social interactions.
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Having a sense of impending danger or panic
- Increased heart rate
- Trembling or the shakes
- Feeling constantly tired or weak
- Shortness of breath
Causes of Anxiety
Anxiety can be caused by both medical conditions and external factors. The one thing I learned in treating my anxiety is don’t try to self diagnosis yourself, your not a doctor. Trying to self diagnosis and reading horror stories online can lead to an increase in your anxiety. You should understand the potential causes of anxiety simply to have a better understanding of what it may take to treat it.
Medical Conditions that Cause Anxiety
- Phobic disorders
- Stress disorders
- Panic disorders
- Generalized anxiety disorder
External Causes of Anxiety
- Stress at work
- Financial stress
- A large change in your life such as a new job
- Personal relationship stress such as marriage
- The loss of a loved one
- Stress from a medical condition
- Result of drug use such as cocaine
Tips to Reduce Anxiety Naturally
The following techniques are the natural things I did to reduce my stress levels and anxiety while under the consultation of a doctor. I was placed on a Benzodiazepine for my anxiety as well as Citalopram for the depression I was experiencing as a result of my anxiety. However, I realized that the largest changes occurred when I made the following personal changes in my life. I didn’t make all the changes at once, I tackled them in the order seen below over a couple of months. Changing everything at once can make it difficult to know what works and what doesn’t.
- Track your anxiety daily in a journal. Rate your anxiety on a scale of 1-10 and what you were doing when you were anxious. Also track the changes you are making in your personal life. This will help you to see what changes help you feel better or worse.
- Sleep, and plenty of it. My stress levels and anxiety were always increased when I wasn’t receiving enough sleep. Make sure to get a good 7-8 hours of sleep every night. To help myself relax at night I would read or do what I’m doing right now, write. Taking some natural melatonin to help you sleep better at night can also help.
- Perform breathing exercises several times a day. I noticed over time that I tend to be a very shallow breather not taking deep breaths. A couple time a day close your eyes and take some deep breaths just focusing on your breathing.
- Quit drinking alcohol immediately. My hangovers and level of anxiety were amplified tremendously after drinking. I have always been a big drinker and limiting this was one of the best things I did not only for my anxiety but for myself.
- Quit drinking caffeine immediately. I was a coffee addict and still am, I just simply switched to decaf. I would usually intake 6-8 cups of coffee or soda a day yet I didn’t find it that difficult to quit. Drinking similar decaffeinated products can help trick your mind making it easier to quit.
- Get to the gym. Dozens of studies have been performed outside the psychiatric clinic showing the benefits of exercise in reducing stress levels and anxiety. Exercise not only will help reduce anxiety levels but will give you an overall feeling of wellbeing and accomplishment. Exercise was the most beneficial thing that I did to feel better.
- Quit smoking. I don’t even think I need to explain the benefits of quitting smoking but it is important to consult with a doctor when quitting or it could make your problem anxiety worse. This was one of the last things I tackled as my doctor felt I would experience increased anxiety if I tried right away. This would limit us from knowing what was working and what wasn’t.
When To Consult a Doctor
It’s never to early to consult a doctor as your condition could be a more serious underlying problem. I put off seeing a doctor for a long time because I didn’t have health insurance and was always someone who avoided going to a doctor. As a result my anxiety become a more serious problem than I should have ever let it become. I believe that it could have been treated much easier had I not let it spiral out of control. I found that visiting a Psychiatrist wasn’t that expensive and the medication I was put on was fairly inexpensive at around $20 per month.
I personally can tell you that the worst thing you can do is to try and self diagnosis yourself. If it’s really bothering you get up and make an appointment with a Psychiatrist of your family doctor.
Things Will Get Better
I think the one thing that I never did read online that would of helped a lot is that things will get better if you make the effort to improve them. I got stuck reading all the doom and gloom articles on anxiety and the problem was I rarely found someone who had an answer or what worked for them. Usually it was people stating in blogs or forums that they have suffered for years, or tried countless medications with no improvement. Realize that most people who do take the initiative to feel better and reduce their anxiety don’t come back online to tell people what worked. Thus the reason I’m writing this article.
If you’re willing to make some changes in your life and put in a little effort I’m fully confident you can feel better and get back to enjoying your life. Millions of people around the world suffer from anxiety, so you’re not alone. The question is are you going to do something about it or continue to suffer? Start by making some of the small changes in your life that we discussed and you will see things begin to improve.