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How to Calm Anxiety

Anxiety can negatively impact your life. Learn about anxiety disorders and how to calm anxiety with various techniques.

Understanding Anxiety Disorders

An estimated 40 million adults in the United States experience some form of anxiety disorder each year. This accounts for a staggering 18.1% of the population, making anxiety disorders some of the most common mental health disorders.1  

Despite how common they may be, many people may not know the exact specifics of anxiety disorders, such as their causes, symptoms, or risk factors. Understanding these aspects of anxiety increases people’s ability to avoid certain risk factors, better manage their symptoms, and recognize when to seek help. In addition, being more mindful of triggers can help improve how to calm anxiety for more peace of mind.

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Causes of Anxiety Disorder

While daily anxiety can be triggered by a variety of situations, such as large events or public spaces, researchers believe that a combination of factors may cause anxiety disorder. These factors may include:

  • Genetics
  • Brain chemistry
  • Family history
  • History of mental health disorders
  • Trauma

Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorder

Many risk factors can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. For example, studies have shown that both genetic and environmental factors play a large role, with life experiences further increasing the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder.2

There are also additional risk factors, such as age or gender. Women, for instance, are more likely to develop anxiety disorders than men. In 2019, 19% of women and 11.9% of men reported experiencing anxiety symptoms ranging from mild, moderate, and severe.3 

Other genetic or environmental risk factors for anxiety disorders include

  • History of mental health disorders
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Trauma
  • Negative life events 
  • Severe illness or chronic health condition
  • Substance abuse
  • Being shy as a child
  • Family history of anxiety disorder or other mental health disorders
  • Low self-esteem

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Anxiety disorders can manifest in many different ways, as there are various types of anxiety disorders. While anxiety may seem like just an emotion or thought, it can actually cause physical and behavioral changes. Some anxiety disorder symptoms that are commonly experienced include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep

Not all symptoms may be present in each anxiety disorder, and specific anxiety disorders will have their own unique symptoms. Nonetheless, the above symptoms are some of the most common that may be experienced in all anxiety disorders. 

How to Calm Anxiety

Anxiety can make it difficult to enjoy daily activities and connect with loved ones. In severe cases, anxiety can even lead to avoidance and isolation. Fortunately, there are many ways to calm anxiety that can benefit both daily anxiety and anxiety associated with a mental health disorder. The following are easy, quick techniques for calming anxiety that can be utilized on the go. 

Breathe

Studies have shown that breathing techniques can help change certain processes in the body. One example of this is heart rate. Practicing slower breathing can regulate heart rate, which is often increased with anxiety and causes other symptoms to manifest throughout the mind and body.4

Name What You’re Feeling

Understanding is the key to finding solutions. When people are able to recognize and identify their symptoms of anxiety, they increase familiarity with themselves and their triggers. This provides the opportunity to focus on how to calm anxiety and work around what causes it.

Go for a Walk

Walking is one of the best ways to improve overall physical and mental well-being. Taking the time each day for a short walk can help regulate heart rate and produce endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals. Over time, regular walking can help reduce the severity of anxiety symptoms.

In addition, walking can be beneficial in the moment by providing relief from current anxiety symptoms, acting as a form of mini-meditation and distraction. A cold shower or ice plunge may also help provide these same benefits for faster emotional benefits. 

Reduce Anxiety With Long-Term Changes

While techniques like those above can help manage anxiety in the moment, there are also methods to reduce anxiety in the long term.

Identifying Triggers

It is important to identify triggers to avoid triggering environments and situations in order to help prepare beforehand or avoid them altogether if possible. This allows people to gradually learn more about themselves and how to manage triggers and the symptoms that come with them. 

Self-Care Routines

Self-care provides time for people to take care of their physical, emotional, and social well-being. Note that self-care routines can look different for everyone. For example, while some people may utilize self-care routines more similar to a spa experience, regular exercise and spending time with friends and loved ones can also be considered self-care.

This also involves making conscious decisions each day, including getting a good night’s sleep as often as possible, spending time in nature, and eating a nutrient-rich diet.

Consider Therapy

Therapy can be one of the best ways to manage and regulate anxiety with long-term changes. Psychotherapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are often the most utilized in treating anxiety disorders. 

Ways to Help Lower Anxiety Naturally

There are a plethora of natural ways to help lower anxiety and manage symptoms. These are small changes that can help alter brain chemistry and stress levels. 

Fill the Plate With Anti-Anxiety Foods

Diet is more than a source of fuel—it’s a source of wellness. Taking time to fill the plate with anti-anxiety foods that nourish the mind and body can help to lower anxiety naturally. Some of the number one anti-anxiety foods are turkey, eggs, chia seeds, bell peppers, almonds, and oats. 

Take Supplements to Meet Nutritional Needs

Supplements such as vitamin B-complex and probiotics can be taken to help ensure the recommended daily nutritional needs are being met. Regulating levels in the body is a great way to regulate symptoms of anxiety naturally. 

Nonetheless, we recommend discussing supplement options with a medical professional first, as taking supplements that are already steady can cause negative side effects. Doctors can run vitamin and nutrient blood tests to check for any deficiencies and properly recommend supplements if needed. 

Consider Complementary Treatments Like Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, and Massage

Many complementary treatments are natural ways to approach calming anxiety. Treatments like acupuncture, aromatherapy, and massage provide a multifaceted approach to anxiety symptoms while boosting overall health and well-being. 

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