Mental Health Moments: Three Natural Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety
⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten ⌛
Articles across the Internet claim to have the best nature remedies or cures for anxiety. If you just do A, then B will happen. If that doesn’t work, try C to achieve D. The cycle spins on its head without a remedy if you’re not careful.
While I do not have all of the answers, I will say this: I have had anxiety since my childhood, so I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I have taken medication, so I’m an advocate for doing what works best for you — natural or medicated.
Here are three natural ways to help me ease anxiety before, during and after it strikes:
“Write clear and hard about what hurts.” -- Ernest Hemingway
Writing is my first professional and personal love -- when it comes to my talents, that is. There is nothing like pouring a cup of coffee and sitting down to write about what is on my mind. Often, that comes with negative emotions, like pain, sadness and longing. I’ve been known to avoid writing because of the stirring of such negative emotions; however, that benefits no one, especially yourself. Writing is one of the most stress-reducing activities. While it may not be a cure-all, it allows you to introspectively take on some of your most pressing challenges and revel in your happiest moments. Taking some time -- even if it’s 15 minutes -- to write about what is currently making you anxious will benefit you ten-fold. Just make a list. That’s all it takes to begin to address what makes you anxious, depressed or somewhere in between.
Also, I like to keep my truest feelings away from the Internet. Anxiety tends to make me feel and act irrationally, so it behooves me to write them down for my eyes only first. That means I’m old-school and like the solace and power of a pen and a journal. Do whatever makes you feel better!
Using my senses
I am a sensitive person, so that means my five senses easily overload, either with joy or despair. When I’m not feeling like myself, I use my senses to help me improve my overall mood so I can’t use them against myself. I listen to my favorite music or a specific playlist (I play Hourglass Queen on my Spotify account A LOT). I burn a lavender candle and wear a mood-enhancing perfume (Chanel No. 5, Coco Chanel, Ariana Grande’s Cloud, Bond Girl 007). I brew some Dunkin’ coffee, wear a favorite graphic tee, paint my nails a mood-inducing color and more.
Even if you’re not feeling it, do something involving your senses that usually makes you happy. Spray your favorite scent, go for a walk, prepare your go-to meal, take a nap. Try to do something without judging yourself for it.
Talking with someone
I am the Queen of Bottling My Emotions. For the majority of my life, I’ve suppressed my feelings, ultimately creating an icy barrier to protect myself. Often, the anxiety manifests into something else when you keep pushing the same things away. You may snap at someone at work when all you're feeling is misplaced anger. You may actively compete with someone because your self-esteem and confidence are at an all-time low. No matter the manifestation, the best remedy is to talk about how you are feeling, whether it’s with a significant other, licensed medical professional, best friend, family member, whomever. Discussing what is troubling you will allow its burden to release itself from your body. This isn’t always an easy task (especially for someone who likes to help other people and not herself), but it’s vital to the survival of your mental health.
Do what works for you. If you’d rather keep your feelings at bay by talking to a medical professional, then do that. No matter what you choose, make sure you aren’t bottling your emotions. It takes years to undo this process, trust me. I’m still on the road to recovery with it!
Please note: These blog posts are not clinical, although we will provide symptoms and other information. These posts are based on my experiences with anxiety and mental health in general.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit a website like Mental Health America to learn more.
Mental Health Moments blog posts are every other Tuesday of the month. Our CEO and contributors highlight what it's like to live with a mental health disorder and continue to fight the stigma through storytelling.
Kaylin R. Staten, APR, is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer based in Huntington, WV with nearly 16 years of professional communications experience. As CEO and founder of Hourglass Media, she uses her compassionate spirit and expertise to delve into the heart of clients’ stories. She is a recovering perfectionist, mental health advocate, wife, cat mom and Leia Organa aficionado. Connect with Kaylin on LinkedIn.