It is no surprise that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the nation. With the rising cost of living, student loan debt and a housing shortage on our hands (just to name a few), everyone seems to be apart of the things that really anger us, scare us, and sometimes seems to take our hope away.
When these thoughts seem to arise in the form of anger, anxiety or depression, the fastest, most effective, non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical solution is this...take a deep breath three, five, or seven times if you have to. Now for those of you who are now satisfied, BOOM there it is. For those of us who like to know how things work (including our brains and bodies) read on.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to take a deep breath when you are angry? How about when you are crying? When feelings like this emerge your mind has been hijacked by stress. Adrenaline and Cortisol, (two primary stress hormones) now flood your bloodstream and is telling your brain it's time to react ...HARD! This is known as the Acute Stress Response, otherwise known as the Fight or Flight Response. Some get angry, some cry, some get stuck in depressed thoughts, and some become harmful to themselves or others. It depends on the person really.
Taking a deep breath is how you take back control of your overactive body and mind. You are telling the body that everything is OK and that you are not in danger, by flooding yourself with oxygen. Breathe in through the noise, fill up your lungs until you feel a deep expansion in what feels like your belly and then slowly breathe out from the mouth. This new inflow of oxygen will begin to counter the adrenaline rush immediately. Resulting in a mind that is in tact, and able to respond rationally.
The power of breathing allows you to then direct your thoughts wherever you choose them to go because you are not flooded with carnal, chemical induced responses, you can get to to more logical conclusions and answers that your mind is able to create when you are in a state of peace.
Another great and more structured way to relieve stress (is my personal favorite) get a massage. Not only is massage good for your body,but it's also good for your brain. Massage has been proven to increase serotonin levels and promote deeper stages of relaxation. And as we already know, when you are more relaxed you are better chance at making more rational decisions. Aromatherapy is also a great way to add extra benefits to your massage. For example, rosemary essential oil has been proven to improve focus.
You can read all about that in our aromatherapy article here.
And finally, exercise (I'm going to go ahead and lump healthy eating in as well). Exercise is the best way to expel all that adrenaline build up in your body, not to mention it's also a great way to stay in shape. You may not have to opportunity to get up, get on your gym clothes and hit the punching bag in the middle of rush hour traffic. On the other hand, you might perhaps invest in a stress ball in order to pump out your frustration calories. You would be surprised at how much it helps if you actually do it and remain consistent.