There is a common misconception that anxiety and panic disorders are relatively recent phenomena, present in modern generations due to technology or disconnection. However, anxiety has been documented for millenia. Greek and Latin philosophers distinguished anxiety as a medical disorder. Ancient Stoic philosophers describe techniques to achieve an anxiety-free state of mind that are similar to modern cognitive psychology techniques.
Anxiety predominantly stems from a fear of the unknown, worries about the future or a perceived threat. The antidote is often to focus on the present, one of the key objectives of mindfulness, meditation or even exercise.
Anxiety is widespread and is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder. According to surveys, one quarter of the population has been affected by anxiety at some point in their lifetime. It can feel overwhelming and even debilitating but there are a number of other natural ways to help reduce anxiety:
Talk to someone - According to Mind, one of the UK’s leading mental health charities, talking to someone you trust about what’s making you anxious can be a relief. Having someone listen to you, understand the issue and show you they care can help. If you aren’t able to open up to someone you know, the Samaritans and Anxiety UK both run helplines that you can call at any time.
Manage your worries - Easy to say we know but there are several practices that can help you feel like you have more control over your worries. Mind recommends setting aside time to focus on your worries or keep a journal so you can better control them. This can help them creeping up on you when there are other stresses abounding.
Physical exercise - Researchers have found that regular aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease tension, elevate mood and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of light exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
Breathing exercise - A growing number of studies show that breathing techniques are effective in helping relieve anxiety and insomnia. They stimulate physiological factors, calming the nervous system, and psychological factors, diverting attention away from stressful thoughts. There are a bunch of sources for good breathing exercises such as the NHS and Headspace.
Get enough sleep - Anxiety and sleep are closely interconnected. Anxiety disorders can disrupt sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep while a lack of sleep can negatively affect levels of anxiety. Getting a good night’s sleep can help clear out the brain of toxins, relax the muscles, promote serotonin development and conserve energy. Physical exercise, breathing exercises and sleep hygiene can all support a good night’s sleep.
Try CBD - Initial studies “strongly support” CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, larger scale studies and more in-depth research is needed on exact dosing information.
IS CBD GOOD FOR ANXIETY?
CBD can help to moderate response systems within the body by interacting with receptors and neurotransmitters. For instance, if the body is experiencing pain, cannabinoids (such as CBD) can help stimulate the body’s natural response system to produce other proteins which can help mediate the pain and promote recovery.
When it comes to anxiety, CBD is understood to have anxiolytic qualities, which means it may help to reduce the stress that can cause anxiety. When we experience fear or stress, our body releases hormones that sets off a chain reaction within the body. CBD interacts with receptors known to regulate our physical repsonses to these perceived or real situations.
CBD is also known to be a panicolytic, reducing the fight-or-flight reflex in animals when faced with danger or perceived danger. A series of pre-clinical studies have shown that CBD has been effective in reducing anxiety and panic responses both in animal studies and healthy humans.
If you’d like to reach out and talk about any issues you are facing with anxiety we’d be more than happy to listen.