Looking for ways to naturally reduce anxiety? Gen Z and millennials tend to report higher anxiety levels than before. Here are ways to cope.
284 million. That’s the number of people who have anxiety disorders worldwide, as reported by the World Health Organization. This comes as no surprise, given that the world has generally become more detrimental to everyone’s mental health.
Experiencing anxiety, however, doesn’t automatically equate to having a mental health disorder. It’s a normal emotion that everyone, including younger generations, goes through whenever something worrisome comes up.
The good news is that you aren’t completely helpless when you’re anxious. To help ease your worries, here are five tips for Gen Z to naturally reduce anxiety.
Tips for Gen Z to Naturally Reduce Anxiety
Can you ever be cured of anxiety?
Before this question can be answered, this should be emphasized once again: experiencing anxiety is different from having an anxiety disorder. Here’s a deeper explanation of that key difference.
Back in the distant past where humans’ houses were caves and their pets were dinosaurs (an exaggeration, of course), they had to develop a plethora of survival tactics. These included innate biological alarms that would go off whenever there was imminent danger. Quicker breaths, a faster heartbeat, and a raised sensitivity to surroundings are examples of such biological alarms, which are triggered by a jolt of adrenalin to the brain. Thanks to that adrenalin-centered process, which is also called the fight-or-flight response, humans’ ancestors were able to outrun lions.
The world has changed significantly since then, but that fight-or-flight response is still intact. Nowadays, people no longer have to look out for lions in the wild. Instead, they worry about the possibility of losing a job, or a loved one being sick. Although the “dangers” have evolved alongside them, everyone still experiences that jolt of adrenalin to the brain by feeling anxious. It’s still there to help you survive. This is why anxiety is a normal and even healthy experience.
So, when does anxiety cross that threshold from being normal to being a disorder? As with most mental health concerns, anxiety becomes more of a disorder once it significantly and frequently prevents you from living out your everyday life. Anxiety disorders are often characterized by anxious feelings that are severe and/or enduring as compared to their triggers. Physical symptoms are also tied to anxiety disorders, such as nausea and difficulty breathing.
Now, back to the original question, “can you ever be cured of anxiety?” Well, when it’s just a normal anxious feeling, you probably only need to employ a few techniques to alleviate it (which you’ll read about in a while.) Meanwhile, when it’s a confirmed anxiety disorder, there really is no actual cure, in the strictest sense of the word. There are, however, treatments such as medication and therapy that could help someone cope so that it no longer interferes with their daily functioning.
5 Tips for Gen Z to Naturally Reduce Anxiety
If you’re looking to do a better job of easing your worries before you take a test or when you ask out your crush, here are tips to naturally reduce anxiety.
Before you read on, a disclaimer: these tips could only help if you’re experiencing mild and temporary bouts of anxiety. It’s best to consult a professional if you feel like your anxiety is too severe and enduring to handle on your own.
1. Learn how to effectively manage stress
Prevention is better than cure, right? Anxiety often comes hand-in-hand with high-stress environments, which is why it would be in your best interest to limit how much stress you’ll be under, or at least be well-equipped to handle it.
To give you an idea, you could limit stress by managing your time well and giving yourself enough time to accomplish schoolwork. You could also make sure that you’re able to handle stress by keeping yourself at your peak physical health.
2. Breathe – deeply, and with intention
When you’re anxious, your breathing tends to get faster and shallower. By forcing yourself to breathe slower and deeper, you’re physically attempting to calm yourself, and this sensation of slowing down could also help with the myriad of thoughts that go through your mind when you’re anxious.
One popular breathing technique is the 4-7-8 method, which is where you inhale through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and exhale through your nose for 8 counts. There are other breathing techniques available, so feel free to try them all to see which one works for you.
3. Point out your thinking traps
Everyone has that voice in their heads that gets louder when they’re feeling insecure, shy, or jealous. That voice gets even more amplified with anxiety. Think of thinking traps as the script that that voice reads out; they’re negative patterns of thought that keep you from perceiving situations as they are.
A common thinking trap is fortune-telling, which is when you already think negative of a situation without letting it play out first. By being aware of your thinking traps, you’re more equipped to counter them when they come up again. For instance, instead of thinking, “I’ll bomb this test,” you could think, “I studied for a week and listened to all the lectures. I got this.”
4. Incorporate relaxation into your routine
This is harder to do the busier you are but try to schedule little moments for relaxation throughout your day. It could be drinking chamomile tea before bed or doing yoga in the morning.
5. Limit your caffeine intake
Although it’s an essential during hell week at school, coffee might actually do you more harm than good. Since being caffeinated shares a lot of signs with being anxious, like the faster heartbeat and the zooming thoughts, coffee can make you even more anxious than you already are. Try to cut back on it if you can.
Here it is again because it isn’t said enough: experiencing anxiety is normal. You’re not less than for worrying about something that could significantly impact your life. What’s important is that you know how to handle it well. Hopefully, these tips have helped you figure out exactly how you can do that.