Anxiety is the body’s response to fear. It plays a valuable role in self-preservation – the fear of the consequences often prevents us from taking unnecessary risks. Anxiety as a disorder results from the fear response becoming out of proportion to the actual risk. Anxiety disorders involve excessive levels of negative emotions, such as fear, worry, nervousness, and tension, and the anxious feelings occur involuntarily despite your best attempt to avoid them or stave them off.
The body responds to anxiety stimulus both physically and mentally. Anxiety can lead to over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. It manifests by the physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating and trembling, and psychological symptoms such as restlessness, insomnia and difficulty in concentrating. Anxiety is often seen as a triggering of the fight-or-flight reaction, causing excess adrenaline secretion by the adrenal glands, which in turn produces other hormones (catecholamine) that affect various parts of the body, such as rapid heartbeat, respiration and rise in blood pressure etc.
Anxiety disorders: Like other mental illnesses, reflect dysfunctions within the brain and consist of a group of illnesses such as, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder-etc.
In such conditions, relaxation by way of yogic technique will immensely help. A patient may follow the guidelines as under:
Slow and deep abdominal breathing: People who are fearful and shy tend to breathe in a shallow fashion from their chest, while those who are more extroverted and relaxed, breathe more slowly, deeply, and from their abdomens. Abdominal breathing and deep muscle relaxation are practiced on a regular basis to reduce symptoms of anxiety and phobias. Your breathing directly reflects the level of tension you carry in your body. Under tension, your breathing usually becomes shallow and rapid, and occurs high in the chest. When relaxed, you breathe more fully, more deeply, and from your abdomen. The more you can shift the center of your breathing from your chest to your abdomen, the, more consistently you feel relaxed on an ongoing basis.
Practice meditation: Meditation is the process that allows you to completely stop, let go of thoughts about the immediate past or future, and simply focus on being now. Meditation means awareness of the existing moment, and being in the present tense.
Get plenty of rest and sleep: A refreshed body can deal better with the tensions and burdens of life. Simplify your life by making your schedule less hectic. Daily exercise is one of the most potent treatments for anxiety symptoms. Outdoor exercises like walking and swimming are the best antidotes for anxiety and tension. You can also participate in active sports you enjoy.
Avoid foods containing refined sugar or other simple carbohydrates. Include in the diet apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, brown rice, dried fruits, garlic, green leafy vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, soya products, whole grains, and yogurt.
These foods supply valuable minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which are depleted by stress. Avoid intake of animal protein. Concentrate on meals high in complex carbohydrates and vegetable protein.
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