Anxiety is one of the most common forms of mental illness. Luckily, there are many ways to manage the condition. In this article, I am going to discuss three of my favourite ways to deal with anxiety that you can try at home.
The World Health Organisation estimates that the condition affects around 264 million people worldwide . In the UK, women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders as men . And one of those women is me.
I developed anxiety around 8 years ago in relation to a particularly traumatic event in my life. Since that time, my anxiety has presented as different types of anxiety disorder, and I have developed a toolbox of ways to deal with anxiety.
What Are The 7 Different Types of Anxiety?
There are seven main classifications of anxiety , including:
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Social anxiety disorder
Separation anxiety disorder
I have experienced GAD, which I still struggle with to this day, and over the years have also been affected by PTSD, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and phobias. Okay, I still have panic attacks and phobias.
Treatment & Management
The good news is that despite being one of the most prevalent mental health issues, anxiety is manageable. There are many different ways to deal with anxiety , including:
Bodywork (massage, etc)
Herbal remedies and essential oils
Additionally, ancient spiritual philosophies and practices can be an excellent way to deal with anxiety. Three techniques that are regularly recommended by mental health professionals are:
Pranayama (breathing techniques)
Personally, I have found relief from my anxiety through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, pranayama, massage, essential oils, therapy, distraction techniques, and medication. I am going to discuss three of these techniques in detail because I have found that they act very fast and the results are consistent. Remember, everyone is different, these are just three of my own top ways to deal with anxiety.
3 Easy Tricks to Deal With Anxiety
1: Sama Vritti
Sama Vritti is Sanskrit for ‘even breath.’ It is also known as ‘same sided breathing’ and ‘box breath.’ The reason why it has these names is that each of the four parts of the breath is exactly the same length.
This technique is an ancient yogic practice used to calm the mind in preparation for meditation. Its benefits include calming the nervous system, focusing the mind, and relaxing the body.
Sama Vritti is particularly good for anxiety because it slows the heart rate and regulates the breathing while focusing the mind on something other than the anxiety symptoms or trigger (if there is one). Believe me, I have tested it many times, even in an extremely anxious situation – when I was going up in the plane for a parachute jump! This is my favorite easy trick to deal with anxiety.
How to Use Sama Vritti
If it is safe and you feel comfortable, close your eyes, and sit down if possible
Exhale for a count of four
Retain the breath on the exhalation for a count of four
Inhale for a count of four
Retain the breath on the inhalation for a count of four
If you can’t sit down or close your eyes, don’t worry, this technique will work anyway. Try to focus your awareness on your breath as much as you can. Practice it for as long as you need, minimum of 10 rounds. You should feel your heart rate slowing and your mind and body relaxing. I find Sama Vritti very helpful if I feel a panic attack looming. It takes the edge off and can even stop the attack from happening.
If you would like to see a demonstration and be guided through this practice, watch the video below. This isn’t me in the video, (it is Veda Spidle from The Karuna Tree), but it is how I teach Sama Vritti to my yoga students. I recommend practising this technique when you are feeling calm so that when anxiety strikes you know what to do.
2: The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Technique
This one is a newer trick that I learned on a mental health recovery course. I love it because it is an extremely powerful way to refocus the mind away from the anxiety symptoms and trigger. It is also beneficial because it engages all the senses, which is a great way to deal with anxiety.
How to Use The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Technique
This is a distraction technique. Look around your environment and notice the following, naming them out loud (if you can), or in your mind:
Five things you can see
Four things you can hear
Three things you can feel (emotions or sensations)
Two things you can smell
One thing you can taste
By distracting yourself and engaging your senses, you reduce the severity of the anxiety symptoms, making it an excellent way to deal with anxiety.
3: Lavender Essential Oil
I ALWAYS carry a small bottle of lavender essential oil with me. Scientific studies show that smelling lavender essential oil decreases the level of stress hormones such as cortisol , relieves stress , and promotes relaxation. I certainly find this to be true.
Also, when my son becomes upset and unable to stop crying or calm down, I place lavender oil near his nose and after a few breaths the crying subsides and he is able to calm down. He doesn’t often get this distressed, but on each occasion, the lavender oil has worked.
How to Use Lavender Essential Oil
This one is the simplest of all my three easy tricks to deal with anxiety. All you have to do is place two drops of lavender essential oil on one palm, rub your palm together, cup your hands and place them over your nose. Then take 10 deep, mindful breaths.
It is helpful if you can close your eyes, a) because the lavender oil fumes may sting them if you are sensitive, and b) because it helps you to relax and focus your attention on the task rather than the anxiety.
A Note on Quality
Please ensure you use a high quality organic essential oil. Some lavender essential oils available on sites like Amazon have been studied and found to be made of synthetic fragrance, not real lavender, even though the bottle states that it is a natural essential oil.
Synthetic fragrance will not have the same cortisol-reducing and calming effects because it is the minuscule compounds in the lavender essential oil entering the body via the nose that produces the effect, not simply the fact that lavender smells nice. If it is a synthetic fragrance, you are just inhaling chemicals, which obviously won’t provide any therapeutic effects.
I recommend Tisserand Essential Oils because they are organic, sustainable, wild crafted, and ethically harvested. Plus, they are guaranteed 100% pure with no synthetic fragrances.
I have shared some general information about anxiety and its various treatment and management options, along with my personal top three ways to deal with anxiety that I regularly use. These include Sama Vritti (same sided) breath, the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique, and smelling lavender essential oil. I hope this information is useful to you. If you would like to discuss anything I have shared here, please feel free to comment in the box below, or get in touch. I am happy to help as much as I can.
If you feel you have an undiagnosed anxiety disorder, it is imperative you contact your doctor because some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heart and shallow breathing can be a sign of other health issues. Plus, the earlier a mental health issue is detected, the better the outcome for the patient.
It is also important to state that although I have listed ways some people have found relief from their anxiety symptoms (including me), everyone is different, and these techniques may not be as effective for you.