Events in 2020 have been anything but calming! Add to the mix an election where emotions are flying high with extreme anxiety and stress! Irrespective of which party you vote for, whether you have or haven't voted yet, it appears that almost everyone is experiencing anxiety over the anticipation of the final result. Therefore, I decided to share some of the calming remedies we often recommend for our patients who suffer from episodic or chronic anxiety. I doubt anyone is going to be away from social media or news channels for too long tomorrow, but if and when you do feel like taking a break and a nap won't help (or won't happen due to your racing thoughts!), consider one of these remedies to take the edge off!
- Enjoy a cup of Chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita). A soothing herb that in tea form that has been shown in several studies to help with calming anxious thoughts. Tea bags are easily available in most grocery stores and the tea can be brewed in few minutes!
- Spray or dab some Lavender essential oil around your home. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has been documented to decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure and stabilize mood and heart rate in anxiety triggering situations like dental surgery! Is the fear of dental surgery comparable to the anticipation stress in an election? That's for you to decide!
- Use Rescue Remedy! This wonderful Bach Flower essence mix is designed to calm an anxious mind and has been used for long time in the European countries, and research indicates that it is considered at some nursing centers as a less disruptive (due to less or no side effects) alternative to anxiolytic medications.
- Listen to your favorite music! I know you do not need studies or any kind of research to confirm that your mind feels at ease as soon as you hear calming music or your favourite music. Several studies have been done to document the anxiety lowering effect of music in both pre and post surgical patients, women in labor, patients with Alzheimer's disease and even cancer patients; these are just few of the many areas of study between music and anxiety.
- Step outdoors and go for a walk/hike/bike ride. Being in nature and away from constant updates on social media/news channels, just doubles the benefit of the exercise! Your heart and brain will thank you!
- STOP! Don't grab that candy or chips!! or those cheesy, salty nachos! This wouldn't be my blog if the gut microbiome did not get at least a mention!! The salty and sugary cravings that you experience when under stress are nothing but a "short-cut" that your brain is seeking to feel comforted, as those foods will lead your brain's reward centers to light up instantly, covering up any underlying grief/ anxiety! What's the problem with that? More than one! Eating those foods may make your feel distracted (yes!) from your real emotions, but the high fat, sugar, salt will also wreak havoc on your gut, liver, kidneys and of course your heart health! So what can you snack on? All snacks that you keep at home or literally within arm's reach should be 'wise choices' and there are plenty to list. Have some salted nuts or pumpkin seeds if you like and many even a power bar sweetened with dates - this way you will leave out the deep-fried and sugar added packaged stuff filled with trans fats, additives and whole lot of things that will make your gut and then your brain, very unhappy! There is so much more to the gut-brain axis than what this blog can cover - more on this some other time. If you would like to learn more right away, check out this article.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing. Research reveals that different types of breathing techniques can help calm an anxious mind, including just plain deep breathing. Here's how I have made the importance of deep breathing at least once a day obvious to my mind: Breathing is what keeps you alive, in short, 'breath is life' and if you can control your breathing pattern, it just begins to feel like you have control over your life (even if only for a few minutes)!
There are several other herbs, teas and lifestyle remedies that we could share but that would require writing a book rather a blog post as I wouldn't be able to fit it all here! We at Core Integrative, hope that these 7 simple strategies will help you get through the stress, anticipation and anxiety that comes with today's Election Day.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: If your anxiety and/or mood swings are not limited and attributed to anticipation on election day, but are present year long and are starting to affect your relationships, work productivity and other aspects of your life, it may be time to discuss these symptoms with your doctor. Mental health symptoms are often ignored or remain undiagnosed due to several reasons including but not limited to:
- social stigma
- inability to 'see' the symptoms, unlike physical symptoms such as a rash
- often insidious onset of symptoms.
If you would like us to help with your symptoms, we are only an email or phone call away!