Most of us have felt anxious at some point in our lives. The cocktail of emotions, mental processes and physical sensations that typify anxiety are valid responses to the threat of danger. The thing is, most of the stuff that we perceive as threatening (office dynamics, a lover’s behaviour, the prospect of unemployment, a fragile bank balance, a few pounds gained) don’t actual pose any critical danger to us. Be that as it may, our fight or flight response – which has stood us in good stead throughout evolution – kicks in and remains in an activated and hypervigilant state. Believe me, I’ve been there. Oh boy, how I’ve been there. The point is, anxiety is an extremely common symptom of our modern world and is a significant reason we veer towards the self-numbing and distracting behaviours we seek to take away its sting.
Experiencing anxiety? You’re not alone
Around 3 million people in the UK suffer from anxiety, according to a recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. And another study found that 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of “neurotic health problem” in the previous week. (Both these studies are cited on the Anxiety UK website). That’s a lot of people experiencing anxiety – not to mention all the people who haven’t been surveyed or didn’t admit to experiencing anxiety. It’s perfectly OK to experience anxiety, as unpleasant and debilitating as it is. An important thing to remember is that anxiety – and the associated thoughts and feelings – can not hurt you, and that most of the time, these thoughts and feelings are rarely grounded in reality (as convincing as they may seem). That doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid. The trick is to have support structures and tools in place to help you deal with it.
Make sure you have tools and support structures in place to guide you through as you create a lifestyle that minimises your anxiety.
These support structures might include a psychotherapist, counsellor or network of friends and family you can turn to in times of need. Tools at your disposal – that have been paramount in overcoming my own anxiety – include meditation, breathwork, mindfulness, chakra balancing, exercise and yoga. I have been fortunate enough not to have ever relied on pharmaceutical medication, preferring holistic therapies such as acupuncture and herbal medicines. Find the practices and techniques that are most effective for you and consider making lifestyle changes that steer you away from unnecessary anxiety.
Take time to brew yourself a strong cup of herbal tea…and then think about reaching for the wine
A cup of herbal tea might not banish anxiety forever, but the mere act of brewing yourself a pot of tea can act as a calming and anchoring ritual during a stressful period. And the herbs you choose to make into a tea can support the slowing down of the nervous system. My go-to herbs for alleviating anxiety are linden flowers (aka lime flowers), lemon verbena, lavender and chamomile. And they must work seeing as four of the eight teas in the Herbaceous Blends shop have them in: Linden Chai, Spiced Lemon Verbena, Linden, Lavender and Ginger and Exotic Chamomile. Linden flowers are particularly effective at soothing an overworked nervous system in the short term.
As well as using herbs to lessen anxiety’s grip, consider cutting back on a few less helpful things in your diet.
A few things to avoid that can aggravate anxiety are caffeine, nicotine, sugar and alcohol. While these things might act as a temporary crutch during your more anxious moments, once their effects have worn off they can leave you feeling more jittery than before. I speak heavily from experience here.
-Bloom From The Darkness
Caroline runs the website Herbaceous Blends and creates sustainable, high quality, caffeine-free herbal blends with minimal packaging. Herbaceous Blends’ mission is to help people live more conscious and mindful lives. Our loose leaf, naturally caffeine free herbal teas create the perfect opportunity to slow down, take some time out for you and enjoy the healing power of herbs.