7 Science-Backed Ways to Deal With the Anxiety in Your Life (and Crush It)
Anxiety has this pesky way of getting its nasty grip on you, manifesting itself in the form of sleepless nights with tons of tossing and turning, panic attacks on your way to work, or clumps of hair falling out in the shower. Although anxiety is a condition some people live with all the time, it is often triggered by something in your life, whether it be stress at work, the business of city living, or a bad breakup. If you suffer from this condition, you’re not alone—in fact, women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than men.
The refreshing reality is that there are several all-natural ways to deal with the sometimes crippling side effects that come with stress. And guess what? Some of these actions may not even be new to you. For those who deal with—or know someone who deals with—the side effects of stress, keep reading to see which remedies may be most helpful. Take a deep breath, and get scrolling.
Symptoms: Hair falling out in the shower, visible loss of hair on the scalp
Science: When we get stressed out, our hair follicles leave the growth stage and skip ahead to the exogen stage where they fall out. Stress can actually cause your hair to fall out 10 times more than usual, says dermatologist Kurt Stenn, author of Hair: A Human History. A study was conducted that proved when mice were forced to listen to loud noises (therefore putting them in a state of stress), their hair follicles fell out more quickly. Researchers assume this is similar to what happens to humans.
Remedy: Exercise is a great way to lower your stress levels (and up your feel-good endorphins), which in turn should get your strands on the way to recovery. Drinking green tea has also been proven to have healing benefits when it comes to stress-induced hair loss. Research conducted at the University of Maryland indicates the drink’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Symptoms: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, tossing and turning
Science: Stressful situations can actually put your body into a state of hyperarousal, a state of not being able to drift off to sleep (or stay asleep all night).
Remedy: Use aromatherapy to calm yourself down before bed (studies show that lavender oil is particularly relaxing at night). A study conducted in 2006 showed that lavender oil was effective in treating female college students suffering from insomnia. Additionally, some psychologists recommend adult coloring books as a means to relax and fall asleep.
Symptoms: Throbbing pain in forehead, tightness in shoulders
Science: Stress is the number one cause of a chronic tension-type headache (aka CTTH). A study found that individuals predisposed to tension headaches were more likely to report increased symptoms of a headache when challenged with a stress-inducing project.
Remedy: Acupuncture (in which needles are placed in certain pressure points on the body) has been found to decrease the number of tension headaches individuals report to have after treatment.
Symptoms: Heart palpitations, shaking, having difficulty breathing
Science: A study conducted at Brown University found that stressful life events can gradually cause panic attacks over time. The research found that work and personal stressors gradually caused panic for at least three months after the initial stressful event.
Remedy: Zen meditation, in which you stop yourself from thinking, is particularly helpful. A study found that those who practiced the art form were more likely to be able to control their thoughts, therefore helping them fight off the feelings leading to a state of panic.
Symptoms: Feeing exhausted, dizziness, aching muscles
Science: Anxiety can tire us out because we become emotionally and/or physically drained from so much worrying.
Remedy: A German study found that yoga helped women beat their symptoms of fatigue (on top of lowering their feelings of depression).
Be sure to read about how people who worry about everything are more intelligent, and tell us which remedy for anxiety you want to try first in the comments.