Never has normal been so underrated, but whilst we’re all keen to get back to whatever ‘normal’ means to each of us, we’d be forgiven for feeling anxious when faced with the long-awaited return to the workplace, or even public places. Finding practical ways to manage anxiety and support mental health over the forthcoming months is vital. Here we look at ways to improve resilience and reduce anxiety naturally.
Start the day positively
This could take the shape of a positive affirmation, some early morning yoga or simply slowing your breathing, which slows your heart rate and signals to your brain that all is ok. Even a smile can make a huge difference – it tricks the brain into thinking you’re happy and calm, as you use the same facial muscles you use when you are genuinely happy. Better still, share that smile with some else and brighten their day too.
Ever heard of havening?
If you are feeling stressed and anxious, psychosensory techniques like ‘havening’ can help relax the body and calm the brain, increase oxytocin and dopamine whilst reducing feelings of anxiety. It’s a technique that uses touch as a therapeutic tool to enable you to become more relaxed and improve your sleep and overall wellbeing.
When we focus on the past, we tend to feel depressed about the things we cannot change and when we focus on the future, we can feel anxious about events we cannot control. Try to ground yourself in the present by being aware of what you’re smelling, hearing, touching, tasting and seeing. Let your senses anchor you to what’s happening right now. Simple activities such as gardening, cooking, arts and crafts or stroking a pet, are great for bringing you back to the present moment.
Outsmart your brain
It might be amazing, but your brain is also lazy and a creature of habit. If it can switch to autopilot to conserve energy, it will. Professor Margareta James, Founding Director of the Harley Street Wellbeing Clinic , has a brilliant two-step technique for changing bad habits to good ones: 1) make it really hard to do the old habit, and 2) make it really easy to do the new one. For example, if you want to spend more time outdoors and less time on the sofa, make sure your running shoes or walking boots are easily accessible, and stash the remote control in a cupboard. You’ll be amazed by how much easier it is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, when you make it harder for your brain to resist.
Get moving and get outdoors
Exercise is really good for us and unsurprisingly, physical activity has been found to protect to some degree against unhappiness . Green space exposure is thought to be especially beneficial, because greenery activates a primitive part of the brain involved with stress regulatory responses . Just 10 minutes a day will help you to feel better and more in control.
Sleep, and sleep well
Resolving sleep issues benefits so many aspects of health, as the brain gets the opportunity to do vital night time restorative and organisational work. If you’re experiencing trouble sleeping or difficulty staying asleep, try A.Vogel’s Dormeasan Sleep , with Valerian and Hops, to relieve symptoms of sleep disturbances caused by mild anxiety.
Herbal support for anxiety
Finally, A.Vogel have introduced two new Passiflora remedies to help provide support during times of anxiety and stress. Passiflora works by boosting levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain . GABA lowers stressful brain activity, which may help with relaxation and aid sleep.
A.Vogel Passiflora Complex Spray can be used by adults and young people aged 12 plus - perfect for teenagers returning to school. With Passiflora, Lemon Balm and zinc, it provides on-the-go support in a convenient spray format. It is easy to use and can fit easily in your pocket or handbag. Simply spray into your mouth. It also tastes great, with a flavour of vanilla and aniseed.
And A.Vogel Passiflora Complex Tablets combine Passiflora, Valerian, Lemon Balm, magnesium and zinc, for nervous system support. Suitable for 18+, they can be used when a period of stress is anticipated or encountered.
Passiflora Complex Drops are also available.
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Chang D.H.F. et al. The human posterior cingulate and the stress-response benefits of viewing green urban landscapes. NeuroImage 2021; 226: 117555
Elsas SM et al. Phytomedicine. 2010; 17 (12): 940-949