You’re always tired, but not sleepy. You find yourself breaking down for no apparent reason while getting ready in the morning. Simple tasks like grocery shopping can suddenly become overwhelming. If you are a person who suffers from anxiety, insomnia or depression, chances are that one of those statements, or maybe all three, resonate with you.
Living and dealing with any of these conditions is not something everyone can understand, as they take a drastic toll on your love, work and social life. Not being able to calm yourself down, get yourself to fall asleep or force yourself to face the day ahead of you are draining and damaging.
You aren’t alone. In fact, 40 million adults age 18 and over in the U.S. alone have an anxiety disorder. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression. About 10% of U.S. adults have a chronic insomnia disorder. While these high numbers might shake you up, they can also give you hope, as it means that others have walked your path. Some of them know how to help you brave it.
While some choose to turn to medication to cope with their illnesses (16.7% of U.S. adults reported filling one or more prescriptions for psychotropic drugs in 2013), others opt for natural remedies and tactics. In the novel Getting Past Anxiety, the main character decides to commit herself to healing her anxiety, but chooses to do so through natural remedies. The book is based on the real-life struggles of its author, Melissa A. Woods, who suffered from anxiety for decades before seeking out a variety of modalities to help herself. As the main character says in the novel, “I really want to understand why I feel this way. I don’t want to mask the symptoms with an antidepressant …”
If you too want to try natural solutions, then here is a list of methods you can use the next time you find yourself wide awake even after taking a sleeping pill, can’t muster the energy to go out with your friends on a Friday night, or are unable to calm your nerves before an upcoming presentation.
15 Tactics to Cope With Anxiety, Insomnia, or Depression:
Cranial sacral therapy
Cranial sacral therapy is a form of bodywork therapy that focuses on bones in the head, spine and sacrum. It works to release compression in those areas to help decrease stress and pain. This is said to help with mental disorders because it works to alleviate the tension that is stored up in a person’s body when they are traumatized, injured or anxious.
This form of therapy is a mode of energy therapy and healing. People believe that at the core of a person’s body are seven wheel-like energy centers that spin, called Chakras. These seven centers can receive, assimilate and transmit energy. Chakras have the ability to receive, assimilate and transmit energy. When one chakra is out of balance, it can affect a person’s emotional, mental and physical health. Chakra therapy works to keep them spinning correctly.
“The chakras spin in a clockwise direction and are shaped like a spinning fan. Every chakra spins at its own frequency, ensuring that the life force is being drawn into the body to keep it balanced.” – from Getting Past Anxiety, by Melissa A. Woods
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a method of influencing brain behavior (the neuroscience part of the phase) through use of language (the linguistic part) and other types of communication, to enable a person to recode the way the brain responds to stimuli and manifest new and better behaviors. NLP is often incorporated with hypnosis to help achieve the change.
While more unconventional, many are starting to see the benefits of hypnosis when treating mental illnesses. Hypnosis can target the root beliefs underlying anxiety and works to heal the issue. Hypnotherapy uses suggestion and imagery to create positive changes in the unconscious processes of the person. Or, in short, it helps to rewire the brain for the better.
There are studies that have found that exercise can be as effective at treating mental disorders as medication. Exercise reduces fatigue and improves alertness and mood. Why? One reason is that exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals, endorphins, reduces immune system chemicals that make mental disorders worse, and increases the body temperature. Exercise also can give people more confidence and allow them to have an emotional outlet.
Watch what you eat
Some research has shown that foods rich with omega-3 fatty acids and folic acids can help ease depression.
Try tea instead of coffee
If you’re a caffeine addict, this solution won’t be your favorite. But did you know that caffeine actually enhances anxiety? It is a psychoactive drug can alter your mood. A lot of caffeine can trigger a body’s fight or flight response, even if there is no actual danger, further leading to anxiety. And of course, caffeine will only further prevent you from sleeping, so avoiding it will help with insomnia as well. So, try switching to something less intense, like a green tea.
Through research, experts have found that the scent of lavender can be calming and even helpful for falling asleep. Spray lavender oil on your pillow before bedtime or in the air when you feel anxious to help your mind and body relax.
Deep, slow breathing techniques and exercises can help calm a person and lower their stress levels. The American Institute of Stress says “Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Breathing techniques help you feel connected to your body—it brings your awareness away from the worries in your head and quiets your mind.” So, start breathing!
Choose a routine time to go to bed
Going to bed at the same time nightly will help train your body to know when it is meant to fall asleep. So, even if you’re exhausted, try to wait until your normal bedtime to catch some Z’s. And, in the same breath, if you’re not feeling sleepy, prevent yourself from staying up and watching that last episode.
Calm music before bed
Research has shown that older people who listen to calming music before going to bed have improved sleep quality. Download some relaxing tunes, pop in your ear buds and let the melodies take you to dreamland.
Turn off electronics, unplug
Electronics equal light stimulation which equal wakefulness. It’s as simple as that. So, power down your phone for a good night’s sleep. Keep electronics out of the bedroom.
Cool your room down
According to researchers, cold room temperatures can encourage sleep. Cool temperatures help reduce brain metabolic activity, setting in motion a normal sleep cycle.
Sunlight/ Vitamin D
If you’ve ever lived in a cold, dark climate, you may have experienced something called Seasonal Affect Disorder. This disorder is caused when a person is not getting enough sunlight or warmth, as it drops their serotonin levels and messes up their internal clock. Clearly, the more rays you can catch, the better your mood may be.
Pinpoint the source of your anxiety
Simply narrowing down what may be causing your anxiety or depression can greatly help you towards healing it. If you understand the source of the problem, you can begin to change the circumstance, or at least your attitude towards it, to help you get past the pain.
As you try out some of these methods, remember most importantly that you are not facing these illnesses alone. And, if you need some proof of that, then check out Getting Past Anxiety and follow the story of Stella Maris, a thirty-seven-year-old professional woman who is fighting to break free from anxiety. The book is an inspirational novel designed to help you reclaim your life.
Just as the book’s author says: “It takes great effort to commit oneself to healing all the way to the source of the pain. It takes great courage to go inside, excavate, and understand the wounds, and to observe how you have used them in your life to control the people around you and even yourself. This understanding allows the psyche to release the victimhood and live in appreciation and forgiveness.”