If you've been feeling more flustered and anxious than usual then you aren't alone – a report by Anxiety UK revealed that almost half of people in Great Britain reported high anxiety between 20th and 30th March 2020, a sharp increase from the 21% of people who reported high anxiety at the end of 2019.
Of course, the pandemic is the leading perpetrator for this recent uptick in people experiencing feelings of anxiety. But, for those with PCOS, anxiety can be year-round and ongoing.
Research indicates that people with PCOS are around 3 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than people who don’t have PCOS. Frustratingly, experts haven’t yet uncovered the reasons why.
What are some anxiety symptoms?
You might be familiar with some anxiety symptoms, which can include:
• Racing thoughts
• Increased heart rate
• Grinding your teeth
• Low self-esteem
• Difficulty concentrating
• Feelings of dread or impending doom
• Changes in appetite
• Feeling nervous or restless
• Gastrointestinal issues
It’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety from time to time (before a test or interview, for example). However, anxiety that affects your daily life could indicate generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), and you should seek help from your GP.
Do natural remedies for anxiety work?
Wondering if you can calm anxiety naturally? Well, sometimes, you can.
Natural treatments and techniques will not “cure” anxiety and should not replace expert guidance and medical care. However, they can provide temporary relief for those experiencing mild anxiety and stress, and could become helpful tools for managing low-level stress and anxiety.
How to calm anxiety naturally: 4 techniques to try
Journaling can help you to declutter your mind and work through any anxieties, particularly if you practice what’s known as stream-of-conscious journaling, which involves writing down whatever is on your mind without the rigidity of prompts.
Allocate time to journal each day (or every couple of days) at a time that suits you best, and get cosy in a quiet spot somewhere that feels safe and relaxed. Try stream-of-conscious journaling – jotting down anything and everything that springs to mind – in a favourite notebook or on a device (no pressure to do it the old fashioned way – whatever works best for you).
Once you’ve got everything out on the page (or screen), sum up the key takeaways in a few bullet points so you can visualise exactly what’s playing on your mind. You keep keep your journal pages to refer back to or destroy them once you’ve released your anxieties.
If you want to try to calm anxiety naturally, consider making exercise your first port of call.
Movement triggers the production of endorphins, otherwise known as feel-good hormones, which boost confidence and energy. Plus, physical activity can help to ground you in the present as you focus on the task at hand instead of anxieties.
The NHS recommends aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity. As for the type of activity? Opt for something that you enjoy. You could try walking, strength training, skipping or team sports.
3. Getting outside
New research has found that as little as 10 minutes in nature can relieve feelings of stress and anxiety, and boost feelings of happiness. Score!
If you want to try and calm anxiety naturally, schedule regular excursions outside to break up your day. You could wander, cycle or take your lunch to the great outdoors for some fresh air and mother nature tonic.
A study, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, revealed that a sleepless night can raise anxiety by up to 30%. So, clearly, sleep is crucial for managing mental wellbeing.
Sleep helps to restore energy, repair cells and regulate your emotions, so when it gets disturbed it can disrupt all those processes.
To improve the quality of your sleep, try:
• Creating a bed time routine that helps you to wind down and relax before you sleep. Think: lavender essential oil, a good book and a tech-free space.
• Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. Yes, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body clock.
• Getting lots of exposure to natural daylight, and exercising too.