Alzheimer’s disease is so prevalent, that millions of dollars and much time and research has been devoted to finding a cure or a reason for it. Studies are constantly being done in an effort to find an underlying cause. One such study, done by a team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital set out to explore the relationship between the buildup of amyloid beta in the brain and specific symptoms of depression. Anxiety seems to be one of the symptoms that increased over time in those with higher amyloid beta levels. Though much more research needs to be done in this area, the results of the study showed that there could be a relationship between anxiety and Alzheimer’s disease later on.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. An estimated 44 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment, even though the disorders are highly treatable.
If Alzheimer’s disease can be linked to anxiety, it makes sense that we would want to tackle our anxiety problems before they lead to a whole host of other health issues. So what are some ways to help reduce anxiety? There are many resources and options for this, but here are eight strategies to help reduce anxiety in your daily life:
- Take a look at how you spend your money: financial stress is a huge contributor to anxiety disorders. Find ways to track your expenses and cut anything out of your life that isn’t essential in order to reduce debt and spend within your means.
- Get rid of clutter: having outer order promotes inner calm. Clutter also means you often can’t find your car keys or you don’t know where important paperwork is. Having a specific place for things and some kind of organizational system helps keep your mind and body calm.
- Go to bed at a good time: sleep deprivation is a huge culprit when it comes to anxiety disorders. Not getting enough sleeps keep your brain on alert overdrive and leads to higher levels of anxiety throughout the day.
- Try out lavender oil: lavender oil is a natural remedy for reducing anxiety. With its calming and healing properties, it can reduce the levels of anxiety in your body. You can put it in your bath, on a tissue under your pillow, in an oil diffuser, or as a muscle relaxant in a massage.
- Reduce caffeine, sugar and processed foods: I know, I know, this isn’t fun. But an excess of caffeine can cause heart palpitations or trigger anxiety attacks. Sugar acts as an adrenal stimulant and can also cause panic attacks.
- Know that feelings aren’t facts: negative thoughts cause negative feelings, so one of the best things you can do to fight anxiety is to challenge your negative thoughts and beliefs. When you have a negative thought, stop, examine in, and challenge the error in it. When you can get your thoughts under control, it will help with your feelings.
- Practice being thankful: research shows that the practice of gratitude helps decrease anxiety and increases positive feelings. Write down all the good things you are experiencing each day.
- Go see a therapist (even if it’s scary): therapists are here to help us. Their whole job is to help you tackle the things that feel too big to tackle on your own. Having a trained professional walk with you through your anxiety can be very healing.
While there are many more ways to reduce anxiety, this is a good starting point. If you reduce the anxiety in your life now, you may be reducing your chances of many other health problems down the road.