Good Riddance to Your Anxiety

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Everyone deals with anxiety on some level. The short of it is, when it comes to anxiety, you can either control it or allow it to control you.

Here are some tips from science for reducing your anxiety that can make it easier for you to let go and relax.

1. Focused breathing

Focused breathing is one way to relax and rejuvenate your body at the same time.

A government study showed that pranayamic breathing creates a physiological response which can calm you by decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure, while promoting the experience of reinvigoration and alertness.

A recent study published in the US National Library of medicine, National Institutes of Health, said: “Pranayamic breathing, defined as a manipulation of breath movement, has been shown to contribute to a physiologic response characterized by the presence of decreased oxygen consumption, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure, as well as increased theta wave amplitude in EEG recordings, increased parasympathetic activity accompanied by the experience of alertness and reinvigoration.”

2. Get your body moving

Extensive research has been done on exercise and how it affects brain function. Researchers have concluded that exercise improves cognitive function, especially later in life. Exercise affects brain plasticity, which is defined as its ability to change throughout life, reorganizing itself by forming new connections between brain cells (neurons).

One of the most important factors that one study showed was how exercise affects BDNF gene regulation, which can trigger the body’s own the anxiety-reducing mechanisms, mimicking the effects of antidepressant medications.

A recent study published in Trends in Neurosciences said: “Several antidepressants that increase transmission at monoaminergic synapses also increase BDNF gene expression in the hippocampus [37,38]. Interestingly, antidepressant treatment in combination with exercise enhances exercise-dependent BDNF.”

3. Bond and show compassion

Studies have shown that when we spend time with others bonding and showing compassion, our brain will actually trigger our body to slow our heart rate, inducing relaxation, while secreting a hormone called oxytocin, which has been called the “bonding hormone.”

A study done by scientists, published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley studied bodily and brain activity that occurs when we show compassion, in an effort to map its biological basis.

The researchers determined that “we are wired to empathize.” In their study, the UC Berkeley scientists said: “This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.”