Just about everyone experiences at least some degree of anxiety over things like flying, heights, public speaking, spiders or rejection. Traditional methods of conquering those fears have generally included some form of psychotherapy, or in more severe cases, medication, which, as you probably already know, comes with a long list of side effects that can be worse than the original problem.
Fortunately, there are alternative options for helping you to lessen or even completely conquer whatever fears you might have.
Herbal remedies known to decrease anxiety can sometimes help – they aren’t addictive, won’t change your personality and are generally free of side effects. Kava root is known as one of the most effective herbal treatments for moderate and severe anxiety, which can help you to relax and release your fears.
A 2013 study out of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne in Australia was the first clinical trial to support the use of this medicinal South Pacific plant. Researchers found that it may be as effective as current drug treatments, noting that unlike traditional options, it has less risk of dependency and less potential for side effects. Their findings also showed no negative effects to liver functioning, which had previously been a concern for kava’s medicinal use.
Other herbs known to help induce calm and decrease anxiety include valerian, chamomile and passionflower.
Acupuncture is also known to help ease anxiety as well as to eliminate or relieve fears and phobias. A 2010 study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, found that just five minutes of acupuncture was able to help patients suffering from dental phobia.
On previous dental visits, three of the 20 patients who participated in the study had to be knocked out with a general anaesthetic to cope with their fears, while six others had needed strong sedatives. In 14 cases, treatment had to be cancelled because the patient could not go through with it. After treatment with needles placed at two specific acupuncture points on the top of the head, all 20 patients were able to conquer their fear.
Hypnotherapy is becoming increasingly mainstream for resolving all sorts of conditions, but it’s well-known to help with fear and anxiety as well as phobias. While it may not eliminate them completely, it’s often enough to allow a person to get over their fear so that it doesn’t interfere with their life.
Practicing mindfulness meditation
Although mindfulness meditation was originally a Buddhist practice, it’s now considered quite effective for treating fear and anxiety even in the western world. Clinical psychologist Teresa M. Edenfield of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina says she frequently uses it to treat her anxiety patients, explaining, “The act of practicing mindful awareness allows one to experience the true essence of each moment as it really occurs, rather than what is expected or feared.”
To begin, all you need to do is start “paying attention to the present moment, intentionally, with curiosity, and with an effort to attend non-judgmentally,” she said.
Meridian Tapping Techniques
MTT, or Meridian Tapping Techniques, is similar to acupuncture but without the needles. It works by tapping on acupressure points with your finger, allowing negative energy to be released, stimulating the smooth flow of your chi or energy. Practitioners of these ancient healing methods believe that negative emotions can disrupt the flow of energy in the body, which can lead to panic attacks, anxiety, fears and phobia.
You can even practice this method on yourself by identifying the fear you want to overcome and composing a statement acknowledging your fear, followed by a positive affirmation of yourself as a person such as “Even though I’m terrified of speaking in public, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway.” Repeat the statement 3 times while tapping 7-10 times on the “Karate Chop” point, which is located on the side of the small finger of your hand.
Next, perform a round of tapping on your meridian points starting with the top of your head and moving on to your eyebrow, side of the eye, under eye, under nose, chin, collarbone, underarm, and back to your head. Tap each point 7 to 10 times while repeating a short form of the statement you started with: “my fear of…”
After one or two rounds assess how you feel. Ideally, your negative emotions will have dissipated or disappeared. You may need to repeat the process until you feel those emotions have eased. Ideally, you’ll remember what it felt like, without actually feeling it.
No matter what your fear or the treatment method you use, always remember that you’re in control – you can conquer anything you set your mind to.
-The Alternative Daily