How can I deal with anxiety?

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ASK THE EXPERTS

Our three experts show how to silence "what ifs" and find peace of mind.

Naturopath
Herbal remedies can be used in the short term (from three months to one year) to help you get through a stressful event, such as changing jobs or a divorce. Since anxiety has many symptoms and each herb has many functions, consult a naturopath or herbalist to tailor a prescription for you. Passionflower acts as a mild sedative and eases restlessness. Chamomile and linden are calming agents; chamomile also relieves abdominal cramping. Don't mix your herbal remedies with other medications without consulting your M.D. or N.D.

— Amita Sachdev, N.D., president of inspiring Health naturopathic practice in Toronto Meditation Teacher
To relieve anxiety, try a simple exercise: Draw a breath in through your nose, then let it out long and slow. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.

Gradually increase the length of exhalation until it's twice as long as the inhalation — this helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which decreases your heart rate, blood pressure and stress chemicals in the blood. You can reduce anxiety in the long-term with a regular yoga practice. For most people, the combination of deep breathing and stretching resolves a lot of tension.

— Richard Faulds, senior teacher at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Mass. Psychiatrist
You should see anxiety as a red flag that something's wrong. Look at your personal relationships and identify who you can reach out to for support — those who feel connected to others are less likely to experience anxiety. Spirituality can offer relief by helping to put troubles in context; it's also important to get regular vigorous aerobic exercise, which has a great impact on your sense of well-being. If none of these strategies work, talk to a trained professional about relaxation techniques. If the anxiety involves significant time, distress and interference with your work and social life, you may require medication, with or without therapy.

— Brian Doyle, M.D., spokesman for the American Psychiatric Association

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