Few things are more uncomfortable than anxiety. The symptoms, both mental and physical, are often enough to send sufferers running for the prescription bottle.
While not to discount the positive results anti-anxiety medication has yielded for some users, our society seems to lack awareness for more natural treatments, many of which are just as effective as the former.
“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.” – James Allen
Here are 11 natural ways to reduce anxiety:
Chamomile is an herb that has been used to treat symptoms associated with physical and mental ailments for thousands of years, including anxiety. A cup of chamomile tea is a popular choice but it can be taken as a supplement as well. The longer the herb is consumed, the more effective it can be, so it is important to take it consistently.
There are numerous mental health benefits that can be found in bananas but anxiety sufferers will be most pleased to hear that they work as an all-natural beta-blocker, which can actually block adrenaline. Eating a banana or two a half-hour before an anxiety-provoking event has been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
New research has indicated that group nature walks can actually lower stress levels and improve overall mood. Nature, walking and socializing have all been shown to reduce anxiety levels individually so why not combine all three?
We often associate feelings of warmth with relaxation and serenity. Think about it- when was the last time you were stressed out while on the beach or in a bathtub? When our bodies experience warmth, whether it is in a sauna or even while exercising, we are reducing muscle tension and anxiety.
Lavender, like chamomile, is an herb that has been around for centuries to treat symptoms of anxiety. You can add lavender-scented bath salts to a warm bath, light a lavender-scented candle, or buy it in the form of an oil to carry around with you should an anxious moment strike.
Exercising releases endorphins while reducing adrenaline and cortisol, two stress hormones that contribute to anxiety. Aerobic workouts will be most beneficial as they really raise the heart rate (e.g. running, dancing, swimming, etc). Aim for 30-minute workouts atleast six times a week.
Omega-3s are fatty acids that can increase serotonin, a chemical that sufferers of anxiety and depression are often lacking. Incorporate omega-3s into your diet by eating more fish such as salmon or by taking a supplement containing 700-1,000 mg of EPA and 200-500 mg of DHA daily.
As adults, it’s easy to become so busy and wrapped up in responsibilities that we forget to do things simply for the enjoyment of them. Think back to the activities you enjoyed as a kid. You may be surprised by how much you still enjoy them and their ability to take your focus off your anxiety.
9.) The 4-7-8 Breath
Many breathing exercises exist to help reduce anxiety but I can personally attest to the effectiveness of Dr. Weil’s, The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise. This exercise helps to calm the nervous system while relieving any internal tension. To begin, exhale completely through your mouth. Next, take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of four, hold it for a count of seven, then fully release it through your mouth for a count of 8. Perform this three more times, no more than twice a day.
Meditation isn’t always simple, especially when you’re starting out (not to mention while experiencing anxiety), however, there are many useful videos online geared specifically to calm feelings of anxiety. Ten minutes of meditation twice a day is typically all it takes.
Research suggests that lack of adequate sleep can trigger areas of the brain responsible for anticipation and anxiety. Some of us need more sleep than others so monitor how many hours it takes for you to wake up feeling minimal anxiety.