Anxiety affects millions of people worldwide, and for those who need to deal with this condition in their day to day lives, it can become seriously debilitating. Unlike stress, which tends to be experienced in conjunction with certain events and can quickly be gotten under control, anxiety can get in the way of many everyday things, causing the sufferer to feel irrationally fearful, which can lead to further anxiety. It’s a vicious circle – many sufferers end up feeling more anxious about the fact that they’re feeling that way.
A trip to your doctor will help you deal with anxiety symptoms; they will be able to prescribe certain medications or recommend a course of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to enable you to better deal with these feelings and emotions through a variety of different techniques, which will be tailored to you and your personal needs. However, there are many natural methods of dealing with anxiety which you can try on their own or as a supplement to the course of treatment provided by your doctor. We’ve listed some of the best natural ways to reduce anxiety that you can start to see the benefits of from today.
#1. Get More Exercise:
Since exercise releases ‘feel-good’ hormones and increases the production of vital neurotransmitters in your brain, going for a short walk, run or cycle can help you to deal with feelings of anxiety. Don’t wait until you can feel an impending panic attack, though – making sure that you exercise at least a few times per week will help you to gain control when you need to the most. In addition, cardiovascular exercise is a great way to practice deep breathing, as this is essential when exercising to make sure that you don’t end up severely out of breath!
#2. Hemp or CBD Oil:
Recently CBD and hemp oil has gained a lot of press due to the multitude of health benefits that it provides. Vaping with CBD oil is completely safe and legal; although it is closely related to marijuana, it does not contain any THC, therefore it won’t get you high or result in a failed drug test. It has long been known that CBD has the potential to reduce anxiety in humans; the earliest recorded study was published in 1982. In a further study that used public speaking to induce feelings of stress and anxiety, it was found that giving a 300mg dose of CBD helped to reduce the symptoms of self-rated anxiety in participants.
#3. Chamomile Tea:
If you’re feeling anxious or struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety, then a cup of calming chamomile tea may be able to help. Certain compounds found in chamomile have been found to bind to the same receptors in the brain as common anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium, therefore producing a similar calming and relaxing effect. If you don’t like the taste of chamomile tea, you might want to consider adding a spoonful of honey to sweeten it. Or, chamomile can be taken in tablet form as a supplement. You can also use chamomile essential oil; a couple of drops on your pillow at night can help you to breathe easier, relax more and enjoy a better night’s sleep.
#4. Green Tea:
When it comes to the health benefits of green tea, there are way too many to list here. From helping with weight loss and aiding the digestive system to improving energy, there are many great things that drinking green tea can do for your health. In addition to this, L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has been shown to help reduce rising heart rates and blood pressure, two symptoms of heightened anxiety. A study carried out with human participants showed that it has a positive effect on the symptoms of anxiety; subjects became less stressed and more focused on taking 200mg of this amino acid. This amounts to around five cups of green tea.
An herbal sleep aid most commonly used to treat the symptoms of insomnia, Valerian is usually taken in tablet form rather than a tea, due to the strong smell. It contains a variety of safe sedative compounds and can be an ideal alternative to prescribed drugs for both improving the symptoms of anxiety and getting a better night’s sleep. Since anxiety and insomnia tend to go hand-in-hand, this herbal supplement can be an ideal method of treating both at the same time. However, bear in mind that it can send you to sleep quite quickly, so it’s best taken at the end of the day. It’s usually taken alongside other calming herbal supplements such as chamomile, lemon balm or hops.
#6. Lemon Balm:
Lemon balm is named after the Greek word for ‘honeybee’ and has been used for centuries to reduce both physical and emotional symptoms of stress, anxiety and insomnia. In one study carried out with healthy volunteers, a 600mg dose of lemon balm extract was found to improve both calmness and alertness in participants. However, bear in mind that whilst lemon balm is generally safe to take, overdoing it with your dosage can have the opposite effect and may lead to further anxiety issues. So, be sure to follow the directions given and start by taking the smallest dose. If you have any concerns about taking lemon balm for anxiety, your doctor will be able to help.
It has been suggested that the strong, sweet aroma of lavender has ‘anti-inflammatory’ properties for your emotions and mental health. There have been numerous studies on the effect of lavender for anxiety and stress; in Greece, dental patients were noticeably calmer before getting in the chair after the waiting room was scented with lavender oil, whilst students in Florida found that inhaling the scent before an exam helped to calm their nerves. In a study carried out in Germany, lavender was shown to effectively reduce symptoms in patients suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). A few drops of lavender essential oil on your clothing or bedding will do the trick.
#8. Omega 3
There’s a lot of information to prove that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your physical health; they can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke whilst lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. However, what you might not be aware of is that fatty acids found in fish oils can also be very useful when it comes to managing the symptoms of anxiety. In one study, students who consumed 2.5mg of mixed omega-3 fatty acids over a course of three months experienced less anxiety before an exam than students who were given a placebo drug. In general, experts recommend getting your omega-3 from food; you can find it in oily fish and other seafood products such as mussels. For vegetarians and vegans, hemp seeds or oil are also a very rich source of this fatty acid.
#9. Warm Up
If you’re feeling cold, then you’re more likely to also be feeling anxious. According to research, heating up your body results in less muscle tension, which can help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety. That’s why taking a hot bath or going to a sauna can help leave you feeling relaxed and even drowsy. Further research has found that the sensation of warmth may be effective in altering circuits in the brain that control mood, including the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a big part in the symptoms of anxiety. Whether you run a hot bath or take a day trip to the beach on a hot day, warming up can be a very effective method of controlling your symptoms.
#10. Yogic Breathing:
One of the most effective methods of controlling your anxiety is via your breathing. When you are anxious, it is likely that your breathing will speed up; those who suffer from panic or anxiety attacks will often start to hyperventilate which results in them struggling to breathe. As a result, your body and brain will not be getting enough oxygen to successfully manage these feelings, in turn, this will make things worse. One of the best things about using yogic breathing for anxiety is that you can do it anywhere, and it’s almost impossible to breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time.
One classic yogic breathing technique, known as the 4-7-8 technique, is hugely effective for gaining control over anxiety and is recommended by most good therapists. To do this, first exhale completely through your mouth, before inhaling through your nose for a count of four. Then, count to seven as you hold your breath before gently exhaling back out of your mouth for a count of eight. Don’t just do this when you feel particularly anxious, either – repeating at least twice a day, even when you’re feeling calm, will help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety in the future.
Getting control over the symptoms of anxiety isn’t always easy. With these ten natural products and methods, you will be able to manage your symptoms and regain your calm.