Anxiety strikes us all at one time or another in our lives, whether it's about personal relationships, friends, family, health, work, money or all of the above. Whether you're just having a moment or have an anxiety condition, you may not have to turn to medications just yet.
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There are safe, natural anxiety remedies you can try to ease your fears now and in the future, and here are 15 to start with…
1. Chug Some Chamomile
Chamomile tea or its supplement may just ease your frayed nerves. According to Reader's Digest, a University of Pennsylvania Medical Center study found that people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder had a decrease in symptoms after taking a chamomile supplement for eight weeks.
Whether you drink the tea or take the supplement may come down to taste or time, but if you do use the tea, make sure it contains real chamomiles and not artificial flavoring.
2. Have Some Hops
While you'll find hops in beer, the calming effects of bitter herb hops aren't found in a brew. Its sedative compound is a volatile oil, so you need to get it in tinctures and extracts, usually as a form of aromatherapy.
Since it's bitter, it usually isn't sold as a tea unless it's combined with something else to mask the flavor.
3. Vie For Valerian
Valerian, as noted by the University of Maryland Medical Center, has been used as a sleep remedy and for the treatment of anxiety for centuries. This sedating herb does have a strong scent, so you can take it as a tincture or capsule instead of in a tea. Since it does have sedating properties, definitely make this one part of your night routine only.
4. Lay On Lemon Balm
Like valerian, lemon balm has been used to lower anxiety and stress for hundreds of years. While lemon balm is safe on the whole, note that some studies found taking too much of it may increase anxiousness, so stick to the directions for dosing, no matter what form you take.
5. Enjoy A Little Exercise
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that exercise can reduce stress and help ease anxiety. The ADAA also notes that regular vigorous exercise can reduce anxiety for hours afterward in some people, and it may reduce occurrences altogether over time.
Make an exercise plan and stick to it. If you're not a regular exerciser right now, start off slowly and build yourself up to at least 30 minutes for five days a week.
6. Put On The Passionflower
Despite the name, passionflower isn't an aphrodisiac. It's actually a sedative used to ease insomnia and help relieve anxiety. Since it will make you drowsy, don't make it part of your daytime routine.
The safety of taking passionflower over a long period of time still isn't known, so stick to WebMD's recommendation: stay under two months of continuous usage.
7. Look To Lavender
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, research has shown that lavender does produce a calming effect when inhaled. Lavender oil is toxic if ingested, so place two to four drops of the oil in two or three cups of boiling water, and inhale the resulting vapors to help ease your anxiety.
If you have any breathing conditions, such as asthma, speak to your doctor before trying any oil inhalations.
8. Breathe For A Minute
Yoga breathing is known for lowering stress and anxiety rates. Try the popular 4-7-8 breathing pattern. When you exhale fully through your mouth, inhale through the nose for a four count, hold your breath for a seven count, and then let it out through your mouth for an eight count.
Repeat this at least two times each day.
9. Eat Something
Low blood sugar can cause hypoglycemia, a condition with a lot of the same symptoms as anxiety, per Calm Clinic. If your blood sugar level is dropping, it may feel like an attack of anxiety, so try eating something fast once the symptoms start, such as a piece of dark chocolate or a serving of walnuts.
Over the long term, a rounded diet can help reduce your anxiety, so try to stick to whole foods, with a lot of plants and veggies, whenever you can.
10. Don't Miss Breakfast
Today says that skipping meals and nutrient deficiency can contribute to your anxiety. Breakfast, long since hailed as the most important meal of the day, is one meal many people skip.
Have a complete breakfast each morning, and make sure to include some eggs, which are chock-full of choline, a nutrient researcher found may impact anxiety in a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
11. Figure In Fish Oil
Fish oil is jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which were found to help lower anxiety levels in a group of medical students before a test, according to Psychology Today. In the study, the students took 2.5g daily of the EPA and DHA omega-3 forms, but bear in mind that this dosage relates to the amount of the omega-3 fatty acids and not the total volume of the fish oil.
12. Conquer Any Catastrophic Thinking
When you're in the midst of an anxiety wave, it's easy to get into a catastrophic thinking mindset. This is when your mind just goes to really bad outcomes and situations, things that make you feel like your life is ruined or going to be ruined even though none of these things has actually happened.
Get out of this way of thinking by taking a few deep breaths and going for a short walk. Think about how likely any of these drastic outcomes really is, and chances are you'll see that you're not being realistic.
13. Get A Little Heat
You've probably already noticed that you feel relaxed after some time in a steam room or sauna. This is because raising your body's temperature may help balance out mood and level off anxiety. If you can't get into a hot spa, just taking a hot bath and relaxing in the water works, too.
14. Walk In The Woods
Known as a “forest bath” in Japan, a walk in the woods can help you de-stress and calm down. Multiple studies, according to the New York Times, have shown that a walk in a woodsy, quiet area can help quell negative thoughts and improve mood.
15. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is known for helping to ease anxiety, and this simple practice involves focusing on the now as opposed to the future. To start, simply pay more attention to the present without exercising judgment right off the bat.
Use the above natural anxiety remedies to help calm your nerves and live life more fully. If you do find that anxiety continues to be a large part of your life, even after trying these alternatives, speak to your doctor.