What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a common health issue experienced by 40 million Americans. It ranges from occasional worry to crippling anxiety that interferes with everyday life.
Anxiety is the natural human response to what it interprets as a dangerous situation. The anxiety response is often called the “fight or flight” response, where your body is primed to respond to danger.
In certain circumstances, it’s an important reaction, such as quickly moving from the path of a speeding car, but when anxiety is constant or it’s preventing you from living your life, then it’s become a problem. Too much anxiety can lead to declining physical, mental, and social health.
There are many causes of anxiety. They include traumatic experiences, stress, or too much caffeine, and those with a family history of anxiety are more likely to develop symptoms.
Anxiety symptoms manifest themselves as tension and excessive worry but can also include panic attacks, heart palpitations, sweating, insomnia, irritability, and problems concentrating.
Natural Anti-Anxiety Remedies Can Be Just as Effective as Medication
Many people take anti-anxiety medications, and when these are prescribed by your doctor, it’s important to keep taking them, but there are natural remedies that may be just as effective.
Natural remedies are great for anxiety sufferers because they don’t have the side effects that prescription medications have—side effects like digestive issues, drowsiness, dizziness, and weight gain.
Natural remedies can ease long-term anxiety and even prevent panic attacks by helping you to control your breathing.
12 Natural Home Remedies That Reduce Anxiety
1. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is chock full of health benefits.
Not only does it soothe irritated skin and digestive issues, a warm cup of chamomile tea—or a supplement in tablet form—is an effective way to lower anxiety levels.
This is because chamomile contains apigenin and luteolin, which are chemicals that promote relaxation, fight insomnia, and manage stress levels.
2. Eat More Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, nuts, and flaxseed are not only great for your skin, joints, and brain function, they may also lower your levels of anxiety-raising adrenaline and cortisol.
Research into how Omega-3 can be used to treat mild depression is underway with encouraging results.
Lavender is universally known as the anti-anxiety fragrance, and it’s widely used in aromatherapy because it contains sedative properties that restore calm and fight insomnia.
Put a bowl of dried lavender near your bed or a few drops of essential oil on your pillow for sleep-promoting anxiety-relieving fragrance. You could also add a few drops to a base oil and create your own anti-anxiety hand cream.
Grow this hardy flower in your garden or in a pot by the front door to soothe your nerves as you leave for work each day. It’ll promote your health and support our struggling bee population too.
Meditation is practiced in many forms, such as yoga and mindfulness. It helps to lower your blood pressure and fight anxiety.
Join a meditation class or download a guided meditation to focus your mind on soothing thoughts and calm breathing. This will reduce your heart rate and promote stress relief.
5. Soak Up the Sun
The action of sunlight on our skin is the best way to get enough vitamin D, but because we use sunscreen to protect against skin cancer, many of us don’t get enough.
A vitamin D deficiency creates nasty symptoms like exhaustion, muscle weakness, and anxiety. You can top up your vitamin D by spending more time in the sun and taking a supplement.
Exercise is great for every aspect of your well-being. It keeps you physically fit and releases endorphins that fight stress and anxiety.
Regular physical activity helps your brain cope with stress, and experts say that a 10-minute walk can quickly alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Although it has a temporary effect, it can last for hours.
Active people may have a lower rate of developing anxiety than sedentary folk in the first place, too, so pull on your trainers and pound the pavement. Yes, you do have time.
7. Epsom Salts
Epsom salts are great for skin conditions, and their magnesium sulfate content reduces stress and lowers your blood pressure.
It’s also thought that raising your body temperature in a warm bath helps to fight anxiety, so run an Epsom salt-infused bath and burn a soothing lavender candle for some anti-anxiety “me” time.
8. Drink Less Coffee
We all need a cup of coffee to perk up our tired brains in the morning, but drinking too much has the opposite effect, turning you into a jittery wreck and causing anxiety.
Switch to chamomile tea or a caffeine-free version if you love the roasted taste, and try not to drink more than three cups a day.
If you are having trouble sleeping, avoid all forms of caffeine in the hours leading up to bedtime—this includes chocolate and fizzy drinks as well as tea and coffee.
9. Take Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is used to make red blood cells and keep your nervous system functioning well. A B12 deficiency can cause depression, anxiety, and eventually lead to panic attacks and hallucinations.
Vitamin B12 is not made by the body, so you need to eat enough each day to keep healthy.
It’s found in meat, eggs, and dairy, so vegetarians or those cutting out meat and dairy for health reasons may find they have a deficiency. People with celiac disease, Crohn’s, or those taking heartburn medications may struggle to absorb enough B12 as well.
Fortified grains in bread and cereal contain B12, but you can take a supplement too.
RELATED: Vitamin B12 Benefits
10. If You Go Down to The Woods Today
Japanese tradition promotes Shirin-Yoko, which is best translated as forest bathing.
Nature therapy has a soothing effect on your mind, and research shows that being amongst trees can improve your mood, lower anxiety levels, and improve depression.
Go hug a tree.
11. Choose Your Favorite Essential Oil
We’ve already mentioned the mighty lavender, but there are many other anti-anxiety essential oils that are easily added to lotion bars or massage oils or applied to a tissue.
Vanilla, for example, is a soothing stress-relieving fragrance along with frankincense, rose, ylang-ylang, bergamot, jasmine, geranium, and vetiver—the “oil of tranquility.”
Choose the one you like the most and slowly inhale its fragrance.
12. Up Your Magnesium Levels
A magnesium deficiency can play havoc with your mental health.
Studies indicate that when we’re stressed we use up our stores of magnesium and then the lack of magnesium leads to anxiety and nervousness. It’s a vicious cycle.
The link between magnesium and anxiety is not surprising, because magnesium is used to regulate the nervous system, which has a direct effect on our emotions.
Take a magnesium supplement and eat more fruit, leafy green veggies like spinach and kale, and oily fish.
Natural Anxiety Relief Is Possible
Natural anti-anxiety remedies can really help you manage stress and nervousness on a regular basis without any unwanted side effects.
It’s worth trying the tips above, but if you are struggling to leave the house or feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, always visit a doctor for advice.