Anxiety affects 40 million adults in the US alone. With the stresses of a modern lifestyle, that number is rising at an alarming rate.
Factors ranging from genetics to medical conditions predisposition you for an anxiety disorder. But it doesn’t stop there. Stressors from work, school, and finances also have a huge effect on your emotional and mental wellbeing. Many experience anxiety symptoms that can be debilitating to their everyday life.
Luckily, there are natural remedies for anxiety symptoms. Many of them don’t require much effort, just a little adjustment to your daily schedule. Let’s take a look at our list of 21 natural remedies for anxiety symptoms so you can regain control of your life.
1. Meet Your Anxiety Head On
You’re having anxious thoughts? You’re stressed out over school, work, finances, or friends? Congratulations. You are a living, breathing person with feelings. A huge part of overcoming anxiety symptoms is not just acknowledging, but accepting the fact that you have anxiety. Wishing that you didn’t, or being ashamed will only fuel your symptoms. Some people try to push their anxiety to the side, but this is also counter-productive. Your feelings demand to be felt and will be felt whether you want to or not.
2. Yoga Breathing
When you feel anxiety symptoms such as shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and racing thoughts, take a deep breath. By paying attention to your breathing, you regain control in situations where you feel helpless. Try breathing in through your nose and holding your breath for ten seconds. Holding your breath expands the lungs, making the blood that travels to your brain more oxygenated. Yoga breathing is a great, natural remedy to have in your back pocket.
3. Surround Yourself by Nature
In a study led by Dr. Danielle Shanahan from the University of Queensland, researchers found that people who visit parks for 30 minutes or more each week are less likely to have poor mental health. It was reported that those who frequently surrounded themselves by nature had lower blood pressure and decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
So the next time you’re feeling anxiety symptoms, go take a walk in the park, or read a book outside. Just 10 minutes a day can naturally find relief from anxiety symptoms.
4. Drink Enough Water
Many of us do not drink enough water throughout the day. You should be drinking 8-12 full glasses of water a day. When you are dehydrated, your body is weak. And when your body is weak, it can be hard to naturally relieve anxiety symptoms.
5. Weighted Blankets
Weighted Blankets are a great way to naturally relieve anxiety symptoms. Just as your body needs food and water to survive, getting enough sleep at night is vital. For years, occupational therapists have been using weighted blankets as a natural therapeutic tool. The added weight of the blanket calms the body’s “fight or flight” response by reducing levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This results in a slower heart rate and breathing, and lower blood pressure.
Serotonin is best known for its positive effect on mood and relaxation, but it is also crucial for melatonin production. This hormone tells the body when it is time to go to sleep. When melatonin production is high, sleep is deeper and more effective.
6. Limit Alcohol
In the moment, drinking a glass of wine after a long day may knock the edge off, but in reality, you are adding fuel to the fire. Alcohol changes your levels of serotonin, which can in fact worsen your anxiety symptoms.
If you find yourself drinking at least 4 times a week, not being able to enjoy yourself without a drink, or not being to stop once you’ve started, you may have a problem. By just reducing your alcohol intake, you can make a huge step towards naturally relieving your anxiety symptoms.
7. The World Is Not Coming to an End
When we’re anxious, we naturally react to every little thing as if it is the end of the world. You received a bad grade on your test and suddenly you’re never going to get accepted into college, making you jobless and alone for the rest of your life. Sounds ridiculous, right? A good step in naturally relieving anxiety is to take everything in proportion. Take a deep breath (refer to tip # 2) and try to think rationally. Very rarely does something change the course of the rest your life.
When your body feels better, so does your mind. Adding exercise to your routine increases endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. This hormone boosts your mood and leaves you feeling good all day. Elevated endorphins can be just what you need to find relief from stress and anxiety symptoms.
Setting fitness goals not only boosts your confidence, but gives you a healthy coping strategy for dealing with anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, only 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity workout a week is enough to see a difference.
Psychologists also suggest that a 10-minute walk may be as beneficial as a 45-minute workout. Although the effects on anxiety symptoms are only temporary, they can offer hours of relief.
So the next time you’re feeling anxious, grab your headphones and head outside. Exercise can be a great natural remedy for anxiety symptoms.
9. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory tea that has been used for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians discovered chamomile’s wide range of health benefits. Whether taken in capsule form or as a tea, chamomile can be used to naturally reduce anxiety symptoms and fight insomnia.
Chamomile Tea is naturally caffeine-free, meaning you can enjoy its benefits at any time of the day. If you’re feeling extra anxious, try making a cup of tea. You will find relief almost immediately.
10. Green Tea
Since ancient times, Chinese monks have been drinking green tea to stay relaxed while meditating. L-theanine is a unique amino acid found in green tea, which promotes relaxation, without causing drowsiness. Research shows that L-theanine decreases blood pressure and has an effect on heart rate. Green tea is also low in caffeine, allowing you to benefit from this natural remedy at any time of the day.
Indigenous Americans were the first to discover the medical properties of passionflower. Passionflower contains many flavonoids, which are known to naturally decrease anxiety symptoms. It is a sedative, and therefore should not be taking while pregnant or with other sedatives. You can find it at your local health store in tea, capsule, and tablet form.
12. Cut Down On Coffee
Although we all love a warm cup of coffee in the morning, coffee can actually make anxiety symptoms worse. Caffeine triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response and increases the stress hormone, cortisol. Drinking too much caffeine can make you irritable, nervous, and unable to fall asleep. These symptoms mimic anxiety symptoms, even in a healthy person.
If you still want to sip on something warm in the morning, try making the switch to caffeine-free drinks. Chamomile, chai tea, and even lemon water contain natural antioxidants that won’t give you the jitters.
13. Limit Sugar Intake
Although changes in diet alone does not cure anxiety, limiting sugar intake naturally reduces anxiety symptoms. Consuming large amounts of sugar causes a sugar high and an ultimate crash. This can cause tension and irritability, worsening your anxiety.
Research has found that a sugar crash alters dopamine levels in the brain and has a similar effect to an opiate withdrawal.
When you’re craving a snack, try to avoid going for a bag of chips and a can of cola. Instead try snacking on cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, or even a berry smoothie. Both are low in sugar and won’t cause a crash later in the day.
14. Eat Breakfast
The expression “hangry” has some truth to it. For many of us, 2 o’clock rolls around and we realized we haven’t eaten all day. When you don’t eat, your blood sugar drops, making you irritable and fueling your anxiety symptoms. Start your day off right by eating a balanced breakfast in the morning. Just making this small adjustment to your day is another great way to naturally reduce anxiety symptoms.
15. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Many mental health disorders, including anxiety disorder, are linked to cellular inflammation in the brain. This inflammation can be caused by the consumption of sugar, dairy, and alcohol. Even lifestyle factors such as chronic stress and poor sleep habits can have an effect.
Omega-3s are fatty acids that reduce cellular inflammation. They are known to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms. You can find Omega-3s in supplement form, or in various fish such as salmon and tuna.
16. Eat A Piece of Chocolate
For many people who suffer from anxiety, they become so overwhelmed and their body doesn’t know how to deal with it. Panic attacks can happen at any time of the day, and it may mean that your blood sugar is too low. A great remedy is to eat a piece of dark chocolate when you feel an attack approaching. This will quickly and naturally boost your blood sugar levels.
17. Natural Sunlight
Do you notice that anxiety symptoms are stronger in the winter months? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder that is linked to a vitamin D deficiency. Researchers have found that sunlight significantly boosts your mood and eases anxiety symptoms.
Now, you don’t need to sit in the sun for hours on end to feel the sun’s effect. Just sitting outside for 15 can have an effect on your mental wellbeing, making it a great natural remedy for anxiety symptoms. Try getting your sunlight in the morning. This will not only wake you up, but put you in a good mood for the next few hours.
18. Keep Warm
Another great and natural treatment for anxiety symptoms is to take a hot bath or shower. If you have access to a steam or sauna room, even better! Heat naturally reduces tension in your muscles and boosts neuron activity in your brain. Sweating during a workout, or even laying out in the sun can boost your mood while relieving anxiety symptoms.
19. Mindfulness Meditation
Sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breath. Try to observe your thoughts from afar as though they are leaves floating down a river. If your mind starts to wonder, bring your focus to your breathing.
Mindfulness meditation has been directly linked to reduction in anxiety symptoms. Setting aside 5 to 10 minutes a day for meditation can greatly improve your mental wellbeing.
Take a look at Mindfulness expert, Andy Puddicombe’s TED Talk about refreshing your mind just 10 minutes a day:
20. Find Support
A major natural remedy for anxiety symptoms is surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends. Many people suffering from anxiety feel that they are fighting their battle alone. Sometimes, no matter how many natural remedies you tried, it’s just not enough. It is important to have people to lean on and take your mind off of things.
21. Seeking Help
While anxiety disorders are treatable, only 37% of those effected are getting treatment. Therapy teaches patients healthy and effective ways to cope with anxiety symptoms.
Many people notice an improvement after just a few sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy. If you think counseling may be right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed therapist.