The world we live in is competitive, chaotic, and fast, causing most of us to be anxious about everything from work to health. And, although a little anxiety is normal if you feel like your anxiety is getting in the way of your everyday life, you should definitely consult a professional.
In addition to professional help, you could try a few natural remedies that might help alleviate your anxiety. Here are a few that experts recommend.
1. Drink Herbal Teas
Keep a stock of herbal teas like chamomile, lemon balm, and green tea at home and your workplace. Drink any one or a combination of them to manage anxiety. Here’s how each of them might help
- Chamomile: This herb is believed to contain properties that have the same calming effects as valium, a calming drug.1
- Lemon balm: This is an age-old herb that’s used to relieve both stress and anxiety. To its credit, studies indicate that lemon balm does make people more calm and alert.2
- Green tea: Although more popular for its weight-loss inducing properties, green tea also has calming properties. In fact, it contains L-theanine, a compound which, according to studies, calms people and helps them focus when they’re anxious.3
2. Exercise Regularly
Workouts aren’t just for people who’re trying to lose weight or look buff. Studies indicate that exercise, especially aerobic exercise, reduces the levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
3. Try Herbal Supplements
Certain herbs are believed to work as sedatives and relieve anxiety. Here are a few that researchers have looked into
- Hops: This herb is commonly used as a flavoring and stability agent in beer and is believed to relieve anxiety and depression when had for 4 weeks.5
- Valerian: This herb is prescribed by a lot of professionals to relieve anxiety. However, there isn’t enough research to support its effects as of yet.6
- Kava: This is a type of pepper and is proven to slightly improve the symptoms of anxiety.7
- Passionflower: This herb is believed to act as a sedative and researchers believe that it effectively manages the symptoms of anxiety.8
Although you can find all of these herbs in the form of supplements, they might interact with each other and cause harm to your body, so be sure to supplement only under the guidance of a professional.
Diet goes a long way to ensure you’re physically fit, but it’s also just as important for your mental health. Here are a few things you should do if you suffer from anxiety
- Eat small (regular) meals: Research indicates that anxiety attacks lower blood pressure. Hence, it’s important to eat smaller meals throughout the day to keep your blood pressure in check.9 10
- Consume probiotics: Studies state that people who consume probiotics regularly have lower anxiety levels than those who don’t. So, be sure to eat yogurt, kefir water, or kombucha.
- Have enough omega 3 fats: It’s important to incorporate omega 3 foods like salmon, nuts, and anchovies in your diet since low levels of it are associated with anxiety as well as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse, and attention deficit disorder.11
- Load up on nutrients: Foods rich in magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins are believed to alleviate anxiety, so be sure to eat nuts, avocados, leafy greens, and seafood.
Additionally, experts believe that it’s important to consume a balanced diet rich in protein, moderate in carbohydrates, and low in fat to improve both, mood and energy levels. Doing so also increases the total antioxidant state in the body, which, in turn, reduces the symptoms of anxiety disorders.12
5. Meditate Regularly
Meditation might look and feel difficult in the beginning, but if you keep up with it, you might be able to effectively tackle your anxiety. Studies show that 30 minutes of meditation every day works as well as antidepressants to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress.
6. Quit Addictive Substances
Tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine might trigger or worsen the symptoms of anxiety. Studies state that anxiety can drive people to drink which, in turn, could lead to negative consequences like alcoholism and liver cirrhosis. And, although further studies are required to fully understand the relationship between alcohol consumption and anxiety, experts recommend avoiding drinking.14
Additionally, cigarette smoke consists nicotine and other toxic chemicals which cause structural brain changes, inflammation, and oxidative stress. These changes worsen the symptoms of anxiety, so if you smoke, you should definitely consider quitting to relieve your anxiety.15
Caffeine isn’t taken as seriously as alcohol and tobacco, but studies show that it worsens anxiety symptoms in people. In addition to this, it could also lead to panic attacks. Hence, it might be best to either quit or reduce the amount of caffeine you consume in a day.16
7. Try Aromatherapy
Studies state that aromatherapy helps you relax, sleep, and stay calm. It also boosts your mood and lowers your blood pressure.17 A few essential oils that you could try include
- Lavender: Studies indicate that lavender essential oil can be used as an effective substitute for the most common, potentially addictive psychoactive drugs used for anxiety. It is also believed to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.
- Clary Sage: Research states that clary sage can be used regularly to alleviate the symptoms of both anxiety and depression.
Apart from these two oils, you could also try mood-boosting essential oils like bergamot, ylang-ylang, and grapefruit. To use these essential oils, you could either use a diffuser or add them to a relaxing hot water bath. The latter will add to the relaxing benefits of the essential oils.18
In addition to incorporating the above into your lifestyle, don’t be too hard on yourself. Simply knowing the fact that you’re anxious is an important step to overcoming it.
|↑1||Amsterdam, Jay D., Yimei Li, Irene Soeller, Kenneth Rockwell, Jun James Mao, and Justine Shults. “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy of generalized anxiety disorder.” Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 29, no. 4 (2009): 378.|
|↑2||Kennedy, David O., Wendy Little, and Andrew B. Scholey. “Attenuation of laboratory-induced stress in humans after acute administration of Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm).” Psychosomatic medicine 66, no. 4 (2004): 607-613.|
|↑3||Higashiyama, Akiko, Hla Hla Htay, Makoto Ozeki, Lekh R. Juneja, and Mahendra P. Kapoor. “Effects of l-theanine on attention and reaction time response.” Journal of Functional Foods 3, no. 3 (2011): 171-178.|
|↑4||Benefits of exercise – reduces stress, anxiety, and helps fight depression, from Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑5||Kyrou, Ioannis, Aimilia Christou, Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Charikleia Stefanaki, Katerina Skenderi, Konstantina Katsana, and Constantine Tsigos. “Effects of a hops (Humulus lupulus L.) dry extract supplement on self-reported depression, anxiety and stress levels in apparently healthy young adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot study.” HORMONES 16, no. 2 (2017): 171-180.|
|↑6||Miyasaka, Lincoln Sakiara, Álvaro N. Atallah, and Bernardo Soares. “Valerian for anxiety disorders.” The Cochrane Library (2006).|
|↑7||Sarris, Jerome, Con Stough, Chad A. Bousman, Zahra T. Wahid, Greg Murray, Rolf Teschke, Karen M. Savage, Ashley Dowell, Chee Ng, and Isaac Schweitzer. “Kava in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 33, no. 5 (2013): 643-648.|
|↑8||Akhondzadeh, Shahin, H. R. Naghavi, M. Vazirian, A. Shayeganpour, H. Rashidi, and M. Khani. “Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: A pilot double‐blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam.” Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics 26, no. 5 (2001): 363-367.|
|↑9||Hildrum, Bjørn, Arnstein Mykletun, Eystein Stordal, Ingvar Bjelland, Alv A. Dahl, and Jostein Holmen. “Association of low blood pressure with anxiety and depression: the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 61, no. 1 (2007): 53-58.|
|↑10||Puvi-Rajasingham, S., and C. J. Mathias. “Effect of meal size on postprandial blood pressure and on postural hypotension in primary autonomic failure.” Clinical Autonomic Research 6, no. 2 (1996): 111-114.|
|↑11||You Are What You Eat: How Food Affects Your Mood. Dartmouth University.|
|↑12||Nutritional strategies to ease anxiety. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑13||Edenfield, Teresa M., and Sy Atezaz Saeed. “An update on mindfulness meditation as a self-help treatment for anxiety and depression.” Psychology research and behavior management 5 (2012): 131.|
|↑14||College students who drink to reduce anxiety may face special dangers.
|↑15||Moylan, Steven, Felice N. Jacka, Julie A. Pasco, and Michael Berk. “How cigarette smoking may increase the risk of anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders: a critical review of biological pathways.” Brain and behavior 3, no. 3 (2013): 302-326.|
|↑16||Winston, Anthony P., Elizabeth Hardwick, and Neema Jaberi. “Neuropsychiatric effects of caffeine.” Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 11, no. 6 (2005): 432-439.|
|↑17||Anxious Or Feeling Down: Can Essential Oils Help? American College Of Healthcare Sciences.|
|↑18||Venkatesan, Thangam, Jyotirmoy Sengupta, Atena Lodhi, Abigail Schroeder, Kathleen Adams, Walter J. Hogan, Yanzhi Wang, Christopher Andrews, and Martin Storr. “An Internet survey of marijuana and hot shower use in adults with cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS).” Experimental brain research 232, no. 8 (2014): 2563-2570.|