Anxiety comes in different forms. For some, it manifests physically, and other people can even see it from time to time. For others, it appears silently and secretly, plaguing the person without any trace seen by the outside world. Anxiety is a common condition that preys on countless individuals. It ranges from mild to intense in severity, and it can come on with symptoms or suddenly and seemingly out of the blue. Fortunately for those living with this condition as I have for so long, there are natural remedies for anxiety. They can relieve and sometimes even eliminate anxiety from your day to day life.
What is Anxiety
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to external stimuli that it finds either frightening, threatening, or both. In that respect, anxiety is very natural, and you should expect to experience it occasionally throughout your life. Chronic anxiety, on the other hand, is a condition in which your body’s natural flight or fight responses are on high alert on a regular basis. Chronic anxiety differs from situational anxiety in that there are certain symptoms that result from it, and the effects of this condition are experienced far more regularly than that of situational anxiety. Some physical symptoms that you might experience when suffering from anxiety include muscle tension, chest tightness, heart palpitations, and high blood pressure. Other symptoms that can take a toll on your physical wellbeing are bouts of insomnia, digestive problems, profuse sweating, and panic attacks. Emotional side effects of anxiety include irritability, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, and an inability to socialize. These anxiety symptoms are the most commonly experienced, but there are many more you might encounter. In general, if you feel you are suffering from anxiety that far surpasses the normal amount, do not be afraid to reach out to your doctor. Also, see if natural remedies for anxiety are right for you.
Causes and Risk Factors
Anxiety does not discriminate. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 13 people suffers from anxiety; 7% of children in the United States have been diagnosed with anxiety. 31% of adults in the United States have suffered from anxiety at some point in their lives. With so many people suffering from anxiety, you might wonder if there are some common causes or risk factors that can predispose you to anxiety. Stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and caffeine, and sugar intake can cause anxiety. Some risk factors include thyroid problems, dysfunctional serotonin levels, and hormone imbalances. If you feel you are at risk for anxiety or are suffering from any symptoms, be sure to speak with your doctor, as anxiety can be managed.
Conventional Medical Treatments
As with any medical condition, there are conventional medical treatments. Those treatments often involve prescription medicine. For individuals who don’t respond well to prescription medicine or don’t respond to it by itself, doctors may also suggest cognitive behavioral therapy. This form of therapy is geared toward individuals suffering from varying degrees of anxiety who want to learn coping mechanisms to pair with their medical treatment.
If you are looking to mitigate the anxiety you are experiencing but would prefer to take a more natural route, there are options for you to consider and try. You can implement relaxation techniques, healthy lifestyle changes, and even natural supplements that have been shown to reduce anxiety. Before trying any natural treatments, it is always a good idea to have a conversation with your healthcare provider. He or she will make sure that these techniques, changes, and supplements are suitable for your unique lifestyle.
One relaxation technique that you can implement into your daily routine is yoga. Yoga gently stretches and elongates the body while bringing awareness of yourself to the mat. Different yoga poses, or asanas, are meant to help you channel positivity and relaxation. Going to a yoga class can relieve stress, but if you are unable to attend one in person, an online class or tutorial can be beneficial as well.
Tai Chi is a relaxation technique that falls along the same lines as yoga. It combines mindful breathing and stretching exercises that have been shown to decrease anxiety and improve moods. Tai Chi is best when practiced with others in a classroom setting. Like yoga, if you find yourself unable to attend a class in person for whatever reason, online classes and videos are easily accessible and can provide you with similar benefits that a class would.
Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to alleviate anxiety. You can begin with steps as easy as mindful breathing, which is simply cultivating an awareness of your breath and maintaining control of it when you are stressed. You can find easy body scans online that are fewer than five minutes in length. They are a great way to check-in with yourself when you are feeling anxious. You can find guided meditations in person through a class or online on any number of free websites. They vary in length from a minute or two up to an hour, depending on your needs.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Implementing healthy lifestyle changes such as working regular exercise into your weekly routine can help reduce stress. Exercises such as cardio can improve your mood while increasing your fitness level. You can start off slow by walking and up the ante over time by jogging, swimming, riding a bike, rowing, or even using the stair climber at the gym. You can also incorporate strength training into your exercise regimen, which will increase your strength while simultaneously decreasing your anxiety. The release of endorphins from both forms of regular exercise offset the toll that anxiety takes on your body.
Dietary changes can also have an incredibly positive impact on your mood. Swapping out simple carbohydrates and unhealthy fats for complex carbs and saturated fats such as avocados, nuts, and seeds will help fuel your body without weighing it down. Increasing your water intake while upping your fiber consumption will also make you feel fuller longer and increase your energy. This can offset the sluggish feeling that often accompanies anxiety.
Did you know that insufficient sleep can actually cause stress? It creates a really unfortunate and vicious cycle, but when you are stressed, you often do not sleep. A lack of sleep actually causes more stress, which can lead to anxiety. To break this cycle, it is crucial that you get sufficient sleep at night. Try turning off your screen a little earlier than usual and heading to bed at a reasonable hour to catch up on rest.
A Consistent Daily Routine
Regularity is important. Not knowing what you are going to do every day can lead to anxiety. In order to prevent that from occurring, try implementing more routine into your day. Try waking up at the same time, eating regularly, and taking the time to work out and have some leisure. While there will always be some variation from day to day, knowing what to expect will help you prevent anxiety from cropping up unexpectedly.
One way to mitigate anxiety is by interacting with others. The simple act of talking to a friend or even making a new friend can help you offset anxiety and stop it in its tracks. Going to a class with other people or attending a seminar can do wonders for your mood and help you feel more stable. It can prevent anxiety from taking over your day.
Avoiding Stimulants and Alcohol
Stimulants and alcohol can destruct your stability. Whether emotionally or physically speaking, stability is an important tool against anxiety. Without stability, you can fall victim to stress and anxiety quickly, and it can be hard to recover without a sense of security. Consider replacing stimulants with nutritious meal options and alcohol with good company. Stimulants drain your body of necessary resources and can lead you to crash without them overtime. Furthermore, alcohol can drastically change your mood for the worse and cause you to experience heightened emotions that might be less than ideal. By avoiding stimulants and alcohol, you will have a greater chance of stability, which could be feeling better before you know it!
Ashwagandha is a supplement from India that has been said to reduce stress and anxiety. It can be taken in capsules or in a powdery form and has been compared to the prescription medicine, lorazepam in terms of efficacy against anxiety.
Kava root can be taken as a capsule, tablet, or extract. It has been said to have anxiety reducing properties and has also been known to create a very mild, euphoric feeling. Because it can have harsh effects on the liver, however, you do want to make sure you only take it under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) supplement
5-hydroxytryptophan counteracts serotonin levels that are dysfunctioning. This amino acid has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress. Like the kava root, it has been known to have some undesirable side effects when used long term. It is best only to take it with your doctor’s approval.
Taking passionflower is a great option for people whose anxiety seems to stem from a lack of sleep. Passionflower has been said to decrease insomnia, which, in turn, can reduce the stress that causes anxiety. It can be taken in a tablet, capsule, or in a liquid form.
GABA (Gamma aminobutyric acid)
If you have a hormonal imbalance that leads to a lack of sleep or restlessness in general, GABA can be a great way to get your life back on track. GABA works with your chemical makeup to alleviate imbalances that often lead to anxiety.
Magnesium is a mineral that can be found in leafy green vegetables and certain fruit. Magnesium is essential for energy and a healthy body. It also relieves muscle tension. By ingesting magnesium, you can help your body run smoothly and relaxed, which can help you be proactive in the fight against stress-induced anxiety.
Vitamin B Complex
B vitamins have been known to decrease anxiety by helping the body synthesize serotonin as well as supporting systems in the body such as the adrenal glands. Vitamin B complex is a great way to aid your body in the fight against stress and anxiety. This natural remedy should be taken under doctor’s supervision, as too much vitamin B can lead to an imbalance in the body.
Juicing Recipe to Aid Your
Nutrient Rich Diet
A final and certainly delicious way to work against your anxiety is to try juicing. Juicing is a great strategy that can be effective against anxiety. It helps your body to get the nutrients it needs to stay fortified against outside forces such as stress. Magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin C are the nutrients you really want to make sure are in the juices you make. These are the nutrients that proactively work to keep you anxiety-free. The following juice contains anti-anxiety ingredients that will leave you feeling better in body and soul.
Try blending a fresh or frozen banana, 1/2 cup of pineapple or mango (fresh if possible), and a heaped teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 cup of chilled milk (dairy, almond or coconut) for a delicious and calming drink.