Millions of people deal with anxiety every day due to different stressors in our lives. Roughly 40 million U.S. adults suffer from anxiety, making it the most common mental illness in the country. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder you are still open to experiencing stress, tension and anxiety of everyday life. Some of the anxiety causing stressors can come from a demanding job with tons of stress, school projects, too much traffic, and lack of finances and everyday life issues that can cause anxiety. As we struggle to balance work and the demands of home and family life. We become overwhelmed and may start experiencing high levels of anxiety. This combined with other factors like poor diet, environmental toxins, our mindset and beliefs, and increasingly sedentary lifestyle are all a recipe for creating high levels of anxiety disorders.
American culture has taught us to take medications to fix our problems. However, taking a pill will not resolve the issue. It’s like putting a band-aide on a cut. It will only cover up the problem but once you stop the medication the issue will resurface and lots of those medications are addictive, and have bad side effects. When possible it is always best and healthier to look for natural remedies to resolve the issue. I have created a list of 7 natural ways to deal with anxiety.
- Mindfulness Meditation: Studies have shown that regular meditation reduces the effects of stress in the body. Mindfulness meditation is unique. It helps us become aware of what is already true moment by moment. It’s the act of consciously focusing on the here and now. With practice, those who meditate regularly are able to block out the worries of our everyday life, the negative voices in our head, and completely relax and focus only on the present moment. Full and present awareness is free of emotion and mental noise, resulting in inner peace and tranquility that is anxiety free!
- Change your thoughts: Some of our anxiety is caused by the way we look at an issue or situation. I’ve had clients who have planned vacations and then created a thought that caused them massive anxiety, where they had to can cancel their vacation. I’ve found that most people can get a grip on things if they take a few minutes to develop a different relationship with their thoughts. Take back your power and replace those negative self- defeating thoughts to positive self- empowering thoughts that kick anxiety out of your life!
- Self- Hypnosis: Another practice that can help us become anxiety free is self-hypnosis. There are many programs available to help fight stress, build confidence, and even heal ourselves emotionally and spiritually of anxiety.
- Diet: A diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein, and complex carbs is excellent for those who suffer from anxiety. Try to avoid processed foods, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and refined grains. These foods lack nutrient density and cause the blood sugar spikes and crashes which can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Get support: Find a support group in your community or on-line to help give you the support you need. When you have support and someone to talk to it really helps boost your spirits and keep anxiety at bay.
- Yoga: Practicing yoga every day can help you relax from anxiety disorder, help tone your body and makes you feel great when you look in the mirror! By transferring focus and attention to the body and breath, yoga can help to reduce anxiety while also releasing physical tension. Yoga helps our entire system slow down and the deep breathing has a calming effect. Yoga is effective at helping you feel peaceful, and it helps dissolve the stressor’s for the time during practice and usually the effects last for hours after to help ease anxiety.
- Herbal Therapies: There are several herbal therapies you can use to help ease your anxiety. I would recommend if you are on medication to first consult your medical practitioner to be sure they don’t interact with your medications. Some of the herbs are Kava (The king of natural anxiety herbs), St. Johns Wart, Lemon balm, Valerian root, and Passion fruit. Of course there are many more but these are my favorite five.
- Kava has an active ingredient known as kavalactones which helps improve GABA levels and prevent epinephrine from overwhelming the body while leaving serotonin and other important neurotransmitters untouched.
- St. Johns Wart is also known to help treat mild anxiety. The ingredient in St. Johns Wart is Hypericin which helps promote positive moods, calm nerves and overall outlook.
- Lemon balm is another good herb for anxiety. It is relaxing and soothing for the nerves, and acts as a mild sedative and relaxant.
- Valerian root is considered more of a sleep aid, but the effects of this relaxing herb is ideal for anxiety. Valerian root provides a level of relaxation helping people with anxiety feel calm.
- Passion fruit is another herb that works for anxiety. It is the lighter version of kava. Passion fruit has a mild anxiolytic and sedative effect. This herb is good for mild forms of anxiety. If you have high levels of anxiety you may want to upgrade to Kava.
Before taking medication with bad side effects, consider using natural alternatives, especially if you have mild anxiety. Anxiety is a multifaceted issue that may require more than one technique of managing it. These natural remedies can make a real difference, as well as forming healthy habits like the ones above, that will help you manage your anxiety better. It’s time to take a stand for yourself, and take control of your life back!