Anxiety is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, genetics, and environmental factors. While anxiety is a normal response to stress and can even be beneficial in certain situations, such as when facing a dangerous situation, chronic anxiety can have a significant impact on our overall well-being.
While there are many medications available to treat anxiety, natural remedies can also be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms and promoting a sense of calm. Incorporating natural remedies into your daily routine can be a great way to reduce anxiety and improve your mental health.
In this article, we’ll explore ten natural ways to reduce anxiety. These remedies range from simple lifestyle changes to herbal supplements and mindfulness practices. Whether you’re experiencing mild or severe anxiety symptoms, these natural remedies can be a helpful addition to your anxiety management plan.
It’s important to note that natural remedies should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing severe or persistent anxiety symptoms, it’s important to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional. However, incorporating natural remedies into your daily routine can be a great way to reduce anxiety and improve your overall well-being.
So, if you’re looking for natural ways to reduce anxiety, read on to discover ten effective remedies that can help you feel calmer and more centered.
Exercise is one of the best natural ways to reduce anxiety. Regular exercise can help to reduce tension, improve mood, and increase self-esteem. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that help to reduce pain and promote a feeling of well-being. This can be particularly helpful for people who experience anxiety due to stress or depression.
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help to reduce anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing the impact of negative thoughts. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation can be particularly effective for people with generalized anxiety disorder.
To practice mindfulness meditation, find a quiet place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. As you inhale, count to five. As you exhale, count to five. Continue to focus on your breath, counting to five on each inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders, simply bring your focus back to your breath.
Aromatherapy involves using essential oils to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Essential oils are extracted from plants and can be used in a variety of ways, including inhaled, diffused, or applied topically.
Some of the most popular essential oils for anxiety include lavender, bergamot, and chamomile. These oils have a calming effect on the mind and body and can be particularly helpful when used before bedtime.
To use essential oils for anxiety, try diffusing them in a diffuser or applying a few drops to a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil, and massaging into the skin.
Several herbal remedies have been studied as a treatment for anxiety, but more research is needed to understand the risks and benefits. These include:
- Passion flower. A few small clinical trials suggest that passion flower might help with anxiety. In many commercial products, passion flower is combined with other herbs, making it difficult to distinguish the unique qualities of each herb. Passion flower is generally considered safe when taken as directed, but some studies found it can cause drowsiness, dizziness and confusion.
- Valerian. In some studies, people who used valerian reported less anxiety and stress. In other studies, people reported no benefit. Valerian is generally considered safe at recommended doses, but since long-term safety trials are lacking, don’t take it for more than a few weeks at a time, unless your doctor approves. It can cause some side effects such as headaches, dizziness and drowsiness.
- Chamomile. Limited data shows that short-term use of chamomile is generally considered safe and can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. But chamomile can increase the risk of bleeding when used with blood-thinning drugs. Use of chamomile can cause allergic reactions in some people who are sensitive to the family of plants that includes chamomile. Other members of this family are ragweed, marigolds, daisies and chrysanthemums.
- Lavender. Some evidence suggests that oral lavender or aromatherapy with lavender can reduce anxiety; however, evidence is preliminary and limited. Oral lavender can cause constipation and headaches. It can also increase appetite, increase the sedative effect of other medications and supplements, and cause low blood pressure.
- Lemon balm. Preliminary research shows lemon balm can reduce some symptoms of anxiety, such as nervousness and excitability. Lemon balm is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for short-term use, but can cause nausea and abdominal pain.
Remember, herbal supplements aren’t monitored by the FDA the same way medications are. Despite enhanced quality control regulations in place since 2010, the quality of some supplements may still be an issue. Remember, natural doesn’t always mean safe.
If you’re considering taking any herbal supplement as a treatment for anxiety, talk to your doctor first, especially if you take other medications. The interaction of some herbal supplements and certain medications can cause serious side effects.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can help to reduce anxiety by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Some foods that are particularly helpful for reducing anxiety include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: found in fish, nuts, and seeds, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.
- Complex carbohydrates: found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, complex carbohydrates can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and promote feelings of calm and relaxation.
- Green tea: green tea contains an amino acid called theanine, which has been subject to increasing scrutiny because of its potential effects on mood disorders. Theanine has anti-anxiety and calming effects and may increase the production of serotonin and dopamine.
- Dark chocolate: Experts have long suspected that dark chocolate might help reduce stress and anxiety. Chocolate has a high content of tryptophan, which the body uses to turn into mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin in the brain. Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium. Eating a diet with enough magnesium in it or taking supplements may reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- Probiotics: found in fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, probiotics have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression by promoting a healthy gut microbiome. Yogurt contains the healthy bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Emerging evidence suggests that these bacteria and fermented products have positive effects on brain health.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining good mental health. Lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety symptoms and make it more difficult to cope with stress. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night and establish a regular sleep routine to promote healthy sleep habits.
Spend Time Outdoors
Spending time outdoors in nature can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Research has shown that spending time in nature can reduce cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress. Try spending at least 30 minutes each day outside, whether it be going for a walk or simply sitting in a park or garden. This can be a great way to reduce anxiety and improve overall mental health.
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
If you’re new to yoga, consider taking a beginner’s class or following an online tutorial. Start with simple poses and focus on your breath as you move through the poses.
Connect with Others
Connecting with others can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can contribute to anxiety. Consider joining a support group or volunteering in your community to meet new people and build meaningful connections.
You can also try talking to a friend or family member about your feelings of anxiety. Sometimes just talking about your worries and concerns can help to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
Caffeine and alcohol can both exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate and cause feelings of restlessness and agitation. Alcohol is a depressant that can initially provide a feeling of relaxation, but can ultimately make anxiety worse.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, consider reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake. Try replacing coffee with herbal tea or water, and limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per day.
In conclusion, anxiety is a common condition that can have a significant impact on our overall well-being. While there are many medications available to treat anxiety, natural remedies can also be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms and promoting a sense of calm.
Incorporating natural remedies into your daily routine can be a great way to reduce anxiety and improve your mental health. Whether it’s through exercise, mindfulness meditation, aromatherapy, herbal supplements, a healthy diet, enough sleep, spending time outdoors, yoga, connecting with others, or limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, there are many natural ways to reduce anxiety.
However, it’s important to note that natural remedies should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing severe or persistent anxiety symptoms, it’s important to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Remember, everyone experiences anxiety differently, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to experiment with different natural remedies and find what works best for you.
Overall, taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Incorporating natural remedies into your daily routine can be a great way to reduce anxiety and improve your overall well-being. So, take some time for yourself, practice self-care, and prioritize your mental health.
About The Author
Dr. Hannah is a highly-skilled and compassionate physician who completed her medical degree at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2014. She passed the Physician Licensure Exam in 2015, and has since gained experience working in various hospitals and clinics throughout Metro Manila. For three years, she served as a physician on duty at a dialysis institute, caring for patients with chronic lifestyle diseases.
As a primary care physician, Dr. Hannah is dedicated to providing patient-centered care that takes into account the whole person, not just their illness. She believes in empowering her patients to take an active role in their healthcare, and believes that this type of doctor-patient relationship is key to achieving optimal health.