Anxiety and stress are real characters in our everyday life. They tend to make a grand entry at work when our boss piles on a week’s worth of assignments or when we sit down to take a final exam or when we’re taking a journey out to our car in the dark of night in an isolated parking lot. You know the feeling–right? Chest pains, shortness of breath, a nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach, a crazy week of nightmares, or that horrific migraine that just will not go away.
Anxiety can be a disruptive character in our lives. It can keep us from sleeping, eating or even being able to perform simple tasks in our lives like driving to work. Amazingly 40 million adults suffer anxiety disorders in the United States.
There are multiple reports of natural ways to relieve anxiety, sometimes referred to as complimentary approaches. These complimentary approaches may or may not have “scientific” evidence supporting their effectiveness, therefore, keep in mind that every natural remedy may not be for you.
Here are seven natural ways relieve anxiety.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindful meditation is the process of sitting and shifting all focus to your breathing while also bringing attention to the present without drifting into the concerns of the past or future. The jury is still out however as it relates to “scientific” evidence of whether or not this practice truly works.
Related: 40 mindfulness exercises and activities to practice being present. Read more…
2. Relaxation Techniques
Finding ways to practice relaxation techniques may prove useful to you in your efforts to reduce anxiety. In addition to meditation, there are multiple ways to relax your mind, body, and spirit.
Deep-breathing is free and attainable within a matter of just five minutes of your day. Try sitting up straight with your eyes closed and taking slow deep, breaths. As you inhale through your nose guiding the air down into your belly, slowly release that air through your mouth. Deep breathing is an excellent way to counteract the physical effects of anxiety on our heart rate and blood pressure.
Contact Your Friends or Family
Hopefully, you have a listening ear somewhere that is open to hearing you out. Call somebody to vent and release that anxiety out into the universe. Don’t worry. Your friend will need you on another day for the same service. Contact them for a bit of real listening and advice on how to best cope with the situation at hand. If they are not an option, get professional help. Sometimes, we all need a bit of professional help to get through a difficult time.
Music is therapy. Do you have a favorite tune that makes you feel good? If not, it’s time to start building your playlist now. There’s nothing like an old or current favorite song to take your mind off of your problems for a few moments. Music is an age-old remedy and relaxation technique known for improving your mood and curing some of the unwanted side effects that can accompany anxiety.
3. Herbals Anyone?
Some herbal treatments have a terrible reputation for generating unwanted side effects in some users, but it is hard to deny their power among some of their avid followers. Here are a few herbal remedies that continue to receive high marks as having a positive effect on anxiety levels:
- Passion flower
- Lemon balm
Just remember, if daring to dabble in the herbs, keep in mind that the FDA does not monitor the effects of herbs in the same way that they do our medications and thus, the safety of herbal remedies may be questionable in some respects. Some herbal supplements can have harmful interactions with the other medications you are taking, so always consult with your physician before mixing.
Exercise is a silver bullet in your fight against stress and anxiety. Believe it or not, if you indulge in just 10 minutes of exercise each day, it can be as effective as a 45-minute workout. Those regularly exercise in fact have lower rates of anxiety and depression than those who do not.
Some studies show that exercising may be just as impactful as medication (*). How much physical training do you need to see a positive effect? Set your target to as 30 minutes of exercise five days per week. Make it fun.
5. Watch Your Caffeine Intake
It’s hard to believe that your favorite cup of coffee in the morning just might be adding to your anxiety. Unfortunately, despite some of its more positive attributes, caffeine can increase those stress hormones flowing through our bodies.
Also, caffeine can block GABA, nicknamed, nature’s Valium, a neurotransmitter that helps us to find the calm in our lives. Without it, our ability to stay calm in the face of everyday stressors diminishes greatly.
Finally, caffeine can prove devastating to your serotonin levels if consumed in large quantities, negatively affecting your mood. Therefore, take it easy on the caffeine and limit it to small amounts
6. Eat a Healthy Diet
Your goal should be to eat three healthy meals a day and snacks that improve your mood. Stay away from high-fat foods. Eat complex carbs, and foods that boosting chemicals in our brain such as oatmeal, dark chocolate, avocados, cashews, and pistachios.
Acupuncture is a fantastic, natural way to treat your anxiety – mainly if you are hoping to stay drug-free. How does it all work? An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles at specific points along the body. Acupuncture helps the body to reset, slowing the production stress hormones. There are multiple reports that acupuncture may improve your sleep experience, improve chemical imbalances, and possibly help reduce the need for medication at all. Of course, always consult your physician before stopping your meds!
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