Did anyone say “natural remedies for anxiety”?
When it comes to mental health, anxiety is something we often hear about. In fact, anxiety disorders seem to be the most frequently diagnosed mental disorders. It’s important to note the difference between chronic anxiety disorders and the feelings of anxiety most of us experience.
In order for a diagnosis to be given, anxiety must impact the daily functioning of an individual. A persistent and chronic fear that limits your ability to socialize, work, or function in society is generally considered a moderate-to-severe anxiety disorder.
According to experts, anxiety is an adaptive response that allows us to function in our environment. To put it another way, it helps to detect threats, respond to emergencies or stressors, and overcome challenges.
Some people may find themselves in the “subthreshold” area of anxiety. This happens when you don’t exhibit enough symptoms to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder but still have enough symptoms to interfere with your quality of life.
This article is for anyone dealing with mild to subthreshold anxiety feelings. We’ve rounded up some natural remedies for anxiety that can help you overcome obsessive thoughts and relieve feelings of fear with minimal side effects.
These methods may be considered complementary or alternative therapies. They are meant to complement mental or medical health treatment. Without further ado, here are eight natural remedies for anxiety you may want to give a try!
1. Find healing with nutritious foods
Certain foods can easily be turned into natural remedies for anxiety. You may want to look for nutritious foods that contain anxiety-reducing ingredients and aim to incorporate them into your diet. Ideally, these foods should come from natural or organic sources.
If you’re dealing with anxiety attacks, you should aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet because ultra-processed foods and unhealthy fats can wreak havoc on both your body and mental health. Some foods are known to help release neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in the body, which are known as the happy hormones.
For example, asparagus helps alleviate anxiety; avocado and almonds contain vitamin B, which impacts your brain function; salmon and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fats, which are natural remedies for anxiety; nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and leafy greens containing magnesium promote calm feelings; kefit, pickles, and sauerkraut contain probiotics, which may help lessen social anxiety; cashews, egg yok, beef, and oysters contain zinc, which lowers anxiety.
2. Try supplements and herbal remedies
In addition to nutritious foods, supplements and herbal medicines also make great natural remedies for anxiety. There’s evidence to suggest that herbal remedies can alleviate feelings of distress and chronic fear. However, experts haven’t yet determined whether the results occur because of the real effects or the place effect.
There are several clinical studies that show certain natural remedies for anxiety with ingredients like magnesium, L-arginine, kava, passionflower, and L-lysine did provide some kind of relief to those people dealing with anxiety attacks.
There are other supplements and herbs that have been studied in relation to anxiety. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to alleviate anxiety feelings in a double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Ashwagandha is another herb that helps with reducing anxiety.
What’s great about these natural remedies for anxiety is that they provide relief for those dealing with this type of feeling without the harmful side effects of medication. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking supplements and herbs to help with anxiety. Also, keep in mind that some supplements shouldn’t be combined with prescription medications.
3. Spend time in nature
One of the best natural remedies for anxiety is spending time in nature. For some, this may sound like a cliché, but spending time outdoors can actually have a calming effect on the body and mind. So, don’t underestimate this simple activity, and go take a walk outside when you feel like anxiety is taking a toll on you.
For best results, aim to spend time in nature for 20 to 30 minutes, three days per week. Some of the benefits of doing that include improved mood, decreased anxiety, lowered blood pressure, reduced stress, an increased immune system, and increased self-esteem.
According to a study of psychiatric patients, nature can increase calm, improve mood, and decrease loneliness. Time spent outdoors has also been shown to assist with pain reduction and aid in recovery after surgery.
Overall, this activity is one of the best natural remedies for anxiety, and nature is an abundant resource that everyone can access.
Read on to discover other natural remedies for anxiety!
4. Practice yoga or meditation
Yoga is a great technique that combines breathing, mindfulness, and body movements. There’s evidence to suggest that it can help reduce the body’s stress response, which contributes to feelings of anxiety.
Yoga has also been shown to help improve the body’s ability to cope with stress. This being said, it offers both short- and long-term natural anxiety relief.
There are several ways to practice yoga. Some yoga sequences are intended to elicit calm, while others are designed to energize you. Almost every yoga class is meant to build awareness around the body. It may be necessary to try multiple practices or teachers in order to find the right fit.
Apart from yoga, mindfulness meditation is considered one of the best natural remedies for anxiety. According to several studies, it was shown to decrease anxiety symptoms after eight weeks of practice.
Mindfulness can usually be defined as a practice of present-moment awareness. That’s why some experts say that any activity that is paired with awareness of the breath and body may be considered mindfulness.
5. Try essential oils
While there’s no conclusive evidence to link decreased anxiety and nature smells, there are some experts who claim essential oils make great natural remedies for anxiety. These oils are created by distilling oils from plants, and the result is a liquid containing volatile chemical compounds.
Different smells trigger different reactions. For instance, jasmine may help increase memory. Peppermint is an invigorating scent that may increase alertness. Lavender oils show promise for decreasing depression and increasing calm.
A study of essential oils derived from cedar trees and used in aromatherapy found that they can increase NK cells, which are thought to assist in fighting infections and tumors. Try diffusing oils in your house or office to elicit a feeling of calm. Try different smells to experiment with them and notice your reactions. By the way, Amazon has an impressive range of essential oils to choose from.
6. Write down your thoughts
No. 6 on our list of natural remedies for anxiety is called the journal method. Writing down your thoughts is a simple strategy with multiple benefits. It can help you cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.
Journaling can be an excellent way to track patterns, decrease the intensity of emotions, and develop self-awareness. For best results, aim to make a daily habit of writing down what’s bothering you and what you have in mind.
In order to gain the most benefits from this strategy, it’s important to notice cyclical or negative thinking and try to shift the pattern. If you’re constantly journaling negative thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, then it may reinforce feelings of anxiety.
Here’s one of the best natural remedies for anxiety: Set aside a portion of time to simply put on paper whatever comes to mind. Then, set a timer between 5 and 10 minutes and allow yourself to write anything and everything in that time. Once the timer goes off, take a moment to reflect and breathe deeply. Without judgement, notice your sensations, emotions, and thoughts.
Return to the journal with the intention of putting positive thoughts on paper. You may choose to focus on things that make you grateful, things that are going well, or reflect on situations where you overcame worry, stress, or anxiety.
7. Spend time with animals
Similarly to other natural remedies for anxiety, spending time with animals is a way to connect with nature and bring it indoors. Owning a pet or interacting with a friend’s pet can have many benefits. According to experts, animals can improve mood, increase motivation, decrease loneliness, improve self-esteem, and decrease anxiety.
Petting an animal is one of the best ways to connect with nature through touch. Their fur offers comfort, and their presence provides companionship. There’s also evidence that pets aid in resilience to frustration and stress.
Moreover, animals are being introduced in hospitals, universities, and therapy offices to offset anxiety feelings. While research has only started to show all the benefits of animal-assisted therapy, any pet lover knows just how beneficial animals can be for mental health.
8. Connect with the five senses outdoors
Engaging the five senses outside in nature can have a powerful impact on the mood. This is another method for practicing mindfulness. Combining nature and mindfulness will enhance the effects of both.
Sitting in silence outdoors or engaging with nature sounds is one of the best natural remedies for anxiety. It can reduce cortisol levels and blood pressure. It also helps the body enter a state of relaxation. There’s even evidence that shows simulated nature sounds can aid in releasing tension in the body.
For a true sensory experience, walk in a quiet area and try to connect with the sounds of nature. Or you can try listening to nature sounds through headphones.
Looking at nature has been associated with decreased stress, anxiety, and heart rate. To truly connect with this sense, try walking around a park, meditating in a garden, or even gazing at the sky or plants.
Smell has a big impact on thoughts, emotions, and behavior. While there’s not enough evidence to conclusively state that smells induce relaxation, there’s a strong correlation between smell and emotions.
Many of us have a habit of mindlessly eating food, a pattern that can be intensified by a busy schedule. One of the best natural remedies for anxiety is to develop a greater relationship with nature through food, and you can do that by practicing mindful consumption.
As already stated, choosing healthy and anxiety-reducing foods can help you cope better with feelings of tension and worried thoughts. But eating natural foods also builds the connection between you and nature. For instance, consuming whole foods like fruits and vegetables can assist in visualizing the origins of our food.
While this isn’t a direct link to nature, it allows us to practice mindfulness and acknowledge that nature is our source of energy.
There’s an interesting phenomenon called forest school, in which children play and learn outdoors. They get the chance to explore the world by interacting with nature as part of their curriculum. This is thought to aid in motivation, focus, social skills, confidence, and increased motor skills.
There’s an adult version of this method, which has become one of the most effective natural remedies for anxiety. It’s a Japanese healing technique called shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, which is an immersion in nature that integrates walking, breathing, and mindfulness.
The method has been associated with increased mood and relaxation, improved immune system functioning, and decreased stress.
Thermoception is another practice that involves engaging with nature through touch. Similar to other natural remedies for anxiety, it includes walking barefoot in the grass, wading in a body of water, or noticing the breeze on your skin.
If you liked our article on natural remedies for anxiety, you may also want to read 9 Surprising Ways to Buy Happiness, According to Harvard Experts.