Anxiety is a natural reaction our body has to danger, often referred to as “the fight, flight or freeze response” and is important in helping to calculate risks and stay motivated. However, anxiety is on the rise as one of the most common mental health diagnoses in the world. This is a problem, as daily feelings of anxiety can be debilitating, impacting one’s ability to function in their daily life. From general everyday anxiety, to diagnosed anxiety disorders, more and more people are seeking ways to help calm their minds.
One of the ways people do this is through natural remedies. Of course, this is not a cure and should not be used in place of medical advice. You can also still have bad or anxious days while using these methods as mental health is incredibly complex. Also, different management tools will work best for different people, and these methods are generally most effective when used in conjunction with conventional medical advice and treatments.
One of the major ways that someone can help ease symptoms of anxiety is through making lifestyle changes. Some of these changes include:
- Healthy Sleep Habits
- Stop Smoking – Including Vaping
- Practice Good Time Management
Sleep helps your body heal. So, ensuring that you are getting enough sleep at night (8 hours!), and going to bed and waking up on a routine schedule are super important for managing anxiety. Poor time management can also cause anxiety, so, having a bedtime and wake up time can help us schedule the rest of our days more effectively, thus reducing some symptoms of anxiety.
In addition, studies have shown that regular exercise like going to the gym or taking a walk can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Finally, nicotine has been proven to increase anxiety, so if you smoke, you may want to consider quitting.
What we put into our bodies is super important in ensuring we feel our best. Making changes to what we consume can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Some of these changes include:
- Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
- Drink Water
- Practice Healthy Eating
- Drink Herbal Tea
In addition to practicing healthy eating, we also need to be aware of what we’re drinking. Alcohol acts as a depressant and disrupts neurotransmitters that are responsible for positive mental health and caffeine can cause nervousness and an increased heart rate, and there is actually a diagnosis called Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder. Instead, drink plenty of water, as dehydration can also increase symptoms of anxiety. In addition, some preliminary studies have shown that herbal tea, especially chamomile tea may help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Beyond lifestyle and food changes, there are other management methods that you can seek out that may help reduce feelings of anxiety:
- Deep Breathing
- Weighted Blankets
- Spending Time with Loved Ones
Engaging in activities like journaling and therapy are great ways to meaningfully understand where your anxiety is stemming from and help you work through it in a healthy way. Meditation and deep breathing can help ground you and relax, especially when your anxiety is coming from a place of overwhelm. Some people find that sleeping under a weighted blanket can alleviate symptoms as well.
Limited evidence has shown that aromatherapy may help reduce symptoms of anxiety, especially scents of lavender, although more research is definitely required.
Finally, spending time with loved ones is a great way to get your mind off of things that may be troubling you, curb anxiety-induced loneliness, and to remind you that you are loved and cared for by the people around you.
You may see some websites recommending the use of natural or herbal supplements to manage symptoms. Natural doesn’t always mean safe, and currently, natural or herbal supplements have not been approved for medical use or been proven to be effective in treating symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, some supplements may negatively interact with any medication(s) you may be taking. Always speak to your doctor before trying any herbal or natural supplements.
Lily Frances | Staff Writer