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Natural Treatments for Anxiety

Updated on July 15, 2018
revmjm profile image

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She posts many articles online that are really Bible lessons.

There are many things in your life that might cause anxiety. Concerns about family, finances, friends, and your job might be at the top of your list. When most people have spells of anxiety, the first thing they want to do is to take medication.

Before you run to the doctor for a prescription, there are some natural remedies you can try. That's because there are several proven ways to control the symptoms of anxiety without taking medication of any kind. The remedies work, and best of all there is no cost for many of them.

Exercise

Exercise works as well as or even better than some medications. You don't have to spend a lot of time exercising. Exercising could be as short as 21 minutes a day to reduce anxiety. That's enough time to get the heart rate up. A brisk walk often does the trick.

People know exercise is good for the body. However, it is just as good or even better for the brain. Dr. Drew Ramsey, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University stands by exercise being a good remedy for anxiety. He insists that the 21-minutes you devote to exercise is long enough for your body to get the endorphins you need to make you feel better. Exercise will boost your mood as well as to helping you relax.

Get Sunshine

Sunlight can be a miracle cure for anxiety. If you stay outside in natural sunlight for as little as 15 minutes a day, anxiety and depression can be reduced and even eliminated. That's because getting sunshine is a natural way to get vitamin D.

A short stay outside will take your mind off of what's stressing you out. Did you know that the lofty eagle who soars high in the sky get tired and weak sometimes? When it does, it goes to the tallest mountain it can find and lays out under the sun to be energized and regenerated. We need to get sun for the same reason.

Watch What You Eat

Try to eat a good breakfast every day. Never get so hungry that your blood sugar drops and leads to an anxiety attack.

Stay away from foods and drinks that increase anxiety, such as caffeine, alcohol, sodas, and added sugars. Also, avoid processed meats, foods high in saturated fats, and fried foods.

Make sure you get enough magnesium, zinc and vitamin B12. Deficiencies in these lead are linked to symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Certain foods help provide anxiety relief include the following:

  • Fruits such as blueberries, oranges, and peaches
  • Whole grains and oats
  • Avocados, eggs, milk, and meat with B vitamins
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Dark chocolate
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines, mussels
  • Walnuts and flaxseeds
  • Anchovies

Don't Drink Alcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages is one of the worst things you can to treat anxiety even though most people head straight to the bottle when they are anxious.

It is true that alcohol is a natural sedative. Surely it will calm your nerves at first. Afterward, anxiety will return worse than before you had that glass of wine or that shot of whiskey.

Don't rely on alcohol as a remedy for your anxiety. The problem is still there after you take your last sip. Besides, your one drink after dinner could develop into something more serious. Then you will have another problem to add to your list of things to be anxious about.

Don't Smoke

When smokers get anxious, they often grab a cigarette just like they reach for a drink. In fact, some people like to drink and smoke at the same time. Neither one of those activities is good for anyone during stressful times. They might help initially, but they do more damage in the long run.

Studies have shown that nicotine in cigarette smoke, along with other chemicals, actually leads to anxiety.

Don't Consume Caffeine

Like alcohol and cigarette, caffeine is not good for you when you are anxious. When you are already nervous, caffeine may cause you to be more nervous and jittery. In other words, caffeine is not your friend when you are anxious because it will only add to the problem.

You may start by cutting down on caffeine or switching to something with less caffeine if you do not want to go cold turkey. Don't just think you only drink caffeine. Caffeine is not just in coffee, tea, and sodas. It can be in some foods you eat and some of the medicines you take. There is caffeine in chocolate and some over-the-counter medications such as Excedrin and Midol.

Drink Chamomile Tea

Make it a habit to drink chamomile tea. Just one cup of it can calm nerves and allow you to get a good night's sleep. Some contents in the tea can do the same thing for you as tranquilizers such as Valium.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Everyone knows that insomnia is a common symptom of anxiety. In order to get proper sleep, go to bed only at night when you are tired. Do not read or watch television in bed. Do not take any electronics to bed with you.

Researchers have suggested keeping your bedroom dark and cool. They advise to write down your concerns before going to bed. It also helps if you go to bed at the same time every night.

Whenever you feel anxious, stay in the moment.

Meditate

Meditation is one of the best activity you can do to remove confusing thoughts that cloud your mind. Meditation helps to replace negative thoughts with calm and soothing ones.

The practice is widely known for relieving stress and anxiety. Doctors from John Hopkins Hospital suggest a minimum of only 30 minutes of daily meditation could alleviate anxiety symptoms and act as an antidepressant.

People make the mistake of thinking that meditation is limited to a religion, especially Buddism. That is not true. Meditation is a practice that is available for everyone.

Teresa M. Edenfield, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina often uses meditation to treat patients suffering from anxiety. Meditation is practicing mindful awareness that is an effective way for a person to experience the essence of each moment as it happens rather than thinking about things that might happen in the future.

Whenever you feel anxious, stay in the moment. Do not concentrate on what might happen or reflect on what did happen. Allow yourself to enjoy the present moment. You will be surprised how effective meditation will be help eliminate anxiety.

You can't concentrate on your breathe and be anxious at the same time.

Practice Deep Breathing

When a person is anxious, his breath becomes shallow. He breathes fast and his heart rate goes up. He might get dizzy and lightheaded. Deep breathing can help restore normal breathing and reduce anxiety. That simply means to deliberately take slow and even deep breaths.

To practice deep breathing, close your eyes and focus on your breath as it comes in and goes out of your body.

Some studies show that holding your breath also helps. You can't concentrate on your breathe and be anxious at the same time. A simple way to use your breath to relieve anxiety is to exhale through your mouth, then inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Let it out slowly through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat at least twice a day.

That is known as the 4-7-8 method of breathing. Try it the next time you are anxious and see if it works.

Use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is especially beneficial for helping you sleep better, relax, and reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.

Two of the best essential oils that eliminate anxiety are lavender and grapefruit.

Use Lavender

Studies have shown that people who make it a habit of using lavender oil tend to be more upbeat than those who don't. There is a reduction in the top number of their blood pressure reading. That's the number that is associated with stress.

Put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow so you can inhale it during the night. Put lavender in your bath water. You can also add a few drops to a cup of boiling water and inhale it for instance calmness. Dab a few drops on your skin.

Like lavender, the smell of vanilla has also been known to reduce anxiety.

Aromatherapy can be used in three different ways to promote calmness. The essential oils can be inhaled, rubbed on your body or smelled through a diffuser.

Keep lavender with you at all time. It will come in handy if you become anxious while you are out and about.

Take an Epsom Salts Bath

Taking any type of hot bath is good for your body. It soothes you because it raises your body heat that helps regulate your mood and anxiety. If you enjoy hot baths, add Epsom salts for added benefits.

The salts calm you and lower blood pressure because of the magnesium sulfate in them. Add lavender or vanilla essential oils to the water. Those calming oils give extra benefits.

Take a Forest Bath

In spite of its name, a forest bath is not really a bath. A forest bath is really a walk in the woods. According to Japanese researches, a 20-minute walk in the woods can do wonders for your body. The sights, sounds, and smells of the woods can eliminate stress.

If there are no woods around you, then take a stroll through a park or walk down a street that's surrounded by trees. You will discover that your stress level will be much lower than when taking an average walk.

Were any of these tips helpful?

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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      4 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Cynthia, thanks so much for reading and commenting about the natural treatments for anxiety. Thanks also for sharing with your followers.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 

      4 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      revmjm:

      Comprehensive information that provides healthy, non-intrusive suggestions always wins me over! The images are attractive and excellent illustrations for your content! Sharing with all my anxious twitter followers.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      4 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Beth, thanks for reading and responding to my article about natural treatments for anxiety. When I find interesting information, I put it into my own words and share it with others.

      The natural treatment I like the most is getting at least 15 minutes of sun each day. Perhaps others will find an interesting treatment as well.

    • Beth Deyo profile image

      Beth Deyo 

      4 months ago from Bradenton, FL

      Excellent article. Very simple advice, but these are things we often forget about. Thank you for sharing.

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