There is absolutely no doubt that today more than ever, anxiety has become an integral part of our lives. Especially since we have become so vocal and open about it. I can barely scroll through my Instagram without finding at least a handful of posts from different types of influencers who are discussing their anxiety and panic attacks problems.
However, as a person who has been dealing with anxiety for a number of years now, I feel as if there needs to be a clear cut difference between what is shown to us on social media and what anxiety really feels like.
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what is Anxiety and How Does it Feel?
Stephanie Woodrow has a wonderful way of describing what anxiety feels like. As she specializes in treating adults with anxiety as well as other such disorders, she believes that anxiety can come with less invasive or destructive symptoms but it can also manifest itself as a debilitating disorder for some people.
What does this mean? Less invasive symptoms could mean that your anxiety refers to stress about work, school, relationship problems, or a major change that’s about to happen in life.
Whereas the more debilitating kind is the type of anxiety that disrupts your day to day activity and can even manifest itself physically. When I discovered I was going through the latter, I first struggled in finding the causes and it took me some time to find the right way to deal with it. I tried a lot before I turned to natural remedies for anxiety, not knowing that just those simple DIY “treatments” would help me to deal with my anxiety.
The Best Natural Remedies for Anxiety
I turned to natural remedies for anxiety because they seemed logical things I could incorporate into my day to day routine. Things, like giving up caffeine, exercising more, meditating, and using essential oils for my overall wellbeing, improved my mood, my sleep, and yes, my anxiety.
So here are some natural remedies for anxiety that you can try as well. Of course, these apply differently to each and every person because no two people are alike. So give them a go and see which of these work out the best for you!
1. No more caffeine
While I was doing research on natural remedies for anxiety and trying to cope with what I was feeling, the number one advice everyone was sharing was this: absolutely no caffeine!
Of course, I realized then and there it made perfect sense: caffeine is a stimulant. Without going into too much detail that will bore you, caffeine will trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response in your brain. In other words, it will keep you on so to say at all times.
As a result, you will feel jittery, shaky, and of course, anxious. Therefore, after learning this, I gave up caffeine, green and black tea, energy drinks and, sadly, chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa mass. And it helped: I started feeling a little more relaxed almost immediately.
2. Work on your sleep hygiene to Reduce Anxiety
A lack of sleep will cause anxiety. This is one of the main things that will happen when your brain is deprived of a break when it can power off. But the most important thing I learned is that sleep in itself is not enough. You also have to do it the correct way.
This is where sleep hygiene comes into play as one of the easiest but crucial natural remedies for anxiety on the list. As great as it feels to take naps, they are not a good idea. Sleep only at night and at least 7 hours.
When you sleep, make sure you don’t have any laptops or the TV on. If possible, sleep in complete darkness. If you can’t sleep, don’t toss and turn in your bed, it will only heighten your anxiety. Instead, get up, go to another room and do something active until you start feeling sleepy.
One of my favorite pieces of advice was about all the thoughts that go through your head right before sleeping. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does it. You just lie there thinking about everything you’ve done during the day and everything you still have to do tomorrow. And before you know it, an anxiety attack comes out of nowhere. Don’t do that!
Instead, talk to a friend or your life partner about all this before going to bed. If you prefer it, you can write your thoughts down. The purpose here is to clear your mind of everything so you can simply fall asleep when lying in bed.
3. Chamomile tea is my friend now
I read a study published in 2014 that Chamomile might have anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. As a result, when it comes to natural remedies for anxiety, a cup of chamomile tea will help calm you down and relieve any symptoms of stress and panic you might be feeling.
The most important thing here is that Chamomile is a natural plant extract which is an infusion not a tea per se. Therefore, it does not contain any caffeine. You can drink up to three cups per day, including at night right before you go to sleep, to make sure you are relaxed and stress-free.
I like mine with some organic honey in it, but I have also found some chamomile blends with passion fruit and mango that make the experience even more delicious!
4. essential oils as Natural Remedies for Anxiety
If you’re on social media, and let’s face it, you probably are, it’s impossible not to have noticed that everyone is talking about or using essential oils lately. However, as I’ve come to find out myself, it’s super important to learn how to use essential oils properly.
That being said, they are only meant for external use. If you want to use these natural remedies for anxiety, you can engage in some aromatherapy or simply have some at hand and sniff away when you feel the need.SEE ON AMAZON
I am absolutely in love with bergamot essential oil. It comes from the rind of this amazing citrus fruit and it smells exactly like a hot summer in southern Italy. But apart from the divine smell, studies show that it can relieve anxiety when inhaled at regular times.SEE ON AMAZON
You can, of course, choose an essential oil that speaks most to you. For example, you can go for chamomile, lavender, neroli, rose, lemon, ylang-ylang, basil, grapefruit, sweet orange, or anything else that catches your fancy!
5. Give CBD a try as one of the NAtural Remedies for Anxiety
This one is a ‘test and see’ natural remedy for anxiety. In the sense that there are not enough studies yet to prove whether or not CBD has the power to treat symptoms related to disorders such as anxiety or epilepsy. In fact, if you check out most websites that sell CBD related products, you will see they clearly state these products are not meant as a treatment but more as a dietary supplement.
Still, there is a growing number of people who give accounts of how CBD has worked wonders for them, which is why you can give it a shot as well. So what is CBD? It stands for cannabidiol, and it’s a compound found in marijuana. It has the ability to provide the same effects of relaxation but without the proverbial ‘high’ since it does not have any THC.SEE ON AMAZON
CBD can be found in oils, tinctures, jellies, gummies, chocolates, and even skincare. These various packagings make it very easy to give it a try even if you decide to use it after a shower or as a midday snack.
6. Life away from technology
We’ve been talking about chamomile tea and sleeping more until now, but it’s time to take it a step further. This is going to sound a bit scary, but one of the best natural remedies for anxiety is to unplug from your phone and laptop and try to live in the moment as much as possible.
Of course, this thought alone might give you anxiety, you will say. And that’s true. In the beginning, when I started my digital and social media disconnect, I felt the same way. I was addicted to my phone because I have everything in there. Emails from work, messages from my friends and family, apps that regulate my life – when to walk my dog, water my plants, buy more soy milk, and so on. Therefore, the idea that I had to function on my own was enough to make me dizzy.
But I started off slowly. I disconnected for half an hour to an hour at a time. I chose activities that did not really need me having my phone or laptop with me, such as going for a walk, taking my dog to the park, or cooking.
I also began a process of educating myself on how to use my phone, my laptop, and my time. I understood that I don’t have to answer every message, email, and call as soon as they come in, and, more importantly, that I don’t have to scroll aimlessly through Instagram whenever I have an open slot of time.
In time, I realized I was actually a lot more relaxed without the constant stress of being on all the time. I also understood that I was living much more in the present than virtually which made me so much happier.
7. Food, food, food
If you are thinking about seeing a therapist about your anxiety issues, you should know this. One of the very first things he or she will ask you about is your diet and nutrition. The reason is that any dip in your level of glucose may feel like an anxiety episode or a panic attack.
Deprived of its main source of energy, the body reacts by shaking and feeling jittery. The brain will react as well by making you feel gloomy, sad, and even depressed. I myself have experienced episodes where I simply felt as if I could not cope with what was happening around me anymore at work or in my personal life. However, after lunch and a cookie, I had a new perspective on things and I felt as if I could tackle my problems once more.
Of course, this does not mean that we must oversimplify things. A cookie is not the answer to life’s problems, nor will it solve your anxiety attacks. At the same time, this also doesn’t mean that you should stop seeing your therapist.
This idea revolves around the fact that, in order to see an improvement when it comes to anxiety, you also have to maintain a balanced diet that won’t cause any dips in your calcium and glucose levels.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety: What is a healthy diet?
I always have a big breakfast that is packed with protein. This helps keep my blood sugar nice and steady throughout the hours until I can have a snack or even through to lunch. If I do need to snack, I always make sure I have some nuts but not the packaged ones that are high in sugar, salt, and oil. Eating those would be like eating chips! Instead, I go for a smoothie bowl with fruits, raw nuts, and seeds.
As for lunch and dinner, the best way to go is fish, leafy greens, beans, lentils, and seafood. Of course, your options will change if you’re a vegan, gluten-free or are following a paleo, keto or any other type of diet.
In that case, you still need to make sure you get the amount of protein, calcium, and vitamins your body needs so as not to mistake those weak moments with anxiety and panic attacks.
If you’ve read some of my previous articles, you know I’m a huge fan of the big FAT M: Meditation. Especially when I’m feeling anxious, I use meditation to organize my thoughts, become calm again and be in the present moment.
The first time I tried to meditate, it was really hard. Thoughts just kept on going and it was really hard to quiet my mind. But the more regular I practiced it, the better I became in meditation and mindfulness.
I started with a guided 10 min meditation. So if you’re completely new to meditation, don’t set the bar too high, just start with one minute of meditation (or more if you want to) to develop a habit. Just focus on your breath and being present. If you need some guidance, you can always try a guided meditation. Nowadays, you can find thousands of them on Youtube.
So why not just try it for a week? If it doesn’t hurt you…:)
9. Exercise to reduce Anxiety
This last cure on the list of natural remedies for anxiety might be an open door: exercise! According to a study of the University of Georgia, regular exercise can likely reduce symptoms of anxiety and can improve wellbeing significantly.
With one daily exercise, your anxiety symptoms can be gone for hours. It doesn’t if you just go for a run, do some yoga, or tennis.
Ok, so this natural remedy for anxiety is only for those who are not afraid of needles. Because otherwise, acupuncture will probably make you even more anxious instead of the opposite:)
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, anxiety is caused by heart and kidney imbalances. To cure this, an acupuncturist will apply small tiny needles around your heart, kidney, and ears. By doing this, energy channels will be unblocked and activated again.
When I’m having an anxiety attack, my breath becomes short and I feel like I’m running out of oxygen. Therefore, I taught myself some breathing techniques to alleviate this symptom, get my anxiety under control, and to help me to start feeling better.
In this article you can find several breathing techniques you can do at any point during your day or build into longer moments for yourself.
What did I learn about Natural Remedies for Anxiety?
I absolutely loved researching and learning as much as I can about natural remedies for anxiety. The main reason was that not only did they improve my mental health, but they also helped me to lead a better and cleaner lifestyle.
That includes my sleep cycle, the way I eat, the way I exercise, and the idea of not being connected to my phone and laptop so much. Give these a try yourself and let me know how they worked out for you!