Do you struggle with feelings of anxiety or stress? Does it sometimes feel like you’re out of control and can’t get anything done as a result? Anxiety and stress are very common, especially in today’s world where technology has us constantly plugged in to work and everything going on globally.
The good news is that it is possible to reduce these feelings with 10 natural remedies:
1. Identify the Source of Your Stress and Anxiety
The first step to relieving your anxiety and stress is to identify that you are stressed and anxious and figure out the cause. You may experience these feelings repeatedly at a common time of day or when you are doing a certain task.
2. Control Your Breathing
When you’re stressed and anxious, your breathing isn’t normal. To relieve some of that stress and anxiety, you need to regain control. There are several techniques to control your breathing. Here is one method that might be helpful:
- Yoga Breathing. The 4-7-8 breathe is one breathing technique often used in yoga. First, exhale completely through your mouth and then inhale through your nose for four seconds. Next, hold your breath for seven seconds. Finally, let it out slowly through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this method twice a day.
3. Reflection and Prayer
A great way to reevaluate your thoughts and gain a new perspective, reflection and prayer are effective and easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Take a few minutes to relax and think about each moment as it comes. As situations arise, learn to respond in a flexible and non-judgmental way.
Use a journal to write out your feelings about what’s going on. As you continue to work toward relieving your stress and anxiety, it will be interesting for you to look back at your journal and see your progress.
- Music. Studies have shown that listening to soothing music can often lower your heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. Make a playlist you can pull up when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
- Humor. Watching funny videos, a funny sitcom, reading a comic book, etc., can all produce laughter, which is a great stress reliever and aid to your health. It boosts endorphins and lowers cortisol—your body’s stress hormone.
5. Eating Habits
There are several ways you can lower stress and anxiety by simply changing your eating habits:
- Tip One: Feed your hunger. Being hungry can often make people irritable and more anxious, so a good fix for this is to eat something quick. However, eat something that is good for you. Eating junk will not make you feel any less anxious or stressed. Try a banana or a piece of dark chocolate. Any healthy snack will do.
- Tip Two: Eat breakfast. Breakfast is the most often skipped meal of the day, but it’s so important, especially if you struggle with anxiety. Eggs are particularly helpful because they’re great protein and a natural source of choline (an essential nutrient). Having low levels of choline can make you feel more anxious, so getting more choline into your system is a good thing.
- Tip Three: Watch what you are eating. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet with plenty of omega-3s. Omega-3s are essential for your health and can significantly decrease your anxiety. Some examples of omega-3s include:
- Fish oils
- Other oily, cold-water fish
Exercise offers you so many benefits. It keeps you healthy by increasing your energy and self-esteem, which helps alleviate depression and anxiety. This is a habit that’s good all around.
A great way to process your stress is by talking to others about what you’re feeling. If you can’t meet with a friend to talk about it face to face, give them a call and talk it out. They can help by offering you a fresh perspective.
8. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Reducing stress and anxiety requires sleep. As hard as that may be when you have so much to do, sleep will give you the endurance and energy to get what you need to done. It can affect how you respond to anxiety and stress. If you’re tired, odds are you won’t respond very well to stressful situations. A good night’s sleep is important.
9. Try Some Herbs
- Chamomile. This is an ancient remedy for relaxation. The best way to experience its benefits is by drinking chamomile tea in the mornings.
- Hops. Typically found in beer, Hops has a tranquilizing effect on its own. You can get Hops in extracts and as aromatherapy. It’s a great herb that can calm you and relieve some of your stress and anxiety. Word of Caution: Hops should not be taken if you are taking anything containing a tranquilizer or sedative. Talk to your doctor to be sure.
- Valerian. Another herb with a tranquilizing affect, valerian is a sleep aid. It is a great cure for insomnia, which can sometimes accompany stress and anxiety. This is best taken in capsule form because of its pungent smell.
- Lemon Balm. This is a great stress and anxiety reducer that can also help you sleep. It is available as a tea or capsule. Sometimes, it is even combined with chamomile, hops and valerian. Word of Caution: Lemon balm is safe, but a few studies have found that if you take too much, it may cause you to feel more anxious. Follow the directions and start with a small dose.
- Passionflower. Although passionflower is often used for insomnia, it is a great anxiety reducer. Some studies have found it can be just as effective as prescription drugs. Word of Caution: It is a sedative, so make sure you aren’t taking other sedatives, as well. Additionally, you should not use this herb for longer than one month at a time.
- Lavender. Often used in soaps and lotions, lavender is an herb that can ease your mind and your anxiety. And here’s a fun fact for dentists out there: one study found that dental patients were less anxious in the waiting room of a dental office with the scent of lavender around them.
- Ginger. A tasty herb that relieves stress and pressure. The best way to get more ginger into your diet is by drinking ginger tea.
- Jojoba. Although it has a bizarre name, this herb has a calming effect. It can be found in many beauty products and bath soaps.
- Ginkgo Biloba. An extract produced in China, Ginkgo Biloba functions as an antioxidant and a sedative. It can be found in most health food stores. It’s great for relieving anxiety and stress. Word of Caution: Consult your doctor before using Ginkgo Biloba. It can conflict with blood thinning treatments and antidepressants.
- Eucalyptus. Due to the ingredients of eucalyptus, it can relieve tension and stress. Use eucalyptus leaves in your tea, put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your bath or choose eucalyptus scents the next time you are searching for lotions or bath soaps.
- Use Bergamot Essential Oil. This essential oil is used in aromatherapy treatment. It helps relieve stress and anxiety naturally by decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Place a few drops of the oil on a washcloth or tissue and inhale slowly. You can also mix this oil in your bath.
- L-Theanine. Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which can help keep you relaxed and alert. As a result, it can reduce anxiety, but you need to drink as few as five cups of green tea to feel the effects.
10. Notice the Effects
When you’re feeling stressed and anxious, it can affect your physical health. Take the time to look your body over to understand how your stress has been affecting it. You can lie on your back or sit with your feet on the floor. Look at your toes and work your way up to your head. Take note of places that feel tight or loose. Once you’ve identified those places, here are a few things you can do to relieve the tension:
- Take a hot bath or go to a sauna.
- Place a heat wrap on your neck and shoulders for about 10 minutes.
- Close your eyes and try to relax your face, neck, chest and back as much as you can.
- Get a massage.
While these natural remedies for anxiety and stress will help reduce their effects, there are anxiety and stress disorders. In those instances, you should seek professional help from a doctor or psychologist. They may recommend something that can help you. They may also suggest some of these natural remedies, or others, that can help you deal with the disorder on a daily basis.
What natural remedies have you found helpful as you deal with stress and anxiety?