There are several reasons why people get anxious and stressed out. This often leads to lots of health problems, which is why it is very important to recognize the causes and symptoms of anxiety and stress, so that it can be treated effectively. While there are several ways of treating anxiety and stress, utilizing natural remedies for anxiety management is gaining global attention. In this article, we shall take an in depth look at all available home and natural remedies for anxiety and stress.
- 1. Reasons to Choose Natural Remedies for Anxiety Over Medication
- 2. Immediate Reactions when Having Anxiety or Stress Attack
- 3. Natural Life Style Recommendations to Fight Anxiety and Stress
- 4. Foods That Intensify Anxiety and Stress Levels (Must Be Avoided)
- 5. Recommended Foods to Reduce Anxiety and Stress
- 6. Vitamins and Mineral Supplementation for Anxiety Relief
- 7. Best Natural Teas for Anxiety and Stress
- 8. Best Herbal Supplements for Anxiety and Stress
- 9. Other Homeopathic Supplements for Anxiety and Stress
- 10. Essential Oils for Anxiety
1. Reasons to Choose Natural Remedies for Anxiety Over Medication
Natural remedies for anxiety have so many advantages over prescription medication as we shall see shortly. That being said, it is absolutely necessary for your doctor to approve any herbal remedy you want to go with, this is because of the risk of drug interaction or dietary risk you may not be aware of. Here are some reasons why natural remedies for anxiety are better than medication.
- For those who do not have a diagnosable anxiety disorder, but are still grappling with anxiety and stress natural remedies for anxiety are ideal because you don’t need a prescription and hence are simple to get, produce less side effects, are not addictive, and can be taken as and when needed, unlike medications have specific doses.
- Unlike prescription medications, natural remedies for anxiety and stress do not have any withdrawal risks and are not addictive.
- With natural remedies for anxiety, you will still be yourself, unlike medications that have the risk of inducing changes in your personality. Medications such as benzodiazepines ironically lead to increased anxiety, drowsiness, depression, mood swings and even poor coordination. Also, SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) have been found to cause extreme agitation, hostility and even suicidal tendencies. All these side effects are not produced with natural remedies.
2. Immediate Reactions when Having Anxiety or Stress Attack
- Changing attitude,
- Try positive thinking,
- Take a Mental Leave,
- Look away and breathe deeply several times,
- Shout or cry,
- Massage the painful muscles,
- Stretch your chest for better breathing,
- Listen to music,
- Relax completely by taking a bath by adding Epsom salt to it, because heat counteracts the reaction to stress. Moreover, bathing with Epsom salts helps to transfer more magnesium into your body. The magnesium in the Epsom salt will be absorbed through the skin and hence helping to reduce stress. You can find our selection of Epsom salts here or here.
3. Natural Life Style Recommendations to Fight Anxiety and Stress
- Practice a physical activity
Engaging in physical activity such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong has been found to improve symptoms of anxiety. Physical activity stimulates the production of serotonin and endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that reduce stress and anxiety. Apart from the physiological effects, physical activity has other benefits including: enhancing self-esteem, increasing self-confidence, producing a feeling of empowerment and building stronger social connections and relationships. Physical activity is one of the most effective natural remedies for anxiety and stress.
- Practice Meditation
Mindfulness is a condition of the mind which entails you practicing to perceive your thoughts, emotions, and actions in a present, empathetic, and non-judgmental way. The essence of this is to offer you a sense of calm and relaxation. Meditation involves deep breathings exercises and trying to do away with disturbing thoughts that are weighing you down. It helps you stay calm and relaxed.
- Follow a balanced diet
Since the brain requires a steady supply of nutrients to function optimally, eating unhealthy meals deprives the brain of nutrients that are needed to produce neurotransmitters, triggering symptoms of anxiety. Therefore eat a balanced diet containing whole foods, complex carbs, and drink enough water in addition to other food outlined above. Take probiotics and eat fermented diets like yoghurt and miso to help your digestive system healthy. Reduce and if possible stop taking sweetened beverages.
- Go to bed early and get enough sleep
To maintain a healthy brain and psychological health, we need sleep. It is when we sleep that neurotransmitters in the brain are refilled. So if you have trouble sleeping, it is advisable that you go to bed early, create a good environment for sleep and remove any distractions. This will help improve your mood and you can approach situations calmly.
- Reduce caffeine consumption
It is recommended that those with anxiety problems stop or at least reduce the amount of caffeinated products they consume. These products include: coffee, some teas, cola, and chocolate. This is because being a stimulant, caffeine increases the body’s mental and physical functioning, including anxiety.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Alcohol suppresses the functions of the CNS in dealing with anxiety by distorting your ability to control emotions and inhibiting the production of serotonin, a mood enhancing neurotransmitter. Therefore, exclude alcohol from your social life while undergoing treatment and let your friends know why you are doing so, as they can support you better.
- Stop tobacco
It has been proven scientifically that nicotine increases the symptoms of anxiety by stimulating the CNS (Central Nervous System), in the same way as caffeine does.
4. Foods That Intensify Anxiety and Stress Levels (Must Be Avoided)
Alcohol depresses the Central Nervous System (CNS) which is essential for thinking, understanding, reasoning, directing your ability to function optimally, and most importantly controlling your emotions. It also inhibits the secretion and utilization of serotonin, which is important for regulating your mood. It also increases that rate at which your body breaks down food, leading to increased blood sugar levels and dehydration and restlessness.
- Refined Sugars
Refined sugars reduce the functioning capacity of your brain, and increase your risk of getting anxious and stressed out. Irregular levels of blood sugar are responsible for triggering the release of the hormones adrenalin and cortisol, the known causes of anxiety and stress.
- Artificial Sweeteners
Present everywhere like beverages, soda, sugar free beverages, ice creams, chewing gums without sugar, etc. artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and Neotame have adverse health effects by being directly linked to more or less severe diseases such as weight gain, headaches and Migraines, allergies, depression and panic attacks, gastrointestinal disorders and cancer. In people, susceptible to anxiety or depression, artificial sweeteners are particularly dangerous. They cause mood changes, shortness of breath, stiffness in the chest and muscles, and other dangerous symptoms.
It is advisable in these cases to turn to natural sugar substitute.
Scientific research has shown that gluten causes many health problems such as chronic fatigue, migraine, osteoarthritis, eczema, psoriasis, gastroesophageal reflux, and many others. In such cases, we are faced with either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
In addition, recent research in the US has shown that gluten causes the symptoms of anxiety and depression directly. The explanation of these symptoms was illustrated by the fact that gluten, which is not digested correctly, passes improperly into the blood and then finds itself in the brain where it disrupts its functioning. Moreover, Glutten contains high levels of phytic acid, which reduces the absorption of important mood regulating minerals like zinc.
So it is advisable for people suffering from anxiety or depression to avoid foods high in gluten such as wheat, spelled, rye, barley, quinoa, and oats.
5. Recommended Foods to Reduce Anxiety and Stress
On the other hand, eating certain food can reduce your level of anxiety. Here are just a few:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found reduce the amount of cortisol in the body, resulting in reduction in stress and anxiety. This substance is found in fish and it is advisable to consume fish at least once a week as its high magnesium content reduces stress and anxiety. Furthermore, one study found that taking fish oil for at least three months is associated with reduced levels of anxiety and anger. Salmon and sardines are a very good source of omega-3s but you can also opt for omega-3 supplements.
- Foods rich in magnesium
Magnesium has over 300 functions in the human body, and one of them is regulating the actions of zinc and copper. It thus acts like a parent to other natural remedies for anxiety. Deficiency in these two elements can result in lots of psychological and energy issues. For example, a deficiency of zinc is implicated in anxiety. Magnesium also supports the smooth muscle and nervous system and its deficiency can lead to constipation, anxiety or irritability, tiredness and insomnia. Furthermore, magnesium is a major component in the pathway that produces serotonin from tryptophan; serotonin is a mood neurotransmitter that regulates emotions of peace, fulfillment and overall happiness. You can get magnesium through foods such spinach, cabbages, legumes, chicken, beef, fish, nuts, bananas, watermelon, potatoes, figs and green beans.
- Foods rich in vitamins D, B6, B8, B12
- Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6 helps generate energy by converting food into glucose. Insufficient levels of vitamin B6 results in reduced energy, poor mood and sleep issues. Most importantly, Vitamin B6 assist the body in making the chemicals (neurotransmitters) that are used to send messages (signals) from one nerve to another. Thus it is essential for the brain to function optimally. Also, it is needed in the production of serotonin and norepinephrine, which have an effect on mood, and melatonin, which aids in controlling the body clock. If your muscles are weak, you always feel nervous, irritable, depressed and have difficulty concentrating you may have a deficiency of vitamin B6. You can get vitamin B6 by consuming pistachios, sunflower nuts, wild tuna, or beef liver (from a grass fed cow).
- Vitamin B8 (inositol): We have repeated several times in this article how serotonin is important in improving mood and reducing anxiety. Inositol aids the body in producing high levels of serotonin, thus helping to reduce stress, anxiety and panic attacks.
- Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 has been linked to improving anxiety by increasing one’s energy levels and improving overall mood. Also in stressful and anxious people who always get palpitations, it helps to support a healthy heart.
- Vitamin D: A study revealed that deficiency in vitamin D resulted in anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia patients. Thus optimal levels of vitamin D in the body can reduce anxiety and stress. Vitamin D is a vitamin present in eggs and fatty fishes such as salmon and mackerel. However, the body can produce vitamin D after exposure to sunlight.
As mentioned earlier, reduced levels of Zinc can lead to anxiety. Oysters provide good quantities of zinc to help combat anxiety. There are also many zinc suppléments.
- Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates contains very high levels of magnesium which helpful in reducing anxiety and stress. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin. Examples of food rich in complex carbohydrates are: pasta, full rice, potatoes, root vegetables, full bread, cereal bread, high fiber breakfast cereals, muesli, cassava, corn, beans and lentils. However, You should be careful because some of these foods contain gluten which is discouraged in case of anxiety.
Blueberries are very rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and antioxidants which are essential for relieving stress and anxiety.
Asparagus is rich in sulfur, vitamin B and folic acid. Low levels of folic acid have been found to cause neurotransmitter impairment, which can lead to anxiety.
This is another food that contains tryptophan which is what the body converts to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps you to stay calm.
6. Vitamins and Mineral Supplementation for Anxiety Relief
The following table shows the most well-known and used supplements and vitamins used in the natural treatment of anxiety. Healthy Trends Haven gives you the dosage for information and offers you the best selection of products.
7. Best Natural Teas for Anxiety and Stress
7.1) Green Tea
Green tea is an amino acid which can raise your glutamine levels. More importantly, green tea contains L-Theanine, which triggers the secretion of dopamine in the brain, which is known as the “feel good” hormone. Green teas also contain theanine, which reduces those neurotransmitters cause anxiety by over stimulating the brain.
7.2) Chamomile Tea
Chamomile has been made into tea because it is a natural sedative that can help treat insomnia that comes with anxiety. It also has calming effects and helps reduce nervousness that is associated with anxiety. Also, it alleviates the digestive problems that come with stress. Since chamomile is not addictive, it can be used as an alternative for caffeine.
7.3) Valerian Tea
This tea is made from Valerian root and its soothing properties make it very useful for treating anxiety. It is also traditionally used to improve sleep in people with insomnia.
7.4) Lavender Tea
Smelling or drinking a lavender-infused tea can help you relax and fall asleep very easily. It also helps calm an irritable individual.
7.5) Lemon Balm Tea
This tea is part of the mint family, and reduces anxiety by decreasing cortisol-the stress inducing hormone. It also helps you relax, sleep well and elevate your mood.
7.6) Holy Basil Tea
Holy basil or Tusli (meaning the incomparable one) drastically and swiftly reduces the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety and stress. Research has shown that it achieves this by decreasing the amount of cortisol secreted during stress. It also enhances one’s physical and emotional endurance thus enhancing the ability to cope with stressors.
8. Best Herbal Supplements for Anxiety and Stress
Ashwaganda is reported to help reduce anxiety, but more especially social anxiety. It also reduces stress by reducing the level of cortisol in the body. Furthermore it was found that men with fertility problems associated with stress had healthier sperm when taking ashwaganda.
Ginseng contains triterpenoid saponins, which helps to increase blood circulation and mental stability, thus reducing stress and anxiety.
8.3) Passion Flower
Passion flower, or Passiflora incarnata, has sedative and sleep enhancing effects. It has been proven that a cup of passion flower tea, preferably before bed, is enough to relieve stress and anxiety.
9. Other Homeopathic Supplements for Anxiety and Stress
9.8) Some objects to reduce anxiety and stres
- Calm the F*ck Down:
This best selling adult coloring book contains some revolutionary and impertinent sense of humor that will help you relax after a stressful day. It has 21 adult coloring pages that allow you paint the things too difficult to say out loud. Images include: Beautiful abstract doodles, animals, people and fairies. It is not suitable for children.
- Mesh-and-Marble Fidget Toy (8-pack) – Stress / Anxiety Relief for Adults and Kids
This fidget toy which is suitable for children and adults is made with BPA-free plastic and premium marbles. This toy helps promote calmness, reduce stress / anxiety and increases an individual’s attention span.
- Tangle Relax Therapy
This product is a calming toy that is twistable and results in stress relief.
10. Essential Oils for Anxiety
Essential oils are used in aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and stress, leading to a relaxed mind. They are made from roots, leaves, seeds, or flowers of medicinal plants. Essential oils reduce anxiety by stimulating the limbic system (an area of the brain that deals with emotions like memories, anger and fear). There are several types of essential oils, but the most popular is lavender.
Please read the following article for more details : TOP 11 Essential Oils For Anxiety and Stress : Best Recipes + Application Tips
As we have seen in this article there are several natural remedies for anxiety and methods to get rid of stress, hoping that this guide is sufficiently clear and helpful for your challenge to beat this anxiety. However, we advise you to consult your doctor quickly, especially if the condition of anxiety is accompanied by one of the following symptoms:
- Dizziness and fainting
- Digestive bleeding, pulse too fast that persists
- Sweaty hands
- Chronic neck and back pain
- Chronic or very painful headache
For further knowledge of stress and anxiety we advise you to read the following articles: