Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Anxiety is often a short-lived problem; for instance, you might feel very anxious in a doctor’s office or right before a big interview, but once the situation is over, you feel better. But for some, anxiety can become a chronic condition that can affect your day-to-day quality of life. Chronic anxiety, however, is anxiety that lasts for a long time with no end in sight. A good example of this might be a job that leaves you constantly on edge.
Anxiety symptoms in a long-term situation might be mild at first, but can increase over time as the stress continues. Typical symptoms of anxiety can include muscle tension, dry mouth, an inability to concentrate, a queasy or “sick” feeling in your stomach, muscle tension, a racing heart, and a sense of impending doom. You might begin to hyperventilate. If you are constantly under stress, your anxiety symptoms could escalate to insomnia, not eating enough or eating too much, a lower sex drive and even chest pain.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety
Fortunately, there are many ways to combat anxiety. These natural remedies for anxiety have been proven to help you reduce stress and alleviate the symptoms.
Foods to Avoid
What you put into your body can make a big difference in how it acts and feels in response to stress. It pays to avoid the following foods:
- Fried Foods. These foods are difficult to digest and can make heart problems worse.
- Coffee. This stimulant can make anxiety worse, and could even lead to heart palpitations.
- Dairy Products. A high amount of dairy products in your diet can lead to excess adrenaline, and that can trigger anxiety symptoms.
- Alcohol. These beverages dehydrate you, throw off your hormonal balance and can lead to even more anxiety symptoms.
- Acidic Foods. Foods that create acid in your body can also drop your magnesium levels, and that means your anxiety symptoms get worse.
- Refined Sugars. Sugar, like caffeine, stimulates your body and can make anxiety worse.
Foods to Eat
And these foods are great to include in your diet to help reduce anxiety:
- Water. Staying hydrated is an important way to stave off anxiety symptoms.
- Vegetables. Filled with fiber and vitamins, these can help regulate your body.
- Fruits. Get your carbs and sugar from fresh fruit, not refined sugars.
- Foods rich in tryptophan. This natural relaxation component can do wonders for your anxiety. Look at poultry, oats, soy and sesame seeds to get a good dose.
- Foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Fish, flax seed and winter squash might help with anxiety and depression.
- Foods rich in magnesium. A crucial vitamin that most of the population lacks, this can be found in tofu and black beans.
There are numerous herbal remedies on the market that can help with your anxiety issues. Here is a brief list:
- Chamomile. A natural sedative, chamomile can be added to teas for a calming effect.
- Fennel. Though this might not help with anxiety itself, it can help alleviate the symptoms.
- Kava. This is proven effective for moderate to severe anxiety.
- Catnip. Just as it relieves stress and promotes relaxation for cats, this works for humans, too!
- Motherwort. This relieves anxiety, and is safe for pregnant women.
- Hops. This can help fight off stress, insomnia and headaches.
- St. John’s Wort. Known for fighting depression, this one might also help with anxiety, as the two can go hand-in-hand.
- Skullcap. This is a natural sedative used to treat anxiety, restless leg syndrome and even epilepsy.
- Passionflower. Much like kava, and good for mild to moderate anxiety.
- Valerian Root. A very effective sedative that soothes tension and stress.
As one of the natural remedies for anxiety, the following supplements have shown promise in treating anxiety and the symptoms of anxiety.
- B Vitamins. B complex vitamins, especially B12 in hydroxocobalamin or methylcobalamin form, can help regulate the body’s response to stress. Foods high in B Vitamins include meats, fish, vegetables (especially leafy greens), whole grains and bran, beans and legumes, and certain nuts, including cashews and hazelnuts.
- Magnesium. This mineral helps balance the neurotransmitters in the brain and keeps the nervous system working properly. You can take this as a supplement to get your recommended daily dose, and you can also get it from foods like bran, dried herbs, cocoa powder, seeds of the squash, pumpkin or watermelon, sunflower seeds and even molasses.
The more relaxed you are, the better your body will be able to deal with anxiety. Here are a few ways to calm things down.
- Massage and Acupuncture. Touch has been proven to help relieve stress and anxiety. Massage and acupuncture can help move energy through the body, as well as simply relax the muscles.
- Breathing Exercises. Rapid breathing is a sign of an impending panic attack. Avoid this by practicing deep breathing techniques. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, breathing deeply enough that your diaphragm moves up and down as you breathe. Practice this until it becomes second nature.
- Meditation and Yoga. Studies – and thousands of people – have proven that yoga and meditation can reduce stress, relieve anxiety, lower heart rates, lower blood pressure and give you a general sense of well-being. You can do this with a class, or in the privacy of your own home.
- Warm or Hot Baths. A warm bath can help relax the muscles, ease aches and pains and give you quiet time to think, all of which can reduce anxiety. To make it even more advantageous, add Epsom salts – your body can absorb magnesium while you soak.
If the symptom continues or worsens even with these natural remedies for anxiety , there might be an underlying cause. In that case, speak with your physician about what to do next.