One moment you’re feeling completely calm. The next moment, you’re freaking out. Your palms are sweating, your heart is beating fast, your mind is imagining things, and your breath is shallow and rapid. You’re wondering if you should take something for your anxiety.
Unfortunately, the risk for prescription drug addiction is dangerous. The good news is that there are many natural alternatives to combating anxiety, from mindfulness techniques to herbal supplements.
Meditation is the best natural alternative to prescription drugs for anxiety. Studies have shown that practicing meditation and mindfulness have greatly decreased anxiety symptoms. If you’re new to the world of meditation, start with guided meditations, which are available on YouTube, mobile apps, and podcasts.
Don’t worry if you think about what to have for dinner tomorrow, or what to wear to work tomorrow. Just a few minutes of meditation can improve your overall mood. With continued practice, it becomes easier and more effective.
Having a good sense of humor is important. Even if you attempt to fake a laugh, you will get hit with dopamine, which is known as the “feel good” drug. Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that increases the feelings of pleasure. If you can’t make yourself laugh, watch a funny television show or movie. Research has shown that laughing reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which increases when you have anxiety.
3. Practicing Self-Care
Make more time for relaxation in your life. Take a good look at your work schedule and see where you can practice more self-care. Some forms of s-self-care include meditating, practicing yoga, listening to chill music, or taking a relaxing bath. Researchers showed that shy people found that making time for relaxation and self-care helped them combat their social anxiety.
Exercise is not only safe, but it’s great for your overall health, mood, and well-being. It’s the answer to combat both anxiety and depression, and can even boost your self-esteem. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hit the weights at the gym. Some great and gentle forms of exercise include practicing yoga, tai chi, or qigong. Even a 20-minute walk, run, or dance session can work in a pinch.
5. Chamomile Tea
Data has shown that regularly drinking chamomile tea can reduce stress and anxiety. It’s a safe and natural form of combating the symptom associated with this mental health disorder. However, chamomile can increase the risk of bleeding if you’re on blood thinners. Chamomile can also increase allergic reactions in those who are sensitive to plants that contain chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds, and ragweed.
Evidence has shown that lavender or aromatherapy with lavender oil can reduce anxiety. However, there’s not a lot of evidence to back it up. Lavender, when taken orally, can lead to headaches and constipation. It can also increase your appetite and lower your blood pressure. If you’re not allergic to lavender, then rub it to your collarbone or onto your temple.
7. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is named after the Greek word for “honey bee.” It was used during the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, and help with sleep. Those who took 600 mg of lemon balm were calmer than those who took a placebo, according to one study. While it’s safe to take, some studies have shown that too much lemon balm can make you anxious. So, take it as directed and start small.
A few clinical studies have shown that passionflower may combat anxiety symptoms. While passionflower is found in many herbal supplements and other natural products, it can be hard to determine the unique qualities of each of the herbs. Passionflower is safe when taken as directed, but it can cause side effects such as confusion, dizziness, and drowsiness.
Studies have shown that students who took 2.5 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids for 12 weeks had less anxiety before an exam than those who took a placebo. Fish oils are not only good for anxiety, but they help your heart and combat against depression. It’s best to get your omega-3s from natural foods such as salmon or tuna.
10. Going Outside
If you’re feeling anxious, the next best thing to do is take a walk in the woods. Japanese researchers found that people who walked around in a forest for 20 minutes lowered their anxiety. Hearing the sounds of a stream, smelling the woods, and looking at nature reduced their hormone levels.
11. Talking to Someone
If you’re suffering from anxiety, sometimes talking to someone can help. Call a friend or a loved one. Or, send an email or text message if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone. When you air out your feelings, it can help relieve stress. It’s important to talk to someone who you can trust and understands you.