Living with anxiety is often a daily struggle. Long-term, chronic anxiety can lead to many other health issues. While many doctors prescribe medication for anxiety, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet may serve as natural anxiety remedies.
If you’re struggling to pinpoint a cause for your anxiety, it’s worth seeking out a mental health professional. They’ll know what questions to ask and may diagnose you with a generalized anxiety disorder.
This is nothing to be afraid of, however; anxiety, even as a disorder, is an extremely common occurrence. If a doctor does diagnose you with an anxiety disorder, it’s worth asking them if you can skip medications as many anxiety relief pills come with a whole host of side effects. Depending on your symptoms’ severity, your doctor will likely have no problem with you giving one of these natural stress relief techniques a try.
Try these 10 natural anxiety remedies:
Ashwagandha is an herb that can be used as a natural remedy for a panic attack. It has the ability to stabilize the body’s response to stress. Ashwagandha improves anxiety symptoms by destroying free radicals in the brain. It can help improve focus, reduce fatigue and ease feelings of anxiety, making it one of the most effective anxiety remedies on this list.
2. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
An excessive amount of alcohol or caffeine can increase symptoms of anxiety, including nervousness and mood swings (1). To reduce anxiety symptoms, limit coffee and black tea to no more than one cup per day, and limit alcohol to 1-3 drinks per week and no more than two at a time.
Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption in particular. While alcohol can make you feel more relaxed and even happier in the short term, in the long term it actually has a depressing effect. As such, it can exacerbate any anxious feelings you have.
In fact, if you drink frequently, you may be surprised at how much your anxiety decreases when you scale back your alcohol consumption a bit.
3. Kava Root
Kava root can be used as a natural anxiety supplement. It works by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain to produce a feeling of euphoria, which improves mood and reduces anxiety. Kava root can produce mild side effects, so be sure to speak with a medical professional before you begin using it, particularly if you’re taking any other medications.
Many adults are magnesium-deficient. Magnesium helps the muscles relax and calms the nervous system. A deficiency can contribute to anxiety. Take a magnesium supplement or add magnesium-rich foods to your diet to boost your intake.
If your anxiety is making it difficult for you to sleep, you may also find that taking magnesium alleviates that problem. Again, be sure to speak with a medical professional before taking a magnesium supplement as going overboard can cause some unpleasant side effects.
You may also find that magnesium’s sleep-enhancing effects wear off after a while, once your body has built up a healthy store of the nutrient. When that happens, you can consider stopping with the supplement for a couple weeks and then resuming.
5. Lavender Oil
Studies have shown that lavender oil can work as a natural remedy for anxiety. Researchers found the essential oil to be just as effective as benzodiazepine, an anti-anxiety medication (2). Put 3 drops of lavender oil in your palm and rub the oil on your neck, wrists and temples for anxiety relief.
Be sure to dilute the essential oil before using it. Putting an un-diluted essential oil on your skin can cause an allergic reaction as un-diluted oil is really strong! The essential oil manufacturer you choose should have specific instructions for diluting their product based on its strength.
Generally, though, you’ll want to create a mixture that is no more than 12% essential oil. The rest should be your base oil.
Another option when using essential oils is to place the oil in a diffuser. This will allow the oil’s scent to spread throughout your living area. You can even combine the two – placing the oil mixture on your skin and using a diffuser!
The entire body benefits from regular physical activity, including the brain. Exercise helps improve sleep quality, improve energy levels and reduce stress. Whether you prefer yoga, swimming, hiking or another form of exercise, staying active can help reduce anxiety levels.
Exercise can also be a great way to relieve some of the tension you feel throughout the day. If your anxiety is rooted in low self-esteem, exercise will also help you in the long term due to the positive changes you’ll notice in your body.
For even better results, try exercising outside. That way, you’ll also receive the incredible benefits that come from being outdoors!
7. Roman Chamomile
Roman chamomile essential oil has a mild sedative effect. It can help calm nerves and reduce anxiety. The scent of roman chamomile essential oil also helps the brain fight off symptoms of anxiety.
8. Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods
Processed foods full of sugar and artificial ingredients can contribute to anxiety and depression. A diet full of sugar can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate throughout the day, increasing anxiety, nervousness and fatigue. Skip processed foods and fast foods and stick to whole foods instead.
You’ll feel better overall and, as a perk, you’ll find that you’re even more motivated to get out and exercise when you replace processed foods with healthier, natural options that don’t make you feel sluggish like a big burger will.
Gamma aminobutyric acid or GABA is an amino acid that is responsible for decreasing anxiety and relaxing the muscles (3). It can be used to relieve insomnia, stabilize blood pressure and reduce anxiety. You can find GABA supplements in your local health food store.
10. Vitamin B Complex
B vitamins play an important role in combating stress and regulating mood. Vitamin B6 helps boost mood and balance blood sugar levels, which naturally decreases anxiety. Vitamin B12 can also help the body fight stress, depression and other mood disorders. Take a Vitamin B supplement or add foods rich in Vitamin B to your diet.