If you suffer from chronic anxiety, you are not alone. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 30% of people suffer from anxiety disorders. This more recent estimate is well above the 19% reported by the US National Institute for Mental Health in the early 2000s.
Anxiety disorders can interfere with daily life and, in severe cases, become debilitating if left untreated. Fortunately, anxiety is treatable, and there are a wide range of treatment options.
Medication and therapy are two of the most common treatments, but there are also natural remedies for anxiety. In some situations, approaches like exercise, meditation, and other natural remedies for anxiety can address your symptoms.
what is fear
Fear – in small doses – is a normal part of human life. However, it can become a serious problem when used too frequently, intensely, or disconnected from reality. A healthy level of anxiety can help us warn of potential threats and increase our reaction speed. But with an anxiety disorder, people can feelor fear of otherwise mundane matters. In these situations, the brain can no longer function normally. Some of the more common types of anxiety disorders are listed below.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This is the most common type of anxiety disorder. When the onset of anxiety can occur around many different situations or events without a clear connection to one type, it is often categorized as generalized anxiety.
- obsessive compulsive disorder: OCD involves a combination of obsession and compulsion. The compulsions are often rituals or methods to prevent or reduce the intrusion of obsessive thoughts and feelings.
- panic disorder: Panic is similar to anxiety but dramatically increased. A panic episode can feel like a heart attack or other life-threatening event and can be accompanied by an overwhelming sense of fear or dread.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: PTSD is a reaction to a specific traumatic event or series of events. The effects of these events are so extreme that the mind and body can feel them over and over again.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: Many people experience some level of anxiety when engaging in or contemplating social situations. However, it can be a when those feelings are debilitating and recurrent.
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9 natural remedies for anxiety
Although natural remedies for anxiety can be helpful for many people, these are not always enough to help cope with anxiety disorders. If you find that natural remedies aren’t doing enough for your anxiety, you should consider speaking to a medical mental health professional about treating anxiety.
Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant, and anxiety is in many ways a state of sensory overload.
Caffeine intake can affect anxiety in individuals, but the relationship is sometimes complicated. Some research has shown that high caffeine consumption is associated with increased anxiety in men but not in women. However, other cases have shown that low caffeine intake may be associated with a reduction in anxiety experiences.
How caffeine affects your body can vary significantly from person to person. Suppose you notice increased anxiety in the first hour or two after consuming caffeine. If so, you could try consuming less next time and see if that reduces anxiety.
Use aromatherapy to relax
Smell plays a special role in the human body. This sense is more directly connected to the brain than the other senses. Smells allow our brain to gather important information about our surroundings and how we should react to it. For example, in a state of fear, the sense of smell becomes distorted toward detecting threats.
Pleasant, soothing scents can be helpful in breaking this cycle. Removing smells associated with threats and replacing them with smells related to comfort, pleasure, and safety can alleviate anxiety. One study has shown a strong association between inhaling certain scents (rosewater in this case) and reducing anxiety in some patients.
Try herbal tea or supplements
If you suffer from high levels of anxiety, a warm cup of herbal tea can help in more ways than one. The ritual of sitting still and sipping tea, as well as consuming warm liquid can all help calm and soothe the body. Add to this that research has shown some positive associations between drinking some teas and reducing anxiety, and this home remedy for anxiety is starting to look even better.
Studies have selectively shown that herbal tea consumption is associated with a decrease in anxiety experiences. These studies were limited in the scope of the teas used and the demographics involved. However, many of them have provided significant data. One showed that lavender herbal tea could have a powerful anti-anxiety effect in the elderly. Another study is examining the long-term effects of chamomile on generalized anxiety disorder, and preliminary research is promising.
Practice deep breathing
Many therapists and psychologists recommend itto relieve fear and find peace. One benefit of deep (diaphragmatic) breathing is a reduction in the presence of cortisol – the stress hormone – in the body.
One deep breathing technique that has shown great promise is known as box breathing. The core of this technique is to take full breaths and count to four in each phase of breathing. The simple version looks like this: Inhale four times, hold four times, exhale four times, hold four times and repeat the process.
meditation and mindfulness
Both meditation and mindfulness techniques have been shown to reduce anxiety experiences. However, investigating these approaches within a clinical setting has been challenging and further research is needed.
Many people report positive mood and anxiety effects from meditation and mindfulness practices. A meta-study of research on the effects of mindfulness-based therapy has shown a significant correlation between mindfulness practices and a reduction in anxiety. Similarly, a meta-analysis of studies on meditation as a treatment for anxiety showed promising results. In the latter case, however, it has been indicated that while these practices can reduce experiences of anxiety, their clinical impact on a disorder requires further study.
is one of the most recommended home remedies for anxiety. The Mayo Clinic states that exercise can help by releasing endorphins, engaging your mind, boosting confidence, and promoting social interactions.
While you don’t technically have to exercise every day, it’s recommended that you maintain five days a week. Less exercise can still have benefits for anxiety, but is likely to be less pronounced.
Use journaling to process things
Journaling is a technique that has long been used to help manage anxiety. When it comes to anxiety, the mind often fails to process emotions and events in a healthy and coherent manner. Recording these feelings and events can help the brain slow down and process each component. While journaling initially sharpens emotions, it can also help achieve resolution and catharsis.
Regular journaling can help reduce or prevent increased anxiety, although the effects vary from person to person. Some studies have attempted to bring journaling into the digital age and have tested online journaling with positive effects. Like other studies of journaling as an anxiety-coping mechanism, the online PAJ study found that after sufficient time using the technique, people reported some improvement in symptoms.
Recent studies and trends have looked at CBD, a cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants, as a treatment for anxiety. A limited meta-analysis of this research has found that CBD may be a helpful tool in treating anxiety. However, more studies are needed to understand what disorders and under what circumstances CBD would be a viable treatment.
Partly due to the legal status of CBD and the plant it is derived from, quality research has been limited. As the market and legislation stabilize (CBD can be derived from hemp, now legal federally), more research will be done. Until then, the use of CBD for anxiety is likely to be controversial among medical professionals. Ultimately, more clinical studies are needed to determine the benefits and potential side effects of CBD products.
Sleep with a weighted blanket
Studies have shown that using weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety. Research in this area has been limited, and more studies are needed before weighted blankets become a clinically accepted remedy for anxiety. But for most people, there is little to no risk in trying weighted blankets to help with anxiety. The feeling of lying under these blankets can resemble a hug.
The final result
While treating chronic and severe anxiety often requires the help of a doctor, many everyday anxiety symptoms can be somewhat relieved with natural anxiety remedies. If you still have chronic or severe symptoms despite using home remedies for anxiety, talk to a doctor (likely apsychologist or ) to discuss plans for treating anxiety. Although they often focus on counseling and medication, many of these plans can include natural remedies for anxiety.
For more mental health advice, seeplus .
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.