How to Handle Your Anxiety Naturally
Everyone gets anxiety from time to time, but if it’s become something of a regular thing or it pops up intensely then it might be worth taking a look at. Luckily you don’t necessarily have to head to the doctor to get treated, there are some simple fixes and simple natural remedies for lowering the occurrence of your anxiety bouts. Here’s how.
This option sounds mild and like something that your mother would say, but there is science to back it up. Some of the chamomile tea can bind to the receptors in the brain in the same way that Valium can, meaning it can actually calm you down. One study found that people with generalized anxiety disorder who took chamomile supplements for 8 weeks saw a reduction in their anxiety when compared to the placebo group who didn’t. (Yes, you can take supplements if sipping on tea isn’t your thing.)
Yes, more tea. Green tea is a source of caffeine which normally can increase your anxiety levels, however it also contains an amino acid that has the opposite effect. L-theanine has been shown to reduce anxiety, and put the breaks on blood pressure and heart rate when they’re threatening to shoot through the roof.
Exercise has been proven to cut down on anxiety and depression both immediately following a workout and over the long run. However, if you are an avid exerciser and border on a compulsive one, you might be hitting the gym too hard. When people work out too much their body creates more of the stress hormone cortisol which can actually raise stress levels. Most people are not in the latter camp though, so don’t use that as an excuse to skip the gym unless you’re doing high intensity exercise for hours a day. For most people it takes about 21 minutes of getting their heart rate up to see a reduction in anxiety.
A lot of us tend to start taking shallow breaths when we get stressed out, and sometimes the act of paying attention and switching to deep belly breaths can ease up some of the tension. There is also a calming breath technique called the 4-7-8 that can instantly reduce anxiety. To do it, breath the air out of your lungs through your mouth, and then breath in through your nose for four counts. Hold the air in for seven seconds, and then slowly exhale it out of your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat whenever you’re on a conference call and feel like your head might spin off.
Interestingly, a lot of people who get anxiety are also the type to skip a healthy breakfast. You know you need to put some fuel in that body besides caffeine, no wonder it’s freaking out. Anxiety can also be linked to low levels of choline, which is conveniently found in eggs. A lot of time when people are having an anxiety attack it is actually because of their blood sugar dropping and the body going into panic mode. Try to eat healthy food at regular intervals throughout the day instead of going too long without snacks, and you might see some of that anxiety disappear with your hunger levels.
About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.