Are You Using Natural Remedies for Anxiety?

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by Ross Bailey


How do you deal with anxiety when you live in a world that is constantly buzzing? There’s so much information to read, responsibilities to keep on top of, the latest trending stories to be tweeting about, and there’s just as much anxiety!

In our ever-growing awareness of health consciousness, it is challenging to keep our bodies and minds sharp. This is enough to make anyone anxious… how can anyone stay on top of such a busy life, and keep grounded?

Thankfully, there’s lots of research to help us understand how to deal with anxiety by using natural remedies. Since anxiety can affect anyone, it is important to remember that it is natural to feel your nerves! That being said, your nerves can sometimes get the best of you and so, you may turn to some natural anxiety relief strategies for help. If this is the information you are looking for, keep calm and read on!

woman running in the mountains with her arms in the air

Anxiety affects everyone in varying degrees, but there are natural ways to keep your nerves calm!

What is the definition of anxiety?

Anxiety can be defined as an emotional state that is experienced when an individual does not perceive that they can cope with an upcoming situation that is deemed to be negative (1). It is often considered in conjunction with fear, though anxiety and fear are distinguishable. In contrast to fear, anxiety relates to future experiences where coping strategies are used to mitigate or diffuse an antagonistic scenario, whereas coping strategies for the fear center on using “fight or flight” responses to deal with an immediate threat (2).

The physical symptoms of anxiety can vary in length, strength, frequency, and nature between individuals. It can be experienced through short-term events (acute anxiety) or over long spans of time (chronic anxiety) (3). Panic attacks can occur as one of these short-term events resulting from anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health has provided a concise list of panic attack symptoms that can be triggered or brought on unexpectedly (4):

  • Elevated or heavy heartbeat
  • Irregularities in heartbeat
  • Perspiration
  • Body shakes
  • Shortness of breath
  • The sense of lack of control and/or impending doom

Panic attacks can derive from panic disorder which is a chronic anxiety condition that can linger over long periods of time. Other major chronic anxiety disorders include the following (5):

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Long-term anxiety with pronounced worry and tension regardless of triggers.
  2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Marked by recurrent compulsions that are performed to attempt to prevent unwanted thoughts or obsessions. Anxiety increases if the compulsive behaviors are not performed.
  3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Characterized by anxiety related to triggers that are associated with previously experienced traumatic events such as violence, physical harm, or accidents occurred or threatened.
  4. Social Anxiety Disorder: extreme self-consciousness that can produce intense anxiety related to social interaction or scenarios.

Common symptoms of anxiety, whether acute or chronic can include: headaches; stomach aches; nausea; diarrhea; shortness of breath; changes in heart rate or beat strength; muscular fatigue and shaking; sweating, and frequent urination.

woman getting her back massaged

A massage can release tension, anxiety, and promote healing through improved blood flow.

Natural Remedies for Anxiety

There are a number of natural ways that help to reduce and control anxiety. Here are a few activities, and means of experiencing natural anxiety relief.

Mediation and yoga

Engaging in meditation and yoga can be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. For instance, completing one bout of a 60-minute vinyasa yoga class each week (over 6 weeks) significantly reduced stress and anxiety for students preparing for exams (6). Not only is this a great way to relax, but it is also fun!

Aerobic exercise

Many meta-analyses show that exercise is an effective way to reduce anxiety. High-intensity exercise reduces anxiety to a greater extent than low-intensity exercise, though high-intensity exercise regimens are more likely to be abandoned by participants (7). This can have important implications for practitioners looking to prescribe exercise as a means of reducing anxiety whereby consideration of willingness to exercise can be important for adherence to long-term treatment plans.

Decrease caffeine

High ingestion of caffeine has been shown to increase anxiety (8). In general, enjoying a cup of coffee is a nice way to start the day, though those second, third and fourth cups of coffee can start to add up! Weaning down your daily caffeine intake not just helps with reducing anxiousness but also reduces your reliance on the stimulant itself!

Massage

Who doesn’t like a good massage? Beyond feeling great, massage alone or massage plus the use of reiki (the art of healing through touch) have both been shown to reduce anxiety and stress (9). Why not trade a nice massage with a friend or family member to benefit from this wonderful natural relaxant?

Acupuncture

Literature reviews demonstrate that acupuncture performed by trained professionals can be an effective treatment for anxiety (10). The World Health Organization has even contended that Acupuncture is more effective than traditional medicine and is less likely to create addiction or have other side effects compared to various medications (11). Acupuncture can affect the body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system to help it cope with stress through regulation of factors such as heart rate, the release of the neurochemicals that produce anxiety, and the release of endorphins (what makes you feel good!) to reduce anxiety (12).

Whether you experience short bouts of anxiety, or if you deal or have dealt with it over a long-term basis, it is great to know that you can start to improve your anxiety through completely natural means. Many of the natural remedies for anxiety can be enjoyable and can improve a vast majority of other health-related factors in your life. So don’t worry, be happy!