When it comes to mental health, anxiety is a common term. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most frequently diagnosed mental disorders Nevertheless, anxiety is a natural feeling that every human will experience.
It is important to note the difference between diagnosable anxiety disorders and the feeling of anxiety.
Anxiety must impact the day-to-day functioning of an individual in order for a diagnosis to be given. Anxiety that limits an individual’s ability to work, socialize or function in society is usually considered a moderate to severe anxiety disorder.
In general, anxiety is a feeling related to fear. It is an adaptive response that allows humans to function in their environment. In other words, anxiety helps to detect threats in the environment. Anxiety may help people respond to stressors or emergencies and overcome challenges.
Some individuals may find themselves in the “subthreshold” area of anxiety. These individuals do not have enough symptoms to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder but may have enough symptoms to interfere with their quality of life.
This article is for anyone with mild to subthreshold anxiety feelings. For help coping with moderate anxiety check out this article: How to Handle Anxiety When it Hits You Out of Nowhere
Overall, anxiety is a natural feeling that may be eased by natural remedies. The following tips with teach you how to stop anxiety feelings with 8 natural remedies.
In the modern world of productivity and busy schedules, anyone can benefit by learning how to stop anxiety feelings. These strategies are designed for people with mild or subthreshold anxiety symptoms who are not diagnosed with anxiety. These natural remedies may aid in relieving feelings of anxiety with minimal side effects.
These techniques may be considered complementary or alternative therapies. They are designed to compliment medical or mental health treatment. Consider your unique medical and mental health profile before attempting any of these strategies.
1. Try Supplements and Herbal Remedies
There is evidence to suggest that natural and herbal remedies can alleviate feelings of anxiety. However, it is has yet to be determined whether the results are due to real effects or the placebo effect.
In a clinical study, supplements containing these ingredients showed promise:
There are other herbs and supplements that have been studied in relation to anxiety. For example, omega-3-fatty acids have also been shown to reduce anxiety in a double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Ashwagandha is another herb that assists with reducing anxiety.
Natural remedies offer relief for individuals with mild anxiety feelings without the harmful side effects of medication. However, be sure to consult with a doctor before taking herbs and supplements to help with anxiety feelings. Keep in mind that some supplements should not be combined with prescription medications.
While herbs and supplements are not a cure-all they may provide assistance as part of an overall treatment plan for anxiety.
2. Find Healing with Nutritious Foods
In addition to herbs and supplements, there are many natural foods that contain anxiety reducing ingredients. Ideally, nutrients are acquired from natural and organic foods.
The following foods help release neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the body (happiness hormones):
- Avocado and almonds contain vitamin-B
- Asparagus helps alleviate anxiety
- Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains containing magnesium promote calm feelings
- Salmon and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which helps relieve depression and anxiety
- Pickles, sauerkraut and kefir contain probiotics, which may help lesson social anxiety
- Beans, berries, nuts and vegetables high in antioxidants may help to relieve feelings of anxiety
- Oysters, cashews, beef and egg yolks contain zinc, which lowers anxiety
3. Practice Yoga or Meditation
Yoga is a natural remedy for anxiety that combines body movements, breathing and mindfulness. There is evidence to suggest that yoga can help calm the stress response, which contributes to feelings of anxiety. Yoga may also help improve the body’s ability to cope with stress. Therefore, yoga offers both short- and long-term natural anxiety relief.
There any many different ways to practice yoga. Some yoga sequences are designed to energize while others are intended to elicit calm. Almost every yoga class is designed to build an awareness around the body and breath. It might be necessary to try a variety of teachers or practices in order to find the right fit.
Additionally, mindfulness meditation is linked with decreased anxiety symptoms after eight weeks of practice. Mindfulness can generally be defined as a practice of present-moment awareness. Any activity that is paired with an awareness on the body and breath may be considered mindfulness.
Similarly, there are many different forms of meditation. For more information on the different types of meditation and how to practice them check out this article: 17 Types of Meditation (Techniques and Basics) To Practice Mindfulness
4. Spend Time In Nature
Spending time outdoors can have a calming effect on the mind and body. For best results, aim to get outdoors for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 days per week.
Here are some of the benefits of spending time in nature:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduced stress
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased immune-system
- Increased self-esteem
- Improved mood
In a study of psychiatric patents, nature was shown to decrease loneliness, increase calm and improve mood. Time spent in nature has also been shown to aid in recovery after surgery and assist with pain reduction.
Ecotherapy is a form of therapy that links the health of the planet to the health of humans. Forms of ecotherapy such as green space and wilderness therapy have been correlated with increased life span and decreased mental disorders. Wilderness therapy has also been shown to assist with anxiety and stress reduction.
While most forms of ecotherapy require the presence of a therapist, nature is also considered a pathway towards healing. In some cases, animals are utilized to assist in the healing process. Overall, nature is an abundant resource that everyone can access to help stop anxiety feelings.
5. Connect with the Five Senses Outdoors
Engaging the five senses outdoors can have a powerful impact on the mood. Engaging the senses is another method for practicing mindfulness. Combing mindfulness and nature will enhance the effects of both.
Looking at nature has been associated with decreased anxiety, stress and heart rate. To connect with this sense, try meditating in a garden, walking around a park or even gazing at plants or the sky.
Engaging with nature sounds or sitting in silence outdoors can reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels. This helps the body enter a state of rest-and-digest, or relaxation. There is even evidence to suggest that simulated nature sounds can aid in relaxation.
Try listening to nature sounds through headphones for a true sensory experience. If possible, walk in a quiet area and take a moment to connect with the sounds of nature.
An interesting phenomenon is something called a forest school. In this setting, children learn and play outdoors. They interact with nature as part of their curriculum, which is thought to aid in confidence, social skills, motivation, focus, and increased motor skills.
The adult version of this is a Japanese healing method called shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. Forest bathing is an immersion in nature, which integrates breathing, mindfulness and walking. It has been associated with improved immune system functioning, increased mood and relaxation, as well as decreased stress.
Thermoception is the practice of engaging with nature through touch. This includes walking barefoot in the grass, noticing the breeze on your skin or wading in a body of water.
Many of us have a habit of mindlessly consuming food. This can be intensified by a busy lifestyle. By practicing mindful consumption, we can develop a greater relationship with nature through food.
Choosing healthy and natural food sources builds the connection between nature and food. For example, eating whole foods like vegetables and fruits can assist in visualizing the origins of our food.
While this is not a direct link to nature, it allows us to practice mindfulness and recognize that nature is our source of energy. Mindful eating is one simple way to integrate mindfulness on a daily basis.
Smell has a big impact on emotions, behavior and thoughts. While there is not enough evidence to conclusively state that smell aids in relaxation, there is a strong correlation between smell and emotions.
Try this Mindfulness Activity:
After focusing on each individual sense, take a moment to mindfully immerse yourself an integrated experience. For example, bring a healthy picnic to a local park. Listen to the birdsong, feel the breeze on your skin, smell the grass or the flowers and taste the fresh food from your picnic. This is a mindfulness.
6. Try Essential Oils
While there is no conclusive evidence to link anxiety reduction and nature smells, there is an alternative with interesting results. Essential oils are created by distilling oils from plants. There is a correlation between the use of essential oils and anxiety, stress and blood pressure.
Different smells trigger different reactions. For example, peppermint is an invigorating scent that has the potential to increase alertness. Jasmine may help to increase memory. Lavender oil shows promise for increasing calm and decreasing depression.
A study of essential oils derived from cedar trees showed an increase in participant NK cells. NK cells are thought to assist in fighting tumors and infections.
Try diffusing oils in your office or home to elicit a feeling of calm. Experiment with different smells and notice your reactions.
7. Spend Time With Animals
Pets can act as a way to bring nature indoors when nature is not readily accessible. Owning a pet or interacting with a friend’s pet can have a range of benefits.
Here are some benefits of owning a pet:
- Higher life satisfaction
- Improved self-esteem
- Increased motivation
- Increased physical activity
- Improved mood
- Decreased loneliness
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased anxiety
Petting an animal is one of the best ways to experience nature through touch. Their fur provides comfort and their presence provides companionship. There is also evidence that pets aid in resilience to stress and frustration.
Pets are being introduced in therapy offices, universities and hospitals to offset anxiety feelings. While research has only started to uncover all the benefits of animal-assisted therapy, any animal lover knows just how beneficial pets can be for mental health.
8. Write Down Your Thoughts
Journaling is a simple strategy with enormous benefits. Journaling helps to cope with anxiety, stress and depression. Journaling can be a great way to develop self-awareness, track patterns and decrease the intensity of emotions. For best results, make a daily habit of writing.
In order to gain the most benefits from journaling, it is important to notice negative or cyclical thinking and attempt to shift the pattern. If you are continually writing down negative thoughts, emotions or behaviors then it may reinforce feelings of anxiety.
Here’s how to stop anxiety feelings with journaling:
- Set aside a portion of time to simply write whatever comes to mind. Allow yourself to brain-dump anything and everything onto the paper. Set a timer between 5-10 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, take a moment to breathe and reflect. Without judgement, notice your thoughts, emotions and sensations. Set a timer between 5-20 minutes for this mindfulness activity.
- Return to the journal with the intention of writing positive thoughts. You may choose to focus on feelings of gratitude, things that are going well or reflect upon times when you overcame anxiety, worry or stress.
Go Easy On Yourself!
Hopefully these tips have helped you discover how to stop anxiety feelings with natural remedies. Nevertheless, anxiety is a natural feeling that everyone will experience in their lifetime. It is designed to keep us safe, respond to stress and develop resilience.
If you struggle with anxiety from time to time these natural remedies may help. However, there is no shame in seeking help in the form of medication, counseling or other forms of therapy.
Featured photo credit: Ricards Zalmezs via unsplash.com
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