We all face anxiety on occasion, like before making an important presentation at work, attending a job interview, or waiting for test results. You’ll recognize an increase in your heart rate and breathing rate, as your body prepares to deal with a potential threat. This resolves pretty quickly, though, once the threat passes.
For some people, chronic anxiety can be a debilitating condition that not only impacts mental health, but physical health as well. Frequent anxiety can lead to issues with family, career, and social responsibilities – as well as dealing with the constant presence of your body’s “fight or flight” response.
Fortunately, there are some natural ways you can deal with the symptoms of anxiety to reduce the impact this disorder might have on your life. The nervousness, irritability, fatigue, and rapid heartbeat you might experience can be lessened, allowing you to better handle the feeling of worry that often generates this response.
- Try aromatherapy.
Certain aromas have proven to alleviate many of the debilitating symptoms of anxiety, including chamomile, lavender, and vanilla. You can mix these essential oils with a carrier oil for an extra-soothing massage, add some to your bath water for an indulgent soak, or even just put a couple of drops on your pillow to get a more restful sleep.
There are tons of other essential oils that have healing properties to help with symptoms of anxiety and depression, so find one that works for you. Be sure to purchase pure, therapeutic grade oils to ensure maximum anxiety-fighting relief and effective aromatherapy.
- Breathe in some steam.
Spending time in a sauna or steam shower is a great way to relax both your body and your mind. The heat and moisture work together to soothe tense muscles, boost circulation, and even regulate breathing – allowing your body’s systems to function efficiently and effectively. You’ll notice an almost immediate feeling of relief, and if you use a steam shower regularly, you’ll see lasting results.
Check if you can access a steam shower or a sauna at a local gym or spa, or consider installing one in your own home. You can also use a bowl of hot water and a towel for a quick fix.
- Get moving.
Research proves all you need is twenty minutes of exercise to reduce troublesome anxiety symptoms – thanks to the feel-good endorphins your body will generate once you get off the couch and move around a bit. Raising the temperature of your body can also stimulate your brain to release serotonin, which helps to boost your mood and alleviate anxiety.
If you can, try to get outside for a bit of a workout. Not only will you benefit from the exercise, increasing your vitamin D levels is a great way to lower anxiety symptoms – and being around nature can help reduce stress.
- Check your diet.
Symptoms of anxiety can be triggered by some foods – including caffeine, alcohol, and added sugars. Try to avoid processed foods and fried foods as much as you can, and limit your intake of coffee and alcohol. Switch your second cup of coffee for a cup of herbal tea, which has less caffeine and will actually help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Also, be sure you’re eating when you need to. If you let yourself get too hungry, your blood sugar will drop – leading to a potential anxiety attack. Instead, eat something small every three to four hours.
You can also add some foods to your diet to benefit from the calming effect they will have on your mind and body. Blueberries, peaches, whole grains, oats, avocados, eggs, oranges, and leafy greens are some of the key foods you should consider eating more of to enjoy their anxiety-fighting properties. And instead of eating sugary desserts, opt for a piece of dark chocolate – which not only tastes great, but also helps to lower cortisol levels.
There are plenty of pharmaceutical options to address a chronic anxiety disorder, but these natural treatments will allow you to deal with your anxiety without having to depend on medication. If your anxiety continues or gets worse, you may need to consider talking about it with a health care professional. There may be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.
This article was written by Sam Socorro from Clearwells. She has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.