Some anxiety is a normal part of life. It makes you aware of danger, motivates you to stay prepared, and helps you calculate risk. However, when anxiety becomes a daily struggle, it’s time to act before it gets out of hand. Unchecked anxiety may greatly impact your quality of life. Below are 10 ways to naturally reduce anxiety and ease stress.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 40 million Americans are affected by anxiety disorders each year. Untreated anxiety can get worse and cause more stress in a person’s life. However, the good news is that anxiety is highly treatable with therapy, natural remedies, lifestyle changes, and medications. If you find that anxiety is beginning to affect your daily life, please consult your doctor to help determine what’s right for you.
I’ve written before about easy tips for stress relief, but below are many safe, drug-free ways to reduce anxiety. Some start working right away, while others may help lessen anxiety over time. Let’s take a look…
Eat a Healthy Diet
What’s going into your system? Dietary choices or a high-sugar diet can impact mood changes in some people. If your anxiety tends to worsen after eating, try checking your eating habits. Are you staying hydrated? To reduce anxiety, eliminate processed foods and make sure you’re eating a healthy diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.
Create Strategies for Time-Management
I don’t know about you, but I often feel anxious if I have too many commitments at once. These commitments may involve family, work, and health-related activities. Try figuring out what you have to do right away and what can wait. A simple “to-do list” can help you break up large projects into smaller tasks and keep you focused on what to do next. Ask for help when you need it, and let go of things that aren’t important.
Alcohol is a natural sedative. You may find a couple of drinks relaxing, but too many can rewire your brain and make you more anxious. A study published by the British Journal of Psychiatry found that abstinence from alcohol is associated with a lower risk of anxiety. To reduce anxiety, avoid alcohol completely or limit your alcohol intake to 1-3 drinks per week.
Regular exercise is good for your physical and emotional health. Plus, it’s a great way to burn off anxious energy. You don’t have to train for the Olympics – a 10-minute bike ride can do the trick just as well as a 30-minute workout. And if you exercise regularly – at least 3 times per week – you’re less likely to feel anxious in the first place.
Get More Sleep
It recharges your brain and boosts your mood and focus, and you’re less likely to be anxious if you get enough of it. Block out 7 to 9 hours every day. To get better sleep, keep your room cool, dark, and quiet and try going to bed at the same time every night. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and large meals before bedtime to make sure you get the rest you need.
Smelling soothing plant oils can help to ease stress and anxiety. That’s why aromatherapy promotes health and well-being by using fragrant essential oils. Simple smells, like rosewater and lavender, come from concentrated oils that may be inhaled directly or added to a warm bath or diffuser. Studies from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health have shown that aromatherapy helps you relax, promotes sleep, boosts mood, and reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.
A main goal of meditation is to remove chaotic thoughts from your mind and replace them with a sense of calm and mindfulness of the present moment. Research from Johns Hopkins suggests 30 minutes of daily meditation may alleviate anxiety symptoms and act as an antidepressant.
If you have chronic anxiety, caffeine is not your friend. It may cause nervousness and jitters, neither of which is good if you’re anxious. In fact, caffeine may cause or worsen anxiety disorders.
Spend More Time Outdoors
Going outside is great for you. Spending time outdoors will give your mood a boost and it can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and stress hormones, which all go up when you’re anxious. Taking a walk is a great way to not only get outside, but to perform some exercise. Or, try going outside to garden. Gardening makes your brain release mood-boosting chemicals that can help calm your anxiety. If you don’t have your own dirt patch, call a local community garden – they’ll be happy for the help!
Drink Chamomile Tea
A cup of chamomile tea is a common home remedy to calm frayed nerves and promote sleep. In one study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to patients taking a placebo.
If you’re feeling anxious, trying the above ideas may help calm you down. While these natural remedies may help ease anxiety, they do not replace professional help. Increased anxiety may require therapy or talking to a doctor about your concerns.