Natural Ways to Relieve Anxiety
In this fast paced, over stimulated and stressed out environment, anxiety and depression continue to impact the masses. Anxiety can show itself in many forms and can affect people differently. As these numbers rise, anxiety disorders are becoming one of the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older.
Common symptoms of an anxiety disorder include excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. This can often lead to sudden feelings of anxiety and even progress into panic attacks. Here are few more common symptoms of anxiety:
· Excessive Worrying
· Feeling nervous or restlessness
· Increased heart rate and sweating
· Difficulty Concentrating
· Tense Muscles
· Trouble Falling or Staying Asleep
· Avoiding Social outings
While there are prescription treatments available when consulting with a doctor, there are many natural steps one can take to help reduce feelings of anxiety and improve their overall wellbeing.
1. Eating a healthy diet
Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Adding protein to your morning routine can help you feel fuller longer and maintain a steady blood sugar. A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option and stay away from foods that contain simple carbohydrates, such as sugary foods and drinks. Research also indicates that foods naturally rich in magnesium may help a person to feel calmer, so add leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard to your diet.
There are also many studies examining the gut-brain relationship as a large percentage (about 95%) of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. Research is examining the potential of probiotics for treating both anxiety and depression, but because of the gut-brain relationship, if you’re gut is unhealthy, then it directly affects your brain. When gut health is good, then anxiety, brain fog, and depression diminish.
2. Regular exercise
Regular exercise can help burn off anxious energy as well as help produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. It can also decrease overall levels of tension improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Even just five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
3. Get some sunshine.
Naturally increase your vitamin D levels with extra time in the sun. A short 15-minute break of sunlight can decrease symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. Sunlight triggers your brain to release serotonin which is associated with boosting your mood. If you’re stuck inside or live in an urban area find a local parks or quiet street to take a walk.
4. Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol
It is also important to drink enough water to stay hydrated and limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine. If you are dehydrated, you can become overly stressed and edgy. All organs need water, including our brain, so be sure to get the recommended eight 8 oz glasses a day.
5. Practice deep breathing – Use Apps
Another great technique to downgrade anxiety is to focus on slow, steady breathing. This process takes the body out of the fight or flight and anxiety feeling into a more relaxed state. Thanks to smartphones we have access to a variety of apps that offer breathing techniques. Here are a few popular breathing apps for IOS or Androids:
· Prana Breath: Calm & Meditate
· Calm (my favorite)
· Stop, Breathe & Think
Acupuncture is a natural way to treat anxiety, and it does so quickly, effectively, and powerfully. Acupuncture works by switching the nervous system out of its tense and anxious (sympathetic/flight or fight) state and back onto the calm, focused, and relaxed (parasympathetic/rest and digest) state. By receiving regular acupuncture sessions (1-2 times weekly), then the body begins to “remember” what is normal, which is the calm and focused state. Acupuncture leaves the body and mind calm and relaxed, easing muscle tension, regulating heart rate, and triggering the release of the body’s feel good potion of endorphins.