Anxiety is something we all experience to varying degrees. Everything from financial problems, stress on the job, and even hormonal imbalances can bring on bouts of anxiety. Prescription medication, while often effective, can be expensive, addictive, or even interact with food or other medication. There are natural alternatives that can help ease the discomfort of anxiety. For mild to moderate anxiety you may want to consider one of the following options.
1. Herbal Teas
There are many herbs that are safe, gentle on the stomach, and effective for mild anxiety. Chamomile, lavender, catnip, and passion flower are but a few herbs that bring about a sense of calm and relaxation. Chamomile is sometimes in tea as the sole ingredient, while others, such as lavender and catnip, are usually mixed with a combination of herbs. Chamomile may also be purchased in liquid form.
If you remember your grandmother telling you that warm milk before bed will help with sleep problems, she was right. But cold milk, right out of the refrigerator, can work just as well. Tryptophan is the ingredient in milk that induces drowsiness. Aside from getting a dose of this in foods we eat, L-Tryptophan can be purchased as a dietary supplement. Calcium and Magnesium, which are present in milk, also have natural sedative properties.
3. Listen To Music
Whether music can tame the savage beast or not is still up for debate, but it can calm humans. There’s even research behind this phenomenon. University studies support the idea that listening to classical music can lower blood pressure. So next time you’re anxious or experiencing excessive amounts of stress, slip on the headphones and listen to some classical music. Some studies have even suggested that listening to music can lessen postoperative pain.
Even if you don’t exercise long enough to achieve the “runner’s high” a moderate amount can still reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise releases chemicals such as endorphins that create a sense of well-being. It also increases body temperature, bringing about a sense of calm. It’s suggested that at least 21 minutes of exercise is needed to reap the benefits of relaxation. These effects can carry over for several hours after the work-out is done.
5. Divert Your Brain
Completely focusing on something else while you’re experiencing anxiety can work wonders. Going through the multiplication tables can cause enough of a distraction to take your mind off your fears, yet it’s not something that should take an overwhelming amount of concentration.
There’s a reason you drop like a brick on the couch after consuming Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey contains L-Tryptophan which can be metabolized into serotonin, which in turn brings about a calming effect. The truth is, however, most protein rich foods will cause a certain amount of drowsiness and calm. For calming jitters before an important afternoon meeting, the perfect lunch would consist of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat and a glass of milk or Chamomile tea.
7. Deep Breathing
You’ve heard this a thousand times before and it seems so simplistic, but it does help. Whenever people get nervous their breathing and heart rate increases. Taking a few deep breathes and holding them for a second before releasing will help lower breathing and heart rates. Make sure to breath in slowly, pulling the air deep into your belly. Then release the air just as slowly.