A Natural Approach to Anxiety
Psychotropic drugs and cognitive behavioral therapy are the conventional methods for anxiety treatment. With an estimated one-third of the population suffering from anxiety, there is no doubt that the number of medications is equally high.
It is important to note that anxiety may be caused by a mental condition, a physical condition, the effects of drugs, or a combination of these. Please consult your physician if your anxiety is problematic for you. Anxiety may be a symptom of another medical condition or from medications in use.
There are many natural remedies for situational or occasional anxiety out there that have been proven effective without the adverse side effects associated with conventional medication. These include several changes to diet and lifestyle. Here are some natural, proactive lifestyle changes that can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety:
Avoid Sugary and Processed Foods
Consuming foods with a high glycemic index, like processed and fast foods, can contribute to anxiety and depression. Additionally, sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate wildly, increasing anxiety, nervousness and fatigue.
Eliminate or Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine can both enhance anxiety symptoms by causing tension, moodiness, and the jitters. Reduce anxiety by avoiding alcohol completely, or by limiting your intake to 1–3 drinks per week, with no more than two at a time. Limit coffee or black tea to no more than one cup per day.
Ashwagandha, a powerful herb, is often used as a natural remedy for anxiety, as it helps to stabilize the body’s response to stress. Ashwagandha improves focus, reduces fatigue, and helps to fight anxiety without the attending side effects of anti-anxiety medications.
Kava root is used to treat anxiety by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain, which induces euphoria and a sense of wellbeing. It is a great alternative to anti-anxiety medications because it is non-addictive and non-hypnotic, but still increases positive mood and relaxation. Kava should be taken under the guidance of a health care provider, as it has been known to interact with certain medications.
Because magnesium is a common deficiency in adults, you may consider supplementing as it is great for relaxing muscles and the nervous system.
Lavender is a natural sedative, and it helps reduce anxiety by allowing the body to relax. A simple use is to diffuse lavender oil in your room or simply use a drop on a cotton ball and inhale for a minute or two. If you choose to apply lavender to the skin, it is advised to dilute with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive or jojoba.
Physical activity helps to reduce stress, improve sleep, reduce inflammation, increase energy, and boost confidence. It takes around half an hour of sustained exercise to see the effects on anxiety levels.
Do you suffer from anxiety at certain times of the year or during certain activities? Please share with us some of your suggestions for calm in the comments below. We love hearing from you!
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