Simple and Effective Ways to Help with Anxiety Naturally
In this day and age, most of us suffer from anxiety at some point in our lives. Here are some simple and effective ways to help you navigate through this period and assist you to take control.
Our diet plays a key role in mental health. The ideal is to eat organic whole foods which have been locally grown for maximum freshness.
Avoid eating when emotionally upset. During a bout of anxiety, the body is flooded with stress hormones which shut down our non essential body systems, including digestion. If anxiety is long term, it is best to eat small meals that are easy to digest such as such as soup and smoothies.
Avoid caffeine as it increases the release of the stress hormone adrenaline, which is already in abundance and responsible for producing symptoms of anxiety. Replace with calming teas such as chamomile, lemon balm or passionflower. We have a beautiful calming tea blend as well as chamomile on it’s own. Find out more about our teas here.
Reduce or avoid alcohol as it is a nervous system depressant. Some people drink alcohol because it seems to ease stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, the good mood is only temporary. In the long run, alcohol is a depressant.
Avoid sugar as it is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. This quick absorption causes an initial high or surge of energy that can wear off quickly, leaving you feeling tired and low. Keep blood sugar levels steady by eating small meals containing protein every few hours. A low Glycemic Index (GI) diet can also help stabilise blood sugar levels.
Choose calming foods such as brown rice, porridge, miso soup, stews, casseroles, soups and baked root vegetables including carrots, parsnips, turnips and sweet potatoes.
Note: The following contains general recommendations, however, it’s important to consult with your health care professional to get the correct remedy and dose for your situation.
Herbs are wonderful at helping with anxiety. Such herbs include: kava, zizyphus, withania, passionflower, magnolia, valerian, hops and lemon balm. It is best to take these daily as a preventative.
Calcium and magnesium are important for healthy nerve conduction. Calcium is vital for steady nerves and magnesium is a muscle relaxant and helps takes the tension out of tight muscles. A good quality supplement, as prescribed by your health care practitioner, should be taken daily.
B vitamins are essential for proper nervous system function. For anxiety, take a good quality multi B vitamin, as prescribed by your health care practitioner, each day.
Essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are essential for healthy nervous system and brain function. A good quality fish oil (or equivalent) should be taken daily to assist nervous system function and reduce inflammation.
Rescue Remedy is a combination of Bach Flowers specifically made for anxiety. Add a few drops into your water and sip regularly when you find yourself in an anxious state.
The tissue salt magnesium phosphoricum (mag. phos.) is good for nervous restlessness and anxiety, whereas Kalium phosphoricum (kali. phos.) helps with mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. These can be dissolved in the mouth or dissolved in hot water and sipped throughout the day.
Anxiety is usually a symptom of severe stress. Often the best way to calm the mind is to access it through the body. If you are a constant worrier, incorporate daily relaxation methods so that your body gradually becomes accustomed to a more relaxed and less anxious state.
Some things that may help:
Deep breathing exercises. Next time you feel anxious, notice your breathing. Shallow breathing decreases carbon dioxide in the blood stream, which in turn can cause feelings of anxiety, fatigue and dizziness. If you are a long term sufferer of anxiety incorporate deep breathing into your daily routine. This can be done for 5 minutes upon waking and before going to sleep.
Aerobic exercise increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for maintaining mood, appetite and sleep. Try to incorporate at least 3 sessions of aerobic exercise into your weekly routine.
Yoga has the ability to calm body and mind. The asana known as child’s pose is especially good for its calming influence. Relax in the child’s pose for at least 3 minutes each day.
Affirmations can be helpful in times of stress and anxiety. Repeat to yourself whatever feels to be right at the time. It could be something like ‘I feel calm, relaxed and happy’.
Written by Peta O’Connor.