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Published on March 17, 2021

How to Stop Anxiety Feelings (8 Natural Remedies)

How to Stop Anxiety Feelings (8 Natural Remedies)

When it comes to mental health, anxiety is a common term. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most frequently diagnosed mental disorders[1] Nevertheless, anxiety is a natural feeling that every human will experience.

It is important to note the difference between diagnosable anxiety disorders and the feeling of anxiety.

Anxiety must impact the day-to-day functioning of an individual in order for a diagnosis to be given. Anxiety that limits an individual’s ability to work, socialize or function in society is usually considered a moderate to severe anxiety disorder.

In general, anxiety is a feeling related to fear. It is an adaptive response that allows humans to function in their environment.[2] In other words, anxiety helps to detect threats in the environment. Anxiety may help people respond to stressors or emergencies and overcome challenges.

Some individuals may find themselves in the “subthreshold” area of anxiety. These individuals do not have enough symptoms to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder but may have enough symptoms to interfere with their quality of life.[3]

This article is for anyone with mild to subthreshold anxiety feelings. For help coping with moderate anxiety check out this article: How to Handle Anxiety When it Hits You Out of Nowhere

Overall, anxiety is a natural feeling that may be eased by natural remedies. The following tips with teach you how to stop anxiety feelings with 8 natural remedies.

In the modern world of productivity and busy schedules, anyone can benefit by learning how to stop anxiety feelings. These strategies are designed for people with mild or subthreshold anxiety symptoms who are not diagnosed with anxiety. These natural remedies may aid in relieving feelings of anxiety with minimal side effects.

These techniques may be considered complementary or alternative therapies. They are designed to compliment medical or mental health treatment. Consider your unique medical and mental health profile before attempting any of these strategies.

1. Try Supplements and Herbal Remedies

There is evidence to suggest that natural and herbal remedies can alleviate feelings of anxiety. However, it is has yet to be determined whether the results are due to real effects or the placebo effect.[4]

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In a clinical study, supplements containing these ingredients showed promise:

  • Passionflower
  • Kava
  • L-lysine
  • L-arginine
  • Magnesium

There are other herbs and supplements that have been studied in relation to anxiety. For example, omega-3-fatty acids have also been shown to reduce anxiety in a double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Ashwagandha is another herb that assists with reducing anxiety.[5]

Natural remedies offer relief for individuals with mild anxiety feelings without the harmful side effects of medication. However, be sure to consult with a doctor before taking herbs and supplements to help with anxiety feelings. Keep in mind that some supplements should not be combined with prescription medications.[6]

While herbs and supplements are not a cure-all they may provide assistance as part of an overall treatment plan for anxiety.

2. Find Healing with Nutritious Foods

In addition to herbs and supplements, there are many natural foods that contain anxiety reducing ingredients. Ideally, nutrients are acquired from natural and organic foods.

The following foods help release neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the body (happiness hormones):

  • Avocado and almonds contain vitamin-B
  • Asparagus helps alleviate anxiety
  • Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains containing magnesium promote calm feelings
  • Salmon and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which helps relieve depression and anxiety
  • Pickles, sauerkraut and kefir contain probiotics, which may help lesson social anxiety
  • Beans, berries, nuts and vegetables high in antioxidants may help to relieve feelings of anxiety
  • Oysters, cashews, beef and egg yolks contain zinc, which lowers anxiety[7]

3. Practice Yoga or Meditation

Yoga is a natural remedy for anxiety that combines body movements, breathing and mindfulness. There is evidence to suggest that yoga can help calm the stress response, which contributes to feelings of anxiety. Yoga may also help improve the body’s ability to cope with stress. Therefore, yoga offers both short- and long-term natural anxiety relief.[8]

There any many different ways to practice yoga. Some yoga sequences are designed to energize while others are intended to elicit calm. Almost every yoga class is designed to build an awareness around the body and breath. It might be necessary to try a variety of teachers or practices in order to find the right fit.

Additionally, mindfulness meditation is linked with decreased anxiety symptoms after eight weeks of practice. Mindfulness can generally be defined as a practice of present-moment awareness. Any activity that is paired with an awareness on the body and breath may be considered mindfulness.

Similarly, there are many different forms of meditation. For more information on the different types of meditation and how to practice them check out this article: 17 Types of Meditation (Techniques and Basics) To Practice Mindfulness

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4. Spend Time In Nature

Spending time outdoors can have a calming effect on the mind and body. For best results, aim to get outdoors for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 days per week.[9]

Here are some of the benefits of spending time in nature:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Increased immune-system
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved mood

In a study of psychiatric patents, nature was shown to decrease loneliness, increase calm and improve mood.[10] Time spent in nature has also been shown to aid in recovery after surgery and assist with pain reduction.[11]

Ecotherapy is a form of therapy that links the health of the planet to the health of humans. Forms of ecotherapy such as green space and wilderness therapy have been correlated with increased life span and decreased mental disorders. Wilderness therapy has also been shown to assist with anxiety and stress reduction.

While most forms of ecotherapy require the presence of a therapist, nature is also considered a pathway towards healing. In some cases, animals are utilized to assist in the healing process. Overall, nature is an abundant resource that everyone can access to help stop anxiety feelings.

5. Connect with the Five Senses Outdoors

Engaging the five senses outdoors can have a powerful impact on the mood. Engaging the senses is another method for practicing mindfulness. Combing mindfulness and nature will enhance the effects of both.[12]

Sight

Looking at nature has been associated with decreased anxiety, stress and heart rate. To connect with this sense, try meditating in a garden, walking around a park or even gazing at plants or the sky.

Sound

Engaging with nature sounds or sitting in silence outdoors can reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels. This helps the body enter a state of rest-and-digest, or relaxation. There is even evidence to suggest that simulated nature sounds can aid in relaxation.

Try listening to nature sounds through headphones for a true sensory experience. If possible, walk in a quiet area and take a moment to connect with the sounds of nature.

Touch

An interesting phenomenon is something called a forest school. In this setting, children learn and play outdoors. They interact with nature as part of their curriculum, which is thought to aid in confidence, social skills, motivation, focus, and increased motor skills.

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The adult version of this is a Japanese healing method called shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. Forest bathing is an immersion in nature, which integrates breathing, mindfulness and walking. It has been associated with improved immune system functioning, increased mood and relaxation, as well as decreased stress.[13]

Thermoception is the practice of engaging with nature through touch. This includes walking barefoot in the grass, noticing the breeze on your skin or wading in a body of water.

Taste

Many of us have a habit of mindlessly consuming food. This can be intensified by a busy lifestyle. By practicing mindful consumption, we can develop a greater relationship with nature through food.

Choosing healthy and natural food sources builds the connection between nature and food. For example, eating whole foods like vegetables and fruits can assist in visualizing the origins of our food.

While this is not a direct link to nature, it allows us to practice mindfulness and recognize that nature is our source of energy. Mindful eating is one simple way to integrate mindfulness on a daily basis.

Smell

Smell has a big impact on emotions, behavior and thoughts. While there is not enough evidence to conclusively state that smell aids in relaxation, there is a strong correlation between smell and emotions.

Try this Mindfulness Activity:

After focusing on each individual sense, take a moment to mindfully immerse yourself an integrated experience. For example, bring a healthy picnic to a local park. Listen to the birdsong, feel the breeze on your skin, smell the grass or the flowers and taste the fresh food from your picnic. This is a mindfulness.

6. Try Essential Oils

While there is no conclusive evidence to link anxiety reduction and nature smells, there is an alternative with interesting results. Essential oils are created by distilling oils from plants. There is a correlation between the use of essential oils and anxiety, stress and blood pressure.

Different smells trigger different reactions. For example, peppermint is an invigorating scent that has the potential to increase alertness. Jasmine may help to increase memory. Lavender oil shows promise for increasing calm and decreasing depression.[14]

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A study of essential oils derived from cedar trees showed an increase in participant NK cells. NK cells are thought to assist in fighting tumors and infections.

Try diffusing oils in your office or home to elicit a feeling of calm. Experiment with different smells and notice your reactions.

7. Spend Time With Animals

Pets can act as a way to bring nature indoors when nature is not readily accessible. Owning a pet or interacting with a friend’s pet can have a range of benefits.

Here are some benefits of owning a pet:

  • Higher life satisfaction
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased physical activity
  • Improved mood
  • Decreased loneliness
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased anxiety[15]

Petting an animal is one of the best ways to experience nature through touch. Their fur provides comfort and their presence provides companionship. There is also evidence that pets aid in resilience to stress and frustration.

Pets are being introduced in therapy offices, universities and hospitals to offset anxiety feelings. While research has only started to uncover all the benefits of animal-assisted therapy, any animal lover knows just how beneficial pets can be for mental health.

8. Write Down Your Thoughts

Journaling is a simple strategy with enormous benefits. Journaling helps to cope with anxiety, stress and depression. Journaling can be a great way to develop self-awareness, track patterns and decrease the intensity of emotions. For best results, make a daily habit of writing.[16]

In order to gain the most benefits from journaling, it is important to notice negative or cyclical thinking and attempt to shift the pattern. If you are continually writing down negative thoughts, emotions or behaviors then it may reinforce feelings of anxiety.

Here’s how to stop anxiety feelings with journaling:

  1. Set aside a portion of time to simply write whatever comes to mind. Allow yourself to brain-dump anything and everything onto the paper. Set a timer between 5-10 minutes.
  2. Once the timer goes off, take a moment to breathe and reflect. Without judgement, notice your thoughts, emotions and sensations. Set a timer between 5-20 minutes for this mindfulness activity.
  3. Return to the journal with the intention of writing positive thoughts. You may choose to focus on feelings of gratitude, things that are going well or reflect upon times when you overcame anxiety, worry or stress.

Go Easy On Yourself!

Hopefully these tips have helped you discover how to stop anxiety feelings with natural remedies. Nevertheless, anxiety is a natural feeling that everyone will experience in their lifetime. It is designed to keep us safe, respond to stress and develop resilience.

If you struggle with anxiety from time to time these natural remedies may help. However, there is no shame in seeking help in the form of medication, counseling or other forms of therapy.

More Tips on Coping With Anxiety

Featured photo credit: Ricards Zalmezs via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Olivia Schnur

Olivia is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Registered Yoga Teacher. She writes about healing, health and happiness.

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Published on May 3, 2021

How To Get Over Anxiety: 5 Professional Tips

How To Get Over Anxiety: 5 Professional Tips

Anxiety is killing our mental energy. It is, after all, the leading mental health issue in our society today.  In 2017 alone, more than 284 million people experienced anxiety across the globe, making it the most prevalent mental health disorder globally.[1]

If you are asking the question, “how do I get over my anxiety?”, then this article is for you. I’ve put together a list of my top strategies to help you get over your anxiety. These are the same strategies that have worked for many of my clients over the years, and I think they can work for you too!

Anxiety is, in general terms, as uneasiness or nervousness about an undetermined outcome. Sometimes, this worry and uneasiness is quite excessive and goes from something that we can manage on our own to something for which we need professional help.  If your worry or apprehension includes panic attacks or compulsive behaviors, consider reaching out to a therapist or a doctor for more professional help.

I like to think of anxiety as information—a sign that something is off in your life. It could be a global pandemic, a challenge at work, instability in relationships, or the sign of a larger mental health issue.  Whatever it is, it’s good to think this through and be asking the questions that will help you uncover the parts of your life that could use some adjusting.

Again, consulting with a therapist or counselor, even just for a brief period of time, can help decipher some of these questions for you.  And if you want to give it a go on your own, well that takes us to the first of my five tips on how to get over anxiety.

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Here are 5 tips on how to get over anxiety and live a more fulfilling life.

1. The Mighty Journal

You will be amazed by the power of journaling—the path of self-discovery it can lead you down. The best part of journaling is that there is no right or wrong here. It is a private place where you can work through the stuff in your head and figure some things out.

There are lots of formats for journaling, and I have personally changed my own approach several times depending on what was going on and what I was looking for.  It could be that narrative of your day or bullets with highlights or thoughts of the day.

To make the most out of your journaling I would encourage you to push yourself and go beyond a recount of the day’s events. What you really want here is to get into your thought process and understand the feelings behind the thoughts. Timelines can also be a great way to gain some understanding of relationships and the different events in your life. Again, it is a matter of what works for you.

The pen truly is mightier than. . . the meds?!? My own little psych-mashup.

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2. Schedule Your Self-Care Time

What are the ways you treat yourself? Life is busy and when life demands increase, self-care is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside. But it is critical that you build in your “you time” because when stress levels increase, so will anxiety.

If self-care is not something that you are accustomed to thinking about, I listed some ideas for you to consider.  Keep in mind that if you schedule it with someone else, it might help with accountability.

Think about working smaller chunks of time into the workweek and then something a little more extensive on the weekend, like a hike, excursion, creative home project, or even the occasional weekend away.

Self-care ideas:[2]

  • Take your lunchtime away from your desk, and get outside for a walk or join a colleague for some casual chitchat.
  • Schedule a massage or trip to the spa/salon.
  • Watch a favorite movie or TV show, either on your own or with your favorite person/people.
  • Work out, inside or out—anything that gets your heart rate up.
  • Go on an evening or afternoon walk.
  • Tap into your creative outlet, break out that knitting, woodwork, artwork, or instrument.
  • Dance, at home with your kids, partner, or on your own.  Play your favorite tunes and do your thing!

You can also try these 40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself.

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3. Listen to Your Music

Music speaks to our soul. It is a go-to for many of us when in need of a pick-me-up or just blowing off some steam. But sometimes, life gets busy, and we don’t incorporate it into our life the way we once did—finding ourselves in a music deficient rut, listening to the same boring stuff on the radio.

Let this be a reminder to explore the new music out there. Streaming services have revolutionized our access to music and have made it easier than ever before. Explore it and find your jam.

Additionally, music therapy is a growing form of therapy built on the research that it helps decrease pain, blood pressure, and—you guessed it—anxiety while also increasing mood, healing, and overall positivity.[3]

Medical Doctors are using it more and more in operating rooms and incorporating it into their practices. If you subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music, you can just type in “relaxing music” and you will be sure to find something that will do the trick, bringing calm and focus into your life.  In my research for this article, I came across some great ones., and they are now a part of my daily rotation.

4. The Five Senses Exercise

When we experience heightened anxiety, I think of it as the physical energy rising from our feet to our head like a thermometer. Sometimes, this energy can even bring us to a place where we feel disconnected from our bodies. The 5 senses exercise will help you reconnect yourself to your body and bring your anxiety levels down to a more manageable level.

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The 5 senses exercise is a mindfulness exercise where you connect your 5 senses to your present environment. This is a great way to ground yourself and bring your attention and your energy to the here and now.  What I love about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere and at any time. If you start to feel your anxiety creep up, this could be a good strategy to center yourself and possibly ward off a panic attack or prolonged anxiety.

The process is simple:

  1. Start by taking a few deep breathes, inhaling as you count to 3, and then exhaling as you count to 3.
  2. Next, identify 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch and feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
  3. Take it in, give yourself a few minutes.
  4. Repeat if needed, and carry on.

5. Mindset Matters

This last one is a big one. A lot of times, anxiety waxes and wanes with how we think about something. Be mindful of your negative self-talk, keeping it in check and working to incorporate perspective. If you know that you are headed into something challenging, prepare yourself for it mentally and allow yourself to be ok with the challenge. After all, the challenge helps us grow and develop.

Also, remember that life is full of choices—granted the options in front of us may be less than ideal, but remember that they are there.  Incorporating some of these above strategies could be one of the first choices you make to create change in your life and get a hold of the anxiety

A quick easy way to get some perspective is to acknowledge the things that you are grateful for (this is also a mindfulness practice).  The gratitude journal is one way to do this where you write down three to five things that you are grateful for every day. Try it out for a week or so and see how you feel. Of course, the more time you practice this, the more you will feel the benefits.

Summing It Up

Anxiety is something that we all experience from time to time, working to identify the source of your anxiety will help you discover the best strategies for you. However, there are some definite best practices that you can incorporate into your life that are sure to minimize your anxiety and keep you living the active and fulfilling life you want.

More Tips on Coping With Anxiety

Featured photo credit: Fernando @cferdo via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Our World in Data: Mental Health
[2] NCBI: Social Anxiety Disorder: Recognition, Assessment, and Treatment
[3] Harvard Health Publishing: How music can help you heal

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