Can anxiety only be treated by psychiatry drugs? Is treating anxiety disorders naturally a possibility? Let’s find out.
Anxiety disorders can have a huge negative impact on a person’s day to day activities and relationships. But it doesn’t have to. Treating anxiety disorders naturally is an option for those who are in the initial stages of anxiety disorders. You want to turn your life around for the better. Then the time to start is NOW.
Anxiety is a part and parcel of our everyday life. Feeling a certain amount of uncertainty or unease during stressful situations like giving a presentation, meeting new people or taking a test is normal. In some cases like when faced with danger, anxiety is a good thing. It motivates us to get prepared and induces a fight or flight response which can be very essential in life threatening situations.
Unfortunately, for some people anxiety occurs more frequently than is normal. They experience anxiety issues almost on a day to day basis. Anxiety disorders like panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or phobias can have a huge impact on a person’s day to day activities. Anxiety can cripple a person from inside, leaving him or her unable to engage in any activities which the person likes or favors.
Dealing with anxiety is very stressful. However, it is manageable. Most people suffering from anxiety find some relief with treatment. Some people have been observed to get benefit by taking medications while others have found success by the use of natural remedies. Here, I describe 22 actionable techniques you can undertake as part of treating anxiety disorders naturally.
What are the options for treating anxiety disorders naturally?
Treating anxiety disorders naturally involves natural medicine and therapy. These are not the commercial or conventional medicines like the ones which you would get from a doctor or health practitioner. Natural remedies mostly include activities like aroma therapy, herbs and performing exercises which would promote relaxation.
People have also benefited from using natural remedies for anxiety along with the conventional treatments.
The first herb used in treating anxiety disorders naturally is chamomile.
The study also observed that the intake of chamomile didn’t cause weight gain which has been observed to occur with other traditional anti-anxiety medicines. However, the researchers have mentioned that more work needs to be done to further understand the benefit of chamomile as an anxiety home remedy.
Omega-3 fatty acid have been observed to be one of the best options when it comes to dealing with anxiety at home. A research article posted in JAMA Network Open journal in the year 2018 studied the potential benefits of omega-3 acids as an anxiety home remedy option.
Just like chamomile, in case of omega 3 too, more study needs to be conducted to confirm the benefits. However, the researchers did observe that omega-3 had a positive effect on people suffering from anxiety and with more studies it can possibly be recommended as an anxiety home remedy.
Omega-3 can be found in various sources like canned fatty fishes (salmon and tuna), flaxseeds as well as walnuts.
This is one of the treatments for anxiety which you probably have already heard of. Lavender oil as a part of the anxiety home remedy has already been in use for a while now. The 2016 issue of The Mental Health Commission journal states that lavender oil has shown to have a favorable efficacy and safety profile. Therefore, lavender can be approved as an anxiety home remedy.
Add some L-Lysine to your diet
L-Lysine is an amino acid which acts as the building blocks of the chemical messengers call neurotransmitters which are released via the brain. A few studies have linked L-Lysine to a reduction in the anxiety symptoms. It has also been found that the combination of L-arginine and L-lysine are a great diet addition as both of these have been observed to provide benefit to people suffering from high levels of anxiety and mental stress.
Food items which are rich in protein like cheese, feed fish and red meat are great sources of l lysine.
Get an adequate amount of sunlight
People who have low levels of vitamin D have been observed to have higher levels of anxiety. To prevent this, you can spend some time outdoors and increase your vitamin D levels. This is the best way of treating anxiety disorders naturally. Studies have been conducted to understand how the outdoor environment can help in dealing with anxiety at home. It was concluded that there is a positive association amongst the two factors. However, how good this method is as an anxiety home remedy depends on a few factors like how much the person loves to be out in nature, the differing views of the people on what type of natural environment is of use to them etc.
A study done in 2019 and published in Scientific Reports showed that people who spend over 120 minutes in the presence of nature were more likely to have good health and better mental well-being compare to those who didn’t spend a lot of time in nature.
Exercise regularly as part of the anxiety home remedy
This is one of the best treatments for anxiety and it is free of cost. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, short periods of walking as short as 10 minutes can help boost one’s mood. This factor totally makes sense as an anxiety home remedy. Exercising produces endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals which are the natural painkillers of the body. Exercising also makes a person tired which results in better sleep. A good sleep helps in diminishing stress. Exercise has also been observed to improve the overall cognitive function of a person and reduce fatigue.
Take a bath with Epsom salts
A hot bath is always soothing. If you add some Epsom salts to the bath, it will become more soothing and relaxing. Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate which has anxiety fighting properties. A study published in 2017 issue of Nutrients journal observed that there is an inconclusive evidence in case of beneficial effects of magnesium sulfate in case of people suffering from mild anxiety.
As is the case with most of the natural treatments for anxiety, in this case too, more research needs to be done before it can become conclusive.
Aromatherapy focuses on the use of essential oils to improve the overall well being of a person. Many aromas have been observed to boost one’s mood, help relax d and reduce anxious feelings in a person.
There are various ways in which aromatherapy can be done. As mentioned above, you can either put few drops of essential oils on your pillow or you can use a diffuser. You can also directly apply the essential oil on your wrist and neck.
The most common scents used for aromatherapy are:
- Clary Sage
- Ylang ylang
CBD oil has has picked up pace as the oil of choice when it comes to calming people. CBD has been observed to help with many different ailments like pain, inflammation, anxiety as well as insomnia. You can opt to go for CBD oil in any of the following forms
- Topicals (lotions or creams)
- Chocolate and Candies
Cut down on caffeine
This is probably the most heard amongst all the anxiety home remedies. If you are a person struggling with anxiety and you love caffeine, you may need to find an alternative for the caffeine part. According to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine causes sleep problems which affects the mood and as a result may worsen a person’s depression.
Since anxiety and depression would occur together, caffeine can worsen anxiety and eventually increase the depression as well. The alternatives available for caffeine are chamomile tea. You can also try increasing your water intake so that you don’t feel the need to indulge in caffeine right after you wake up. Increasing your water intake may also help with solving the morning anxiety problems.
Sugar and alcohol
These have been observed to worsen anxiety symptoms. Therefore, you should strictly cut down on both of these.
Increase supplement intake
Keeping your body nourished with the right kind of supplements is the most important part of treating anxiety disorders naturally. Increase your intake of zinc, vitamin B 12 and magnesium. Deficiencies in these three supplements have been observed to cause anxiety problems. Vegetarians and vegans should particularly watch out for their vitamin B12 intake, since this vitamin is only available in animal products.
Keep your gut happy
If your gut is happy, your mood will automatically be better. Studies have shown that gut bacteria can regulate your mood. Hence, If your gut is feeling alright, it will enhance your mood as well. Consume lot of probiotics and avoid eating food which might be difficult to digest like processed meats, food items which contain high amounts of saturated fats and fried foods. As an alternative, you can go for healthier options like vegetables, fruits and fishes.
Keep your blood sugar levels in check
This is possibly the most ignored part of treating anxiety disorders naturally. Most people prefer to skip meals and ignore their blood sugar levels when they are under stress. Low blood sugar levels can cause anxiety attacks because it will increase your heart rate and the heart will pump more blood to compensate for the weakness that you are feeling and this increase in heart rate can eventually cause palpitation. Therefore the option of going hungry is not for you if you suffer from anxiety problems.
These are minor checkpoints which are not part of the immediate anxiety relief techniques. However, these methods are bound to help you in the long run in treating anxiety disorders naturally.
Make meaningful connections with people who understand you
Currently, with the coronavirus pandemic going on, we have to maintain physical distance from one another. However this does not mean that you cannot indulge in socialization at all. Phone calls, video calls, virtual happy hours, virtual partying are excellent ways to connect with your family and friends during this time. If you suffer from anxiety, the first thing you should do is to not keep yourself isolated from the world. Staying in isolation will just enhance your anxiety problems. Therefore, send emails, letters, text and stay connected with your loved ones through the power of social media and online messaging services. If you are a person who likes to interact with people face-to-face, remote interaction might take a little getting used to. However, this is one of the best treatments for anxiety under the category of treating anxiety disorders naturally.
This is my go-to method as part of the immediate anxiety relief techniques. According to me, this is the best way to deal with anxiety at home. When you are feeling anxious or when you feel like things are getting out of hand, do something productive. If I am feeling anxious, I will indulge in painting. I am a digital artist and painting is my meditation. I will pick up my iPad or my digital drawing tablet, put on some soothing music on my laptop, plug in the earbuds and get to do doodling or drawing, whatever I feel like. In a few minutes I will be so lost in the process of painting, that the anxious feeling would be pushed away from my mind. Art has proven to be effective in helping people who suffer from Post traumatic stress disorders, pain management and so much more.
Start indulging in art therapy
Art therapy is my personal anxiety home remedy. If you don’t like painting, you can start something else which you are really passionate about and you would love to spend your time doing. You can either start a home improvement project, try making some new recipes, return to your old hobbies or start a few new ones, learn a new language, play games on your phone, organize your home or clean it or do puzzles etc. All you have to focus on is doing something which makes you feel accomplished. Like, when I finish painting and I look at the finished product, it makes me happy. It makes me happy to feel that I created something which turned out to look this beautiful. The primary point in this technique is to make yourself feel better, more at ease and in control of your life.
Opt for some key breathing exercises
If you struggle between meditation or keeping your thoughts in one place as required by meditation, this is the next best option in the arsenal of the immediate anxiety relief techniques. These exercises are very beneficial for those who suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. There is a breathing technique called the 4-7-8 breathing technique for dealing with anxiety at home. This immediate anxiety relief technique relies on regulating your breathing, reducing your heart rate and finally calming down. Knowing this method cab be a asset in an emergency situation or when you are dealing with anxiety at home and their is no one else to help you.
In short, this breathing technique involves inhaling deeply for four counts, holding your breath for 7 counts and then finally exhaling for eight counts. Keep repeating the technique till you feel your heart rate come down and you start feeling more normal. This method can be applied anywhere and at any time and can be done without much help. This is what makes this method the best one amongst all the treatments for anxiety.
Write it all down
Journaling has been proven to be a very useful mechanism in managing anxiety problems. When anxiousness sets in, writing what you feel can help clear your perspective, help you make sense of what you are feeling and help you overcome panic or a negative mindset.
Limit the news watching habit
Knowing what’s going on around you is very important. However, sometimes news and newspapers may spread panic instead of assurance. With the coronavirus pandemic still going on, the reports might include death tolls, what the situation is in different countries etc. This will not only be upsetting to read, but engaging in this news cycle may be one of the reasons behind your high anxiety levels.
I am not asking you to stop reading or listening to news entirely. You just have to limit it a little bit. Try to limit your news consumption tor half an hour a day and not more than that. If you have more time which you would normally spend watching news, spend this time going outside, talking to your friends or just visiting places which you like.
Visit dog parks
I am not advocating this point as a part of treating anxiety disorders naturally because I am a dog blogger. This point of anxiety home remedy would only work for you if you love dogs. If you love dogs, there is no better treatment for your anxiety than visiting the dog park.
I am a foster mom to 15 dogs who live on the streets and a dog mom to Delta Bunny. When I feel anxious or stressed or I feel that things are getting out of hand and I cannot paint (I have an idiopathic pain disorder, it sometimes blocks my ability to paint or use my hands at all) I do the following. I get out of the house with my boy, Delta Bunny. I will call upon my fur kids and watch them play with Delta and fight to get kisses and cuddles from me. Trust me, there is no better feeling than that unconditional love and support my kids provide me. It does not take long for my stress to subside and for things to go back to normal. This, and painting has helped me keep my anxiousness in check for the last two years. Maybe in my future posts, I will write about the kind of anxiety I was facing and how exactly I overcame it.
This part of treating anxiety disorders naturally is probably the one I have heard the most. However, this is easier said than done. When you have a global pandemic going on and your life seems to be slipping out of your hands, thinking positive is the last thing on your mind. However, a positive attitude from your peers and your family can help you overcome your anxiousness.
Try not to be a perfectionist. Instead of holding yourself to the unachievable perfectionists levels you have decided for yourself, tell yourself what you are doing is good enough and you can work to slowly improve your work. No one can become the best version of themselves in one day. This is what you have to remember and keep telling yourself over and over again.
Seek professional help
If you have tried all the above mentioned treatments for anxiety and none of these anxiety home remedies worked for you, it is probably time to seek professional help. There is a lot of stigma in the society about anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions which people suffer from. This may inhibit a person from going to a professional. However, you need to understand where the problem is manageable at your level and where you need help. If you need help, do not hesitate to go to a psychologist or mental health practitioner. It is in your right to take care of yourself.
Your medical practitioner may start the treatment of your anxiety disorders by involving cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy or rational emotive behavior therapy. Which therapy will be the most suited to your case is something your medical practitioner will be able to decide. People who suffer from both anxiety disorders and addiction will receive a dual diagnosis treatment which will be aiming at addressing both the issues as part of a complete treatment for anxiety..
Feeling anxious is natural. It happens to everyone even if they don’t accept it. Anxiousness is a problem only when it starts interfering with your day to day life. If your anxiousness is at a stage where it is negatively impacting your everyday life, try using one or few of the above therapies.
If treating anxiety disorders naturally is not working out for you, It is time that you seek medical help. No one will understand what you are going through except you yourself and probably your doctor. Therefore, do not pay attention to what the society things for whether or not this is a stigma. If you need help, you should get it. Society will not come and fix you. Therefore, pay less attention to the society, more attention to your medical practitioner and religiously follow the guidelines, therapies and medication they give you.
I hope these treatments for anxiety helped you out. Let me know, which of the above mentioned treatments for anxiety is best for you. Do you have any specific anxiety home remedy which you follow? I would love to know your thoughts and perceptions about anxiety disorders. If you have any queries, feel free to mention them in the common section below.
See you in my next blog post
Frequently asked questions:
Are there any home remedies to help with anxiety?
There are many home remedies available for self anxiety treatment like:
- Take CBD oil
- Stay busy
- Drink chamomile tea
Which is the best treatment for anxiety disorder?
The best treatment of anxiety disorder is considered to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) along with medications.
Are there any natural remedies for anxiety in the morning?
To reduce morning anxieties, do the following:
- Get a proper night sleep
- Do some breathing exercises the moment you wake up
- Set the alarm to stay on low
- Practice positive affirmations the moment you wake up
- keep the bedroom cold and dark
- Go to bed at same time and wake up at same time everyday
- Journal right before bedtime.
How to deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety?
- Distract yourself
- Try to relax or indulge in exercise
- Try breathing exercises and focus on your breathing
- Practice affirmations like, ‘I am in control of my anxiety’, ‘this will pass soon’, ‘I am okay’ etc.