Anxiety is a common mental illness in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults every year. If you’re one of the millions suffering from anxiety, you know how debilitating it can be. If not managed, anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as chest pains, shortness of breath, fatigue, and irritability. While many medications and treatments are available for anxiety, they are expensive and may produce many side effects, so some people prefer to try natural remedies instead. If you’re ready to manage and reduce your anxiety, try these six natural ways.
Probiotics are live bacteria similar to the ones already in your gut. They’re found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Probiotics have become popular due to their various benefits that counter several health conditions, ranging from diarrhea to Crohn’s disease.
Some studies have shown that probiotics may help reduce anxiety. One study found that taking anxiety probiotics for 30 days significantly reduced anxiety levels compared to a placebo group. The participants who took the probiotic had reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has calming effects.
Probiotics may also help by changing how the brain responds to anxiety-inducing situations. Another study found that men who took probiotic supplements for weeks had less brain activity in the regions associated with fear and anxiety when exposed to anxiety-inducing pictures compared to the men who didn’t take the probiotic. Probiotics may also work by reducing inflammation in the brain, which has been linked to anxiety disorders.
It’s no secret that exercise is recommended for keeping fit, but did you know that it can also help in managing stress and in improving your mental well-being? When you exercise, your body triggers the release of endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. In addition, regular exercise enhances sleep quality and increases energy levels. For best results, aim to get about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a few days during the week.
If you’re new to exercise or don’t have much time to spare, start with short 10-minute workouts and gradually build up. When choosing the right type of exercise, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. However, some exercises are more effective than others for managing stress. For example, yoga and tai chi are gentle forms of exercise that can help promote relaxation. Alternatively, try swimming or running if you’re looking for a more vigorous workout. Just remember to listen to your body. Do not push yourself to the extreme; otherwise, you could end up feeling more stressed out than before!
3Practice Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises are a simple yet effective way to help manage stress. When you’re stressed, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid, which can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Deep breathing helps to reverse this process by naturally calming the body and slowing the heart rate. In addition, deep breathing helps to reduce tension in the muscles and can even lower blood pressure. The best way to perform deep breathing exercises is to sit or lie comfortably and focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, letting your stomach expand. Then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this process for 10-20 minutes or until you feel yourself starting to relax.
4Drink Herbal Teas
Another natural way to manage anxiety is to drink herbal teas. Certain herbs, such as passionflower and chamomile, possess calming properties that can help reduce feelings of stress and worry. These herbs work by activating the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, which helps to produce a sedative effect.
In addition to drinking herbal teas, you may also want to incorporate certain kinds of food into your diet. Foods rich in magnesium can help promote relaxation and alleviate anxiety symptoms, while certain probiotic strains, such as lactobacillus acidophilus, may help balance gut bacteria and improve overall mood. Of course, it’s always best to consult your doctor before drastically changing your diet or lifestyle.
5Go Outside to Enjoy Nature
Spending time outdoors is a great way to reduce anxiety and manage stress. For many, the hustle and bustle of daily life can be overwhelming, which can lead to feelings of anxiety. Luckily, nature can provide a welcome respite from the chaos of everyday life. Being in nature helps curb stress and anxiety, improve moods, and boost overall mental health. You don’t have to be an adventure junkie to enjoy the benefits of spending time in nature. Even a simple walk in the park can help you feel more relaxed and connected to the world around you. So, the next time you’re feeling anxious or stressed, try going outside for some fresh air and see how nature can help you find some peace of mind.
6Get Enough Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s not just your energy levels that suffer. Studies have proven that a lack of sleep can lead to anxiety and other mental health problems. Particularly, sleep deprivation can cause physical changes in the brain, making it more difficult to regulate emotions. Sleep also plays a vital role in memory and learning, so you’re more likely to dwell on negative experiences and have difficulty storing positive memories when you’re tired. This can lead to a negative feedback loop where anxiety results in insomnia, which in turn leads to more anxiety.
Fortunately, there are tricks to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep. Establishing a regular sleep pattern is one of the most important things you can do. Getting in and out of bed at the same time daily helps to regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm. It would be best to avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed as they can interfere with sleep. Moreover, make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, and relaxed. These are optimum conditions that allow you to fall asleep quickly. These simple tips can help reduce anxiety by allowing you to get a restful night’s sleep.
While anxiety is a common experience for many people, it can be challenging to manage and reduce without the right tools. Fortunately, there are several natural ways that can help you manage and reduce your anxiety symptoms. If you are struggling with anxiety and want relief, consider incorporating a few of these natural strategies into your daily routine. With time and patience, you can regain control over your emotions and start living the life you deserve.