There’s a tightness in your chest that won’t go away. Or you’re having frequent headaches. Perhaps you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Maybe you are burnt out at work, and can’t seem to pull yourself out of the rut.
Once you’ve checked with your doctor, and ruled out illness or a physical cause of these problems, you are most likely dealing with the symptoms of anxiety – as are many people all over the world.
Anxiety is common; incredibly common in fact. And normal. You might feel anxious about paying a big bill, or the extended family gathering for the holidays, or whether or not your company will be laying off staff this year. However, when anxiety becomes chronic and debilitating, it is called an ‘anxiety disorder’.
Some 40 million Americans, or 18% of the population, suffer from anxiety disorders every year. Anxiety disorders are characterized by a host of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that make it hard to function in normal day-to-day life. That’s when people become overwhelmed, and start asking the question, how do I get rid of anxiety? In conventional medicine, prescription drugs are the primary treatment for anxiety, often in conjunction with psychological therapy.
For those who can’t or don’t want to take meds for anxiety, there are several non-pharmaceutical techniques that may help. They are safe to try, and in some cases, clinically proven to effectively treat anxiety in many people.
Here are 6 remedies for the natural healing of anxiety and depression that can help bring relief in the short and long term:
Meditation is an ancient Eastern mind-body practice that, in recent decades, has swept into Western culture and become a popular tool for anxiety management. This is thanks to a wealth of scientific research that has shown the positive impact of meditation in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and mental stress.
Meditation is a practice in which the individual learns to become aware of thoughts and feelings as they arise and observe them neutrally, without judgment. Over time, this practice helps the individual calm their automatic responses and better regulate their emotions and the body’s physiological response to those emotions.
Although it sounds simple, learning to meditate properly and ‘sit’ in silence with one’s thoughts and feelings is challenging at first. That’s why we talk about meditation as a ‘practice’. It is important to meditate consistently every day, even if just for a few minutes, to benefit from the anxiety-reducing effects of meditation.
2. Relaxation exercises
While meditation uses the mind to control the body response, there are many relaxation techniques that you can use to calm the body, which then helps calm the mind.
Breathwork is a popular relaxation exercise. When a person is stressed and anxious, their breathing naturally becomes more rapid and shallow. This leads to reduced oxygen intake, which causes various symptoms and sensations, such as lightheadedness and increased heart rate – which make anxiety worse.
By practicing deep, slow breathing exercises, the body naturally relaxes and dampens the anxious response, providing quick relief from feelings of anxiety. For many people, exercise is a great option to help manage anxiety. Exercise prompts the body to release endorphins – the feel-good hormone – that puts the body in a naturally relaxed state.
During exercise, people tend to breathe more deeply and evenly, which also helps create a feeling of relaxation. Swimming, brisk walking, and even dancing are great ways to exercise and relax.
3. Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant – that is, it speeds up the activity between the brain and the body. That’s why, in high enough doses or in people who are extra sensitive to caffeine, caffeine can trigger or worsen the symptoms of anxiety.
Reducing the amount of coffee or caffeinated beverages in your diet can be an important part of your anxiety management plan. The same goes for alcohol, which alters the level of serotonin, a mood-stabilizing hormone, in the brain, making anxiety symptoms more severe. Ironically, some people turn to alcohol to help them relax and unwind.
While a drink now and then is fine, reducing alcohol intake overall can be a big help in calming anxiety naturally.
Aromatherapy is a natural and safe technique that uses essential plant oils to treat various ailments. Different plants have different fragrances, due to their unique compounds. When inhaled, the molecules in the fragrance travel from the olfactory nerves to the brain, generating a therapeutic response.
There are several essential oils that are known to trigger a calming response in the brain that can help soothe anxiety. Lavender is a popular aromatherapy fragrance for anxiety, as well as basil, chamomile, and sage. You can visit an aromatherapist for professional guidance and treatment for healing anxiety, or you can easily do aromatherapy at home.
Steep your favorite anxiety-reducing herb and drink the tea regularly, or burn the essential oil in a diffuser or aromatherapy sticks to create a calming fragrant environment.
5. Time management strategies
When you are not managing your time properly, it can seem that your life is out of control. This is an incredibly stressful feeling. Another downside of poor time management is a sense that you are not living up to your potential or your values, which can feel as if you are ‘wasting’ your life.
All of this can trigger anxiety. Moreover, when a person is feeling anxious about their responsibilities and how to manage them, it can be overwhelming, hampering their ability to manage time effectively. This makes anxiety worse, and the downward spiral begins.
Fortunately, by putting time management strategies into action, you can gain back control, reduce daily stress, and reduce the symptoms of anxiety too. There are several popular techniques to manage time more effectively. If you need extra help, consult a life coach who specializes in time management to get you started on the right foot.
Biofeedback is a technique in which a device is used to track and monitor physiological responses, such as heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature, displaying them to the individual in real-time.
When used during meditation or other guided relaxation exercises, the biofeedback device shows the individual how their practice is impacting their body’s response from moment to moment. This knowledge helps them to refine their practice and achieve a relaxed state more effectively.
Biofeedback is completely safe, and you don’t necessarily need to consult a biofeedback specialist to get the benefits. With an at-home biofeedback device like Reflect, you don’t even need to attach any sensors to the body; just place your hands on the orb and it will detect the various measurements through the skin. This is a very comfortable and easy way to heighten your meditation and treat anxiety naturally and effectively.
Other treatment options: Try alternative therapies
Beyond the techniques outlined above, there are other alternative therapies that are helpful for reducing anxiety in many people. The causes and symptoms of anxiety are very personal, and there is no single treatment or cure-all.
Rather, it’s about experimenting with the various tools and methods available to see which one is best for you. Here are three treatment options you could try for healing anxiety naturally:
1. Holistic healing for anxiety
Anxiety is a complex response to internal and external triggers, and it involves the mind, body, and spirit. That’s why a holistic approach is often the best choice for treating anxiety.
Holistic healing for depression and anxiety means using several techniques that take into account the entire individual – physiologically, mentally, emotionally, and environmentally – and may involve only alternative therapies, or a combination of conventional and alternative approaches.
For example, a holistic anxiety treatment could include aromatherapy, meditation, time management coaching, dietary changes, and psychological therapy.
2. Homeopathic remedy for anxiety and grief
Homeopathy is a form of complementary medicine in which substances are highly diluted to create therapeutic remedies. The idea behind homeopathy is that if certain substances cause particular ailments, they can also be used to treat them.
There are several homeopathic remedies for anxiety and grief, including aconite, Calcarea, and Ignatia. Homeopathy is a completely safe treatment option for anxiety, so it is worth giving it a try to see if it works for you. Consult with a professional homeopathic practitioner, or purchase only professionally-made remedies to use at home.
3. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a meditation technique that trains the individual to become aware and attuned to their feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations in the moment. By noticing these as they occur, and letting them pass without judgment, the individual learns to become accepting of their inner world and let go of resistance. This is key to calming the mind, living in the present, and managing anxiety.
Calm anxiety naturally, and patiently
At any given time, one-fifth of Americans are suffering from an anxiety disorder. Many more are enduring the symptoms of anxiety. If you are one of those people, and your symptoms are hard to handle, it is always recommended to visit your doctor and rule out any medical causes.
If there are no underlying physical reasons for your anxiety symptoms, then it’s time to learn about the various ways to calm anxiety naturally and start putting them into practice. One last word of encouragement: anxiety is a slow-burning process. You didn’t just wake up one morning feeling anxious.
Rather, stress and overwhelm built up over time, even if you were unaware of it. When it got to be too much, anxiety appeared. In the same way that your mind and body learn to become anxious over time, reducing anxiety also takes time.
So when you work towards reducing your anxiety naturally, keep in mind to do so patiently. With time, and regular practice, your anxiety will calm down and you’ll be on your way to a more relaxed, content, and anxiety-free life.