Everyone can be made anxious, for multitudes of different reasons. For those who suffer with chronic anxiety, however, the brain releases adrenaline, cortisol, and other chemicals into the bloodstream, for no clear reason whatsoever. Studies show that chronic anxiety, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), interferes with everyday life for up to 10% of American adults. The body releases stress hormones and chemicals, like adrenaline and cortisol, which trigger the fight-flight-freeze response. Consequentially, stressed people can often feel like they’re running from an impending threat—even when no threat actually exists. The body reacts to stimuli, thoughts, or other factors that are often so small the anxious person doesn’t register the factor at all. Anxiety thus seems to have “no source.”
Regardless of the how or why, known natural anxiety remedies can help alleviate symptoms and pave the way for clear thinking, focus, and happiness. While not cure-alls, including new routines into one’s daily schedule will dependably combat anxiety and minimize physical and mental anxiety symptoms. These—combined with mindfulness and positive thinking, practices associated with daily meditation—will calm the body and mind prior to anxious triggers.
Raise Internal Body Temperature
Humans can stimulate a higher body temperature in several ways. The most obvious includes seeking sunlight. Scientists agree that up to fifteen minutes of sunlight a day will increase vitamin-D and regulate blood pressure. Regular blood pressure leads to regular heart and breathing rates—bodily states practiced in meditation and used to slow active chemical release.
While exercise may increase heart and breathing rates over again, exercise also forces the body to regulate those factors. The regulation, high core temperature, and consistent oxygen influx help expel anxious chemicals from the body. The natural anxiety remedy forces the body to burn adrenaline faster. Once adrenaline leaves the body, the body can restore itself to chemical balance.
Post-sun and sweat, seek a hot bath. Hot water serves the body in the same ways as sunlight and other direct heat sources: it soothes muscles, relaxes heart rate and absolves blood pressure. Water, however, additionally opens the skin’s pores, leaving the skin susceptible to absorbing moisture and any other nutrients present in the water. Baths provide an optimal opportunity to introduce anxiety-reducing remedies, like lavender oil and magnesium, to your bloodstream. The lavender scents contribute to tactile natural anxiety remedies as listed below.
Scents and other sensory distractions lead into the second group of natural anxiety remedies. The brain cannot multitask, between absorbing anxious stimuli from neurotransmitter signals and reacting to physical stimuli from textured objects. Non-jarring sensory distractions can keep the brain from entertaining worrisome ideas and releasing adrenaline and cortisol. Instead, the brain must focus on new information and new experiences. Stress balls work for a reason—the squeezing of a stress ball produces both a minimal adrenaline outlet and a repetitive task for the brain to manage. A fist contracting and releasing at regular intervals keeps the brain busy measuring time and the textile of the rubber.
Other sensory touch-items come in forms most adults interact with every day. The anxious can find a textured object—like the spiral of a notebook, or computer keyboard—and run their finger pads over the object for as long as they can bear. The simple repetitive motion and textured sensory information impedes the brain’s thoughts and forces the brain to put anxious worries on the back burner. Holding cool stones, keeping synthetic fabrics nearby, or even finger tapping, provide sense-distractions. For added relief, try timing finger tapping, stress ball squeezing, or other regular motion, with deep breathing.
Studies also show that music, when not overly high-pitched or fast, can distract the brain and lower blood pressure. Music of a moderate volume can literally “drown out” worried thoughts, or provide the listener with understanding and camaraderie. Additionally, and somewhat self-indulgently, the listener’s favorite music, or music associated with peaceful occasions, can release dopamine in the brain and combat depressive chemicals.
The sensory section lacks “taste,” because certain foods combat anxiety in ways that deserve their own category. Just as foods containing certain chemicals can contribute to anxiety, other foods or plant extracts release chemicals that suppress anxiety and anxiety-related symptoms. Foods and chemicals to avoid, or consume in moderation, are those with high saturated fats, refined sugars, caffeine and alcohol. Listed below are some natural anxiety remedies that promote calmness and regular heart rates:
Turkey—Turkey, or other foods containing the sleepy-time chemical “tryptophan,” is an amino acid that can change neural circuits akin to the sun. Why? Tryptophan, according to Manuel Villacorta, MS, “is a precursor to serotonin…a neurotransmitter.” Tryptophan makes a human sleepy because the chemical slows blood pressure and relaxes muscles. Many “comfort foods” contain tryptophan: cheese, chicken, bananas, and milk, among others.
Fish or Nuts—Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like many varieties of fish and tree nuts, are scientifically proven to help lower anxiety-inducing chemicals in the body and help prevent them from appearing in high concentrations in the future. An alternative includes a fish oil supplement, which lowers triglyceride levels that contribute to high blood pressure and potentially heart disease.
Berries—Berries, or other dark, antioxidant-rich fruits, contain plant nutrients that some researchers believe sedate the body in the same manner as tryptophan. Blueberries, acai berries and blackberries fall into the same “superfood” category.
Other options include dark (less refined) chocolate, whole-grain foods, and dark leafy greens. Make sure food remains one part of a balanced anti-anxiety regimen, rather than turn into an anxiety-crutch.
For some, combating lifelong anxiety requires a daily routine overhaul. They must rewrite their very manners of thinking, from how they consider small problems to how they process large ones. Yet, with small steps and lifestyle tweaks, those who feel anxiety—from the chronic to the situational—can look to natural anxiety remedies that help stop chemical imbalances before they start and keep the body and mind placid and at peace. When you feel stressed, which remedies do you seek first?