Anxiety & Stress: The Antidotes

Anxiety is such a common problem. Our modern lifestyle is SO busy. We rush from one thing to the next, often without being able to appreciate the ways we are spending our time. It's no wonder that so many people feel chronically stressed and disconnected. While there are many natural remedies that can help with anxiety, t's important to treat the root cause whenever possible.

Frequently, the true answer is to make big changes in your life that target the source of your stress, however sometimes this isn't possible immediately. Sometimes there are patterns that need to be addressed or hereditary considerations as well. So, here are some natural options for anxiety management. See what may be useful for you to incorporate now, while being mindful of any bigger changes that ultimately need to occur.

First Line of Defense

Get Outdoors! Nature is a great defense against anxiety and an overly stressed, fast-paced life. Slow down and enjoy your surroundings. Whether you hiking or just simply sitting outside, nature is a great option.

Social connections. So important! Sometimes when we are stressed or struggling the tendency is to isolate. Reach out to family or friends. Even if you choose not to talk about your struggles, just being in the company of others is helpful. If you feel "too busy" to do this, then incorporate into parts of your life that you already do. Share meals with others, bring a friend along for errands, exercise, or whatever works.

Mindfulness. Simply connecting with the present moment can do wonders for anxiety. If you have a specific meditative or mindfulness practice that's great. If you don't, that's ok too. Slow down and observe. Sit and have a cup of tea. Even spending a few minutes with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing can be beneficial. Read more about breath work. If sitting still is too difficult, try a walking meditation outside, fully noticing and appreciating everything you see, hear, and smell.

"You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour."
-Old Zen Saying

Clean up your diet. Remove processed junk in favor of fresh, whole foods. Your body will thank you for providing optimal nutrition, particularly in times of stress. Need more help with this?

Still Need More?

Supplements to considerFish oil is good for most people for a variety of reasons, regulating mood being one of them. I like Nordic Naturals. Same with vitamin-D. Magnesium is a consideration for most people, as stress can deplete your mag stores and many people are deficient to begin with. If you have renal disease please check with your medical practitioner, but most healthy individuals can take a magnesium supplement without problems. Epsom salt baths are another way to get magnesium into your system, and have the added benefit of stress relief from taking a break and sitting in a hot bath.

Botanical remedies - There are two basic categories to consider here: calming herbs and adaptogens. Calming herbs can be used on a regular or occasional basis and in a variety of ways. This can be as simple as chamomile tea before bed. Other calming botanicals to consider would be valerian or passionflower. For people under chronic stress, an adaptogen can be really helpful. This concept doesn't equate well to Western medicine and is sometimes difficult for people to understand. Basically, these are herbs or herbal blends that help to promote physiologic homeostasis. They can help your body to more easily manage stress. The result may be that you feel more calm and capable, and possibly sleep better at night. Common adaptogens are ashwagandha, holy basil, and rhodiola. There are many others however, and you may benefit from discussing the best option for your particular situation with a professional. These are typically taken daily for a period of weeks or months.

Essential Oils - If you love oils, there are lots of options here. Lavender, frankincense, Valor, Stress Away, White Angelica, and vetiver would be some of my top picks. Need some oils?

Screens...Love them and hate them, right?! If you are struggling with screen time at night, download the free program f.lux.This subtly changes the blue light of your screens to more of a red undertone at night. It's correlated to sunrise and sunset. If you need to read or work in the evening you can, but you won't have as much of the blue light that keeps you awake late at night.

Professional Help? Sometimes - a therapist may be the best fit for your needs. Finding a therapist that specializes in mindfulness and treating anxiety may be especially helpful.