Posted: 29 July 2017
Anxiety can make you feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest and your mind is spinning on an endless cycle of doom. No matter what the subject is you can’t seem to stop the physical reaction and your mind has become a trap of worry about money, kids, your own health, your job and everything in between. Relaxation doesn’t seem to be an option. Whether you suffer from an anxiety disorder or you are just having an anxious moment, here are some strategies to help calm your overactive nerves.
Natural Remedies to Reduce Anxiety
Chamomile contains some compounds that bind to receptors in the brain like the drug valium. If you are feeling jittery, brew yourself a warm cup of chamomile tea or you may want to take a chamomile supplement which contains 1.2% apigenin, the active ingredient in chamomile along with dried chamomile flowers. People with GAD or generalized anxiety disorder who took chamomile supplements for 8 weeks significantly decreased their anxiety symptoms according to one study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.
L-theanine (or Green Tea)
Green teas contain L-theanine, this amino acid is shown in some studies to help relax a rising heart rate and blood pressure. It has also been found to reduce anxiety is some small studies. 200 milligrams of L-theanine is needed to be effective, that’s somewhere before 5 and 20 cups of green tea, a supplement might be a better solution. L-theanine can reduce anxiety without being a sedative and make you fall asleep at your desk.
Valerian root is a sleep aid used often for insomnia. Unlike green tea, Valerian Root will put you to sleep acting as a sedative, in fact, the German government has officially approved it to be labeled as a treatment for sleep issues. It can be brewed into a tea, but valerian root smells terrible so it is best taken in capsule form. Remember only take this supplement before bed or you will be asleep on the job!
If you have a passion for relieving anxiety then this is the plant for you. It is a sedative. Some governments have approved it for nervousness or restlessness. Recent studies have suggested the passion flower can reduce the symptoms of anxiety just as well as prescription drugs. Like other sedatives, passion fruit can cause sleepiness or drowsiness and is often used for insomnia.
Don’t take passion flower or other herbs that cause sedation such as valerian, hops, kava, lemon balm when you are taking a prescription sedative.
Be careful about using more than one sedative herb at a time, and don’t take passion flower for longer than one month at a time.
Physical Strategies to Reduce Anxiety
20 minutes of exercise may be all you need to calm your nerves. Exercise is a safe and effective way to not only decreasing anxiety but also depression. Low self-esteem can be improved with just minutes a day. Studies show that 20-25 minutes of daily exercise may consistently reduce anxiety in the short term and in the long term. If it’s been awhile since exercise has been a daily routine, start with a brisk walk every day and work your way up to 20 minutes of a good cardio activity such as biking, swimming or jogging.
Eat on a Regular Schedule
Don’t let yourself get “hangry”, it will make any anxious feelings you are dealing with intensify. Have a snack like almonds or a piece of chocolate with a cup of hot tea or glass of water. As far as diet, eating a whole foods plant based diet with reduced meats and lots of greens may help fight anxiety and depression.
Take a Forest Bath
A forest bath or shinrinyoku as the Japanese call it is literally a walk in the woods. Studies show that people who take a short 20-minute walk in the forest have lower stress hormones than those who walked for 20 minutes in the urban areas.
Mental Strategies to Reduce Anxiety
Stop the Brain Spin
Catastrophic thinking is when your mind goes to terrible things that are at times unbearable creating completely unrealistic “what if’s”. Distraction is the best countermeasure; eat an apple, walk the dog and rethink how you are thinking. reality says the catastrophic outcome is not real and the anxiety has fueled your racing thoughts.
Use Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is used as a mainstream therapy and can become an effective anxiety treatment. According to a clinical psychologist, the same meditation that was and is practiced by Buddhist monks encourages the anxious mind to experience each moment as it happened instead of what they fear might come.
Breath and Notice
To stay mindful after meditation, practice some breathing techniques while asking yourself a few questions. Slow deep breaths while sitting in a comfortable chair or resting on an incline. Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and notice what is peacefully happening around you. check how you feel by asking your self-questions. How does it feel to breathe this way? How do my lungs feel expanding? What is the temperature of the room?
Give Yourself a Pat on the Back
If you are aware that you are anxious then you are aware of your emotions and that is the first step in being able to reduce anxiety. You are learning to be mindful and when you are able to combine that mindfulness with self-talk therapies and cognitive thinking you will likely be able to harness your emotions and reduce your anxiety.