There’s an old adage that says laughter is the best medicine—and for good reason. It can stimulate heart activity, lower blood pressure, relax muscles, help fight stress, and relieve pain. But for the 40 million U.S. adults battling an anxiety disorder, finding humor in life can be easier said than done.
The prescribed course of treatment to address the dizziness, sweating, restlessness, and tension most often associated with anxiety or panic attacks involves the use of psychiatric drugs. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America website, more than 1 in 6 Americans take an antidepressant or a sedative in response to those symptoms. While medical professionals generally consider these drugs safe and effective, the reality of artificially influencing the chemical composition of the brain leaves some feeling uneasy and in search of natural remedies for anxiety. If you’re seeking more holistic or natural remedies for anxiety, check out these 10 tips to try.
This one might come as a surprise, but research has actually proven that antioxidants can help manage the symptoms of anxiety. One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to pump your body with antioxidants is through a Vitamin A tablet taken once per day. The supplement is a cost-effective natural remedy for anxiety and also promotes a host of other bonuses like good eye health and immunity.
Sweating out tense and anxious feelings is another useful natural remedy for anxiety. While the study wasn’t completely conclusive due to several different factors, 12 randomized control trials suggested the benefits of exercise were similar to established anxiety treatments and greater than the placebo tested.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s famous line, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” has been often quoted since it was first penned in 1839. But it turns out the pen might be mightier than anxiety, too. Journaling and other forms of writing have shown great promise as a way to center and ground people in the throes of anxiety. One 2016 study found that creative and expressive writing could have an impact on the condition in young adults and kids.
Health practitioners have used the dried flowers of chamomile medicinally—largely because of its many terpenoids and flavonoids—for hundreds of years. A 2016 study at the University of Pennsylvania involved 93 participants, 47 of which received a placebo with the others taking the chamomile. Over the treatment period, the chamomile group had over 40% fewer relapses, making it one of the most potentially powerful natural remedies for anxiety.
Those struggling with an anxiety attack might feel inclined to reach for a pill bottle, but simple breathing exercises may be able to treat many of the symptoms that sufferers feel. A meditation routine can help to slow the runaway thoughts that drive panic and hysteria, with researchers calling mindfulness-based therapy a “promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems in clinical populations.”
From the grocery store to the post office to the airport, more and more people are utilizing the skills of service animals to help them navigate through some of life’s toughest health challenges—and that includes service dogs for anxiety. Known as emotional support dogs (ESDs), these pups receive specialized training to recognize the signs of a panic attack before humans do. From applying calming pressure to reminding us to take our medication, an ESD is more than man’s best friend. It can be a lifesaver. Research also says that grooming horses can help reverse some of the effects of stress and anxiety associated with trauma.
You may not realize it, but every cell in your body needs magnesium to function. The mineral also plays a critical role in brain function and the way we feel—so much so that low levels of magnesium can lead to anxiety symptoms and depression. A once-daily magnesium tablet is not only one of the most attractive natural remedies for anxiety, but it can help prevent migraines, fight inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
You may think it’s a good idea to have a drink when you are stressed or facing an anxiety attack, but alcohol just masks the symptoms because it’s a natural sedative. Instead of reaching for the bottle, reach for your running shoes and go for a walk or a jog outside to get some fresh air. Relying on alcohol in times of anxiety can result in other serious conditions like a dependency on alcohol.
This one can be somewhat specific, but one of the biggest stressors and causes for anxiety is an overloaded schedule. If you find that sitting down to look at your calendar causes bouts of anxiety, work with your professional colleagues or family members to identify the meetings or gatherings that are most important for you to attend. Don’t be afraid to delegate or send someone in your place when needed. And once you have a schedule in place, be firm with your time commitments.
You didn’t think we’d leave CBD off a list of natural remedies for anxiety, did you? This potent cannabis compound has a litany of benefits from the ability to relieve pain and anxiety to preventing seizures, but CBD has also shown to have a positive impact on anxiety. One psychiatrist and researcher at New York University told NPR: “I think there’s good evidence to suggest that CBD could be an effective treatment of anxiety and addiction.”
Anxiety is not a condition to take lightly, and if you find yourself in its clutches, it’s imperative that you speak with your primary care doctor about treatment—particularly if you plan on trying some of these natural remedies. While it’s rare, there are instances where some supplements don’t mix well with prescription drugs, so always plan to have open conversations with your doctor before trying anything new. Nevertheless, there are plenty of potential natural remedies for anxiety out there for you to try. Take some time to research and see which fits your lifestyle and your specific symptoms best.