Prescription medications are sometimes offered to help people cope with anxiety — but if you’re looking for something natural, you have options. There are home remedies you can try.
Even though it sounds like every natural option is safe, it’s always a good idea to discuss these options with a healthcare professional. That way, they can guide you in terms of frequency and also potential interactions with any other remedies or medications you may be taking.
Not all natural remedies for anxiety work for everyone. You may find some more effective than others in your particular situation. Also, in some cases, they may help calm anxiety symptoms only when combined with other treatment options. It depends on many factors.
If you live with anxiety, there are natural options you can try to lower your stress levels and improve your coping skills.
Some of these natural remedies for anxiety will involve herbs and supplements, but most may include changes in some of your routines and habits.
When it comes to supplements, it’s highly advisable to check with your healthcare professional for
It’s also important to remember that there are many supplements and natural products, like
Here are some options to help relieve anxiety naturally that have worked for many people:
You’ve heard it before, and this is because it actually works. Physical activity has multiple health benefits.
Whether it’s going for a walk around the block or going for a mile run, research suggests exercise helps reduce symptoms of anxiety, particularly when combined with psychotherapy and in some cases, with medication.
How does exercise help anxiety? For one, it helps distract your mind from anxious thoughts. More importantly, physical activity boosts endorphins, which are unofficially known as the “happy hormones.”
Endorphins are natural pain relievers and also boost pleasure. They can help you sleep better and have a positive outlook, which in turn, may help to regulate anxiety symptoms.
If vigorous exercise isn’t your thing, you can try yoga, which has also been
Cut back on the caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant, and if you have anxiety, it can make you feel more on edge. It may also cause some physical symptoms like increased heartbeat and shaking, which could make you think you’re experiencing a panic attack.
Research also shows that, in some people living with mental health disorders, caffeine may also increase anxiety symptoms.
If you are used to drinking large amounts of caffeine, it may be a good idea to slowly limit this intake to avoid symptoms of withdrawal that are common if you go cold turkey.
Limit or cease smoking
Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke have been shown to alter pathways in your brain that are linked to anxiety.
Humor and laughter can have a lot of benefits for your physical and mental health, including reducing your stress and anxiety levels.
Laughter and humor may help you reduce levels of stress hormones, including cortisol, dopamine, and epinephrine. At the same time, it may boost the production of endorphins.
Laughter also increases the number of antibody-producing cells and helps bring your focus back to the present. This could take your mind off of intrusive, anxious thoughts about the future.
In fact, laughter therapy has been
When you don’t get enough Vitamin D, your serotonin levels dip. Serotonin is a mood-boosting hormone that can make you feel calmer and more focused.
Studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency could be linked to anxiety disorders, as well as depression.
You may want to discuss testing options with a healthcare professional, just to check on your current blood levels.
The best way to boost your Vitamin D levels is to spend some time outdoors. You could aim for 15 to 30 minutes of midday sunlight, at least 4 times per week if possible. It’s a good idea to use sunscreen to prevent sunburn. This won’t affect your vitamin D production.
Other natural ways to increase vitamin D include eating fatty fish, mushrooms, and fortified foods.
Chamomile and lavender are two teas known for their anxiety-easing benefits.
Chamomile is often called a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer because it has an antioxidant called
For centuries, lavender has been used as a
- symptoms of anxiety
- agitation and restlessness
- sleep disturbances
- symptoms of depression
Check levels of magnesium
Magnesium is an important mineral in the human body. It plays a role in more than 300 enzyme reactions and helps maintain muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, and the immune system.
It’s also one of the minerals that
There have also been several studies that have found that magnesium supplements can help reduce anxiety symptoms, including those related to PMS.
Like with vitamin D, you may want to check your current magnesium levels before supplementing.
You can get magnesium naturally by eating:
- whole wheat
- black beans
- dark chocolate
You can also take supplements, but you may want to talk with a healthcare professional first. Some supplements may cause side effects like drowsiness and diarrhea. A professional may be able to tell you what the best form of magnesium is for you and how much to take to prevent side effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fats play an important role in your
Research, including a
If you’re considering taking omega-3 supplements, you may want to mention this to your healthcare team. They can sometimes interfere with certain prescription medications, such as blood thinners. They may not be recommended for people with certain medical conditions.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green or black tea. There is some evidence to suggest it’s a mild sedative or anti-anxiety agent, which can help lower your stress response and cortisol levels.
Vitamin B complex
B vitamins are a group of eight different nutrients that work together in your body to manage body processes, including the stress response.
Most people can get enough of these vitamins through various foods, but if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you might have a harder time getting vitamins B12 and B2 (riboflavin).
There are different types of B vitamin supplements in the market. A healthcare professional may be able to guide you as to which could work better for your anxiety symptoms. You could also consider consuming foods that are fortified with these vitamins.
Marmite and vegemite, for example, both contain B vitamins — and one study found that people who ate them had lower stress and anxiety.
If you live in an area where it is legal, you may want to consider CBD oil.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a derivative of the cannabis plant, but it lacks tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance that affects your senses.
As a result, CDB oil may help calm you down because it is believed to interact with receptors in your nervous system, altering serotonin signals in your body — kind of like SSRIs do.
So far, research suggests it could reduce anxiety and panic symptoms, helping people manage their anxiety disorders. Still, you might want to discuss CBD with your healthcare professional before self-medicating.
Western medicine and psychotherapy may be popular options for managing anxiety disorders, but there is evidence that other interventions work too.
Here are some complementary therapies that might work to calm anxiety naturally:
Petting animals isn’t just fun for animal lovers. There’s evidence that having a pet or spending time with animals does lower anxiety levels and improve mental health.
Petting dogs have also been shown for decades to lower people’s heart rates, while having a pet dog has been shown to
The animals don’t have to be furry either to lower anxiety.
Aromatherapy uses fragrant essential oils to promote wellness. Some oils can be inhaled directly or put on your skin, while others can be added to a bath or diffuser for optimal results.
There is some research to back up the effectiveness of aromatherapy in helping people relax, sleep, and reduce their heart rate and blood pressure, particularly when using certain scents like lavender.
However, research is still limited on the efficacy and safety of essential oils.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends these scents for anxiety reduction:
- clary sage
If you decide to try aromatherapy, it’s a good idea to remember:
- The FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils.
- It’s advisable to use a carrier oil if applying essential oils topically. You also want to patch-test on your skin.
- It’s recommended to talk with a healthcare professional before ingesting any oils because many are toxic.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a healing approach developed in the 1970s that combines meditation and yoga. It aims to address the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that may contribute to you feeling stressed.
“MBSR has over 40 years of evidence supporting its effectiveness for managing anxiety,” explains Dawn Straiton, doctor of nursing practice and faculty member at Walden University. “Research shows that we can build individual resilience by learning how to solve problems, regulate our emotions, and be more mindful.”
According to a
There are many reasons why a therapist may use hypnosis as part of your treatment. For one, it may help you reach a relaxed state. It may also help you process some life events that could be associated with your anxiety symptoms.
Some research suggests that hypnotherapy can help relieve stress, fear, and anxiety symptoms. It can also help people cope with the symptoms of a panic disorder. It’s often used to help treat people with agoraphobia, for example.
Acupuncture is an ancient practice that involves inserting needles into pressure points in your body. It’s long been a popular alternative treatment for anxiety.
There is some evidence that it works, too. For example, a
However, there is still limited research on how acupuncture helps anxiety symptoms. You may need to try it out for yourself to see if it helps you.
Also known as Shinrin Yoku, forest bathing has been around since the 1980s as preventive medicine for depression, anxiety, inflammation, and other health concerns.
Forest bathing involves spending time outdoors and observing nature closely while you practice breathing and focusing exercises.
Research has shown that this therapy may:
- lower your heart rate
- lower blood pressure
- improve your mood
- alleviate stress and depression
decrease fatigue and anxiety
Even if you don’t have a lot of time to spend outside, you could still feel the benefits, according to research. As little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can reduce your stress levels.
If you’re looking to calm anxiety naturally, there are lots of things you can do.
Consider making some basic changes to your habits, such as:
- Trying to get lots of sleep.
- Trying to exercise as much and as often as possible.
- Working on including certain foods in your diet.
Some supplements might also work for anxiety reduction.
Complementary therapies have also proven effective as natural treatments for anxiety.
Consider talking with a healthcare professional before using any over-the-counter supplements or trying any alternative therapies that haven’t been well studied or researched to make sure you’re not harming your overall health.