Feeling overwhelmed? You can try these natural remedies at home to relieve uneasiness and promote your mental health.
We know what it feels like to have stress build up, slowly creeping in or hitting us all at once. Even the happiest, most emotionally stable person is bound to experience feelings of stress and anxiety.
Every year more than 18% of adults in the United States are affected by anxiety disorders.
Anxiety and stress are closely related, but they aren’t the same: Anxiety is the body’s response to stress — either acute or chronic.
Medication and therapy are often used to manage stress and anxiety, which can no doubt be an effective and worthwhile means of treatment.
But these popular approaches don’t work for everybody or may not be enough to help you cope with severe anxiety in the long term. If this is the case, you may be interested in safe and effective natural remedies for stress and anxiety that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
Unsurprisingly, this past year of quarantines, missing friends and family members, and worldwide turmoil has created what many consider to be a mental health crisis in America.
The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that 67% of adults have experienced increased stress levels over the course of the pandemic.
The added stress has led to unhealthy coping mechanisms like excessive drinking, over- and under-eating, and sedentary living, which threaten long-term mental and physical health.
Every person is different. What may reduce stress for one person might cause anxiety in another.
We recommend checking with your doctor first to ensure that alternative remedies won’t interact with any meds you might be taking. If your healthcare team has no qualms, sampling all-natural remedies and experimenting with the best times of using them is the only way to learn which strategies work best for you.
Drink in calm
While some people find the simple act of making tea soothing, drinking certain herbal teas and other beverages may also have calming and anti-anxiety effects.
Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic Ayurvedic herb, has long been used to reduce anxiety. Recent
Other ingredients to consider looking for in your next varietal tea or chilled beverage include:
- tulsi, also called holy basil
Believe it or not, inhaling certain extracts and oils can help relieve stress.
One of the most popular and effective is lavender.
Here’s a resource for other essential oils sought for their links to easing stress.
Try one of these products to experience the benefits of aromatherapy:
- body oils or lotions
- skin balms
If taking a daily supplement sounds more up your alley, there are options for you too.
You might do more research on:
- Galphimia glauca. Galphimia glauca, a traditional medicine in Mexico, has been
shownto behave similarly to antidepressant medications, but with faster results.
- Cannabidiol. Research indicates that CBD is an effective anxiety reducer. It can be consumed in many forms, including gummies, sublingual oils, foods, vapes, and more.
- St. John’s wort. Similar to antidepressants, St. John’s wort is thought to increase the availability of mood-boosting and stress-reducing neurotransmitters in the brain.
Be sure to consult your mental health professional before experimenting with herbal supplements, especially if you’re pregnant or take other medications.
Yes, it’s true. Exercise is an effective stress buster, even if it might not feel like it in the moment.
A single session can lead to lower cortisol and higher serotonin and endorphin levels, which can boost mood and reduce anxiety.
Unsurprisingly, 61% of U.S. adults report that they’ve gained significant weight since the beginning of the pandemic.
The physical and mental benefits of exercise can be both immediate and long-lasting.
Consider these forms of exercise:
- Yoga. People who regularly practice yoga show
lower cortisol levels. Meditative by nature, yoga also helps center the mind, leaving you with a pleasant sense of calm.
- Boxing. Who says you need to run to get a runner’s high? Boost endorphins, release muscle tension, and take out all of your pent-up anger on a punching bag.
- Dancing. Aerobic exercise decreases tension, elevates mood, and relieves anxiety. So jam out to a new song in your room or join a group dance class. Beginners welcome.
Meditation is broadly considered to be the practice of focusing your attention on the present-moment environment or sensation around you — like your breath or white, pink, brown, or black noise — with the goal of creating calmness and mental clarity.
Used in many cultures for thousands of years, meditation is a popular and effective way of reducing stress and relieving anxiety.
You can lead your own meditation or use a guide, which may be especially helpful for beginners.
There are many different types of meditation. Some of the most effective at calming anxiety are:
- body scan
Speaking of a body scan, try taking a moment to acknowledge how your body feels when you’re stressed. You might notice a clenched jaw and tense muscles. You might unintentionally hold your breath.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique in which you slowly constrict different parts of your body and then release the tension.
In addition to reducing anxiety, muscle relaxation exercises can help improve sleep and lower blood pressure.
The benefits of progressive muscle relaxation should grow as you practice more and more.
Like meditation, breathing exercises can help reverse your body’s physical reactions to stress, such as elevated heart rate, tense muscles, and high blood pressure.
Deep breathing sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to calm down. This relaxed physical state translates to a relaxed mental state, quieting the mind’s anxious thoughts.
Strategic breathing techniques include:
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of sleep. It affects every part of your health and well-being.
Bad or insufficient sleep often leads to irritability, mental cloudiness, and stress.
According to the APA, 67% of adults report they’ve been sleeping more or less than desired since the COVID-19 pandemic started. It’s not hard to believe, with people having to adopt bizarre new schedules and lacking solid routines.
Research suggests that sticking to the same daily sleep schedule — weekday or weekend — and sleeping a sufficient amount makes managing stress far easier.
There’s a long and ever-growing list of safe and effective natural remedies for stress and anxiety.
In addition to those we’ve already discussed, you might want to bookmark:
- massage therapy
- creating art
time with animals
- enjoying the outdoors
- listening to calming music
Stress impacts us all. And sometimes, it can get overwhelming.
If you feel like your anxiety is dampening your overall well-being, consider reaching out to a doctor or mental health professional.
They can help you decide if therapy, medication, natural remedies, or some safe combination of all three would be the best path forward.