What is Anxiety?
Anxiety can interfere in your sleeping patterns, eating behavior, energy levels, and overall quality of life. Anxiety is characterized by persistent fear, worrying, apprehension, and nervousness. Anxiety is a normal feeling to experience and is sometimes a healthy reaction. When anxiety lasts for a prolonged amount of time however, it may be develop into what some refer to as an anxiety disorder. Prolonged anxiety has unhealthy effects on your health. The longer you wait to address it, the harder it is to overcome. Many people resort to medications for their anxiety, but medications don’t always work, can be dangerous and have a lot of negative side effects. They can also exacerbate symptoms. For some people, a natural solution is preferred. Luckily, anxiety is very treatable and there are a variety of different natural methods that people use to overcome anxiety.
Anxiety is caused by a variety of things such as brain chemistry, genetics, environmental factors, substance abuse, medical factors, etc. Stress is commonly the biggest trigger of anxiety. Stress has physiological effects on our body that can drastically disrupt our body’s chemistry. This can cause chemical imbalances that contribute to persisting anxiety symptoms. Anxiety is also associated with depression. Research supports the theory that low serotonin levels may contribute to anxiety and depression. There is evidence that increasing serotonin levels may help alleviate anxiety. This can be done in a variety of ways.
How to Treat Anxiety Naturally
There are many natural methods for treating anxiety.
Here are the most common methods:
- Dietary changes and nutritional supplements
- Relaxation techniques
Sometimes our anxiety can be caused by external factors that are putting us under daily stress. If your anxiety is based on an situational or environmental factor, therapy can be a great way to work out your emotional discomfort and traumas. Therapy is also useful for receiving insight on how your behavior or perception may be contributing to or perpetuating your anxiety.
Diet is extremely important for mental health. That saying “you are what you eat”, well it’s true! If you do not adequately supply your body with the materials it needs to repair and maintain it’s optimal function, then health problems emerge. Generally eating a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is always ideal. Avoid inflammation-promoting foods such as refined sugar, wheat, caffeine, alcohol, red meat and processed foods. Make sure to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and select high-quality, organic lean meats. Whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are also fundamental to a healthy diet. As mentioned before, low serotonin levels are associated with anxiety. You can naturally boost your body’s serotonin levels by eating foods rich in tryptophan, B6, magnesium, B12, omega-3’s and other essential nutrients for brain health. Click here to learn more about serotonin boosting foods.
Nutritional supplements are a great way to help rebalance your brain’s chemistry and support a calm, happy mood. There are dietary supplements that support the body’s serotonin production, increasing serotonin levels and combating anxiety. There are also a number of calming herbs such as chamomile, valerian, rodeola rosea, lemongrass, ashwagandha, and passion flower. These can be consumed as supplements, teas or even applied topically through therapeutic-grade essential oils.
Exercise is vital for maintaining brain health and promoting a balanced body and mind. It is suggested that one gets a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day. Exercise is proven to boost serotonin and dopamine levels, and lower anxiety and depression. Exercise even promotes brain cell growth of new neural networks. It will also help you sleep better at night, and feel more energized throughout the day.
Meditation and breathing techniques are also a great tool for treating anxiety. There has been research showing that these practices improve brain function and relaxation, promoting a sound, calm mind. Yoga is a great way to incorporate breathing, meditation and exercise all in one.
Spending time outside in nature is another way to relieve anxiety. The sunshine will help you synthesize vitamin D, which is essential to keeping you happy. The oxygen-rich air from the plants can help nourish your body and take your mind off the stress of daily life. Spending time with a pet is also a great way to relieve stress. Studies show just petting an animal for 15 minutes can lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure.
If you have tried all of these things and are still desperate for relief, then it might be the right time to consider Anti-anxiety medications. Seek help and consult with your doctor to decide if you are a good candidate for medications.. Always try to leave anti-psychotic medications as a last ditch effort to avoid their danger and negative side-effects. Try improving your anxiety through the aforementioned techniques first. Goodluck!