Copyright (c) 2010 Peter Rubel
Natural anxiety remedies can come in the form of nutritional substances which directly or indirectly correct an imbalance or deficiency in the brain. Homeopathic or aromatherapy substances may have a similar effect. Remedies can also come in the form of cognitive re-evaluation and mental and verbal exercises. Religious belief may play a strong role here, or various kinds of therapies–or just plain positive mental distraction. Biofeedback and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy may integrate mental exercises with physical modalities. Similarly working through a problem despite one’s anxiety about it can also have positive effects on the emotions in time. Regular physical exercise on the one hand and relaxation techniques on the other both can have salutary effects on mood. Yoga and forms of stretching may serve both as exercise and relaxation. Slow and deep breathing exercises are often a great first line of defense against anxiety.
Discovering which remedy or combination is most effective for oneself may require some trial and error and depends on the cause or causes of one’s anxiety.
Generally natural anxiety remedies tend to be gentle to one’s system and may be accessible without a doctor’s prescription except for professionally supervised therapies. However when already taking prescription drugs for anxiety, depression, or for that matter for anything else, be sure to consult your supervising physician before taking nutritional substances, herbs in particular. Using drugs in combination with nutritional supplements such as herbs may create additional problems. Note too that some drugs tend to deplete the body of certain nutritional substances. Be especially careful if you are pregnant or nursing.
Consulting a doctor may also be advisable before embarking on an exercise regimen. For example, asthma an anxiety problems are often found together, and asthma sufferers may need to take precautions, especially when beginning rigorous exercise, not to overdo it or to breath too heavily in air that may contain irritants or pollutants.
I. Breathing techniques for anxiety
If you feel your anxiety meter rising into a high range, remember to breath more slowly and deeply. Many of us with anxiety disorders and a variety of health challenges develop the unfortunate habit of mouth breathing, which among other things facilitates hyperventilation and with it, an increased sense of anxiety.
Develop a habit of slow and deep breathing deliberately by practicing once in the morning and once in the evening for five minutes each, ideally taking six complete breaths per minute–or one can work gradually down to that. Regular exercise can also help improve lung efficiency. Singing and playing a woodwind instrument are examples of particular practices which can improve the muscles involved in breathing.
II. Regular physical exercise
Regular physical exercise improves physical stamina, circulation, the cardio-vascular system, and many other aspects of health. In particular, it elevates mood and decreases risks of various health problems that may contribute to anxiety and depression. Those of us whose careers strap us to a computer, desk, or driver’s chair and those of us who use TV or other forms of electronic media should take warning!
III. Using your head
Those suffering from anxiety disorders or just general anxiety level may find great help in a professional therapist guiding one to unravel emotional knots, perhaps such as those tied by a traumatic experience or a history of poor reactions too difficult circumstances or relationships. Thinking and talking through one’s emotions may in some cases also be done by oneself or in company of an empathetic friend. Can one find a positive side? Can one accept and live with a “what if” scenario? How can one cope with or compensate for a negative?
Being deliberate about using your head may include writing down positive affirmations, recording emotions in writing or in audio recording (if private), listing options, and being disciplined about mental exercises like prayer or relaxation. Music, a walk in the park, or a hobby may serve to support a sense of well-being. And again, facing one’s fears may mean doing the difficult. Patience and endurance may in time serve to strengthen one against anxiety.
IV. Nutritional Considerations
Life is complicated. So is biology. However large an impact our emotions may have on our physical health, and it is large, the chemistry of our bodies conversely influences our emotions. Take hormones and alcohol as examples. Therefore we can affect how we feel by what we put or fail to put into our bodies. Those with a heightened sense of anxiety would do well to avoid caffeine (even where it may be hidden in carbonated beverages) and sugar. On the other hand, certain amino acids like GABA and tryptophan may calm the mind. B vitamins and magnesium may help keep anxious people more emotionally stable.
Natural anxiety remedies are often safe and effective, especially when used in a combination that is right for the individual.
Next consider more specifics regarding natural anxiety treatments and feel free to sign up for the free ebook and email mini-course. The author is a long time health enthusiast interested in helping people overcome anxiety and anxiety disorders.