40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, making them one of the most common mental health illnesses in the country. Millennials have even been dubbed the anxiety generation, with numerous studies showing that this generation suffers from anxiety at a much higher rate than others. Today, you do not have to be diagnosed with one of the eight categorized disorders to be plagued by the most common symptoms of anxiety. Worried about money, work, friends, family, love, your health, etc.? You may find yourself sweating, crying, heart beating rapidly, with the inability to control your breathing. These are among the most common, unpleasant symptoms of anxiety.
Luckily, there are numerous, natural ways to subside the effects of feeling anxious, all of which have little to no side effects. Here are 5 of our favorites.
Mindful meditation is the practice of training the brain to stay in the moment. One of the largest contributors to anxiety is the inability to rid the mind of thoughts from the past or fears regarding the future. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders explains, “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power. They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.” Mindful meditation, which can be practiced at meditation studios or from the comfort of your home teaches the brain to refocus on the present when thoughts are wandering. Want to try mindful meditation? Check out Dr. Ronald Siegal’s free online courses.
In a recent survey, The CBDistillery™ found that one-fourth of customers used CBD oil to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. What is CBD oil? Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis plants. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the compound associated with marijuana’s psychoactive properties, CBD does not cause a “high” effect and can offer relief and benefits without the disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria. There are dozens of testimonials to be found on the internet about CBD helping those with anxiety, stating something similar to, “I was amazed how quickly my anxiety melted away. I didn’t know it was possible to feel this relaxed”. Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a collection of cell receptors and corresponding molecules in the human body. This system helps to regulate pleasure, pain, mood, and stress response among other things. When CBD products like CBD oil are used, the cannabinoid levels in the endocannabinoid system reach homeostasis, allowing for a healthy stress response and mitigating fear, anxiety, and panic.
Get up and move! Science has proven time and time again that people who are physically active have lower rates of anxiety and depression compared to those who are sedentary. Exercise helps to overcome anxiety symptoms in several ways. First, inactivity of the body creates tension which can lead to symptoms of anxiety. The next time you are feeling stressed, go for a brisk walk, even if it is only for 10 minutes. Additionally, exercise promotes the production of serotonin and decreases the amount of cortisol in the body. Both of which aid in the body’s overall levels of stress, tension, and fatigue. Regardless if you choose to practice yoga, join a gym, participate in a team sport or just walk your dog, getting into a routine of daily exercise will avoid symptoms of inactive anxiety as well as promote a healthy stress response.
As previously mentioned, feelings of anxiety often stem from overwhelming negative thoughts or concerns about certain circumstances going on or could potentially happen in your life. The practice of feeling grateful is an incredibly simple way of diverting your negative thoughts into something positive. Do you have a roof over your head? A family and/or group of friends that love you? A talent or characteristic that makes you unique? The next time you are overwhelmed by the negatives in your life, redirect your thoughts to those things you are grateful for. In fact, according to one study conducted in 2005, making a daily habit of writing down what you are thankful for, will contribute to your overall happiness immediately as well as in the days and weeks after.
Limit caffeine and alcohol
Both caffeine and alcohol are stimulants which can stimulate your “fight or flight” response making your anxiety worse. Some people with social anxiety will turn to alcohol, not realizing that this stimulant can worsen the side effects of anxiety. This is the same for caffeine. One too many cups of coffee in the morning can perpetuate those uneasy feelings that stem from feeling anxious. Rather than reaching for a caffeinated latte in the morning, try sipping on some camomile tea, which the UK’s University of Nottingham Medical School has determined to decrease anxiety and even fight depression significantly.
Disclosure: THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR CURE ANY DISEASE. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING A NEW DIETARY SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM