I have preached (almost to exhaustion!) about how I do not believe that prescription medication is necessary to overcome anxiety.
But I’m afraid, perhaps, I haven’t offered you, dear readers, a substantial amount of options in order to deal with this anxiety.
So now, with the help of Health.com, I offer you a list of non-prescription, all-natural remedies for anxiety:
Some compounds in chamomile (Matricaria recutita)bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium. In one study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, in Philadelphia, patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to patients taking placebo.
2. Green Tea
Research shows that L-theanine, an amino acid found in Green Tea, helps curb a rising heart rate and blood pressure, and a few small human studies have found that it reduces anxiety. In one study, anxiety-prone subjects were calmer and more focused during a test if they took 200 milligrams of L-theanine beforehand.
Unfortunately, though, you can’t experience its benefits from a brew. The sedative compound in hops is a volatile oil, so you get it in extracts and tinctures—and as aromatherapy in hops pillows.
Because it contains sedative compounds; the German government has approved it as a treatment for sleep problems. But Valerian smells kind of nasty, so most people take it as a capsule or tincture, rather than a tea. If you want to try it, take it in the evening—not before you go to work! It is often combined with other sedative herbs such as hops, chamomile, and lemon balm.
Exercise is safe, good for the brain, and a powerful antidote to depression and anxiety, both immediately and in the long term. “If you exercise on a regular basis, you’ll have more self-esteem and feel healthier,” says Drew Ramsey, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University.
The intoxicating (but safe) aroma of lavender may be an “emotional” anti-inflammatory. In one study, Greek dental patients were less anxious if the waiting room was scented with lavender oil. In a Florida study, students who inhaled lavender oil scent before an exam has less anxiety—although some students said it made their minds “fuzzy” during the test.
7. Hold Your Breath
I’m sure you’ve heard people to tell you to breathe when you feel anxious…One reason it works is that you can’t breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time. To do the 4-7-8 breath, exhale completely through your mouth, then inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Now let it out slowly through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat at least twice a day.
8. Eat Omega-3s
This was great news for me as a fish lover. Experts generally recommend that you get your omega-3s from food whenever possible. Oily, cold-water fishes like salmon are the best sources of the fatty acids; a six-ounce piece of grilled wild salmon contains about 3.75 grams.
9. Get Hot
As one group of researchers put it, “Whether lying on the beach in the midday sun on a Caribbean island, grabbing a few minutes in the sauna or spa after work, or sitting in a hot bath or Jacuzzi in the evening, we often associate feeling warm with a sense of relaxation and well-being.”
10. Give Yourself Credit
Are you having anxious thoughts? Congratulations. You’re aware of your emotional state, and that awareness is the first step in reducing anxiety, says Edenfield. “Remember to give yourself credit for being aware that you are having anxious thoughts, and probably body changes. This is truly a skill of mindfulness that must be learned, and is essential in making the next steps of intervening through strategies such as positive self-talk, cognitive reframing, or the use of mindfulness or relaxation strategies.”
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