Natural Ways To Treat Anxiety

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I’ve had a few people reach out to me recently asking about treatments/supplements to naturally treat their anxiety. I think with the busy time of year and people becoming more aware of side effects of medications they are looking for alternatives. 

Before I jump into treatments and supplements, I want to note I am not a medical, nor mental health professional. Everything I list is due to me trying it myself, or from research on the matter. Please do not stop taking your medication or start supplementing before talking with a medical professional. Also, if you are looking to incorporate supplements into your life, always check with your doctor before doing so as they can interact with medication. 

Lastly, there is no shame in taking medication. Medication is here to help those living with various mental health conditions live a life they want to without anxiety, depression, and psychosis holding them back. Always remember, there is no shame in taking medication. 

Supplements

Magnesium: Research has show modern day diets are lacking magnesium. It has been noted in various studies those who lack magnesium can experience anxiety-like symptoms, ex. Irregular heartbeat, weakness, and muscle cramps just to name a few. I know when I had 3 panic episodes a day, I was low on magnesium and started to supplement. After a few weeks of supplementing, I started to feel less on edge and better able to sleep. 

Probiotic: Some studies have found a link between gut health and mental health interact more than we know. During 2016, I was struggling with anxiety and was having digestive issues because of it- not sure if it was the chicken or the egg that came first in this situation, so I went to a gastroenterologist over the summer, and they recommended taking a daily probiotic. Since taking a daily probiotic 5 months ago, my anxiety has dramatically decreased, so I am guessing there is something with the whole gut/mental health connection, at least for me. 

Herbs: If you are anything like me, unwinding at the end of the day can be challenging, my mind races with to-do lists, projects, and social outings, so I’ve integrated evening herbs like chamomile, lavender and Ashwagandha into my night routine. These herbs are are commonly in herbal teas that promote relaxation and calmness. I love this one from David’s Tea: Serenity Now.

Lifestyle

Exercise: I am not talking about starting to become a bodybuilder, but regular exercise that works for you and your lifestyle. Not into the gym, maybe a daily walk and a little resistance training is your jam. 

Routine: I have a love and hate relationship with routines, I love having a schedule at the same time the rebel inside me wants to do what I want when I want. So I try to have a balanced perspective when it comes to routines, I have a daily routine, but leave wiggle room for creativity. Typically, I wake up at around the same time, go to bed at the same time, and try to exercise or take an evening walk around the same time. I work between 9am-8pm and try to get all my work done between those hours. This is just enough structure for me to keep a routine but allows flexibility when needed. 

Organize/Clean: For me, my home is a reflection of what is going on in my head, and if my space is a mess, it tends to make me more anxious and distracted. I try to take a few minutes at the beginning/end of the day to clean up and organize. 

Work-life balance: I am working on this one, as someone who works a full-time job, runs a business, this website, another blog, YouTube Channel plus having a social life, I tend to work late. I have been making a point of ending my work day by 8 pm to allow myself time to relax, digest, and spend time with my girlfriend before bed. Otherwise, working till bedtime is not good as it is overstimulating and can impact your quality of sleep. 

Meditation: Daily meditation doesn't work for me. Instead, I use meditation when dealing with stress. In the moment or after moments of stress, I take time to de-stress by popping in my headphones and putting on a guided meditation. The key to meditation is finding one that works for you; it may be a few times a week, a few hours a day, whatever it is meditation is a great tool for those living with anxiety. 

Mindfulness: Us anxious peeps tend to live in the future and outside ourselves. Regrouping and living in the moment helps me rebalance and focus on the moment. Try to live in the moment for a few minutes when doing a task, see how you feel during and after. If you feel good, integrate more of it into your day. 

Alternative Therapies

I know some people believe in alternative therapies and others think it is totally out there. I’ve gone to all the alternative therapies listed below, and they have helped to relax me and unwind. 

Reiki: I’ve written a whole blog on this, I’ll link it HERE. Reiki is an alternative energy-based healing therapy. Started in the early 1920s in Japan, westerns have caught onto its many health benefits in the past decade. It works when a reiki master practices hand on therapy by flowing positive, healing energy through one's body removing negative energy. Reiki has been shown to help alleviate back pain and reduce anxiety. 

Massage: This one is pretty straightforward, a massage therapist massages your entire body or sections of your body where you are tense and works out the knots. If anything, massages are great pain reducers and work to relax you, even if it is for a short time. I try to get a massage monthly or every other month. Some insurance plans cover massages, so check in with them as massages are a bit pricey. 

Acupuncture: Works to stimulate specific points in the body that may be blocked via tiny needles on the skin. So the way I like to think of acupuncture is the following example. I have a lot of neck and shoulder pain from tensing up due to anxiety and stress, I go to acupuncture to get that tension released, and they place tiny needles in blocked or tense areas of my body, and I enter a meditative state which helps to alleviate anxiety and stress. I’ve been going on and off for 5 years, and it totally helps with my anxiety levels, I always sleep like a baby after a session. Acupuncture is a bit pricey, so check out local, community acupuncture centers as they tend to offer it on a sliding scale. 

Essential Oils: Therapeutic grade essential oils can promote relaxation and calmness. I like to diffuse lavender essential oils in my home. If anything, the idea of them and the act of diffusing can help to put me in a calmer state. High-quality candles made with essential oils work too! 

For me, living a balanced life is what helps my anxiety the most. If I am too overworked, I don’t sleep or eat well, and I tend to become anxious. I try to exercise a few times a week, eat in an intuitive, balanced way, spend time with my loved ones, work on passion projects, and have time to rest. Finding the right supplements- probiotics and magnesium have helped my anxiety as well. I regularly try new products to see if they help with stress and anxiety, I will provide updates when I find a fantastic product. 

Additional Reading:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-magnesium#1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198864/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection

Written by Amanda Shea.