If you haven’t experienced the crippling sensation of anxiety, you haven’t lived. Anxiety is that beautiful, nauseating feeling that kicks in anytime your “fight or flight” response is activated, which happens nearly every time you are presented with a stimuli that you find stressful, exciting, or novel. It’s your body’s way of preparing you to correctly react to that stimuli. I have yet to encounter a human who has no idea what anxiety feels like. I have, however, encountered many who feel completely lost in how to manage it. Like all mental health challenges, there is no “one size fits all” remedy. We are profoundly unique in our chemistry and personal history, so what is extremely helpful for one person may be of no use to you. I encourage everyone to try a diverse collection of coping mechanisms until they find what works for them. Here are a few natural sources to help keep anxiety at bay.
This is one of the most necessary and obvious ways to combat anxiety. And frankly an ability that many of us take for granted. Our bodies are designed to move and unless you are a professional athlete, your modern lifestyle likely isn’t conducive to giving your body the exercise it desperately needs on a daily basis. Even if all that you have time for or can physically manage is stretching, that’s a powerful release of tension! It will keep your body agile, remove stress, and can be done anytime, anywhere. Not to mention it’s completely free. There have been many moments during grad school training when I would lock myself in the office bathroom just to stretch/breathe. Is that kind of weird? Maybe. But if it keeps me mentally and physically healthy, I don’t care.
Don’t panic. If you aren’t a fan of broccoli, kale, spinach, or the other antioxidant powerhouses that show up in green veggies, I promise there are ways to get them into your diet that will actually leave you craving them more. Dark, leafy greens are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, which are major boosters for antioxidant levels and encourage optimal brain functioning. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, PLEASE add greens to any meal you can. My favorite
ways to eat kale are in a pineapple/banana/kale smoothie or sautéed in coconut oil and sea salt.
By no means am I recommending that anyone replace their anti anxiety medication or stop what is being recommended by their prescribing doctor, but we cannot deny that all medications come with a serious list of risks and possible side effects. If there are naturally derived products in existence that can help imitate the same reaction in the brain without the risks, why not try it. BLISS Anti Stress Formula is a vegan and gluten-free supplement used to promote feelings of calmness and relaxation by promoting healthy levels of dopamine and serotonin. BLISS uses herbal ingredients, such as L-Theanine, a well-researched amino acid beloved for its ability to
help you feel relaxed. BLISS Anti Stress Formula can be found on Shop.com along with numerous research studies backing its science. I have heard from several people that this product helped them reduce their need for prescription medications to manage anxiety and help them live life free from the associated negative side effects.
- Chamomile Tea
As a self-admitted sugar and caffeine addict, I get it. Nothing seems to help push through stressful deadlines or long nights of research papers than rich, steaming coffee. But caffeine is a serious stimulant of the central nervous system and as far as psychoactive drugs go, it is by far the most widely used….or abused if you resonate with my first sentence. Its effects are well-known to mimic similar symptoms as psychiatric conditions like anxiety. It even has the ability to help induce panic attacks. I have encountered several clients who state that they cannot drink caffeine for the sole reason of how it exacerbates their anxiety. Chamomile Tea is one of my must-have natural alternatives simply for how it makes me feel. I keep it with me on long days when I know stress will be inevitable and it truly does help me remain calm and keep cortisol levels down. I have learned to love the taste by playing around with different blends and ALWAYS having coconut cream and raw honey on hand.
- Epsom Salt Bath
Salt in general has gotten a bad rep. But the truth is that our bodies require it for survival. It is necessary to transmit nerve impulses, move muscles, and maintain fluid balances. There are different species designed for different uses. When we add Epsom Salt to our warm bath water, your body begins replenishing its magnesium supply. In turn, this promotes the production of serotonin, leaving you with improved mood, reduced stress/anxiety levels, and promotion of calmness. It’s also great for athletes with sore muscles or women suffering from menstrual cramps. This has become one of my favorite night-time routines to help me decompress from the long day. Eucalyptus is one of my beloved salt scents. Its powerful smell is like standing in the middle of a lush forest and is great for sinus health. I lie in the warm salt bath with only candlelight and soft music. It’s the cheapest vacation you can find.
Written by: Aubrey Koel, LPC