I often struggle with anxiety, especially in social situations. And I’m not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety affects some 40 million people 18 and up in the United States — or 18% of the population. It can take over your daily life and make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. My sister is a child psychiatrist, and I’m always amazed at how many young children are already experiencing anxiety.
But, the good news is, anxiety is highly treatable given the right information and tools. My mom (also in psychiatry) often said, ‘One of the best gifts you can give yourself is a good therapist.’ Just talking – even with a friend – can be helpful in get those swirling, anxious thoughts out of your head!
10 Natural Anxiety Remedies
Along with therapy or medication, lifestyle changes can help to get anxiety under control. Natural remedies have been proven highly effective with anxiety. Herbs like lemon balm and lavender have relaxing effects on the brain while breathing and yoga can help train the brain to cope differently with anxious thoughts. We’ve researched 10 anxiety remedies to soothe your symptoms and help you feel better naturally.
1. Passion Flower
Passion flower is one of the most powerful and effective treatments for the nervous system. Passion flower contains beta-carbonline alkaloids, which are believed to act as MAO inhibitors, like in prescribed anxiety medication. You can try passion flower either in tea, tablet or liquid extract form. Alvita makes a wonderful passion flower tea that’s a great start for treating anxiety naturally.
Like passion flower, this daisy-looking herb also contains calming properties. It has been scientifically proven that chamomile helps anxiety and depression symptoms by naturally relaxing the mind. Chamomile has several other benefits for the body and will also help you sleep better. Try this recipe for a “calm down” tea, or a delicious tea by Stash.
3. Lemon Balm
The lemon balm plant’s interaction with nicotinic and muscarinic receptors has been proven to increase the activity of acetylcholine, which helps thoughts flow more easily and calmly. Eugenols and terpenes in the herb also work to soothe and numb irritated muscles from panic attacks. Lemon balm is most commonly used in supplements, like Nature’s Way Melissa Lemon Balm Capsules.
4. Ylang Ylang
When you’re feeling anxious, ylang ylang can act as a double duty plant to not only calm you, but also help you feel more optimistic and cheerful — critical parts of treating your anxiety! Aura Cacia makes a great ylang ylang essential oil that you can diffuse or use in an aromatherapy roll on.
Lavender is one of the most effective herbs for treating anxiety when dried or in oil form. You can use dried lavender in a pouch under your pillow at night, or put a few drops of lavender oil into a bath or body oil to keep the relaxing scent of lavender with you throughout the day. And, if you find yourself with an anxiety-induced headache, try this delicious lavender soda recipe to soothe your mind and your palette.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are several specific breathing techniques to calm your anxiety. Try the 4-7-8 breath, also known as “the relaxing breath,” to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. All you need to do is inhale, hold your breath, and exhale to start feeling better.
Magnesium is a naturally calming mineral known to help ease anxiety and depression, with positive effects on your nervous system. Magnesium supplements are a great way to keep calm and carry on. Magnesium also absorbs through the skin so try an Epsom salt bath or this calming lotion.
8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research shows that it’s important to incorporate about 1-3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids into your daily diet. Why? It actually lowers stress chemicals in your body, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Walnuts, flax seeds, tuna, salmon, and fish oil supplements are all full of omega-3.
Yoga is a wonderful way to not only stay healthy, but also to reduce anxiety and stress. There are even special poses proven to help those suffering from anxiety. Try moves like child’s pose, extended puppy pose, and legs up the wall to feel calm and refreshed.
Taking a warm, detoxing bath is always a good idea for relaxation, especially if you add a couple of cups of Epsom salt. This bath recipe combines dead sea salts, Epsom salts, bentonite clay, lavender, and frankincense essential oils. The combination of healthy minerals and relaxing essential oils is a sure way to relieve anxiety.5