I remember when I first discovered that my nervous symptoms were actually anxiety. I immediately began looking for natural solutions that I could put in place ASAP. I spent years thumbing through books, articles, taking courses, and trying everything in real time. Some stuff worked and some didn't. I can tell you first hand that all the methods below work and they work well. Here are 5 ways that millions of people reduce their anxiety every day.
The 20 Minute Miracle For Anxiety Relief
Exercise is one of the fastest ways to snap out of any funk. When we're anxious, we're often in our heads. We're thinking about something in the future and we're worrying. Getting in just 20-30 minutes of cardio can make all the difference and completely reset your mood.
Exercising has more benefits than just dimming down anxiety too. Its great for improving physical fitness, fighting disease, mental clarity, and reducing stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, studies show that exercise is also great at reducing fatigue, improving alertness, concentration, cognitive function, and releases endorphins which improve sleep.
Start by getting outside and walking at a brisk pace, jogging, using the elliptical or treadmill. Just as long as you get your heart rate up for about 20-30 minutes a day. Aim to get your exercise done early. It'll boost your endorphins and set you up for the rest of your day.
If you're exercising outside, you get the added bonus of being in the sun, which is great for improving mood. You may even find the you make healthier food choices during the rest of your day.
Be More Peaceful to Reduce Anxious Feelings
Its no secret that meditation can substantially reduce symptoms of anxiety. In fact, it was one of the first things I learned when I began searching for holistic ways to conquer my own anxiety problems. Sitting and focusing on the moment can be difficult (especially if you're anxious), but with a little practice you won't be able to live without it.
There have been thousands of studies on meditation and the benefits for people with stress, anxiety, depression, health issues and more. According to a study by Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, (assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School) mindfulness based stress reduction programs reduced symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder. This condition is marked by regular and hard to control worries, irritability and poor sleep.
There are many non-meditation techniques that can help reduce stress and anxiety as well. However, according to Dr. Hoge, the control group - who were taught general stress reduction techniques - didn't improve as much as the meditation group.
When you begin meditating, you'll quickly notice the benefits for yourself. It's a practice that eases the mind, helps you focus on the present, and one that around 80% of the most successful people in the world indulge in.
Start with just 5 minutes a day. Find a quiet place in your house where you won't be disturbed. You can sit on a chair or on the floor if you prefer. Begin to count your breaths up to ten and then start over at one. If you lose count, just pick up where you left off.
If you're having trouble focusing, don't worry. Everyone has a hard time at first. Practice and consistency are the keys to success. The best times to meditate are right after waking up in the morning or just before bed at night. Your brain waves are naturally in a more relaxed state at these times making it easier to meditate.
( Related Reading: The Scientific Power of Meditation )
Be One With Nature
Beyond being fun, going out in nature has positive effects on your health and wellbeing. In fact, sometimes all it takes is a hike in the woods to completely change the rest of your week. Being away from all the beeps and dings of your electronics can help you focus on enjoying your moment and worrying less about what everyone else wants you to be doing.
No matter what environment we're in, it has an effect on our stress and thus our anxiety. Your environment is either contributing to or reducing stress. According to the University of Minnesota, being in nature reduces feelings of stress, fear, and anger while increasing pleasant feelings. Nature also contributes to your physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and stress hormones.
I know that I've never been anxious on a hike through the woods and if you think about it, you probably haven't either. Nature is so soothing that research shows even having one plant in your room or office can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. The takeaway? Get out in nature as often as possible and head to the local Home Depot for some indoor plants.
Eat Something Good (For You)
Anxiety can be caused by low blood sugar. If you're feeling a little anxious and not quite sure why, ask yourself when you last ate. If it's been a while, reach for something good to eat. I'm not talking mac and cheese or typical comfort food though.
Think something more like salmon, grass fed beef or avocados. Studies show that good fats, loaded with Omega-3s, can help to reduce anxiety, inflammation and even anger. It's a good idea to add these to your regular menu if you deal with anxiety at any level.
I personally like adding a good meat and some avocado to a leafy green salad. According to Dr. William Cole, leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach are rich in magnesium which is great for calming the nervous system. Beyond these foods, as soon as you start making healthier dietary choices, you'll notice major improvements in both general mood and anxiety. Juicing is also a quick and easy way to get more greens in your diet.
Supplements That Quell Anxiety
Diet and exercise can drastically reduce anxiety. But when we're constantly in fight-or-flight we may need something to supplement the healthy diet. That's where vitamins come in.
1. Magnesium - 320 mg - 420 mg daily. Magnesium helps to maintain a healthy nervous system and regulate the adrenals. Our soil today is depleted of magnesium and with the increased stress we're all facing, magnesium is just what the doctor ordered.
My personal favorite magnesium supplement is Calm by Natural Vitality. I've been taking it for years and it really helps with anxious feelings. It mixes well with water, tastes great and definitely calms you down.
2. Amino Acids - High quality amino acids help to balance your whole body. There are thousands of different proteins in your body. Amino acids are the building blocks of all those proteins. When you take an amino acid supplement, your body is able to use those little building blocks to make everything from neurotransmitters to skeletal muscle.
The best amino acid supplements I've found so far are not available on amazon. We sell them at Freedom Genesis though. If you have on you like then stick with it. Just make sure that its free form and contains the full spectrum of amino acids.
3. Kava - kava is probably the most popular herb for individuals dealing with anxiety. Studies show that taking between 120-240 mg of kava extract can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Here are 250 mg capsules made by Now Foods available on amazon.
4. Lavender - according to WebMD, taking lavender oil by mouth for 6-10 weeks improves anxiety, sleep, and can prevent anxiety recurrence in people with mild to severe anxiety. Always consult your doctor before doing this. Some lavender oils are not meant to be ingested.
We sell pure lavender oil at Freedom Genesis. Its sourced from France, grown from the oldest seeds available (so its not modified) and its bottled fresh after harvest. I can't speak for anything available on amazon since I haven't tried most of them.
Although there are many supplements on the market for treating anxiety, I would focus in on these four. Rather than skimping on quality, spend the extra money and get the best versions of these four you can find.