Anxiety is something we all feel at one point or another. Some of us only experience it in highly stressful moments, while others fight a daily battle with their racing thoughts. If you struggle with serious anxiety issues, there’s certainly no replacement for professional medical care and support, but if you’re occasionally troubled by anxious feelings, there are effective home remedies that may provide you with some temporary relief.
Here are seven of the best natural remedies for anxiety. Remember though that if you have a serious anxiety disorder, it’s best to consult your doctor.
There’s a reason so many people enjoy a cup of chamomile tea before bed—the herb is known for its calming effect. One study from the University of Pennsylvania found that chamomile extract helped reduce anxiety symptoms in subjects. You can steep chamomile in tea or take it in supplement form to enjoy the relaxing effects of the plant.
Working out can do much more than get you a toned body. Many studies show that regular exercise can help diminish anxiety, both immediately after physical activity as well as in the long-term. And you don’t have to do an intense 45-minute workout to reap these benefits; even a 10 minute walk can have a positive effect on your anxiety and stress levels.
There’s a reason that yoga is associated with so much zen. The ancient practice is so helpful for anxiety because it helps modulate our body’s stress response by reducing heart rate, lowering blood pressure and easing our breathing. One German study found that after three months of doing yoga, subjects reported a 50 percent improvement in depression levels, 30 percent improvement in anxiety and a 65 percent improvement in overall well being.
Multiple studies show that lavender can work wonders on anxiety. One study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that lavender was as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Ativan. Other research shows that lavender can help with restlessness, nervousness and insomnia. Lavender is available as a fresh herb or essential oil and can be found in capsule form at health food stores.
Passionflower is a great natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia. It works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which can help lower the activity of certain brain cells, making you feel more relaxed. The herb is available as a tea or extract, and it can be taken multiple times per day.
6. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation seems like the stuff of hippies, but it really works. A review of 19,000 meditation studies published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found meditation to be a viable remedy for anxiety. One study found that mindfulness-based meditation helped quell anxiety symptoms in subjects more effectively than general stress management techniques.
7. Spending Time In Nature
There’s a reason so many people retreat to the countryside to cleanse their mind: Nature can have soothing effects that can help eliminate stress and anxiety. One study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that people who spent 90 minutes in nature showed reduced activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, the brain region active during rumination. City dwellers are also at a 20 percent higher risk of anxiety disorders, so try to spend some time outside away from it all for a natural way to relax.