Anxiety: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune; a state of intense apprehension or worry often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shaking, intense feelings in the gut.
General Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
- Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Cold or sweaty hands or feet
- Not being able to be still and calm
- Muscle tension
- Dizziness and nausea
- Chest pain, shortness of breath
- Feeling like you are going crazy
- Stomach upset, nervous stomach
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. This is normal. This is why anxiety is not a medical, biological, chemical, or genetic problem. Anxiety attacks, also referred to as panic attacks, are episodes of high intensity fear and anxiety. Panic attacks often occur suddenly and ’out of the blue.’ Sometimes the cause of a panic attack is obvious, such as when you feel in immediate danger with no escape. But at other times, panic attacks can seem to occur without reason.
Anxiety can take many forms — generalized anxiety disorder (constant worrying about everyday things), obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder.
While medications to treat these anxiety conditions are often an important component in the management of anxiety, there is also many natural techniques that can help calm you down, either in place of medications or as a supplement to them.
Millions and millions of people suffer from anxiety, and yet according to statistics less than 50% of those with anxiety seek help, and less than 30% of that 50% seek what’s known as minimally adequate treatment.
Anxiety relief requires fully understanding your anxiety severity. There are many safe nondrug remedies for anxiety, from mind-body techniques to supplements to calming teas. Some start working right away, while others may help lessen anxiety over time.
Anxiety comes in many different forms—such as panic attacks, phobia, and social anxiety—and the distinction between an official diagnosis and “normal” anxiety isn’t always clear. You wake up feeling tired, your mind is racing, and you’re unable to calm yourself down.
Anxiety symptoms are actually symptoms of stress. They are called anxiety symptoms because behaving apprehensively is the main source of the stress that overly stresses the body, which then, causes the body to exhibit symptoms. Since stress hormones affect other hormones, women can experience a wide range of sensations and symptoms due to how stress hormones affect the hormones that affect the female menstruation cycle. Many women experience increases in anxiety related symptoms in association with their monthly cycle.
Anxiety disorders may be caused by problems in the functioning of brain circuits that regulate fear and other emotions. Studies have shown that severe or long-lasting stress can change the way nerve cells within these circuits transmit information from one region of the brain to another. If you suffer from chronic anxiety and worries, chances are you look at the world in ways that make it seem more dangerous than it really is.
Seek counseling and support if you start to regularly feel anxious with no apparent cause.
Natural Methods for Anxiety Control
Chamomile tea several times a day. Chamomile contains two chemicals that promote relaxation: apigenin and luteolin. In one study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, in Philadelphia, patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to patients taking placebo.
Green tea. Japanese Buddhist monks could meditate for hours, both alert and relaxed. One reason may have been an amino acid in their green tea called L-theanine
Start doing exercise. Easily the most important thing you can do is start exercising. Numerous studies have shown that inactivity can cause and contribute to anxiety, and that exercise itself actually releases hormones and chemicals in your brain that improve mood and promote relaxation.
Limit alcohol and caffeine, they can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: a good laugh goes a long way; Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Lavender essential oil to calm yourself, the odor is very relaxing.
Fighting the anxiety makes it stronger, accepting that you are feeling anxious causes the anxiety to go away.
Distraction is an effective way of putting your mind on something other than the anxiety symptoms you are experiencing, and is a surprisingly effective anxiety treatment.
Meditation techniques can be used to adopt an attitude of acceptance. No matter what happens, you can give yourself permission to be peaceful. Meditation relieves the anxiety. Using meditation for anxiety and stress often hinges on finding quietness. If your anxiety is caused by not knowing which direction you should go, quietness can help you accept the answers, rather than forcing them to come.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is one of the most important herbs in the Ayurvedic Hindu system of medicine. It is very helpful at calming anxiety of all kinds, especially agoraphobia.
Ginkgo biloba reduces the release of stress hormone cortisol making it effective for anxiety and stress as well.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is generally considered safe but valerian can make you drowsy, so use it just before bedtime.
Probiotics: These bacteria are referred to collectively as your intestinal flora, microbiome, or microbiota and they have a profound impact on your brain and mood.
Spend less time with people who make you anxious. Is there someone in your life who drags you down or always seems to leave you feeling stressed? Think about cutting back on the time you spend with that person or establish healthier relationship boundaries.
Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) In one study of healthy volunteers, those who took standardized lemon balm extracts (600 mg) were more calm and alert than those who took a placebo. While it’s generally safe, be aware that some studies have found that taking too much can actually make you more anxious. So follow directions and start with the smallest dose.
Passionflower: the German government has approved it for nervous restlessness. Some studies find that it can reduce symptoms of anxiety as effectively as prescription drugs. It’s often used for insomnia.
Omega-3 fatty acids may ease anxiety symptoms and lift your mood by lowering levels of stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol in the body. Caned fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, walnuts, and flax seeds are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Catch sunlight. Naturally increase your vitamin-D levels, which can decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Blueberries and peaches contain nutrients that relieve stress and have a calming effect.
Whole grains are rich in magnesium and tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts to serotonin which is known to calm and improve your mood.