Ah, the dreaded "A" word. Anxiety. We've all suffered from it at one point or another in our lives. What's often difficult, though, is determining exactly where it comes from and what causes it. Also, finding natural ways to reduce anxiety can be tough.
And us girls, well, it's no secret that we can feel anxious about anything and everything under the sun. Our finances, relationships, work and school can all be sources of stress and anxiety, just to name a few. You might feel like you're the only one suffering from anxiety—but trust me—you're not. A whopping 20% of Americans have one anxiety condition or another.
And when you don't know what's causing it, determining a course of action and treatment to fight your anxiety can be difficult.
Here, we'll provide some natural ways to reduce anxiety that actually work. Before scheduling an appointment with your doctor, give these a try.
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils have a wide variety of uses and offer many different benefits, making them one of the top natural ways to reduce anxiety. You can use peppermint and/or lavender oils to treat headaches and add a few drops of lemon essential oil to your water (I do this every morning), and even use them to treat anxiety. If you're looking to fight anxiety by using essential oils, you'll want to stock up on cedarwood oil.
One method for using cedarwood oil is to rub it behind your ears and on the bottom of your feet. Cedarwood oil is said to assist your body in the production of melatonin and may also provide a sense of relaxation. Instead of lying awake with your worries all night and tossing and turning in your sleep, you'll drift off easily and wake up feeling refreshed.
Meditation improves mental clarity, focus, stress management, self-awareness, and a whole lot more. And, believe it or not, it can be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, too. In fact, studies show that meditation can even reduce emotional pain – and by up to 44 percent, at that!
Next time you're feeling anxious, try some basic breathing exercises. Mindfulness meditation is great for beginners because all you need to do to get started is sit in a quiet place and focus on the feeling and sound of your breathing. If you have a favorite mantra, you can focus on that too. Just sit quietly, allow thoughts to come into your mind, let them go, and breathe out your anxiety and stress.
3. Step out in the Sun
What’s one easy way to decrease the symptoms of your anxiety disorder and/or depression? Increase your vitamin D levels. How can you do that, you ask? It's easy—simply step out into the sun. Even as much as 15 minutes of sunlight can help to decrease your symptoms.
So, what are you waiting for? Go get some sun, girl!
4. Chamomile Tea
Hot or cold, sweetened or not, tea is a delicious, low-calorie beverage you can enjoy all year round.
And when you're looking to a cup of tea to calm you down, turning to chamomile can help. It features not one, but two chemicals said to promote relaxation—luteolin and apigenin. Feeling anxious? Make yourself a hot cup of chamomile tea. Or two. Or three. Even the simple act of savoring a yummy hot beverage can be calming in and of itself. Add some chamomile, and you're set!
If your anxiety translates to insomnia at night and you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep, you might want to consider trying a natural sedative supplement like Valerian. You can find Valerian capsules at any health food store, and your local grocery store may also carry them in their supplement section.
I used Valerian to get to sleep for years, and it worked wonderfully for me with zero side effects. Just a warning, though, the capsules smell pretty vile—so don't sniff the container as you're reaching for a dose. If you don't like taking pills, there are Valerian tinctures you can try too. Some brands also make chamomile teas featuring Valerian and other herbs with sedative properties, which are great to sip on at bedtime.