Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Stress

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Anxiety and stress have become common companions in our fast-paced and busy lives. As the demands of daily life increase, so do our levels of unease and tension. Understanding the importance of addressing these emotions and finding effective ways to manage them is essential for maintaining our overall wellbeing. While seeking professional guidance is so essential for severe instances, many people find relief and support through natural remedies, mindfulness and relaxation activities. Here I’d like to show you some of my favourite natural approaches to managing anxiety and stress, empowering you with tools to promote inner calm and resilience.

Exercise

Regular exercise isn’t just beneficial for physical health; it also plays a significant role in reducing anxiety and stress. Engaging in activities that get your body moving releases endorphins, which are commonly referred to as “feel-good” hormones. In fact, exercise commonly out-performs antidepressant and anxiolytic medications in trials when put head-to-head. Here are some types of exercise that can help:

  • Cardiovascular Exercises: Activities such as jogging, swimming, surfing or cycling elevate heart rate and promote the release of endorphins, reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Yoga: Combining physical movement with mindfulness and breath, yoga helps relax the body and mind, alleviating stress and promoting mental clarity.
  • Tai Chi: This ancient practice involves slow, flowing movements that help relax the body and enhance mindfulness, reducing anxiety.
  • Strength Training: Lifting weights or engaging in resistance exercises can boost self-esteem, improve mood and help manage stress.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools for reducing anxiety and stress by focusing the mind and promoting relaxation:

  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment, acknowledging your thoughts and feelings without judgement. A regular mindfulness practice can help you manage stress reactions and build resilience.
  • Meditation: Meditation techniques vary but often involve focusing on the breath, a mantra, or a guided visualisation. Meditation reduces anxiety by calming the mind and promoting present moment awareness and relaxation. 

Herbal Medicines & Nutritional Supplements

Natural medicines offer a natural way to support your body’s stress response and promote relaxation. However, I would always recommend speaking to an experienced practitioner before adding any supplements to your routine. Some popular herbal supplements for anxiety and stress include:

  • Ashwagandha: An adaptogenic herb that helps the body manage stress and reduce anxiety.
  • Valerian Root: Known for its calming effects, valerian root can help with insomnia and anxiety.
  • Lavender: Lavender is often used in aromatherapy and can also be taken as a supplement to help with anxiety and sleep.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile tea is renowned for its calming properties and can be particularly soothing before bedtime.
  • L-Theanine: An amino-acid found in green tea, it helps to support GABA one of our calming neurotransmitters and supports restful sleep
  • Magnesium: A mineral that calms the nervous system, supports GABA and supports sleep

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils or other natural fragrances to promote relaxation and emotional wellbeing. The scent of certain essential oils can have a direct impact on the brain’s limbic system, which controls emotions and memories. Some essential oils for anxiety and stress include:

  • Lavender: Known for its calming properties, lavender oil can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
  • Bergamot: This citrusy oil can uplift the mood and reduce stress levels.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile oil has a soothing aroma that can help alleviate feelings of tension and anxiety.
  • Frankincense: This oil is often used to induce a sense of calm and deep relaxation.

Diet and Nutrition

The foods we consume can have a direct impact on our mood and stress levels, especially when you are consuming a highly-processed diet. Incorporating certain foods into your diet can help manage anxiety and stress:

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Foods like whole grains, legumes and starchy vegetables can help stabilise blood sugar levels and reduce mood swings.
  • Fatty Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish like salmon can support brain health and reduce anxiety.
  • Leafy Greens: Dark leafy greens are high in magnesium and B vitamins that can help regulate the stress responses.
  • Protein: Protein is the building block of every one of our neurotransmitters and is essentail for supporting mental wellbeing and stable blood sugar levels. Every meal should have some form of protein to ensure you get enough each day.
  • Probiotics: A healthy gut microbiome is linked to improved mental health, so incorporating probiotic-rich foods such as kefir, kimchi, yoghurt and sauerkraut can be beneficial.
  • Prebiotics: Feeding our gut microbiome what it loves (fibre!) is a wonderful way to support a healthy mood. All plant foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains can help feed a diversity of healthy microbes that support mental health.

Managing anxiety and stress through natural remedies is a holistic approach that nurtures both the body and mind. By incorporating exercise, mindfulness, herbal and nutritional supplements, aromatherapy and anxiety-reducing foods into your routine, you can build resilience, promote relaxation and really begin to lead a stress-free life. While these natural remedies can offer significant relief, it’s important to remember that severe cases of anxiety and stress may require further professional support.

If you’re seeking personalised guidance on natural approaches to managing anxiety and stress, consider consulting with a naturopathic consultant like myself. For more information on the consultation process, click here.

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