Millions of women experience anxiety – it’s that tense, heart racing, can’t breathe, nervous sensation that grows from the pit of your stomach. It can last minutes to days and completely consume your life. For some, the anxiety is so great that anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications are the only way you can function. For others, it’s merely situational around certain persons, places, events, or topics.
If you are interested in natural anxiety support then read on because this article is for you even if you are on medication!
1) Quiet time – now before you roll your eyes and skip to the next article, take this seriously. We are such a fast-paced, right now, quick messaging society that we forget to take a little breather from time-to-time. I encourage you to sit quietly for a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes in the evening and RELAX! Put yourself in time-out, shut the door, and allow yourself to unwind for a bit.
2) Sleep quality – if you aren’t consistently getting enough good, solid sleep then you’re short of energy and temper the next day. As this builds up, you feel more and more frayed allowing anxiety to take control because you don’t have the reserves you once had. Wind down at night, get off the computer and turn off the tv so you can relax. Drink sleepy time or nighttime tea in the evening and get to bed at a decent hour.
3) Rescue Remedy – this amazing little Bach Flower mixture can be picked up at any health food store/grocery store or online. It is an instantaneous anti-anxiety cure especially if you are about to enter a situation or encounter a person who makes you nervous. It’s very soothing and non-addicting and will not interfere with any medications.
4) Lemonbalm (Melissa officinalis) – this herb is most helpful at calming frayed nerves. It can be taken as a capsule, in liquid form, or in teas throughout the day or at night to improve sleep.
5) Lavender – inhaling this scent has been shown to induce relaxation. Buy some lavender essential oil or apply lavender body lotion to breathe in and carry with you. Stick a lavender sachet under your pillow at night or use organic lavender bath salts to unwind in the bathtub.
6) Passion flower (Passiflora incarnate) – this is another herb much like lemonbalm used to calm frayed nerves and reduce anxiety. It is commonly sold as a capsule, in teas or as a liquid to be taken throughout the day or at night before bed.
7) Get your hormones tested – if your thyroid is sluggish, your adrenals are fatigued or if you are low in progesterone, then you are more prone to anxiety and depression. Make sure your health care practitioner is knowledgeable in natural hormone balance.
8) Support your brain hormones – if you are NOT on anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications, you may want to talk with your health care provider about supplementing with 5-HTP or GABA supporting vitamins such as B6 (active form is pyridoxal phosphate), B12 (better form is methylcobalamin), magnesium, and folate.
9) L-Theanine – this is a derivative of green tea that does not have the stimulating effects. It is known to improve anxiety and insomnia within about 30 minutes and has no known interaction with medications. The most common dose is 50-200mg.
10) Check your diet – if you eat terribly then you’re going to feel terribly. Consider getting food intolerance/sensitivity testing or cut out the most common offenders, wheat and dairy, for 30 days and see how you feel. Eliminate the diet sodas full of aspartame, fast food, and junk food. Eat vegetables and protein as protein provides the building blocks for neurotransmitters. Drink water so you are hydrated and watch your caffeine intake as too much causes anxiety.
Most important, find out what is causing that low (or high) level of anxiety in your life. I once had a patient tell me her anxiety was highest in the evening. When I asked why, she said “That’s when my husband comes home.” Others are triggered by stressful jobs, stressful kids, or stressful money situations. If you can’t yet make positive changes, then use the 10 tips to at least support your health until you can. Please remember, you and your health are important.