For many of us, anxiety and stress have become a relatively common part of our daily lives. Busy schedules, professional requirements, and personal relationships can feel overwhelming from time to time. To a certain degree, experiencing some anxiety or stress is normal, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything to reduce them.
Anxiety and stress have become a much more frequent problem in recent years. In fact, research has shown that young Americans have become increasingly more stressed over the last 80 years. It has been estimated that more than 18 percent of adults will have to deal with anxiety-related problems each year.
If you are struggling with anxiety and stress, you could be surprised at how effective specific simple changes and remedies can be. If left untreated, anxiety and stress can have a profoundly negative effect on your self-esteem, wellbeing, physical health, and overall quality of life.
Many of these home remedies are very simple yet highly effective to help treat mild to moderate anxiety and stress. Making healthy lifestyle choices is also a fundamental step to ensure that you are leading a happier life and are capable of coping with stress.
It is important to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with feeling anxious or stressed. You shouldn’t delay seeking professional help if you are having trouble coping with these feelings.
Read on to discover the healthy lifestyle habits and home remedies that can help you handle anxiety and stress.
Lifestyle Changes to Combat Anxiety and Stress
There is no way around it: you need to make healthy choices if you want to reduce your anxiety and stress levels. If you are leading an unhealthy lifestyle, most treatments and home remedies won’t be as effective as they could be. Making lifestyle changes can be difficult and requires consistency, but the rewards are worth it.
Make sure you are eating healthy foods
Low blood sugar, dehydration, and excessive caffeine can all worsen anxiety and even mimic the symptoms of a panic attack. Research has shown that a sugar rush can also mimic panic attacks and feelings of anxiety.
To prevent severe fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, eat multiple small meals each day, and stay away from processed, sugary foods. You should also avoid eating too many simple carbohydrates, which are quickly converted into sugar by your organism.
Instead, drink plenty of water and stick to a diet that includes lean meats, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. A protein-rich breakfast can help you feel fuller during the day to avoid overeating, and it can also aid in maintaining steady blood sugar levels.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in a craving now and then. After all, restricting your diet too much can also lead to anxiety and guilt. But these indulgences should be the exception rather than the rule.
Exercise can help you drain stress and anxious feelings. You will feel relieved from anxiety even several hours after each workout. Research has shown that both aerobic, and resistance training has beneficial effects on patients with generalized anxiety.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America supports including regular exercise as part of the treatment plan for these conditions, since it can be just as effective as medication in some instances. Even if you are only able to perform a short workout a few times each week, you will still reap the benefits of regular exercise.
Try to get enough sleep every day
The relationship between sleep disorders and anxiety can be a vicious cycle. Stress and anxiety can lead to insomnia; in turn, poor sleep can exacerbate these feelings. Sleep disorders can lead to poor physical, mental, and emotional functioning.
It is crucial to identify the cause of your sleep problems. Certain conditions, such as sleep apnea, can require medical treatment. But if you are having occasional trouble falling asleep, try these sleep hygiene tips:
- Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, even on weekends.
- Don’t use your bedroom for anything other than sleeping.
- If you don’t fall asleep within 15 minutes of getting into bed, go to another room and try to do something relaxing.
- Try not to look at the clock while you are trying to fall asleep.
- Create an ideal sleeping environment: dark, cool but not excessively cold, and quiet.
- Avoid working out right before bedtime.
- Stay away from all screens at least 1 hour before bed.
- Perform relaxing activities before going to bed, such as reading, listening to quiet music, or meditating.
- Ask your doctor before trying any medical treatments for sleep disorders.
Dedicate time to an activity that makes you feel good
Even if you are dealing with a busy schedule, try to fit in some time for your favorite hobby. We all like to do different things with our time: maybe you love to play an instrument, paint, do yoga, play with your dog, read books, or bake cookies.
Regardless of which is your favorite recreational activity, spending some time on it will help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and high-stress levels.
Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake
Alcohol and caffeine can cause symptoms like jittering, mood swings, and nervousness. These substances can also make you more prone to panic attacks. Try to limit your caffeine intake to 1 cup per day, and your alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks per week.
Meditating can help you clear your mind, slow down your thoughts, and reduce stress and anxiety. Many patients with anxiety report feeling calm after a meditation session. Even 30 minutes of meditation per day can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to research.
Learn to manage your time more efficiently
Simple time management techniques, such as keeping a planner or an updated calendar app, can help you avoid stress when you feel like you have too many things to do. If you face a complex task, try to break it down into smaller steps to make it feel more manageable.
The Best Home Remedies for Anxiety and Stress
These natural ingredients have been shown to help in the management of stress and anxiety. Keep in mind that we all react differently to remedies; what worked for somebody else might not work for you, and vice versa. It is essential to try different approaches until you find the one that works for you.
Studies have shown that taking chamomile can reduce symptoms of anxiety. This herb can also help manage levels of cortisol, which is also known as the “stress hormone.” Chamomile can also help induce sleep in patients with insomnia.
You can take chamomile tea throughout the day, or try a supplement. Chamomile can interfere with coagulation. If you are on blood-thinning medications, it is essential to check with your doctor before taking this herb.
Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil
CBD oil doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This is the component in the cannabis plant that causes psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD is widely used to treat pain, anxiety, stress, insomnia, epilepsy, arthritis, and many other health conditions.
CBD is available in many forms: from a pure oil to teas and gummies, anyone can choose how to take it in a manner that is comfortable for them. CBD has also shown to be useful as a treatment for social anxiety. CBD is not addictive and doesn’t have any psychoactive effects on your brain.
Many natural products marketed as anxiety-relieving contain lavender, but why? Well, lavender contains an alcohol called linalool, which is also present in other plants. Research has shown that linalool vapor can reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress, and it targets the same receptors as benzodiazepines do.
Linalool only has to be inhaled, rather than absorbed, to have an anxiolytic effect. That is why lavender is such a powerful ingredient in aromatherapy. When you apply some essential lavender oil or a product that smells of lavender can help calm your anxiety and stress.
Valerian root has been used for centuries as a remedy for anxiety and insomnia. Its exact mechanism of action isn’t known. Scientists have theorized that valerian root increases levels of GABA in your brain – which is the same effect that drugs like diazepam and alprazolam cause.
You can use dried valerian root to make an infusion or take valerian capsules as a supplement. Valerian root can be taken up to 3 times a day for anxiety; however, you should keep in mind that it can cause drowsiness and sleepiness. Valerian root can take approximately two weeks to show its effects.
Passionflower is a vine that produces blue or purple flowers with tentacle-like petals. One variety of passionflower, called Passiflora incarnata, has been used to treat anxiety for hundreds of years. Just like valerian root, passionflower helps increase levels of GABA in your brain. You can find passionflower supplements quite quickly, and some preparations combine it with valerian root and other herbal ingredients.
Magnesium is vital to many processes in your organism, and it is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body. Several studies have shown that magnesium supplements could have a beneficial effect on anxiety. This mineral has been used to help treat generalized anxiety disorder, postpartum stress, premenstrual anxiety, and mild anxiety.
The reason why magnesium has these effects is that it can help improve the brain functions that work to reduce stress and anxiety. Research has shown that many people don’t know which foods are rich in magnesium and thus, have low magnesium levels.
If you want to increase your magnesium levels without taking supplements, try these foods:
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Black beans
- Cultured yogurt
Lemon balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, is a herb from the mint family. It contains certain natural chemicals that have a calming and soothing effect, which is why this herb is widely used to treat anxiety. Research has demonstrated lemon balm’s mood-stabilizing and stress-reducing effects.
Experimental studies have also shown that higher doses of lemon balm could even be useful to manage pain and insomnia. You can try lemon balm extract, capsules, powder, and even lozenges.
Know when it is Time to Ask for Professional help
Although significant advances have been made, mental health and emotional wellbeing are still a taboo topic for many people. Please remember that there is nothing wrong with the way you are feeling and that you should never feel ashamed or guilty about your anxiety or stress.
Although these home remedies have proven to be effective for many people around the world, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help if you feel that it is necessary. Certain signs could be telling you that it is time to ask for help, such as:
- Your anxiety is interrupting your normal life.
- You feel like you are no longer expressing your opinions.
- You don’t feel like doing the things that you used to enjoy.
- Your school or work performance is dropping.
- You feel isolated from other people.
- You are too afraid or anxious to perform basic, everyday tasks.
- You are having trouble leaving your house.
- You are experiencing panic attacks.
- You have thought about harming yourself or others.
- You have been experiencing anxiety for more than a few weeks.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, try reaching out to a healthcare professional or even a close loved one. It is also important to remember that there are many online resources available to help you cope with anxiety and stress.
Final Thoughts About How To Deal With Anxiety And Stress
Reducing your levels of anxiety and stress comes down to a combination of healthy lifestyle habits and helpful home remedies. It might seem complicated, but learning how to lead a more organized, healthy life is the best way to manage these negative feelings.
Many natural substances can also help reduce your anxiety. These remedies are mostly herbal, and you can easily find many supplements and infusions that contain them.
But you also need to keep in mind that many people need professional help to overcome anxiety and that there is nothing wrong with that. If you are having trouble coping with negative feelings, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help.
Andrea, M.D is from Valencia, Venezuela. She is passionate about sexual health and education, and public health and global health. Additionally, she enjoys researching and learning about beauty, skincare, and cosmetic innovations. She has also volunteered in several NGOs in Venezuela. In her free time, Andrea enjoys reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, making desserts for her family, going to the beach, and spending time with her dog, Dorito.