Natural Anxiety Remedies
For as long as I can remember, I have had anxiety. I used to think it was a flaw or something that was ‘wrong’, but I am now 99% at peace with being a little, ‘over wired’.
Anxiety is a natural bodily process. We were built as humans to withstand a little bit of stress. Anxiety is our bodies’ way of telling us we are stuck in that
‘Fight or flight mode’ (the sympathetic nervous system), or ‘overdrive’ as I like to call it.
In the olden days, if there was a predator or something our bodies’ perceived as a threat, we needed a way to turn on all of our mechanisms to fight this stressor, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. These would naturally subdue once the predator was gone and we were no longer in perceived danger.
Now, in the modern age, the issue we are faced with is that our bodies’ perceive many things as a ‘stressor’ and we can get stuck in this ‘fight or flight mode’. This includes; mobile phone usage and constant exposure to social media, traffic, environment pollutants, emotional stress, financial stress; the list goes on. Adding to this is the constant surge of stress hormones such as cortisol, which in small doses, can save our life, but for the every day, too much is not a good thing. Our body is becoming more and more ‘alert’ and ‘wired’ therefore it is harder to active our parasympathetic nervous system which is our calming ‘rest and digest’ system. Think of it as your ‘recharge mode’.
It is not surprising that with all of these external and internal stressors we deal with on a day-to-day basis, some of us may find it hard to switch off and can be a little anxious or, ‘over wired’. Below I will outline a few tips that I have used and do use for both acute anxiety and long-term anxiety preventions.
These all ‘switch on’ the Parasympathetic nervous system, which is the ‘rest and digest’ system (the one we want most of the time).
• Listen to calming music – I love to use the pre-made Spotify playlists such as ‘calming sounds’, which play everything from the sound of rain to the calming beach. This can be beneficial for acute-anxiety situations (such as anxiety attacks) or to help get your breath back or to simply play before bed to get into a nice rhythm.
• Nighttime routine – this is a big one for me. I love to really slow down my nighttime routine which includes having a cup of tea and some dark chocolate after dinner all the way to having a similar skin-care routine. This ensures I get into a good mindset and know I’ll have a great sleep.
• Get out in nature. Nature has a great way that stiulates certain ‘feel good’ chemicals in our body such as serotonin and dopamine, which can help us to immediately feel good.
• Exercise. The only reason I exercise is to get that release of serotonin and make me feel good. I do this around 4-5 times a week of more intense training. Slower forms of exercise are just as beneficial; such as walking, yoga, even stretching. Move your body and see how it immediately lifts your mood.
• Lavender oil on t-shirt – I use Doterra oils and put little drops on my shirt or wrists as a perfume. Lavender is a very calming oil so would highly recommend it.
• Limit technology before bed. Limiting your exposure to technology before bed is a great way to reduce that ‘blue-light’ load which actually keeps your awake and stimulated. At night we want more of that ‘red light’ which is things like lamps (salt lamps are great), candles and using apps, which can change that harsh ‘blue-light’ on your phone or Laptop into a softer ‘red light’. This is all vital if you want a good nights’ sleep. Red lights can help our melatonin production and tells our body its time for bed.
- Listen to ATP Science podcast on Anxiety – highly highly recommend!
• Head to a health retreat for a ‘digital detox’. If you are anything like me, it is very relaxing and a great ‘recharge’ to have a beautiful, calming environment to retrain your brain and bring down stress hormones and chemicals.
If you find any of these tips helpful to you or have any of your own to share, I would love to hear from you.
Facebook: Claudia Cramer Dietitian
** This post is for information purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease.