It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time, but if you’re exhibiting symptoms of anxiety (such as excessive worry, restlessness, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating and insomnia) every day for several months, you may have an anxiety disorder that needs treatment.
Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty.
Severe anxiety disorders are often treated with medications like antidepressants, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), but people with mild to moderate anxiety symptoms can often find some sort of relief through natural anxiety treatments. These treatments can be very effective if thy’re done the right way and incorporated into your daily lives.
Natural Anxiety Treatments
Yoga and Meditation:
Yoga is a great way to quiet your mind and relieve stress. Simple meditation techniques can also help you control your breathing and thoughts to help ease panic attacks.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most effective ways to reduce or eliminate anxiety symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works by helping patients use new thinking skills to modify negative behaviors and thought patterns.
Massage and Acupuncture:
Many studies have proven the healing power of touch. Both massage and acupuncture help restore the body’s emotional balance by stimulating the flow of energy through specific points on the body. Both treatments are widely used to relieve stress, diminish muscle tension and improve sleep.
Diet: Studies show that a healthy, balanced diet improves your mood in numerous ways. Anxiety symptoms can by greatly reduced by eliminating caffeine and alcohol and reducing your intake of sugar, refined carbohydrates and foods with additives and chemicals. Increase your consumption of foods rich in omega-3s, an extremely healthy oil found in salmon, walnuts, flaxseed and other foods that has been shown to boost mood.
Foods high in vitamin B (include beef liver, ground beef, clams, salmon, herring, tuna and breakfast cereals,
and calcium) help the nervous system to function properly. Also, try adding foods high in folic acid, which some studies suggest helps improve the effectiveness of antidepressants. Folic acid can be found in many vegetables, beans and whole-wheat products.
While traditional healers have long recommended chamomile for anxiety, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania were some of the first to examine this relationship scientifically. In a 2009 study, the authors compared scores from standardized tests designed to measure generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. Over a period of eight weeks, one group received a placebo while the other took pharmaceutical grade chamomile capsules. Subjects were then tested to measure changes in symptoms of anxiety during this time. Those who took chamomile enjoyed a reduction in anxiety symptoms and the changes were termed “clinically meaningful and statistically significant.”
Chamomile is readily available in capsule form and as a tea in most grocery and health food stores. However, proceed with caution if ragweed causes you to sniffle and sneeze. Chamomile is in the same family and could cause a similar allergic reaction.
Passion flower and anxiety are two terms that are often inextricably linked. In the Americas, even before Europeans arrived, the Native Americans used passion flower infusion to brew tea that was prescribed for hysteria, insomnia, epilepsy, and pain relief. European immigrants adopted and continued this practice. In more modern times, drug manufacturers often use the Passion Flower as an ingredient because of its various beneficial properties. The passionflower tea is great
Omega-3 Fats: New research shows that healthy young people who consumed more omega-3 fats showed a marked reduction both in inflammation and, somewhat surprisingly, also in anxiety.
The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA also play a role in your emotional well-being. The Brain Behavior and Immunity study showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among med students taking omega-3, while past research has shown omega-3 fats such as those found in krill oil work just as well as antidepressants in preventing the signs of depression, but without any of the side effects. Low plasma concentrations of DHA is associated with low concentrations of brain serotonin, which may be associated with depression and suicide.
In fact, inadequate intake of omega-3 fats is known to change the levels and functioning of both serotonin and dopamine (which plays a role in feelings of pleasure), as well as compromise the blood-brain barrier, which normally protects your brain from unwanted matter gaining access. Omega-3 deficiency can also decrease normal blood flow to your brain, an interesting finding given that studies show people with depression have compromised blood flow to a number of brain regions.
Finally, omega-3 deficiency also causes a 35 percent reduction in brain phosphatidylserine (PS) levels, which is relevant considering that PS has documented antidepressant activity in humans. Interestingly, omega-3 fats have even been known to help reduce violent behavior and aggression, and even improve the ability to concentrate in people with ADHD, so the impact on your brain health is quite significant.