Anxiety? A Natural Approach

To say that we are living in extremely challenging and uncertain times right now is putting it mildly. Groups of people are being marginalized and treated inhumanely because of who they love, the color of their skin or their religion. Folks are struggling to make ends meet, homelessness is more prevalent than ever and being diagnosed with a serious illness is becoming common. Of course all of these things cause stress and anxiety. But there is hope.

Anxiety is a common response to stressors, like being caught in up a dangerous situation, taking a test, or having to make an important decision. But, when anxiety becomes a constant response to situations it can be problematic.

Anxiety affects many people throughout their lives. For some, it is merely situational, but for others, anxiety is constant and can lead to more serious disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder. I have observed this up close with a loved one and understand how debilitating it can be.

Some causes of anxiety include:

  • stress
  • trauma
  • thyroid disorders
  • dysfunctional serotonin
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • caffeine and sugar intake
  • hormonal imbalance

Physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety include:

  • muscle tension
  • chest tightness
  • heart palpitations
  • high blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • digestive problems
  • panic attacks
  • irritability
  • difficulty concentrating
  • restlessness
  • sweating
  • anxiousness
  • inability to socialize

Psychotropic drugs and cognitive behavioral therapy are the conventional methods for anxiety treatment, and with an estimated one-third of the population suffering from anxiety, it is no doubt that the number of medications is equally high.

There are also many natural remedies that have been proven effective without the adverse side effects. And if you’ve been following me for awhile you know that is my jam! 

Here are some recommended approaches you might try:

Avoid Sugary and Processed Foods
Consuming foods with a high glycemic index, like processed and fast foods, can contribute to anxiety and depression. Additionally, sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate wildly, increasing anxiety, nervousness and fatigue.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine can both enhance anxiety symptoms by causing tension, moodiness, and the jitters. Reduce anxiety by avoiding alcohol completely. Limit coffee or black tea to no more than one cup per day.
Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha, a powerful herb, is often used as a natural remedy for anxiety, as it helps to stabilize the body’s response to stress. Ashwagandha improves focus, reduces fatigue, and helps to fight anxiety without the attending side effects of anti-anxiety medications.
Kava Root
Kava root is used to treat anxiety by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain, which induces euphoria and a sense of wellbeing. It is a great alternative to anti-anxiety medications because it is non-addictive and non-hypnotic, but still increases positive mood and relaxation. Kava should be taken under the guidance of a health care provider, as it has been known to interact with certain medications.
Magnesium 
Because magnesium deficiency is common in adults, you should consider supplementing it, as magnesium is great for relaxing muscles and the nervous system.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is a natural sedative, and it helps reduce anxiety by allowing the body to relax.
Physical Activity
Physical activity helps to reduce stress, improve sleep, reduce inflammation, increase energy, and boost confidence. It takes around half an hour of sustained exercise to see the effects on anxiety levels.

Life is unpredictable and uncomfortable situations will undoubtedly occur. Incorporating some of these lifestyle changes has been shown to be beneficial. Note: always consult your trusted holistic medical practitioner before making any changes.

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