In the fast paced, high speed world we live in, it’s hardly surprising that so many people experience anxiety. It’s estimated that up to ten percent of the population suffers from some form of anxiety or panic disorder. Unfortunately, the standard prescription medications used to treat anxiety and panic disorder have side effects such as dizziness and fatigue which can limit their usefulness. Sometimes people with anxiety don’t actually need medications, but simply need to make appropriate lifestyle changes to help relieve stress. Before reaching for a prescription to treat stress related symptoms, consider some of these ways to naturally treat anxiety. They’re effective and a whole lot safer than taking prescription drugs.
Naturally Treat Anxiety with Exercise
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and help relieve the symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Why is exercise such a good mood stabilizer? Higher intensity exercise causes release of natural chemicals known as endorphins that create a sense of calm and well-being. They’re responsible for the runner’s high that motivates so many runners to keep running. Forty-five minutes of aerobic exercise three to four days a week may be just as effective for treatment of anxiety as some prescription medications – and a lot safer.
Revise Your Diet
Eating lots of processed carbs and desserts can enhance feelings of anxiety. Simple carbs such as white potatoes, white rice, white bread, and sugar sweetened foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin levels followed by an equally fast drop. When blood sugars drop precipitously, it can bring on symptoms of anxiety. Try replacing simple carbs with high fiber, whole grain foods and veggies and add some protein to each meal to help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels. Eating smaller, more frequent meals may also be helpful.
Naturally Treat Anxiety with the Right Beverages
If you’re drinking coffee, replace it with green tea. Although they both have caffeine, coffee has much higher levels than green tea. Plus, high quality green teas contain an amino acid called theanine which has a calming affect on the brain. People who drink green tea high in theanine don’t experience the caffeine jolt often associated with drinking coffee. If you’re prone to anxiety, make the switch to green tea.
Get Some Sleep
Sleep deprivation can make anxiety symptoms worse. To naturally treat anxiety, it’s important to get the proper amount of sleep which for most people is seven to eight hours per night. When sleep deprived, the body responds by producing higher levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin which can increase anxiety and stress levels. This makes it harder to sleep, leading to a vicious cycle of anxiety and sleeplessness.
Other Ways to Naturally Relieve Anxiety
Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises also help to reduce anxiety levels. There are a variety of classes and DVD’s to learn these effective stress reducing techniques.
Keep in mind that certain medical problems such as an overactive thyroid can cause symptoms of anxiety. If you find these natural anxiety treatments don’t solve the problem, make an appointment with your doctor.
Biol Psychol 74 (1): 39′”45