Natural Remedies for Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Life gets overwhelmingly stressful sometimes. Between work deadlines, family demands, money issues and health concerns, you can easily become burned out, anxious and struggling to cope. During stressful times, it’s more important than ever to intentionally care for your mental health.
The good news is, nature provides a treasure trove of holistic remedies to naturally ease anxious thoughts, calm your mind, and promote a positive mood. Unlike medications, these remedies often have minimal side effects and can be used regularly to support overall wellness.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore a wide variety of natural stress and anxiety relief options from nutrition to aromatherapy and beyond. You’ll discover:
- The symptoms and root causes of stress and anxiety
- Thescience behind natural remedies that influence mood
- Soothing botanicals and herbs to calm the nervous system
- The key role of vitamins, minerals and supplements
- The benefits of mindfulness practices
- Lifestyle changes to address chronic stress
- DIY spa treatments for relaxation at home
- And much more!
Follow along to build your toolkit of natural remedies and start feeling less stressed, more relaxed and mentally at ease.
Understanding Stress and Anxiety
Before diving into solutions, let's look at what's actually going on when you feel stressed or anxious.
Stress affects both body and mind. Telltale signs include:
- Fatigue, insomnia
- Headaches, muscle tension, jaw clenching
- Upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea
- Increased heart rate, rapid breathing
- Sweating, trembling
- Irritability, anger, sadness
- Difficulty relaxing or enjoying activities
- Feeling overwhelmed, “burned out”
Anxiety is closely related to stress. Key symptoms are:
- Restlessness, feeling “on edge”
- Difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
- Irrational worries about future events
- Feeling panicked and out of control
- Avoiding people, places, activities
- Racing thoughts, fixation on worst-case scenarios
- Rapid heart rate, nausea, dizziness
Causes of Stress and Anxiety
Possible triggers for anxiety and chronic stress include:
- High pressure work
- Financial or legal problems
- Major life changes or trauma
- Relationship conflicts
- Social isolation and loneliness
- Health issues or chronic pain
- Inflammation, gut dysbiosis, food sensitivities
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Genetic and epigenetic factors
- Substance abuse and withdrawal
- Certain medications
- Excess caffeine intake
Imbalances in brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine also play a role in anxiety and mood disorders.
Now that you have a sense of what’s happening internally, let’s overview proven strategies to ease anxiety and unwind naturally.
Calming Botanicals and Soothing Teas
For centuries, cultures around the world have relied on plants and herbs to promote relaxation and restoration. Many have research backing their stress-reducing properties:
Chamomile: Sipping chamomile tea has mild sedative effects to relax the nerves. Studies confirm chamomile extracts reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.
Valerian root: Valerian acts as a mild sedative. Clinical trials show it relieves stress, anxiety and insomnia. It’s also used for tension headaches and muscle spasms.
Lemon balm: Both lemon balm extract and tea reduce stress markers like cortisol and improve calmness and cognitive performance under stress.
Passionflower: Passionflower increases the brain's GABA levels, a neurotransmitter that quiets anxiety. Studies confirm it works as well as prescription anxiety drugs for reducing anxiety symptoms.
Ashwagandha: An adaptogenic herb popular in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha balances stress hormones like cortisol. Clinical trials confirm it reduces anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Holy basil: Also called tulsi, holy basil lessens anxiety and emotional stress by lowering cortisol levels. Human studies show it improves memory and cognitive performance under stress.
Lavender: Studies demonstrate lavender aromatherapy reduces anxiety and emotional stress while boosting mood. Lavender oil also promotes relaxation and deeper sleep.
** CBD oil:** CBD positively modulates serotonin receptors linked to anxiety levels. Controlled trials confirm various forms of CBD oil reduce both acute anxiety and chronic anxiety symptoms.
Experiment with sipping calming herbal teas throughout your day. Add a few drops of lavender oil to your bath or diffuse at home. When stress seems overwhelming, these botanicals provide soothing relief without the side effects of anti-anxiety medications.
Now let’s explore the vitamins and nutrients that form the biochemical foundation for mental wellness.
Key Vitamins and Supplements for Stress Resilience
Stress rapidly depletes vital micronutrients that your brain and body require to cope and stay healthy. Ensure you’re not operating at a deficit by eating a balanced diet and supplementing where needed.
B complex: Chronic stress can lead to deficiencies in B vitamins like B5, B6, B9 (folate) and B12. Nerve function, neurotransmitters and mood require these B vitamins. Supplement a high quality B complex.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C gets rapidly used up during stress. Low C is linked to increased anxiety. Load up on vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies. Consider supplementing 500-1000 mg per day.
Magnesium: Magnesium gets depleted during bouts of stress. Supplementing restores low magnesium levels linked to anxiety and insomnia. Take around 400 mg daily.
Zinc: Stress and anxious thinking burn through zinc stores. Low zinc is tied to anxiety, depression and cognitive decline. Eat zinc-rich foods like oysters, meat, nuts and seeds. Supplement 30-45 mg of zinc.
Omega-3s: Omega-3s like those in fatty fish are potent anti-inflammatories that boost mood. Take around 1000 mg EPA + DHA omega-3 daily to help reduce anxiety.
L-theanine: An amino acid found in green tea, L-theanine elevates levels of calming neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and GABA. Take 100-200 mg l-theanine to promote relaxation without drowsiness.
Melatonin: The “sleep hormone” melatonin helps restore healthy circadian rhythms disrupted by anxiety. Take 0.5 - 3mg before bedtime as needed to improve sleep quality.
Probiotics: Research shows a strong gut-brain connection. Probiotic supplements help reduce inflammation and anxiety by balancing your microbiome. Add a daily broad-spectrum probiotic.
Nutritional interventions like these help build your stress resilience and are safe for long-term use as part of an overall self-care routine.
Now let’s look at techniques that engage the relaxation response to reverse damaging effects of chronic stress.
Mindfulness Practices for Inner Calm
Mindfulness practices train your mind to stay grounded in the present moment. This cultivates equanimity and inner calm that quiet anxiety and bust stress.
Breathwork: One of the fastest ways to deactivate the stress response is through deep belly breathing. Inhale fully, exhale slowly. Work up to 4-7 breaths per minute.
Body Scans: Bring attention to physical sensations moving through different regions of your body. Notice areas of tension and consciously relax them.
Walking Meditation: Notice the sensations of walking, your feet touching the ground and the rhythm of your breath. This is portable mindfulness to do anywhere.
Mantra Repetition: Repeat a simple mantra like “I am calm” to block anxious thoughts. Focus only on the repeated words. Om is a popular mantra with calming vibrations.
Loving-Kindness Meditation: Send blessings and well wishes to self and others. Visualize each person smiling. This builds emotional positivity to counteract anxiety.
Yoga: Joining movement with breath, yoga integrates mind and body. Studies confirm yoga reduces anxiety, stress hormones, heart rate and blood pressure.
Aim do some form of mindfulness practice for 10-20 minutes daily. The more you make it a habit, the more potent the anxiety relief effects.
Next let’s go over lifestyle changes that build your long-term resilience.
Lifestyle Adjustments for Lasting Stress Relief
How you structure your daily routine and care for your overall health can greatly impact resilience against anxiety. Make these lifestyle changes to support your peace of mind:
Exercise regularly: Regular cardio and strength training boosts feel-good endorphins and neurotransmitters. Aim for 30-60 minutes daily to reduce stress.
Get enough sleep: Not getting 7-9 hours sleep nightly negatively affects mood. Prioritize adequate sleep and maintain a consistent bedtime.
Increase social connection: Loneliness and isolation exacerbate anxiety. Spend more time with supportive loved ones to ease anxiety.
Engage your senses: Soothing scents, soothing music, walking in nature, aromatherapy massage, warm baths – engage your senses to prompt relaxation.
Practice gratitude: Keeping a gratitude journal where you record things you’re thankful for helps reframe anxious thoughts and boosts mood.
Limit stimulants: Cut back on excessive caffeine, alcohol, TV and screen time. Limit especially in the evenings so you can wind down fully.
Eat a clean diet: Reduce inflammatory foods like refined carbs, sugars, industrial oils and processed foods. Focus on anti-inflammatory whole foods.
Move and stretch: When you feel anxious, move your body, roll your shoulders, stretch your neck to discharge physical tension that builds up.
With commitment over time, these positive lifestyle adjustments help tackle anxiety at its roots and build sustainable stress resilience.
For times you need quick relief, try some relaxing DIY spa treatments using items you already have at home.
DIY Spa Treatments for Instant Calm
Who doesn’t love a luxurious spa day? Luckily, you can recreate blissful spa experiences in your own home using simple ingredients. Try these DIY spa treatments next time you need some relaxation ASAP:
Soothing bath soak: Add Epsom salts, lavender oil and oatmeal to bathwater for a relaxing, detoxifying soak. Light candles to set the mood.
Aromatherapy compress: Place diluted essential oils like lavender, clary sage, bergamot or ylang ylang onto a warm damp washcloth. Apply to wrists, neck and chest. Breathe deeply.
Cooling face mask: Blend Greek yogurt with honey, aloe vera gel, cucumber and few drops of rose oil. Apply to face for 10 minutes for an anti-inflammatory glow.
Tension tamer: Mix a few tbsp of coconut or olive oil with lavender and peppermint oils. Massage into shoulders, neck and back to melt away tension.
Calming foot soak: Fill basin with warm water and add Epsom salts, rosemary and lavender oils. Soak feet to stimulate relaxation points in the body.
Sleepytime elixir: Steep chamomile, passionflower and valerian root tea with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Sip this relaxing tea before bedtime.
Remember, you don’t need a luxury spa to pamper and calm yourself! Use these DIY tips and ingredients you likely have on hand.
The next time you’re feeling stressed and anxious, put these holistic healing techniques into action. Be patient and persistent. With regular practice of these natural remedies, you can find your center, stabilize your mood, and enjoy a greater sense of peace.