06 Jun 7 Ways To Naturally Relieve Anxiety: Wellness Experts Weigh In
Everyone gets sad, angry and anxious, but not everyone has to fight these emotions daily like individuals with anxiety disorder. Two years ago, anxiety began to run my life. I would constantly find myself paralyzed by the thought of looking at my emails. This feeling of dread was equivalent to that of hiding in a closet with a killer walking your way – I couldn’t move and was pretty sure that was the end. Unlike rational fear which comes with a reason, I did not have an explanation for my fear and that made me feel crazy.
For individuals with anxiety disorders, the feeling can come at any time without a reason and therefore, it always needs to be managed. A strong believer in a holistic approach to treating the body and the mind, I did not entertain the thought of pharmaceuticals. Instead, I got to know myself better and used natural – and sometimes quirky – methods of managing my anxiety.
In my journey of managing anxiety on a daily basis, I have realized that just like you need a variety in your workouts to see results, you need a variety in your methods to successfully control anxiety. To get a better understanding of the effects these methods have on one’s physical and mental well-being, I consulted several health practitioners, whose input I have included alongside my own experiences.
- Don’t fight it. One of the simplest ways to manage anxiety is to accept it. When you fight emotions, they tend to fight back even harder. However, if you tell yourself, “Self, it’s ok that you are anxious. Why are you anxious?” you will be on your way to resolving this conflict within yourself. Having calm “parenting” conversations as such with myself has helped me gain a deeper understanding of who I am and why I feel the way I do. During our interview, Jenna Gagliano, a Registered Nurse and Life Coach in Ronkonkoma, New York mentioned, “When we can practice the art of surrender, rather than fight or ignore this internal navigation system, it allows us to get more curious and loving, and examine the parts of ourselves that need our attention.”
- Nutrition is key. Increasing my protein intake, while reducing my processed sugar consumption, has been a game-changer for me, helping me clear brain fog and steer clear of negative emotions. According to nutrition therapist Meredith Mulhearn, “L-lysine in combination with L-arginine show strong evidence as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders and general symptoms of anxiety.” These amino acids can be found in many protein sources, including lean beef, turkey, fish, cheese, soy, nuts and seeds.
- Essential oils. In case you thought essential oils are a recent fad, they have been utilized for over 5,000 years and continue to be part of primary care in many Asian cultures. I don’t leave the house without a thoughtful combination of oils on my skin (and in my bag), which I inhale when feeling stressed, depressed or anxious. Florida-based health coach, Viviana Collazo told me, “When used aromatically, essential oils have a powerful effect on our brain, particularly the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, producing and releasing hormones that regulate various body systems including the nervous system.” Essential oils which have been most effective for me include Wild Orange, Bergamot and Lavender, all of which contain anti-depressant and calming properties.
- Exercise is therapy. If you take a look at my Instagram, you would think I’m a personal trainer – I’m not. However, I am at the gym on a daily basis because it helps me release energy in a positive manner, while giving me killer legs – who doesn’t want killer legs? When I need a change of scenery, I will go on a hike or take an aerial yoga class to keep my body active and my mind focused. When asked how exercise can help one’s mental state, Connecticut-based personal trainer and mobility specialist Chris Kalisz surprised me with an atypical answer, “Exercise is not just about becoming bigger and stronger. It’s about better understanding your body’s abilities, needs and overcoming its limitations in a patient and supportive manner. Through consistent exercise, we are able to develop a stronger mind-body connection, which helps alleviate anxiety, self-doubt, and depression.”
- Knitting. Surprised, aren’t you? When my mind can’t seem to calm down, I pick up the needles and continue with the one scarf I’ve been knitting for the past two years. It’s more of a train rug now, really. For those of us who cannot sit in still meditation, this is an effective alternative to quiet the mind while keeping our hands busy.
- Myofascial release (MFR) to relax body and mind. Our physical and mental being is interconnected. Mental trauma, such as anxiety, will manifest itself in the physical body and vice versa. One of my best friends at the gym is a foam roller, which helps me release tension from my body and therefore, ease my mind. Once a month, I treat myself to a myofascial release done by an expert such as New York-based myofascial release practitioner, Marisa Chadbourne, who states, “During MFR treatment, a profound phenomenon called fascial unwinding occurs where the body’s intuitive wisdom takes over releasing tissue memory that has been stored within the fascial system. Through feeling what our sub-conscience had once been protecting us from, we can “lighten the mind-body load” and become less anxious.”
- Organize yourself. One of the major causes of anxiety for me is when I lack order. Whether it is in my home, my calendar, my car or what I have on, disorder causes my anxiety to flare up. On a daily basis, right after my morning gym session, I sit down for five minutes and organize my day. I start by prioritizing my to-do list with 3 to 5 things I must accomplish before the day’s end. This helps me focus on productive tasks and ensures I don’t beat myself up if something else doesn’t get done.
If you are looking to naturally combat anxiety, but are not sure where to start, we can recommend an experienced wellness practitioner in your area. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.