Some of us want natural anxiety relief not only because we want to avoid drugs, but also because we trust remedies from nature or prefer healing methods that are gentle, safe, and non-invasive. And we want some way of feeling calm rather than hyper, stressed-out, wound-up and anxious.
Such relief can be considered under the headings “mind, body, and soul or spirit” for practical reasons as follows, although we humans are unified beings so that there is overlap between parts. What affects one affects the others. Methods that integrate aspects of different parts often prove the most effective. Slow breathing techniques (see below) is one example.
I. Natural Anxiety Relief through the Mind
The mind is a powerful organ that influences health. It is known that attitude affects immune cells, for example. And what we think affects how we feel.
One aspect of anxiety is mental and cognitive. We think morbid thoughts about what might happen if something bad happened. We remember bad things in the past and we relive the anxious or other emotions of that memory.
One proven method of regaining a sense of tranquility and stability begins with recognizing and analysing the morbid thoughts. Are they rational and reasonable? Is there a silver lining? Has a possible positive spin been overlooked? Is the “what if” scenario probable? How bad was it really or how bad could it be in the future?
The most disciplined approach is to keep a journal and written record of the thoughts. Negative-countering positive affirmations can then be created, recorded, and rehearsed repeatedly to train one’s mind.
The mind can also sometimes reach a point of accepting bad possibilities even though they are bad, or accepting that bad possibilities as something one can handle and live with, not that they necessarily will happen.
Or the mind can think of people to call, ways of finding help, resources to use, and actions to take in order to reduce or eliminate anxiety.
II. Natural Anxiety Relief through the Body
But the mind can be influenced through the body or through healthy or damaging chemicals. Hormones can affect mood. Toxins or disease can throw off metabolic processes in the central nervous system. Blood and oxygen flow matter in the brain. Nutrition affects brain function, and some herbs, amino acids, and vitamins can help one feel calm. We are not necessarily slaves to chemicals or to our body, but there is an influence there.
Our mood can be improved via regular aerobic exercise and muscle stretching exercises like Yoga. Exercise increases “good-feeling” endorphins in the brain and increases the body’s ability to remove lactic acid from the brain. Diet and nutrition may hinder or enhance a sense of well-being. Magnesium or other mineral supplements have been known to be helpful to some. Caffeine, sugar, and alcohol should generally be avoided by anxiety sufferers. Regular optimal sleeping habits should be observed.
For this latter, generally one should avoid late night snacks or caffeine, be in bed before 11 PM, and use some relaxation technique before bedtime. Snoring can negatively affect sleep, oxygen in the brain, mood, and general sense of well-being.
Interestingly, a percentage of anxiety sufferers have low body temperature. This is often related to low thyroid activity, and can usually be relatively easy to correct as students of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome know.
One of the simplest and often highly effective natural anxiety treatments is slow nasal breathing via the diaphragm. Hyperventilation is common among anxiety sufferers, probably as part of a mistaken “fight or flight” response. Hyperventilation can actually increase anxiety symptoms as feelings of unreality, dizziness, light-headedness, and numbness in extremities creep in.
Slow nasal breathing via the diaphragm (a muscle sheath below the lungs) increases oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange efficiency in comparison to shallow breathing through the mouth. In anxiety sufferers, the breathing must be self-consciously slowed using regular breathing exercises.
III. Natural Anxiety Relief through the Soul
Of course personal views on the human soul or spirit vary. Arguably there is something in the human will, sense of purpose, determination, self-concept, motive, and so on that affects the body and the brain. And arguably, effects works conversely too.
In any event, many have found anxiety relief in prayer, meditation, and various forms of rest. Rest may even include a fun hobby or distraction, a conversation with a friend, or a walk in a beautiful place.
And there are those who have overcome entrenched problems with anxiety through somewhat mysterious changes in attitude or will. If normal life is a more of a challenge to you than for normal people, you have a greater opportunity to develop the strength of spirit needed to push through to overcoming anxiety.