Anxiety affects around 40 million adults in the United States, and in Canada, about 5% of the population is affected. Unfortunately, anxiety is becoming more and more common, with many of those suffering not seeking treatment.
There are many natural ways to help deal with anxiety that can be used alone, or in conjunction with other treatment. As always, consult your preferred medical professional before implementing any new routines into your health plan.
Of course we are starting this conversation off with digestion! Digestion is everything. But, seriously, our body needs nutrients from food to function properly and if we aren’t breaking down and absorbing (a.k.a. digesting) that food, we may not feel great. The same goes for supplements, just because you are taking a supplement, does not mean that your body can actually use it if your digestion is not optimal. Simple steps you can take right now to improve your digestion include taking the time to chew your food, avoid drinking liquids with meals and filling your diet with fermented foods to get those sweet sweet healthy bacteria into your gut.
Exercise is an absolute mood booster – especially when it’s consistent. It can help decrease stress and sooth those anxious moments. Exercising outdoors – even better, since you will be able to get some vitamin D from it’s natural source, the sun! In case you missed this, I have been talking a lot about how I can credit hiking all winter long with majorly decreasing my anxiety this year, as well as keeping my S.A.D. at bay. Depending on your schedule, try to make some form of exercise a priority in your day.
Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs
Ensuring you have adequate B vitamins in your diet is essential – particularly vitamin B12 and folate (not folic acid!). Magnesium will also help your muscles relax. Popular herbs to include in your diet include:
Chamomile – nothing like a calming chamomile tea before bed
Lavender – I add lavender essential oil to my diffuser and turn my bedroom into a spa
St. John’s Wort – can help reduce feelings of anxiety
By the time you realize that you have been engaging in negative self-talk, it has probably been happening for a while. We all have that little voice that is constantly going on in the back of our minds and unfortunately, it is often telling us that we aren’t ok, or that we can’t do this, or that we aren’t good enough. When you find yourself in those moments, take control and change the narrative. Remind yourself that you CAN do it, you are good enough, smart enough, strong enough and congratulate yourself for the small or large things you have accomplished. If you aren’t used to doing this, it may sound cheesy – but it works. The voice telling you that you are good enough can be just as strong, if not stronger than the voice telling you aren’t.
If you haven’t heard of tapping before, it is literally tapping certain parts of your body (I normally focus on my hands, chest, neck and face). It is believed that tapping certain energy centres on your body can help bring yourself back from “fight or flight” to a state of “rest and digest”. I used to have a particularly stressful job and would frequently go to the restroom and use this technique when I was feeling especially overwhelmed. I can honestly say it helped alleviate my anxiety in the moment!
This Youtube Video goes into further detail and shows you how to tap!