Eight Natural Remedies for Reducing Anxiety and Stress
Stress management isn’t always easy. Between expectations at work, drama at work, and opening the news for just a second, stress seems to pop around the corner at all hours of the day. How do you deal with it? How do you reduce stress and give yourself the power to live a normal life without a fast heartbeat and constant worrying?
There is one thing we know for sure. Medications should not be your first place to turn for anxiety and stress reduction. They can help – but should be used as a last resort when lifestyle changes don’t fix the root of the problem. The long list of side effects may create more problems than it’s worth.
There are many ways to reduce anxiety and stress without getting a prescription. Try these natural remedies first to enjoy a calmer and enjoyable day-to-day life.
Take a nap! No, we mean it.
Experts recommend that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you don’t hit these numbers, you are more likely to:
- Feel overwhelmed, irritable, or angry
- Feel unmotivated
- Lose your patience
- Fail to exercise during the day
Plan out your day so you are getting at least seven hours of sleep during the night. (Not sure how much sleep you’re getting? Download a sleep tracker app on your phone.)
You can also get in some extra hours by taking a nap during the day. Even if you have to cut down on video game usage or nights out, an extra 60-90 minutes of sleep is worth it. Research shows that people from North America would greatly benefit from that time in bed.
A lot of these natural remedies may fall into a cycle with stress. If you don’t sleep, you’ll feel more stressed. If you are stressed, you may not sleep.
The same concept applies to exercise. If you’re overwhelmed or exhausted, exercise may seem like a fruitless activity. But without exercise, you could be building up more stress and anxiety.
Exercise does a lot for the body and mind. A lot of people report that a long period of exercise gives them a “runner’s high.” That euphoric feeling was once previously attributed to a neurotransmitter called endorphins. Further research, however, attributes this great post-workout feeling to a neurotransmitter and natural cannabinoid called anandamide.
Aim for 60 minutes of exercise a day. If you can’t do 60, get 30. If you can’t do 30, get 15. Just start creating a routine for exercising and get off the couch. The more you exercise, the more you will experience the benefits of exercise and begin to make more time for your morning run or evening swimming.
“Exercise” doesn’t just include a marathon or an hour-long session with some weights. Even just a 15-minute walk can help to reduce stress and put your head back on straight. If you find yourself pacing around your office or your house, take that movement outside. Take an intentional walk and remind yourself to enjoy some deep breaths during this time.
If you are familiar with meditation, the idea of sitting alone without a phone or TV to distract you from your thoughts might sound very stressful. But meditation does not have to take place in a monastery or even in a silent location. Guided meditations, walking meditations, and other forms of this practice can help you focus on your day and reduce worries. Meditation is all about living in the present, not in the past (where depression lives) or the future (where anxiety lives.)
Try out a meditation app like Headspace or Insight Timer to get you started with reducing anxiety and stress in a natural (and inexpensive!) way.
Can’t you just reduce stress by sitting on the couch?
Yes! Herbal teas are a great way to combat stress through powerful ingredients that help to naturally reduce stress. A cup of tea after a long day can really help you unwind. Grab your favourite book off the shelf and put down your phone while you’re at it.
There are tons of teas that you can buy at the supermarket. Here are the best ingredients to choose if you want to reduce stress. (You can also use these ingredients to make your own stress-reducing tea):
- Valerian root
- Lemon balm
Take a Bath
You don’t have to drink teas to get the benefits of stress-reducing herbs. One way to enjoy the calming scents and benefits of chamomile and lavender is to take a bath.
Run a bath, then grab some dry herbs and place them throughout the bath before you slide in. Sea salt also helps to reduce soreness and stress while you bathe. If you don’t have all of these ingredients lying around, do some shopping. Bath bombs and other products may also contain natural ingredients to let you soak and calm down.
Add CBD to Your Morning Coffee
A cup of caffeine isn’t the best stress-reduction strategy. But if you can’t kick the coffee addiction, try an ingredient that will help you reduce stress. CBD oil is the hottest ingredient to add to coffee (and smoothies, and sparkling water…) because it can help to chill you out. Like anandamide, a neurotransmitter that contributes to your “runner’s high,” CBD is a cannabinoid. It binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body to reduce inflammation, create balance in the body, and improve mood. A bit of CBD in your beverage, snack, or just under your tongue can help you feel relief throughout the day, even if you don’t want to exercise or meditate.
(Although, we highly recommend trying CBD in addition to healthy practices like meditation or running.)
A Big, Deep Breath
Whatever you do or buy to reduce stress, don’t forget to breathe. A slow, deep breath sends a signal to the brain: “I am safe. I am calm. Nothing is coming to harm me.” This signal will help to calm your entire body down and help you move forward with your day.