Everyone will experience anxiety from time to time. It’s a regular part of life that would be impossible to fully eliminate, however there are some excellent ways to better handle anxiety. Please note, we are not referring to actual anxiety disorders, which require seeing a medical professional, but rather the anxiety that is a normal reaction to the daily stressors we often associate with our work and home lives.
Strategies for Coping with Anxiety and Stress
There are various strategies shown to manage occasional anxiety and overall well-being. Simple (but often underrated) changes made to your daily routine, including regular exercise, eating a proper diet, and getting enough sleep can be helpful when managing anxiety. There are also supplements that can have an amazing effect on managing your anxiety levels, relieving intermittent irritability and restlessness, and promoting overall well-being. We have an article on how to calm anxiety when you’re feeling anxious and below we will discuss simple lifestyle changes that will help you better deal with anxiety overall.
Here are some of the best lifestyle changes and supplements for dealing with anxiety:
Numerous studies have shown the psychological and physical benefits of regular exercise can be very effective at managing anxiety. Exercise increases the action of endorphins, or the “feel-good” chemicals, in the body and reduces harmful toxins that are often associated with poor mood and restlessness. Exercise also offers other health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, improving memory, boosting self-esteem, and strengthening the immune system, all of which can influence the body’s ability to deal with anxiety.
Sleep deprivation can also affect the body’s ability to manage anxiety. Sleep allows the body’s cells, immune system, and cardiovascular system time to recuperate from the day’s activities. When you don’t get enough sleep you are more prone to get sick, suffer cognition issues, and struggle with overall mood. Not getting enough sleep can also affect your ability to complete daily responsibilities, all of which can cause anxiety.
What you put in your body is vital to how you manage occasional anxiety. Eating balanced meals with adequate nutritional values help to regulate the body’s blood sugar and promotes proper brain function, which helps improve overall mood. When possible, try to eat foods that are “whole” foods instead of “processed” or “refined”, since the difference in nutrition can be significant. Depending on your current habits, you may want to limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine which can negatively impact the body’s response to anxiety. Both alcohol and caffeine can alter behavior and lead to feelings of nervousness and restlessness, and interfere with sleep. It is also crucially important to drink water regularly throughout the day. Many of us forget to drink water with our hectic schedules, and don’t realize the enormous toll it can take on our mental and physical well-being.
Supplements for Anxiety
There has been extensive research on the beneficial effects of certain supplements on anxiety and anxiety-related emotions. Supplements can be very beneficial when taken alone, or in combination with other natural remedies such as exercise, proper diet, and sleep. A handful of these supplements are listed below:
- Magnolia Bark (Magnolia Officinalis) — Magnolia bark is known for its relaxing properties, decreasing anxiety and nervous tension, while also helping with occasional sleeplessness. This has been postulated to be due to honokiol, a natural compound in the bark.
- Kava Kava — Also known as piper methysticum, kava kava comes from the South Pacific Islands. The plant has been used for hundreds of years by the natives. The supplement has been used since the early 90s for anxiety and mood.
- Phenylalanine — Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, meaning the body needs it for overall health but cannot make it. The body needs Phenylalanine to help support neurotransmitter function, which is essential to governing our perception of the world around us. Many studies done over the past 50 years show consistent positive results providing strong evidence for the effectiveness of phenylalanine as a powerful mood enhancer.
- Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata) — Passion flower is known for its calming properties and is known to reduce nervousness associated with occasional anxiety.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) — Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. Traditionally used in tea, the herb is known to induce calmness and help manage stress.
- Asian Ginseng — A perennial root, Asian ginseng has been used for health-related purposes for over 2,000 years. The root is currently used for various health benefits including, overall well-being, stamina, and increasing resistance to mental, physical, and environmental stress.
- Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatci) — Gotu kola has been used for thousands of years in India, China, and Indonesia to improve mental clarity. The plant is still used today to help with anxious feelings.
- Lavendar Flower (Lavandula Angustiflolia) — A popular plant throughout the world, and commonly used to help manage occasional anxiety.
- Chamomile — One of the most commonly used plants for tea; chamomile is believed to be one of the oldest known supplements used by man. Today, chamomile is often used to help reduce anxious feelings and restlessness, while promoting relaxation.
- Valerian Root — Since the second century, valerian root has been used for sleeplessness, anxiety, stress, and nervousness.