Natural Remedies for Anxiety
I recently gave a seminar on using natural remedies to help manage anxiety, one of my professional and personal interests. Fortunately it was an very open group and I learned as much as I hope they did. Here are the key tips from the session:
- Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in Australia – affecting around 2 million Australians every year.
- Anxiety has emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms which is why a holistic treatment addressing mind, body and action is best.
- Anxiety is a protective mechanism by the body which should wax and wane in the presence of threats. The issue becomes when anxiety and its symptoms become constant and the perception of the “threat” is magnified.
- Unmanaged anxiety can lead to issues such as depression, drug and alcohol abuse, anger management issues and impact bodily systems leading to other dis-ease states.
- Counselling is critically important to help a person identify their triggers, thinking traps and develop coping skills and strategies to help manage anxiety. Face to face counselling is ideal and there are online and smartphone apps that can provide support.
- Using food as medicine to manage anxiety is centred around the key concept of don’t eat CRAP and eat real FOOD. Eating the right foods will support anxiety management. Eating the wrong foods may well be exacerbating if not triggering your anxiety.
- Consider whether caffeine, food intolerances, blood sugar levels, hormone issues may be affecting your anxiety.
- Supplementation may be needed to ensure you function well and cope with anxiety. The dosage and forms differ for each vitamin and mineral so best to get professional advice to ensure best results.
- Magnesium and calcium for relaxation
Probiotics – emerging research is showing the link between not only gut health and good mental health but also the microflora and mental health
Omega 3 Fatty Acids for mood stabilisation
Vitamin B complex (esp B6) for stress support
- Using medicinal herbs to help manage anxiety is a great alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, without the side-effects. In addition to targeted anxiety support, I will also prescribe herbs to help with the stress response in the body, optimal sleep, cardiovascular support, digestive disturbances, headaches and/or decreased cognition that can accompany anxiety.
- In light of the link between the brain’s amazing ability to smell and regulate emotions, it is not surprising that essential oils can be an excellent means to cope with anxiety. Some ideals oils include:
Calming and relaxing: lavender, rose, vetiver
Calming and uplifting: ylang ylang, frankincense
Stress reduction: lavender, bergamot
- Research has shown that regular exercise is more effective than certain pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation – by focusing on and relaxing each part of your body sequentially, brings on feelings of calm and relaxation. Not sure how – try the Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson app
- Slow / deep breathing – it is not unusual to take shallow frequent breaths when stressed or anxious. This limits the oxygen available to the body and leads to additional stress. Taking long deep breaths provides much needed oxygen to the mind and body and also encourages relaxation and calm.
The final message I left with the group, and that I ask you to consider as well, is to get help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many people of various walks of life suffer from anxiety so you are not alone. I think you might even be surprised to learn who suffers from anxiety – even those who seem amazingly confident and calm may well suffer from anxiety.
Getting help and support can help you bring anxiety back into balance so you can enjoy life again.
If you want a holistic approach to anxiety management, please contact me to arrange a consultation. My clinic is located in Newcastle, NSW at New Lambton.