Anxiety is the disease of our times. This looming threat pursues us nearly constantly. In reality, what we call anxiety or stress is our bodies’ reaction towards risk or a danger. When experiencing it occasionally or at low levels, it is considered to positively impact our wellbeing. But when it is intense and daily, it becomes an invitation to depression and translates into vastly increased risk for disease. Moreover, it appears that anxiety and stress are among the leading causes of the unhealthy choices we make in our lives.
Today, I wanted to share with you 5 natural remedies to fight against anxiety and stress:
1. Physical activity is crucial, and its multiple benefits on health are already familiar to us. Let’s concentrate on the state of euphoria it provokes. It has been scientifically proven that, during exercise, the levels of hormones directly linked to our mood and state of joy, such as estrogens, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine are increasing considerably. Gentle and moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, biking or yoga is the most appropriate since the objective here isn’t to push ourselves to exhaustion levels. On the contrary, it is better to choose a type of exercise accessible and relevant to our individuality and lifestyle and do it with pleasure. Also, regular exercise improves the quality of sleep, which is negatively impacted by anxiety. In parallel, physical activity boosts self-confidence since it improves physical health and the image towards ourselves and our surroundings.
2. Breathing exercises help to change the way we breathe and the way we think, levels of self-satisfaction, and connectivity. The introduction of a few simple techniques such as belly or diaphragmatic breathing help finding relaxation during stressful times and physical and mental health are bound to improve when using breathing regularly. Controlling and being the leader of our breath is of significant importance for self concentration and self-control. Our body is released, energy levels are freed, and at the same time, anxiety levels go down.
3. Meditation exists for more than 5000 years in many different forms. Initially, it was associated with Buddhism. During the last decades, the scientific community studied meditation and mindfulness thoroughly. It has mostly been proved to be one of the essential tools to improve stress levels and, more generally, health and wellness. Meditation state is reached by washing away our thoughts, conscious focusing on our inner self, and finally achieving an inner silence and peace. In the beginning, it may be a mental and even physical challenge. I would advise you to use a simple application on your phone or participate in a meditation group. The more we include meditation in our daily lives, the more anxiety levels go down, and we see a significant improvement of mental health and wellbeing. Regular meditation practice also helps in facing every life day difficulties and makes us more resistant to pressure. On top of all that, meditation can cure sleep disorders. It improves concentration and memory, and it is even a treatment used to heart diseases and other serious chronic diseases. Last but not least, regular meditation reduces biological age and science considers it one of the most spectacular anti-ageing tools.
4. Balanced diet rich in fibres and vitamins, low in animal proteins and saturated fats, limiting as much as possible sugar, salt and processed food intake help fighting against stress and anxiety. More specifically, some foods improve mental health such as salmon and all food rich in Omega 3. Also, blueberries (apart from their anti-oxidant effect) help cortisol reduction, especially extracting the fruit juice. A bit of dark chocolate every day (preferably raw) reduces adrenalin and cortisol and increases serotonin. A portion of avocado can also contribute to the control of high levels of cortisol. Almonds also contribute to stress control thanks to their fibres and other nutrients they contain. Organic oat facilitates serotonin production. The same applies to foods through fermentation such as kefir, probiotic yoghurts, miso, pickles, etc.., thanks to the good bacteria they contain they play a favourable role in reducing stress levels. Green tea and some infusions such as chamomile are also excellent. Finally, don’t forget the use of supplements and herbs; they can also be introduced but always after consulting with a doctor, for ex: Rhodiola Rosea, melatonin (especially for sleep issues), theanine and some of the vitamins B.
5. The use of essential oils with a diffuser helps purify the environment and boost our mood and relaxation. If buying a diffuser isn’t possible, then the same result can be obtained using self-made options with a tulle pouch and cotton.
Use natural scented candles, listen to classical music, connect genuinely with your family, laugh your heart out with your kids or companion. If you prefer the scents of nature, go for a walk to a nearby mountain or to the coast or by the lake and inhale the scents of nature and the freedom and magical sensations that simple things in life are offered to us generously.
This article was originally written by Isabelle Razis and published in Greek on positivelife.gr