Anxiety is a fact of life. We have to give a presentation at work, and this makes us nervous for days beforehand. Our car breaks down, and we’re worried about how we’re going to fix it. Any number of events can make us reasonably and understandably anxious.
There is a difference between weathering the stresses of life and having an anxiety disorder. If you experience chronic anxiety or even panic attacks, visiting a doctor or therapist should be your primary course of action.
From there, here are some completely natural ways to reduce anxiety. We’ve updated our list to include some long-term strategies for chronic sufferers as well as lighter options for those who just need to calm down after a tough day.
1. A break from electronics.
Because humans spend unprecedented amounts of time in front of screens, we’re not sure of the long-term impacts. However, we do know that constantly checking emails and scrolling through social media can send our brains into overdrive. Designate an hour each day where your phone is off, and your laptop is shut.
Research is ongoing, but there is some evidence to suggest that excessive screen time can contribute to anxiety and depression. Staring at your phone all day can also be a way of avoiding your feelings and responsibilities, so be aware if you’re hiding behind screens to cope with what’s stressing you out in the face-to-face world.
Finally, some people with anxiety report derealization and depersonalization as a symptom. Long stretches of smartphone or computer time have been reported as a trigger for some.
2. Good food.
Overscheduling is the cause of so much anxiety, and it’s also the reason we let our healthy eating habits fall to the wayside. Make it a point to prepare healthy snacks and meals that support stress relief - blueberries and avocados, for instance.
Also, stop going hungry; low blood sugar can make you more anxious.
While diet is rarely the key to getting rid of anxiety, it’s a supportive long-term strategy that can reduce anxiety caused by other biological factors. For example, hormonal imbalance is associated with anxiety, and a healthy diet is linked to hormonal balance. By supporting hormonal balance, you may naturally reduce anxiety.
3. Your favorite physical activity.
Treat yourself to an all-natural high, courtesy of the endorphins we release during exercise. Except instead of begrudgingly dragging yourself to the gym, do something you actually like. Your activity of choice might burn fewer calories than, say, an hour of impact cardio, but it will make you happier.
Of course, yoga is one of the best-known natural ways to reduce anxiety. Check out our favorite stress-relieving yoga poses and incorporate them into your daily routine.
4. Whatever makes you laugh.
When we’re anxious, we’re taking life very seriously. You might have a good reason for this, but you still need a break from the weight.
If you look for (and appreciate) the humor in life, you’ll be giving your body a physical break from the tension of anxiety. If you can’t manage a deep belly laugh during these times, watch or listen to something that makes you smile.
Will the scent of lavender wipe away the stress of the day? Maybe not entirely, but aromatherapy is one of the more passive ways we can support a greater sense of wellbeing. Have a diffuser in your home or office that keeps hints of rose, ylang-ylang, frankincense, vetiver, or another anxiety-reducing fragrance in the background.
While you’re enjoying time away from the screen, take in the Alpha waves of nature. You don’t have to go on a day-long hike; it’s as simple as sitting in the park or back yard for half an hour.
Alpha brain waves bear a connection with less anxiety, stress, and depression, and they’re plentiful wherever there are trees and birds. Nature gives your nervous system and brain a break from the constant processing and responding of life.
You can even try a mindfulness practice called forest bathing.
7. Take a sound bath.
It’s common advice to take a hot bath at the end of a long, stressful day. But in addition, get into regular sound baths; they’re as cleansing and soothing to the mind as that hot bath is to your body.
If you can schedule yourself into a sound bath at a local spa or meditation center, create it at home. Silent Mind has shared full instructions for a home sound bath, as well as sound healing audio tracks available to you on Spotify.
8. Singing bowls.
By far, meditation and yoga are two of the biggest anxiety-slayers there are, with regular practice. Neither of them would be quite the same without a singing bowl to instantly get you in the zone.
If it’s been a while since you picked up your singing bowl, reinvigorate your singing bowl practice with our updated guide on how to use your singing bowl every day.
9. Commit to your natural anxiety-reducing habits.
When your nerves are fried, focusing is tough. But what if you allowed yourself to feel anxious instead of feeling like you had to be a warrior against it? If you let the anxiety be there, you can find space to consistently turn to your wellness tools - yoga, meditation, singing bowls, rest, a better diet.
Anxiety comes with a sense of urgency and heightened sensitivity. Challenge yourself to stop acting on what it tells you and committing to a mindful life WITH anxiety. If you can only do these practices when you’re not anxious, you’ll have trouble being consistent. And as you know, without consistency, the long-term benefits will never arrive.
What are your favorite natural ways to reduce anxiety? Be sure to comment below and share them.