Health, finances, family, friends, work—all or one of these may be the reason you’ve felt a sense of panic, worry, or anxiety at some point in your life. The worst part is the notion that nothing will relieve that nausea-inducing, tense, nervous feeling.
Though some forms of anxiety require more serious attention (depending on the length and severity of symptoms), it’s not always an expensive prescription (with serious side effects) that will do the trick. Here are a few of our favorite natural remedies that will help cure short-term symptoms when they start creeping up.
You don’t have to be a yogi to conquer this pose—as the name suggests, it’s very straightforward. Extend your legs up the wall while lying on your back; this will give you all of the gravity-defying benefits of an inversion without requiring you to stand on your head. When combined with slow, rhythmic breathing, this pose calms the nervous system and quiets the mind, as it works to heal and repair your body by supplying fresh blood flow, improving digestion, and accomplishing a meditative state through breath.
This calming mineral balances your central nervous system and stress hormones (serotonin is dependent on it), which is why it helps create balance in the body by managing stress and anxiety naturally. Anxious feelings keeping you awake at night? Magnesium can also promote restful sleep by regulating melatonin levels, since a deficiency can disturb sleeping patterns. It’s also known to be the most powerful relaxation mineral in helping reduce irritability, another common symptom of anxiety.
Hit the ground running! It’s a proven fact that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Physical activity has a positive effect on the brain by producing endorphins—chemicals that act like natural painkillers—and inducing a pattern of calm in certain parts of the brain. A byproduct of exercise, sweat is also linked to stress relief, and studies have even shown the scent of sweat can incite happiness (ew, but true!).
This power flower can help boost levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), an amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter and helps regulate brain activity. It’s also a natural source of flavone chrysin, which is why passionflower is known for its calming effect. Passionflower is classified as a sedative and can also be used as a sleep aid. It’s most commonly found in the form of tea (a soothing, relaxing ritual in itself) or tincture.
Scent can impact your mood and emotions, which is why many aromatic oils have been known to have positive effects when it comes to relieving stress and anxiety. Two in particular that have calming effects: Our favorite cure-all lavender helps alleviate anxiety, stress, and tension and can also be a natural cure for headaches, thanks to its relaxing properties, while rose naturally stimulates the nervous system, leaving you with a sense of calm and well-being. Add a few drops to your pillow or blend with carrier oils, like coconut or jojoba, and massage directly into the skin.
Fish oil and B vitamins have proven-positive results when it comes to preventing and treating symptoms associated with anxiety. Fish oil is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and EPA and DHA and B-Vitamins are high in folate (folic acid), which works to fight anxiety and regulate your mood by balancing your body and filling deficiencies that could cause these symptoms.
It may seem self-explanatory, but taking a personal time-out to focus on yourself (even for just 15 minutes or less) each day—maybe it’s a warm bath, a walk outside, or even a silent meditation—will put you in touch with your feelings and allow you to see the bigger picture. If you can’t take the time, practicing mindfulness can be as simple as focusing your thoughts on the task at hand, which might be as ordinary as brushing your teeth or taking a shower, but it will keep negative thoughts at bay and take your mind off issues that are bothering you, leading to a more relaxed you.