Some people struggle with anxiety. Well-meaning doctors and healthcare providers prescribe medications that make us feel better, but there are natural treatments too.
Anxiety symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Increased heart rate, heart palpitations
- Loss of appetite
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Abnormal increase in blood flow to the muscles, muscle tension
- Sense of impending doom
- Inability to concentrate
- Dry mouth
Anxiety is not a dangerous condition. It can be short-term or long-term, depending on the cause. The longer lasting the anxiety, the more additional symptoms one will experience. If anxiety is due to a single experience – like getting blood drawn, for example – the anxiety level will decrease after the event. If anxiety is caused by constant friction – like an on-going rift with an in-law – it is likely to cause anxious feelings before, during, and after being with them. If this has been going on for some time, the symptoms may increase to include constipation or diarrhea and irritability.
Anxiety is part of our “fight or flight” mechanism. Some feel this is a carryover from our ancient ancestors. They were hunters but were also hunted by animals larger than they. Their instincts made them ready to attack and also to be aware of impending attack. These instincts kept them alive, releasing adrenaline into the blood. The release of adrenaline is our warning system; it causes the liver to release energy-stimulating sugars, which makes the body ready for fight or flight.
That same warning system works in us today. In some people it may go to work when it is not really needed. You don’t need to “run” from blood work or the in-law you have issues with. It is not as helpful for this as when our ancestors ran from bears and mountain lions.
None of these modern “threats” will kill us, but they still cause fear and make us anxious. Adrenaline flows, muscles tense, and we begin feeling trapped. When prolonged or severe, the chemicals that cause the fight or flight mechanism can damage our organs; this will make the body sick with headaches, high blood pressure, etc.
- Hyperthyroid – may produce symptoms resembling anxiety.
- Heart disorders – can cause rapid heartbeat, often associated with anxiety.
- Caffeine – can cause symptoms resembling nervousness, even used in moderation.
- Premenstrual Syndrome [PMS].
- Diet pills.
Helpful Things to Do:
When one has anxious tendencies, it may be helpful to follow some or all of the ideas here to help your healthcare provider better treat you.
- Keep a diary to track and eliminate events that trigger anxiety symptoms. Also noting what you have eaten is helpful, as some foods can be responsible for anxiety attacks.
- Take part in a low-impact and non-competitive exercise program like walking, swimming, or biking. This is good physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Pray, meditate on God’s Word, and take time to daydream. This will give your mind a rest and build your relationship with God. It will also help you visualize goals and make it easier to achieve them.
- Practice breathing deeply. Breathe in and out deeply and slowly. This is relaxing and will calm your mind.
- Spend time talking with a friend, pastor or counselor, and/or a mental health professional. Sharing your experiences with another can relieve anxiety because it gets the feelings and events out of your head, allowing you work through them more fully.
- Make a list, reading it over each day. It can be a list of goals or books to read. It doesn’t matter. Check off the items when complete. Repetitive thinking is calming and can distract you from what is making you anxious. Checking off completed items gives you a mental boost as it releases endorphins, which causes good feelings.
Almonds – Soak ten raw almonds in water overnight. Peel off the skins. Blend almonds with a cup of warm milk, a pinch of ginger, and a pinch of nutmeg. Drink before bed to help you relax.
Baking Soda – Add 1/3-cup baking soda and 1/3 cup ground ginger to a warm bath. Soak in the bath fifteen minutes to relieve anxiety and tension.
Oil – Sesame oil is best, but sunflower, coconut, or corn oil will work, too. Heat ¾ cup oil until warm – not hot. Rub over entire body, including scalp. A small rolling pin will feel wonderful. A massage works best if done before your morning bath to calm one before the cares of the day bring on anxiety. Do it again before bedtime to relieve the tensions that may keep you awake.
Remedies From The Fridge:
Celery and Onions – Eat two cups of celery or onions, or a mixture of both (cooked or raw) with each meal for one to two weeks. These vegetables contain large amounts of potassium and folic acid. Deficiencies of these nutrients can cause nervousness.
Orange – It is known that the fragrance of an orange reduces anxiety. It is as easy as peeling the orange and inhaling its fragrance. Drop peel into a small pan or potpourri burner, cover with water and simmer. Simmering the peel releases its calming, fragrant oil.
Orange Juice – Stir a teaspoon of honey or blue agave syrup and a large pinch of nutmeg into a cup of orange juice and drink it to relieve a racing heart associated with anxiety.
Remedies from the Herb and Spice Rack:
Rosemary – Rosemary is very calming on the nerves. Steep one to two teaspoons dried rosemary in a cup of boiling water for ten minutes and drink to sooth jittery nerves. Inhale the aroma while drinking the tea to add to its effects. Burning a sprig of rosemary or some rosemary incense is also quite calming.
As with any kind of treatment, discuss it with your healthcare provider before beginning any of those mentioned here.
Here’s to your health, both mental and physical!