Anxiety is a tough nut to crack. Some days, you’re just fine. But on other days something can suddenly send your anxiety levels through the roof.
Stress levels are higher than ever these days and recent research revealed all that tension is starting to catch up with us. In fact, 80 percent of Americans who were polled this year reported at least one health symptom surfacing as a result of stress, and 33 percent admitted to feeling nervous or anxious.
In other words, a whole lot of folks are feeling the strain. Which makes having simple, effective tools you can turn to that help slash stress, and ease anxiety, are more important than ever.
The good news is that extra help could be as close as your local supermarket or natural food store.
There’s a reason chamomile tea has a reputation for being soothing. The herb contains two chemicals, apigenin and luteolin, which have a calming effect on our stressed out brains.
A study out of the University of Pennsylvania found folks taking chamomile for eight weeks had a significant drop in their anxiety levels. And just two cups of tasty chamomile tea a day supply you with plenty of these calming natural chemicals.
2. Green tea:
To feel calmer, more focused and less anxious try turning to green tea. Green tea is a source of L-theanine, an amino acid that can help you remain calm and alert during the day, and improve your deep sleep at night.
Unfortunately you’d have to drink a lot of tea—between five and 20 cups a day—to get the optimal dosage of 200 to 400 mg of L-theanine. And although we do encourage you to drink green tea for a number of health reasons if you, or your bladder, can’t handle quite that much tea in a day you can also look for an L-theanine supplement.
Believe it or not beans, and other legumes such as lentils, are great for helping to ease anxiety due to their high levels of L-lysine. This amino acid is an essential building block of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter in your brain that helps manage your mood.
Low levels of serotonin are linked to anxiety and depression. Feeding your body plenty of L-lysine rich foods, such as beans, could help put a cap on your anxiety.
4. Lemon balm:
Lemon balm, a bumble bee favorite, is part of the mint family. This calming herb has been used for centuries to help reduce stress and anxiety and lift people’s spirits.
According to a study out of the U.K., 600 mg of lemon balm made people feel more alert and calm, while slashing their stress levels. And in a 15 day study on a lemon balm extract, the supplement helped reduce anxiety in 95 percent of the volunteers, and eliminated it completely in 70 percent of the group.
Magnesium and stress have an interesting relationship. When your magnesium levels dip it can trigger feelings of anxiety and stress. And since stress causes your body to use magnesium faster, you end up with even lower levels of the mineral, which in turn makes you feel more anxious.
Women over 30 need 320 mg of magnesium per day and men need 420 mg. You can help keep your magnesium levels topped up by eating more pumpkin seeds. A half a cup can provide around 325 mg of the mineral. Toss in some dark leafy greens and fish for dinner, or a few almonds for a snack, and you should easily reach your goal.
Need another reason to make sure you have plenty of healthy omega-3s in your diet? In a study out of Israel, students taking omega-3 supplements reported significantly less anxiety. Experts believe that the fatty acids help naturally lower levels of the chemicals that cause stress.
Passionflower supplements are so effective at reducing stress and calming anxiety that the German government has approved them to treat “nervous restlessness,” or as we know it, anxiety. In a double blind, randomized, controlled head-to-head, study against the common anti-anxiety drug oxazepam, passionflower was found to be just as effective as the drug at relieving anxiety, but without the same side effects.
Unlike some of the other solutions on our list passionflower can have a sedative effect on some folks, so it’s typically best to take it at night before climbing into bed.
If your anxiety is keeping you up nights, another great option is a valerian supplement. Valerian is a natural anxiety reducer and a sleep aid. Which means, of course, it’s best to take this supplement just before bed because it can sometimes work too well during the day.
9. Vitamin B-12:
Experts say vitamin B-12 can help reduce your feelings of anxiety and nervousness. This important B vitamin effects your brain and nerves, and is essential for maintaining healthy brain function and mood.
Researchers say running low on B-12 can play a role in depression and anxiety. And studies have found that higher levels of the vitamin are associated with better recovery from depression and may help reduce anxiety.
These powerful natural tools could help you relieve a minor case of anxiety all on their own. Or, with the thumbs up from your doctor, they could help enhance your current anxiety treatment. Just be sure to always talk to your doc or pharmacist about potential interactions with anything you’re already taking, and never stop taking a med without discussing it with your doctor first.
Don’t let anxiety ruin another one of your days or nights. Slash your anxiety and take back the control with the help of these effective, drug-free remedies.