Feelings of anxiety — uneasiness, dread, fear, or an inexplicable sense of impending doom — can be deeply unpleasant. Whether anxiety presents itself as an upset stomach, heart palpitations, a nervous tension that colors everything, or even a panic attack, the discomfort and distress can be extremely challenging.
We’re not talking about general, everyday anxiousness here, but clinical anxiety — the kind that can be all-consuming and, sometimes, debilitating. When classified as a disorder, anxiety is “persistent and excessive worry” where individuals can lose rational perspective and “expect the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern,” according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Chronic or severe symptoms may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which affects close to 40 million adults in the US and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 globally. Thankfully, there are effective therapies and medications as doctors and healthcare professionals determine the best treatment options that are right for you.
No matter where we are on the scale, there are natural remedies for anxiety that are worth considering, either on their own or as a complement to traditional treatments (though if you are getting professional care, talk to your doctor first).
Some are lifestyle changes that can help lessen anxiety over time, such as a regular meditation practice, physical activity, spending time outdoors, or making a few food swaps. Others, like deep breathing and distraction techniques, can provide natural anxiety relief the moment the mind sends an SOS.
With the right skills and lifestyle changes, we can better regulate our emotions and train our brain to view life with a more balanced, less fearful perspective. Here’s how to relieve anxiety naturally, and with awareness.