Health And Wellness

10 All-Natural Ways To Relieve Symptoms Of Anxiety & Care For Your Mental Health (No Meds Required!)

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10 All-Natural Ways To Relieve Symptoms Of Anxiety & Care For Your Mental Health (No Meds Required!)

Dealing with anxiety is difficult but there are natural ways to relieve anxiety and improve your mental health without immediately resorting to medication.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illness in the U.S. right now, affecting 40 million adults in the United States — approximately 18 percent of the population.

Unfortunately, it’s also affecting the younger ages too. Anxiety disorders in kids and teens went up 20 percent in the years from 2007-2012.

RELATED: 8 Natural Remedies For Anxiety & Stress That Are Incredibly Powerful

If you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder or are showing signs of anxiety, it's imperative to look at why this is a trend and the role you play so that you can stop and even reverse it.

For now, it's important to help yourself feel less anxious — and you can do it naturally.

There are chemical-free things you can do for natural anxiety relief that will help set you up so you don’t experience as much anxiety, which will also help you when you’re in the thick of an anxiety attack.

Here are 10 ways to relieve anxiety naturally and improve your mental health.

1. Acceptance

Have you heard of that expression, "What you resist, persists?"

Well, true story.

The first step to learning how to deal with anxiety is by accepting it and allowing it to be there. Now, you’re on the path to lessening its hold on you.

There are 3 steps to process emotions:

  • Name it by saying something like, "Anxiety is present" or "I am feeling anxious."
  • Describe it by saying something like, "My chest feels tight and it’s hard to catch my breath."
  • Sit with it. Let it be there. Don’t resist. Feel the tightness in your chest. Keep at it. Let it be there.

Anxiety happens. Don’t make yourself more anxious by being anxious about being anxious.

2. Eat whole foods at regular intervals

Seriously. Not all of these all-natural steps are easy but this one is: eat regularly.

Our brain uses 20 percent of our body’s energy. When we aren’t fueling it properly or consistently, we will be less able to manage our minds.

It’s especially important for our anxiety to be getting enough protein. One rough gauge is to take your weight and multiply it by 0.36, and that’s the amount (in grams) of protein per day to shoot for.

3. Breathe deeply from your belly

When we get anxious our breathing becomes shallow and fast. Deep belly breathing calms down our racing mind and in turn, naturally calms down our nervous system.

Try this:

  • Breathe in deeply, filling your lungs so your belly expands (some people find it helpful to put their hands on their belly so they can feel this).
  • Breathe out completely so that your belly contracts.
  • Done. Repeat slowly and deliberately for 3-5 breaths.

4. Drink less caffeine

Yep, I said it. And, yes, I still drink coffee.

Life is all about balance. I know the amount of caffeine that is too much and (most days) I stay below that. When I don’t, I feel more anxious.

Our actions have consequences.

5. Drink less alcohol

Again, I went there.

Yes, at the moment, a glass of wine might "mellow" you out. Yet, the big picture is that alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety.

Many people report feeling more anxious after the alcohol wears off. Want more reasons? Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for an entire day after drinking!

So this means that if you have a nightly glass of wine and you already deal with anxiety, it may affect you throughout the following day.

Wine is worse for my anxiety and my gut. I don’t drink it. If I’m going to have a drink, I stick to one beer, once or twice a week. If I drink more, I feel it.

RELATED: The One Mindfulness Technique That Eliminates Anxiety —​ Without Medication!

6. Move your body daily

This is a non-negotiable in my care for mental health. Exercising is not just for weight loss (in fact, it’s one of the least effective weight loss tools).

What does exercise help with? Confidence. Mobility. Pain relief. And, yes, anxiety relief.

Exercise lessens anxiety and ruminating. If you only do one of these things on this list, this would be the one that's highly recommended.

Start with as little as 3 minutes but do it. Commit to yourself, your kids, and your world and move your frigging body for 3 minutes. Do not allow time for excuses. This is free.

Go up and down your stairs. Walk around your house. Go outside and walk around. Just go do it. Just 3 minutes a day.

7. Sleep

Similar to exercise, sleep is crucial in the care of our mental health. There are numerous benefits to sleep and there is a multitude of reasons why I now prioritize 8 hours a night.

When we are well-rested, we are better able to keep our advanced cognitive brain on line rather than be led by our primitive survival brain. You will feel less anxious if you get adequate sleep that’s over 7.5 hours.

8. Use the Applied Tension Technique

I love this tip because even though it sounds fancy, it’s amazingly simple and works immediately. In a nutshell, squeeze everything, hold and release.

For a more complicated description:

  • Tense the body muscles for 10-15 seconds until your body is starting to feel warm.
  • Let your muscles relax for 20-30 seconds.
  • Repeat this process 3-5 times.

Try it the next time you’re worrying, stressed, or feeling anxious.

9. Meditate

I started meditating 4 years ago on my birthday because I wanted to become a less reactive parent and person. The added benefit was how much it helped my anxiety. I started by committing to myself that I’d do 3 minutes a day and I’ve been going ever since.

Meditation changes our brain’s structure in ways that help me every day.

10. Write

Brain dumps, thought downloads, write and rip, journaling — whatever you call it, start writing. We have between 60-80,000 thoughts a day and if we’re not paying attention to these thoughts, they’re running the show.

What we think about drives how we feel and how we act. Paying attention to the thoughts we’re thinking is a powerful proactive step to stop anxiety before it starts.

Bonus: Try essential oils

I saved these for last because all the other strategies don’t require anything you don’t have. Essential oils cost money but are way cheaper than a prescription or hospital visit.

I got into essential oils after all my visits to Australia when everywhere I looked, people were using oils before meds — for headaches, tummy aches, runny noses, and anxiety.

In fact, they're even being used as part of hospital treatment regimens. Essential oils don’t help you process your feelings or work through past traumas but they sure do help, at the moment, to calm down the nervous system, similar to a Xanax without the side effect of dementia!

And on that note, I finish my list of natural anxiety relief methods.

It’s not that anxiety attacks won’t happen. In fact, it’s not a goal to go through life anxiety or worry-free. Most of our fears are signs that we’re pushing ourselves, that we’re living up to our potential here on earth.

That said, there’s a reason why people pop a pill: it’s easier. Choosing to limit your alcohol, sit with your thoughts, or get to bed earlier isn’t always easy, but keep at it warrior!

You’re not here for easy. You’re here to live a full life.

Anxiety, worry, fear, and angst happen. How you handle it sets you up for a life that feels calm or full of drama.

You are not alone on your journey.

RELATED: 50 Quotes On What It Feels Like To Be Overwhelmed (And How To Make It Stop)

Susie Pettit is a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Coach and Podcast host of the weekly Love Your Life Show. Sign up for Susie's Weekly Wellness Newsletter.​

This article was originally published at SMB Well. Reprinted with permission from the author.