Natural Approaches and Supplements to Reduce Anxiety
By Dr. Taz Bhatia MD
We are all probably a little more wired to stress than we used to be, and it shows: anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million Americans, and global rates of anxiety and anxiety-related disorders have risen nearly 50% in the last two decades, according to the World Health Organization. Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men.
What Are the Health Implications of Anxiety?
Chronic stress and anxiety have been linked to higher rates of blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, panic attacks, insomnia, headaches, muscle pain, dizziness, stomach pain and cramps, asthma and more.
What’s the Solution?
Thankfully there are many natural remedies that can help reduce chronic stress and anxiety. Here’s what I find most effective for my patients:
- Talking: One of the most important steps to dealing with anxiety is to let someone know about your worries. Holding in fear, anxiety, and stress will only exacerbate it. Tell someone you love and trust how you feel. If you don’t feel that you have someone you can talk to, I strongly recommend that you schedule a consultation with your primary care doctor or find a therapist who can help.
- Moving: Mind/body practices such as yoga and tai chi are especially good at relaxing and calming your entire being. Both tai chi and yoga focus the mind, breath and body by requiring you to attend to one action mentally and physically (moving and breathing)—and this focus removes all other items of worry from your mind and allows you to relax.
- Sipping some tea: Chamomile tea was first used for its relaxing properties in ancient Egypt and Greece, and it is still used today for its calming and relaxing benefits.
- Using soothing scents: Use essential oils in a natural diffuser to naturally calm your nerves, relax, and drift off to a restful night of slumber. My favorite essential oils are ylang ylang to calm the nervous system, clary sage to relax, and lavender to drift off to sleep. I also love to rub a sleep balm of bergamot and lavender into my temples and neck before I go to bed.
- Practicing self-massage: Shirodhara is a technique where heated oil is poured over the forehead to soothe away stress. You can do it by warming some organic coconut oil and massage it into your scalp. Sleep with this application on and you’ll feel your brain relax (and your hair will be soft and shiny too).
Supplements to Help Ease Anxiety
My favorite anxiety-busting supplements are Magnesium, L-theanine, and Ashwagandha for mood and stress balance.
- Magnesium: This supplement is a must for anyone who struggles with anxiety, irritability, stress-management or sleep issues. I recommend 200 to 400 mg before bedtime.
- L-theanine: This amino acid acts as a calming supplement and eases anxiety. I recommend 200 mg per day.
- Ashwagandha: The root of this shrub is known to soothe and balance your adrenal glands to help calm your nervous system. I recommend 1 gram per day in the afternoon.