- 6 Cheap, Natural, and Quick Anxiety Remedies
- The Verdict on 8 Treatments for Panic Attacks That Don’t Require a Prescription
- Quick tips to stop a panic attack
- Know the symptoms
- Breathe deeply
- Relax your body
- Get out of your head
- Distract yourself
- Chill out
- Have a mantra
- 10 Best Ways to Stop Anxiety Attacks
- Anxiety attacks
- What is an anxiety attack?
- Based on the above, here are the 10 Best Ways to Stop Anxiety Attacks:
- 1. Understand anxiety attacks and that you CAN stop them anytime you want.
- 2. Stress hormones are limited in what they can do.
- 3. You have the power to end anxiety attacks anytime you want.
- 4. Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing
- 5. Reframe anxious behavior and stop scaring yourself
- 6. Calm yourself
- 7. Relax your body
- 8. Distract yourself
- 9. All panic attacks end!
- 10. High degree emergency responses are supposed to feel strong.
- Best Home Remedies for Anxiety and Panic Attacks
- What is a Home Remedy?
- Non-Medicinal Home Remedies for Anxiety
6 Cheap, Natural, and Quick Anxiety Remedies
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the U.S., affecting about one out of five people at any given time, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Anxiety can take many forms — generalized anxiety disorder (constant worrying about everyday things), obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder.
While medications to treat these anxiety conditions are often an important component in the management of anxiety, there is also many natural, do-it-yourself techniques that can help calm you down, either in place of medications or as a supplement to them.
Next time you’re too tense to cope, consider trying one of these natural options for relief.
1. Laugh it off. Cultivate a good sense of humor and laugh, says Karen Lynn Cassiday, PhD, president-elect of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and a clinical psychologist in Chicago. “Even if you do a fake laugh, you get an instant hit of dopamine,” says Dr. Cassiday. Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls feelings of reward and pleasure.
If you’re too tense to laugh on your own, try using technology, she suggests. For example, find a laugh track phone app. Just google phone apps for laughing.
In a study presented at a medical meeting, Loma Linda University researchers found that even anticipating a mirthful laugh reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which increases when you are anxious.
2. Schedule relaxation. “Sit down and look at your schedule,” says Katherine Raymer, MD, ND, associate clinical professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University, Seattle.
“Is there a time to put in a half hour to do whatever you do that is relaxing?” Dr. Raymer asks. That can be a walk, meditation, yoga, tai chi or anything you find relaxing.
Researchers trying to help shy men with social anxiety found that a period of relaxation helped them, lowering their heart rates after they interacted with people.
3. Take GABA. The supplement GABA, sold online and in health food stores, may help calm anxious people, Raymer says.
Short for gamma-aminobutyic acid, GABA is a brain transmitter that counteracts the action of another neurotransmitter, glutamate that increases your excitability.
Researchers found that individuals who ate chocolate enriched with GABA before tackling an arithmetic task were less stressed after completing it than those who didn’t have the GABA-infused chocolate.
It is important to remember that supplements such as GABA can interact with medications, so it’s crucial to check in with your doctor before taking them on your own, she says. “Get your doctor’s permission, even if you are not taking other medication.”
4. Try lavender. Try lavender essential oil to calm yourself, Raymer says. “We have people put a drop of it on their collarbone,” she says. “The smell wafts up. The odor is very relaxing.” Or, you can rub it gently into your temple, she says.
RELATED: What It’s Like to Have an Anxiety Attack
In a 2012 study of women anxious about having a medical procedure, researchers found that those who inhaled lavender a half hour before the procedure were calmer than those who did not.
Again, don’t forget to check first with your doctor before using the essential oil lavender, Raymer says.
5. Ground yourself. When anxiety hits, ”do something tangible,” says John Tsilimparis, MFT, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles and adjunct professor of psychiatry at Pepperdine University.
“Take your house keys out, run your fingers along the keys,” says Tsilimparis. “That sensation will give you ‘grounding.’ Pick up a paperweight, hold it in your hand. Or, get an ice cube. Hold it as long as you can do it.”
Why does this work? “Your brain can’t be in two places at once,” he says. The activity distracts you from the anxious feelings. “Your mind will shift from racing, catastrophic thoughts to the cold ice cube in your hand,” he says.
According to some research, using a virtual reality distraction system can reduce anxiety during dental procedures. Patients immersed in VR — a computer-generated realistic environment — reported less pain and anxiety than when they didn’t use it.
6. Face the fear. “If something makes you scared, face it,” says Cassiday. If you feel shy, go out to social functions, she says. Scared of clowns? Go to the circus.
It can help, too, to understand that when you worry about what might happen — such as no one will talk to you at the party — your anxiety just rises. Your anxious worry is about the uncertainty, she says. “What a worrier really wants is a promise that everything is going to be OK.”
But uncertainty is part of life, she says. Exposure therapy, or facing the fear, helps you learn to live with risk and uncertainty.
The Verdict on 8 Treatments for Panic Attacks That Don’t Require a Prescription
One evening, when I was 18 years old, I collapsed on my bed. My heart was palpitating so fast, I thought it had to be on the verge of bursting. My lungs felt like they just weren’t filling with air. Crying, shaking, and weirdly burping (sucking air will do that to you), I pressed my palms against the chilled windows. My senses seemed weirdly acute: I could see the streaks on the umbrellas of the people thirteen floors below; I heard garlic pop in a wok all the way in the kitchen, where my roommates were cooking. The smell was overpowering. And all the while, I was losing feeling in my fingers and toes.
I’m not sure how long I lay like this, waiting to either pass out or die. Eventually, it all stopped as torrentially as it came on: I was back in my body, alive again, but I was too tired to care. Feeling like I’d just barely outchased a wild animal, I crashed into sleep.
The next morning, I crept quietly out of my room, ashamed to face my roommates. They had been in the kitchen the night before, when I’d sprung from my seat and lunged into my room.
“Man, what did you take last night?” said Mara.
“Nothing,” I answered too quickly. I immediately wished I’d lied and said I’d taken something.
“She had a panic attack,” Allie said to Mara. Her matter-of-factness astonished me.
“Well, anyway, I’m fine now,” I said, and charged off to class.
And I was fine, at that moment anyway. But I was also dumbfounded by what Allie had said. I thought panic attacks were something you could consciously steer your way out of, like a bad mood or a daydream. I didn’t know they could take you hostage and tie you to the tracks. I had been “anxious” and “nervous” before, and I thought I understood how those feelings manifested in me. But this was something so much bigger, I thought the source had to be more physical than anxiety.
But they were attacks, and they kept happening. They happened in the subway, in class, at the movies, on streets both familiar and not. What’s the common denominator here? I don’t know, they’re all places? There was no way of connecting the dots, which deepened my belief that my problem had to be physical, not psychological.
After about four episodes, I went to my doctor for a physical exam, which came back clean. I described what had been happening to my heart and air supply and suggested asthma, indigestion, and arrhythmia as likely diagnoses.
“Panic attacks,” she said, and wrote a script for clonazepam (more commonly known as Klonopin), a medication used to treat panic disorders and seizures. We talked for a while about what was on my mind and about how the brain can misfire, fight-or-flight, and all that.
I accepted the Rx, filled it, but never actually took the pills. I’d paid attention to the warnings on TV shows: “Klonopin is addictive,” “Klonopin makes you blackout,” “If you stop taking Klonopin, you’ll have a seizure and can die.” I told the guy I was dating I’d been prescribed Klonopin. “Oh, that’s a fun one,” he’d said, giggling behind his cigarette.
Hell no, I was not going to take this addictive blackout seizure death pill of fun. I was going to be strong and brave and find the real cure. And so it began: years of hunting for the all-natural white whale that would swallow this problem whole.
Here’s the short list of every natural anxiety remedy I’ve tried and how well (or poorly) they’ve worked:
A plant that’s been hailed as “nature’s valium” was the first thing I tried, not long after the first attack. Initially, I took it exactly as the bottle indicated: diluted, before bed. After a few weeks, I felt no difference, so I started taking it whenever I felt that tightening in my chest or clamminess in my palms. It’s likely I was starting to abuse the kava, which I didn’t even really consider. But the abuse was short-lived, as I never replaced that first $11 bottle.
Final verdict: I still want my $11 back.
Hellish, Heated Workouts
I didn’t seek out hellish, heated workouts to resolve my panic disorder. I sought them out because I felt like panic attacks weren’t enough cardio to keep me fit. But wow, these workouts blast anxiety the f*ck out of me. The music, all beat-heavy mash-ups, is hysterically loud, and the lighting is a flashing neon nightmare. The instructors wear mics to more effectively yell at you and your glutes. Squats, bicep curls, jumping jacks, plank pose, plank pose, plank pose. Just thinking about it makes me think I should cancel my Hot Booty Barre class in an hour. But I’ll go, because when the instructor cries, “I don’t hear you breathing!” I will breathe. And I may feel like I’m going to pass out, I may feel like I’m going to die, but somehow these feelings don’t run over into the realm of fear. It’s as though I’m too physically exhausted to even go there.
Final verdict: Yes. Bring it on, and also please make it stop!
Just as I’d been resistant to the medication my doctor prescribed, I was also resistant to therapy, which my doctor also recommended. I suppose I was afraid of how my perceptions of people—particularly my parents—could potentially be tarnished. But in my early 20s, I finally started going, and I’m glad I did. Talking through the shitty stuff I was worrying about was enormously beneficial. Just being around therapy was beneficial, really; I’ve never felt so relaxed as I did in Dr. Wintersen’s waiting room, listening to the murmurs under the music as she and the guy who came in before me conversed. I couldn’t wait for my turn on her sofa, for her thoughtful expressions and gentle questions. But Dr. Wintersen didn’t understand why I wasn’t taking the Klonopin. “Maybe just for now? Just to have some relief?” she’d say. I’d shake my head, sighing. “I really don’t want to go down that road,” I said. “I don’t want to just give up and get dependent on a pill.”
Final verdict: Yes. Please be my therapist. Dr. Wintersen has retired, and my health coverage situation is shaky, as is the norm in the U.S. now.
Like kava, valerian root has a reputation for easing restlessness and stress. It was recommended to me by one of my favorite professors, a great thinker who swore by valerian root and said that her son, a great journalist, also swore by it. Sadly for me, valerian was about as effective as kava, which is to say that years later, I found the bottle in a drawer, one-third full, expired, still packed in its protective cotton.
Final Verdict: Nope. Pretty upset it didn’t work out for me like it did for my professor and her son.
I started doing yoga in college, but my practice then consisted mainly of a weekly beginner’s class and browsing through yoga magazines in Barnes & Noble. Eventually, I upped the ante and splurged on a yoga membership. Initially, I fancied the yoga studio a kind of safe space against panic attacks, but my brain proved to have an ironic sense of humor; more than a few times, I’d be mid-vinyasa flow and end up quietly gasping, wondering how I could bolt to the bathroom to calm down without disturbing anybody. But even after an anxious class, I always walk out with the heaviness off my chest, my breath restored, and my pulse normal.
Final verdict: Absolutely helps.
I can’t assess this one because I’m still trying to figure out how the hell to do it. I sit tall, focus on my breath, and try to let those thoughts just float on by, but I haven’t been able to break through that thought wall, and my thinking tends to turn on the breathing: judges it, worries about it, tries to fix it.
Final Verdict: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
A panic disorder is a pretty legit way to get a medical marijuana card if you reside in a state like California, where I now live. I know so many people who praise weed as an anxiety healer, THC lollipops dangling from their mouths. I am so envious of these perfect pot candidates. So far for me, weed is only good for the creation of panic attacks.
Final Verdict: Leaning toward no, but not certain. As my stoner pals keep telling me, maybe I just haven’t found the right kind yet.
Magnesium is a mineral our bodies require for a number of reasons, such as blood sugar control and nerve function, and some research suggests it might help you sleep, which is perhaps why you’re seeing all those Facebook ads for magnesium sleep aids (you’re seeing them too, right?). I started taking a magnesium potion at night, which does indeed seem to help me fall asleep. This helps, since if you have anxiety or panic, fatigue can play a role in flare-ups. The problem? Magnesium’s magical effects also work as a mild laxative. It’s hard to get rest when you’re rushing to the toilet at 4 a.m.
Final Verdict: Yes, no, and poo.
In addition to testing potential remedies, I’ve also cut out possible contributors to anxiety. At various points, I’ve expelled caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, and even certain stressful people from my life. I suppose all these eliminations have benefited my health, however subtly, but I can’t honestly say they did much for the panic disorder.
While I’m not done trying more holistic solutions (yet to be crossed off my list: acupuncture, aromatherapy, Reiki, sound baths, and religion), I’m not really all that desperate for an organic cure anymore. What changed? My attitude and my bloodstream. You see, several years ago, I finally started taking the Klonopin. There was no revelatory moment; I just promised myself I’d take it now and again, and eventually that turned into taking it every day, as prescribed. I flirt with skipping doses and tapering off, as though to tell my body, “Don’t get too comfortable with this comfortable way of life!” But then I ask myself: Why would I invite back the same old problem? Why can’t I just let myself be OK? Why do I have to freak out about the thing that’s stopping me from freaking out?
This isn’t about giving up or giving in—it’s about growing up and accepting help. I wish the help weren’t a little blue pill; I wish it were a hot shower and a cup of chamomile tea. But then again, there are better things to do than wish to be different, and I’ve found that when I can breathe, I can actually focus on them.
Nicole Audrey Spector is a writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Vogue, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and other publications. She’s a contributing writer for NBC News, and wrote a humor novel, Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray, which actually sold in a few countries outside the U.S, including Russia… but she never saw that money. Follow her on Twitter @nicolespector.
Quick tips to stop a panic attack
Panic attacks are all too common, affecting as many as 11% of the US population each year—including doctors. A panic attack comes on suddenly, with feelings of intense fear or discomfort accompanied by symptoms like a thumping heart, chills, shaking, dizziness, and other worrisome sensations. Although not medically dangerous in itself, a panic attack is distressing, often frightening, and mentally and physically fatiguing.
Here’s what can be done to stop a panic attack—or at least lessen its effects.
Know the symptoms
Although panic attacks can be triggered by stress—such as the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, etc—they sometimes seem to happen for no reason at all, often coming “out of the blue.” When this happens, a person experiencing a panic attack may give in to fear, in which symptoms build on one another and cycle out of control. But, if you know the symptoms and you realize an attack is building, you can attempt to manage it before it goes out of control.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), a panic attack is characterized by four or more of these symptoms:
- Heart palpitations, pounding heart, or racing heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath or sensation of smothering
- Choking sensation
- Chest discomfort or pain
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesia)
- Hot flushes or chills
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
- Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
- Fear of going crazy or losing control
- Fear of dying
Although a panic attack may seem like it lasts forever, it doesn’t. Know that the symptoms usually peak within 10 minutes or less, and then begin to abate.
Once you acknowledge you’re having an attack, make your best offense a good defense. Deep breathing can help you to relax your body so that you evade the worst of the attack. Try this method: Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of five, hold it while you count to five again, and then breathe out through your mouth for another count of five.
Relax your body
When you go into panic mode, you’re likely to tense up. This may feel like the natural reaction—you’re in panic mode, after all. But you can consciously undo it and relax. While using the deep breathing technique, focus on one part of your body that’s tightened up—maybe your clenched jaw or your hunched shoulders. Tighten that muscle as you inhale, and then completely relax the muscle as you gradually exhale. Do this for other clenched muscles or body parts. Eventually, your whole body will be more relaxed.
- See Also: Can you spot a suicide in the making?
Get out of your head
A panic attack is almost entirely internal—you feel removed from the world around you. Turn that detached feeling around by grounding yourself in the real world. Focus on a few specific things you can see, place your hand on items you can touch, take a whiff of something you can smell or take a bite of something you can taste. Forcing your brain to focus on tangible, real-world things can bring you outside of your inner turmoil.
A panic attack occurs because, somewhere in your mind, the fight or flight response has been unexpectedly (probably unnecessarily) triggered. Try distracting your mind from that stimulus.
One doctor prevents his frequent panic attacks at night by playing a chess app on his smartphone. “This game completely distracted my attention from the destructive background thoughts in my mind and then I was rescued from the symptoms and slept deeply and soundly,” he wrote.
If chess isn’t your thing, try another activity or mind game that takes your full attention and distracts you from your symptoms.
When a panic attack hits, you may feel your heart race, your body run hot, and your face turn red. Jolt yourself out of it with a cold rush. Grab a couple ice packs (or bags of frozen peas, even) and hold them to your face, chest, or stomach. Crunch on some ice. Meanwhile, continue the deep breathing technique. You may soon cool down your body and your brain.
Have a mantra
Remember that a panic attack will end, so you can ride it out like a ship riding out a storm. To get through it, use a mantra. In the modern context, a mantra is a repeated phrase that aids in concentration and/or expresses a strong belief. A mantra used to ride out a panic attack should make you feel safe and calm, such as:
- “I can get through this.”
- “I won’t give up.”
- “You can do this.”
- “I am calm.”
- “All is well.”
- “You are safe.”
- “This too shall pass.”
- See Also: History of hot showers and recurrent vomiting? Consider cannabis
Having a panic attack may be a once-in-a-lifetime event, or it may happen several times a week. To avoid a full-blown panic disorder, seek help if you have more than one panic attack in a month’s time. Panic disorder can be related to other mental health issues, and can even lead to physical conditions (not the least of which are heart disease and heart attack). Treatment for panic disorders may include medication and psychotherapy.
Here are some helpful tips to help a colleague or a patient who’s having a panic attack.
- Stay with them. You don’t need to run to get help. You can help just by being present and responsive.
- Move the person to a quiet place.
- Stay calm. A natural reaction when seeing someone else panic is to panic yourself. Remain as calm as possible. (And don’t tell the person having the attack to “calm down.” That’s won’t help them.)
- Ask how you can help. Don’t presume or guess what the person needs. Just ask them.
- Help the person with deep breathing by breathing along with them.
- Use grounding or distraction. Help the person get grounded by asking them to focus on objects they can see or touch. Use distraction by asking them to perform a repeated physical task, such as raising their arms over their head.
- Be supportive. Remind the person that they will be okay. Be positive. Say short, simple words of encouragement, such as: “You can get through this” or “You’re doing good.”
A panic attack typically lasts about 20-30 minutes from beginning to end. The calmer you are, the better your colleague or patient will be. You’ll prevent a difficult situation from getting worse, and you’ll reduce the person’s stress during a very stressful time.
10 Best Ways to Stop Anxiety Attacks
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: May 11, 2019
Research has found that almost everyone will experience an anxiety attack at least once during their lifetime. People who behave more apprehensively than the general population often experience many anxiety attacks. Some anxious people, approximately 3 percent, develop panic attack disorder (PAD).
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), defines panic attacks as: A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.
Panic becomes a disorder when panic attacks are frequent and interfere with a normal lifestyle. More specifically, the DSM-5 describes the criteria for panic disorder as panic attacks that must be associated with longer than 1 month of subsequent persistent worry about: (1) having another attack or consequences of the attack, or (2) significant maladaptive behavioral changes related to the attack. To make the diagnosis of panic disorder, panic attacks cannot directly or physiologically result from substance use (intoxication or withdrawal), medical conditions, or another psychiatric disorder. Other symptoms or signs may include headache, cold hands, diarrhea, insomnia, fatigue, intrusive thoughts, and ruminations.
Anxiety attacks are often characterized as experiencing:
- A feeling of overwhelming fear
- Feeling of going crazy or losing control
- Feeling you are in grave danger
- Feeling you might pass out
- A surge of doom and gloom
- An urgency to escape
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure or pain
- Turning pale
- Feeling detached from reality
- Weak in the knees
- Burning skin
- Pins and needles
- Hot and cold flushes
- Numbness and tingling sensations
The above anxiety attack symptoms can be accompanied by:
- Choking sensation, tightening throat, it feels like your throat is closing, it feels like something is stuck in your throat
- Depersonalization (feeling detached from reality, separate from oneself, separate from normal emotions)
- Derealization (feeling unreal, in a dream-like state)
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness
- Emotional distress
- Emotional upset
- Inability to calm yourself down
- Knot in the stomach, tight stomach
- Panicky feeling
- Pounding, racing heart
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Sudden urge to go to the bathroom (urinate, defecate)
- Feel like crying
You can experience one, many, or all of the symptoms listed above. Just because you aren’t experiencing many or all of the above symptoms doesn’t mean you aren’t having an anxiety attack. Each person can have a unique symptom set during an anxiety attack.
The above list of anxiety and panic attack symptoms is not exhaustive. Visit our anxiety symptoms page for a more comprehensive list of anxiety disorder signs and symptoms complete with descriptions of what they feel like and how to stop them.
Even though anxiety attacks can be powerful physical, psychological, and emotional experiences, they occur for specific reasons. Understanding these reasons can put you in control of anxiety attacks rather than it seeming like anxiety attacks control you. Learning to control anxiety attacks can set you free from them and their symptoms.
Anxiety: A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a real or imagined threat.
In this regard, anxiety is caused by behaving in an apprehensive manner, such as worrying, imagining the worst, and fearing the worst.
When we behave apprehensively, the body secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat—to either fight with or flee from it. This survival reaction is the reason why it’s often referred to as the fight or flight response, the emergency response, or the fight, flight, or freeze response (some people freeze when they are afraid like a “deer caught in headlights”).
The Stress Response is designed to “supercharge” the body so that it is better equipped to deal with a threat. This supercharge “boost” is a vital part of our survival mechanism. Consequently, the stress response is our ally when in real danger.
Whenever we believe we are in danger, the body activates a stress response. This is how the survival mechanism works.
As one of our anxiety clients noted, there are no freebies – meaning that the body ALWAYS produces a stress response when we think we are in danger. Just because we don’t feel the effects of a stress response doesn’t mean one didn’t occur. The stronger the response, the more we feel them.
If a person isn’t familiar with how the body’s emergency survival system works or how it is triggered, the stress response and the changes it causes can seem threatening and even frightening. This is one of the reasons many people fear anxiety attacks…because they don’t understand them or know they can control them.
The degree of stress response is directly proportional to the degree of perceived threat.
As the degree of stress response increases, so does the intensity and magnitude of the changes the stress response brings about.
For example, if you conclude that a situation or circumstance isn’t going to be too dangerous, your body will produce only a small degree stress response, which results in slight physiological, psychological, and emotional changes. On the other hand, if you believe a situation or circumstance could be very dangerous, your body will produce a high degree stress response and powerful physiological, psychological, and emotional changes.
Again, the degree of stress response and its associated physiological, psychological, and emotional changes are directly proportional to the degree of perceived threat. The more threatening the perceived threat seems, the more powerful the stress response.
Visit our “Stress Response” article for a more comprehensive description of the stress response and the many ways it can affect the body.
What is an anxiety attack?
An anxiety attack is a high degree stress response activated by either overly apprehensive behavior (worrying/fearing something really bad may happen) or by the involuntary action of a chronically stressed body.
In other words, anxiety attacks have two main causes:
Voluntary anxiety attacks: When we worry something terrible might happen and the body responds with a high degree stress response.
Involuntary anxiety attacks: When the body activates a high degree stress response all by itself due to the adverse effects of chronic stress.
Voluntary Anxiety Attacks:
Most anxiety attacks are voluntary anxiety attacks caused by overly apprehensive behavior: believing something horrible is about to happen, which activates a high degree stress response. Once the high degree stress response is activated, the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that result can be powerful. These powerful changes, even though they are our ally when in real danger, can seem like something ominous is happening, which many anxious people react to with more fear…which activates another stress response, and so on.
Reacting to anxiety attacks in a fearful way will keep anxiety attacks going.
In a sense, anxious personalities become afraid of what the high degree stress response feels like and/or believe that it is the harbinger of something dangerous, which causes more stress responses. This is often the scenario that sets up Panic Attack Disorder: becoming afraid of the feelings of a high degree stress response and believing they are uncontrollable.
In this regard, fear set off the initial anxiety attack and fearing the sensations associated with the anxiety attack activates more stress responses. We call this the fear cycle:
Voluntary anxiety attacks account for the majority of all anxiety attacks.
Involuntary Anxiety Attacks
The body has several systems that automatically (involuntarily) monitor and regulate each other moment by moment. When the body is healthy and not overly stressed, it does a good job of keeping all of its systems working normally.
When the body becomes chronically stressed, however, it can sometimes mismanage systems, which can cause the body to behave erratically and more involuntarily than normal. This erratic and more involuntary behavior can cause the body to involuntarily activate the stress response. The great majority of “out-of-the-blue” anxiety attacks are caused by this involuntary mismanagement.
Experiencing an involuntary panic can be unnerving. If a person doesn’t understand why the body produced an involuntary panic attack, he could react to it with more anxiety, which can cause more anxiety attacks.
As we mentioned earlier, reacting with fear to anxiety attacks is the most common reason why anxiety attacks persist.
Much more could be said. We explain anxiety attacks in more detail on our anxiety attack symptoms page. And, we’ve gone into even more detail about anxiety attacks, their cause, and how to stop them in chapters 3, 5 and 6 in the Recovery Support area of our website.
Based on the above, here are the 10 Best Ways to Stop Anxiety Attacks:
1. Understand anxiety attacks and that you CAN stop them anytime you want.
Knowledge is power…and especially when it comes to understanding anxiety and anxiety attacks. The more you know, the better off you are.
For instance, understanding the physiological, psychological, and emotional components that contribute to anxiety attacks can remove the mystery about them and what they can do. Removing the mystery can eliminate the potential to scare you.
When you understand what anxiety attacks are; what causes them; how the body responds – the many physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that can occur and why; the stages of the stress response; how stress affects the body; and how you can stop them anytime you want eliminates their threat. Eliminating the threat eliminates a struggle with anxiety attacks.
Becoming unafraid of anxiety attacks is the surest way to stop and prevent them. Again, for more information, see our “anxiety attack symptoms” section, or for more in-depth information, become a member of our Recovery Support area.
2. Stress hormones are limited in what they can do.
Even though anxiety attacks can feel powerful, stress responses and the hormones they produce are limited in what they can do. While they can prepare the body for emergency action, stress responses can’t cause you to snap and lose your mind, can’t cause a mental breakdown, can’t cause you to do something you don’t want to do, don’t last forever, and will end.
Again, for more information on the stress response and its many actions, see our “anxiety attack symptoms” section or our “Stress Response” section.
3. You have the power to end anxiety attacks anytime you want.
Since anxiety attacks are caused by specific reasons, we can end them by addressing those reason. For instance, voluntary anxiety attacks are caused by overly apprehensive behavior, such as worry and imagining the worst. If you imagine you are in grave danger, your body will respond as if it actually is in danger.
Moreover, if you think you are safe and in a peaceful environment, your body will also respond as if it actually is.
Therefore, you control how your body responds by the types of thoughts you think. If you want to feel calm and relaxed, think calm and relaxed thoughts. Then, wait for your body to respond accordingly.
Keep in mind that once stress hormones are in the bloodstream, they will have an effect until your body uses them up or expels them. Similar to how it takes time for the body to burn off the effects of caffeine, which is a stimulant, it will also take time for the body to burn off the effects of a stress response.
But if you remain calm and patient in spite of how stimulated your body feels, it will use up the stress hormones and you’ll gradually feel better again.
4. Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing
Slow, relaxed diaphragmatic breaths cause the body to trigger a natural tranquilizing effect. This tranquilizing effect counters the effects of the stress response. As you relax diaphragmatic breathe, your body will calm down, which will end an anxiety attack.
Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing is slowing down your breathing, taking in a little more air than normal, and breathing from your diaphragm (stomach). This type of breathing offsets the more rapid shallow breathing typically caused by an anxiety attack. Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing also stimulates the vagus nerve, which also works to calm the body.
Avoid deep breathing. Many sources recommend deep breathing to end anxiety attacks. Unfortunately, deep breathing has been linked to hyperventilation, which can cause anxiety attacks. So, we recommend relaxed diaphragmatic breathing rather than deep breathing because it still activates the body’s natural tranquilizing effect but doesn’t cause hyperventilation.
5. Reframe anxious behavior and stop scaring yourself
As we mentioned, anxiety attacks are mostly caused by apprehensive behavior – scaring ourselves with worry and imagining the worst. Therefore, being afraid of anxiety attacks is one of the most common reasons why anxiety attacks sustain…and why people develop Panic Attack Disorder. Since fear is the most common reason why anxiety attacks occur and persist, refusing to scare yourself removes the main reason anxiety attacks occur.
When you stop scaring yourself with worry and imagining the worst, you eliminate the most common cause of anxiety attacks. Yes, you can learn to stop scaring yourself. This is the second most powerful way to eliminate anxiety attacks.
For example, rather than thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is awful. What if I completely lose it?” Use more affirmative language such as, “Ok, this doesn’t feel good right now. But it’s just my body’s emergency response and it will end as I stop scaring myself.”
Or, instead of thinking, “This is awful. I can’t stand it!” Reframe that thought to, “This is what a high degree stress response feels like. Many people go to great lengths to feel this way. It’s a normal part of the body’s survival mechanism. It’s not dangerous and I don’t have to be afraid of it.”
Or, instead of thinking, “What’s causing this horrible feeling? What if I’m dying or having a complete breakdown?” Reframe to, “This feeling can feel strong, but it’s not dangerous. All bodies react this way when we think we are in danger or are overly stressed. It’s not something to be concerned about. I’ll keep myself calm and it will end when the body uses up the remaining stress hormones. Then, I’ll feel fine again.”
The stress response is our ally not our enemy.
Keep in mind that the Stress Response is our ally when in real danger. It gives the body an “emergency boost” so that we are better equipped to deal with the threat.
Therefore, the strong feelings of anxiety and panic are not our enemy. So, we want to embrace those strong feelings recognizing that the body is responding the way it is supposed to if we think we are in danger. The feelings aren’t the source of the danger but merely the reaction to it.
Taking charge of your thinking by reframing anxious thoughts puts you in control of your body’s emergency system. As you become proficient at taking control, you can completely shut down anxiety attacks any time you want. More importantly, by becoming proficient at reframing anxious thinking, you can even stop them starting.
6. Calm yourself
Worrying and imagining the worst, examples of apprehensive behavior, activate the Stress Response. Calming yourself and imagining peace and contentment activate the Rest Response – the body’s response that works in opposition to the Stress Response.
Imagining calming thoughts shuts off the mechanism that causes anxiety attacks. So calming yourself down ends the stress response. Then it’s just a matter of time until the body uses up or expels the remaining stress hormones and you’ll feel fine again.
The more you calm yourself, the faster the anxiety attack can end and the sooner you’ll feel better. Keep in mind that the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes resulting from a minor stress response last for approximately a few to ten minutes. A high degree stress response can last for twenty to thirty minutes or more. You want to keep yourself calm until the body recovers from the active stress response. This means you may feel the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the meantime, but that they will all end as the body recovers from the active stress response.
Becoming proficient at calming yourself is another sure way to end, control, and prevent anxiety attacks.
7. Relax your body
Relaxing the body shuts off the stress response since the body can’t go in both (arousal/relaxed) directions at the same time. The more relaxed you make your body, the faster the body uses up and expels stress hormones, which will bring an end to the feelings associated with an active stress response.
Relaxing the body also offsets muscle tension caused by the stress response.
You can relax the body by making it feel as loose and heavy as possible. For instance, if you are sitting or lying down, make your body as relaxed, loose, and heavy as you can. Making your body feel loose and heavy also activates the Rest Response, which counteracts the effects of the Stress Response. Then, it’s only a matter of time until you feel better.
8. Distract yourself
As we mentioned earlier, most anxiety attacks are caused and fueled by thinking anxiously. Distracting your attention can prevent anxious thinking. As you prevent anxious thinking, you also prevent voluntary anxiety attacks.
There are lots of ways to distract yourself, such as counting, calling a friend, organizing materials on or in your desk, playing a game, reading a book, going for a walk, and so on. Anything that distracts your mind away from anxious thinking will indirectly end stress responses and anxiety attacks. The better you are at distracting yourself, the faster anxiety attacks end.
You might also want to distract yourself with more sensory experiences, such as with cold water, ice, strong tastes, touch, and so on. Strong sensory experiences are more distracting. Anything that takes your mind away from the sensations associated with the active stress response and thinking anxiously will assist in ending anxiety attacks.
9. All panic attacks end!
No matter how powerful the anxiety attack, it will end. We can end them faster by doing some or all of the above. Nevertheless, all anxiety attacks end. It’s only a matter of time.
No one experiences unending anxiety attacks even though sometimes it can feel that way. Riding out the anxiety attack knowing it will end can help you remain calm, which also shuts off the stress response and anxiety attack.
10. High degree emergency responses are supposed to feel strong.
Recognize your body is doing what it’s supposed to in response to thinking you are in danger (survival mechanism and the stress response). Many people go to great lengths to experience the rush of the stress response (skydiving, bungee jumping, other dangerous and thrilling activities). So a high degree stress response isn’t a bad thing, but the body’s temporary emergency survival mechanism in action. We can shut it off anytime by using the above strategies.
Even though an anxiety attack may feel like it is out of control, it actually isn’t. Using the above strategies can put you in control…and every time. While it may take courage and practice initially, all of us can control anxiety and anxiety attacks. Knowing how to control anxiety attacks, and becoming practiced at it, eliminates them.
Moreover, even though you may feel you are in danger from an anxiety attack, you aren’t. An anxiety attack is a common response to believing you are in danger, but not the actual cause of being in danger.
Panic Attack Disorder (Panic Disorder) is one of the easiest anxiety disorders to eliminate when you know how. No one needs to suffer needlessly. You can eliminate anxiety attacks naturally by knowing how and through practice.
Chapter 6 in the Recovery Support area contains many sections on how to overcome Panic Disorder, as well as how to extinguish many of the fears often associated with anxiety attacks.
Don’t suffer needlessly! You can overcome anxiety and panic attacks. We’ve all done it. Countless members and therapy clients have done it. So can you! It is within your ability.
If you are struggling with anxiety and panic attacks, and feel you’ve done everything you can but still aren’t successful, we recommend connecting with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. They are well trained and experienced in helping people overcome stubborn Panic Attack Disorder.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior – a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety’s underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
- For a comprehensive understanding of: Anxiety Disorders Symptoms & Signs, Types, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.
- Anxiety and panic attacks symptoms can be powerful experiences. Find out what they are and how to stop them.
- How to stop an anxiety attack and panic.
- Free online anxiety tests to screen for anxiety. Two minute tests with instant results. Such as:
- Anxiety Test
- Anxiety Disorder Test
- OCD Test
- Social Anxiety Test
- Boundaries Test
- Anxiety 101 is a summarized description of anxiety, anxiety disorder, and how to overcome it.
1. DA, Katerndahl. “Infrequent and limited-symptom panic attacks.” Journal of Nervous Mental Disorders, May 1990, Infrequent and limited-symptom panic attacks.
2. Selye H. Endocrine reactions during stress. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 1956;35:182–193.
3. “Understanding the Stress Response – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
5. Teixeira, Renata Roland, et al. “Chronic Stress Induces a Hyporeactivity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Response to Acute Mental Stressor and Impairs Cognitive Performance in Business Executives.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4373764/.
Return to our anxiety tips page.
Anxiety of all types has become an epidemic in the United States, so much so that it has overtaken depression as the leading mental health disorder. It is estimated that 40 million Americans struggle with anxiety, with more than half of all US college students suffering from the disorder.
Recently, I came across a new nickname for this country that I found to be sad but probably accurate when considering the mental health of our nation’s general population: The United States of Anxiety.
Where is all this anxiety coming from? A mixture of panicky and negative news from the many media outlets, social-media pressures, the seemingly never-ending war or threats of new wars, mass shootings, economic concerns, and so on.
Although there are many prescription medications that help treat the symptoms of anxiety, we may want to consider more natural remedies if a long-term solution is needed.
Benzodiazepines are effective but can be addictive, as they share the same brain “reward” pathways as opioids and cannabinoids. Couple that with symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal that can occur upon discontinuation, and that may be a recipe for more harm than good. With benzodiazepines, what could be a suitable short-term anxiety treatment option, may quickly turn into a long-term course of therapy.
The downfall of long-term benzodiazepine use? Adverse effects such as memory loss, hip fractures, impaired thinking, and dizziness.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are also commonly used to treat anxiety but come with their own list of possible adverse effects.
SSRIs may lead to drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, headache, sexual problems, agitation, dizziness, dry mouth, insomnia, and blurred vision. SNRIs, meanwhile, may cause dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite, sexual problems, constipation, weight loss, insomnia, headaches, dry mouth, and agitation.
For patients seeking a more natural approach to easing their anxiety symptoms or wanting to complement their conventional medicine regimen to gain even better outcomes, here are 10 natural remedies to consider:
1. Meditation: Many studies have shown meditation and mindfulness to be effective in decreasing anxiety symptoms. One such meta-analysis combining the results of 163 different studies had an overall conclusion that practicing mindfulness and meditation produced beneficial results with a substantial improvement in anxiety.1 If one is new to meditation, it may be easiest to start with guided meditations, which are available on YouTube and podcasts. It is best not to worry about an over-active mind. It is surprising how a little meditation goes a long way, and with continued practice it becomes easier and more effective over time.
2. Vetiver Essential Oil: Vetiver is an herb native to India and has been used in ancient healing traditions for thousands of years. It has soothing and uplifting properties, which has made it known as the “oil of tranquility.” Place 1 to 2 drops of 100% pure vetiver essential oil on one’s wrist, chest, or neck to soothe feelings of anxiety or nervousness. Patients can also add 5 to 10 drops of vetiver oil into their bath water to reap its relaxation benefits.
3. Lavender essential oil: With benefits discovered more than 2,500 years ago, lavender essential oil has become one of the most popular essential oils in the world. In a 2013 evidence-based study, researchers discovered that taking 80mg capsules of lavender essential oil alleviates anxiety, sleep disturbance, and depression. In this same study, results showed the lavender essential oil did not lead to adverse effects, drug interactions, or withdrawal symptoms.2 To relieve stress, inhale 100% pure lavender essential oil straight from the bottle or apply it topically behind the ears, on the temples, and on the back of the neck. It is also safe to combine lavender essential oil with vetiver oil.
4. Lower sugar and processed food intake: Sugar and refined carbohydrates found in processed foods can create sugar highs and lows throughout the day, which can lead to symptoms of anxiety. These foods can also cause mood swings and altered energy levels, making it potentially harder to gain control of anxiety symptoms. Foods such as cookies, pastries, soda, fast foods, fried foods, processed meat, and refined grains may best be avoided when it comes to easing anxiety.
5. Ashwagandha: This is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing and is frequently referred to as the “Indian ginseng.” It is a highly rejuvenating herb that reduces anxiety without causing drowsiness, and it helps to stabilize the body’s response to stress.
6. Kava root: This is a non-addictive and non-hypnotic anxiolytic. A meta-analysis reported by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews suggests that there are significant effects from kava treatment on anxiety with only a few mild adverse effects.3 These include headache, drowsiness, and diarrhea. Kava can interact with certain medications, so it should be taken under the guidance of a health care provider.
7. Valerian root: This has been found to naturally increase the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which helps regulate nerve cells and calm anxiety. The benzodiazepine medications work this same way.
8. 5-HTP: This is synthesized from tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a mood stabilizer. By taking 5-HTP, serotonin is increased, which is a calming neurotransmitter that is associated with a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms. This is a natural supplement that should not be taken with any prescription antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.
9. Magnesium: Magnesium has many important roles in maintaining a healthy body, including calming the nervous system. It is also vital for GABA function. Interestingly, magnesium deficiency is a common deficiency in adults, so consider this supplement when recommending anti-anxiety treatment options. Magnesium in the chelate, citrate, or chloride forms are most beneficial, because they are absorbed best by the body. Remember to be careful with the dose because too much magnesium can lead to diarrhea. Start with a low dose and increase as needed based on anxiety symptoms.
10.Vitamin B-complex: B vitamins help reduce stress and stabilize moods. Vitamin B6 should specifically be considered as a natural remedy for anxiety symptoms, because one of the signs of B6 deficiency is anxiety itself. Vitamin B6 helps to boost mood, balance blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy nervous system.
From conventional pharmacologic medications to natural remedies, there are many options to help those suffering from anxiety. What works best for some, may not work for others, however. Keeping an open mind and heart will help guide people in need to their best treatment options.
1. Sedlmeier P, Eberth J, Schwarz M, et al. The psychological effects of meditation: a meta-analysis. Psychol Bull. 2012;138(6):1139-71. doi: 10.1037/a0028168.
2. Kasper S. An orally administered lavandula oil preparation (Silexan) for anxiety disorder and related conditions: an evidence based review. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2013;17 Suppl 1:15-22. doi: 10.3109/13651501.2013.813555.
3. Pittler MH, Ernst E. Kava extract for treating anxiety. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(1):CD003383.
Best Home Remedies for Anxiety and Panic Attacks
No one should have to live with anxiety. Anxiety is a potentially devastating disorder, and even mild stress that we all feel from time to time can hold you back in ways you may not even realize. That’s why treating anxiety is so important, and that’s why anyone living with anxiety deserves relief and respite.
Yet, few people do manage to find relief; and that’s because the options for fighting anxiety aren’t all that popular. For example, therapy is expensive and medications can cause unpleasant side effects or even addiction. Furthermore, there is no such thing as an instant cure for anxiety, which is why many people turn to home remedies.
What is a Home Remedy?
Any treatment that you can perform from the comfort of your own home can be seen as a home remedy for anxiety. Herbal supplements are an example of a common home remedy. People seeking to treat their anxiety may use herbs such as:
- Valerian Root3
These are believed to be somewhat effective at reducing anxiety in certain cases – more than any other type of natural supplement. In addition, there are many vitamins that are also highly beneficial for anxiety. Magnesium is perhaps the most valuable, 25% of the country is magnesium deficient and that deficiency may cause anxiety and anxiety symptoms (magnesium is also used up during times of stress). Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B1 may also be valuable according to some nutritionists. You can add these vitamins in food (fish, nuts, and vegetables) or in supplement form. In the rest of this article, however, we’ll look at behavior-based remedies for coping with anxiety.
Non-Medicinal Home Remedies for Anxiety
The following are some techniques that you can use to improve your ability to cope with anxiety from the comfort of your own home. Anxiety often requires longer term treatment, but with the following strategies, you may be able to effectively reduce your overall anxiety symptoms:
- Relaxation Room — When something is making you stressed, like work or conflict, you may benefit from a relaxation room. This is a place free from bright lights, technology, and other distractions. It shouldn’t even have photos or clutter – it should just be a room that you can rest in without anything to keep you awake, distracted or uncomfortable. Going into that room for 30 minutes every day can bring you some of the relief you need. You should also consider combining that time with relaxation exercises, such as progressive muscle relaxation, journaling, or deep breathing.
- Extra Hydration/Water Therapy — Dehydration can seriously affect your health for the worse. Some researchers theorize that drinking extra water may help relieve some anxiety symptoms. This is because dehydration is linked4 to higher concentrations of the stress hormone, cortisol. By drinking water, therefore, you’re diluting the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream.
- Exercise — Exercising is a very effective home treatment strategy for anxiety. People often think that exercising is just important for physical health – but it’s equally vital for one’s mental wellbeing. This is because exercise helps us to regulate hormones that increase our levels of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
- Technological Distraction — Technology is usually a bad thing for anxiety6, exacerbating or potentially even causing anxiety symptoms. But sometimes, when we’re anxious we become emotionally overwhelmed to the point where it’s very hard to calm ourselves down or think rationally about what to do. At times like these, it can help to take half an hour off in order to engage with technology. This will give you a break from the source of your stress so that you can calm down a little before revisiting the situation when you’re in a better mind space. Technology can also be helpful if you’re using meditation or mental wellness apps to facilitate your relaxation.
- Journaling — Journaling is another tool that has some potentially profound benefits. When you write out your thoughts and feelings in a journal, you release them from your mind in such a way that you’ll often find they no longer control your thoughts. Research5 has shown that the act of thinking about and writing down our emotions can help us reduce the intensity of those experiences.
- Bathing — Taking a hot bath really is an incredible relaxation strategy. Warm water provides your entire body with a level of relaxation that can be beneficial for reducing some of the anxiety symptoms that can be so disruptive to your life. Like many other treatments, bathing isn’t going to be a one-stop cure. However, when physical aches and pains from anxiety are causing you even more anxiety, taking the occasional warm bath may just help you to cope with several symptoms at once.
Most home remedies for anxiety are designed to relieve symptoms and help you cope with your anxiety overall. Anxiety is often a self-sustaining problem, because the more anxiety symptoms you experience, the more likely your are to fear your anxiety, which in turn causes even more anxiety symptoms.
These types of home remedies, however, are not long term treatment options. For that, you need to make sure that you’re making smart decisions that have long term anxiety reduction potential. One of the best home treatments for anxiety involves looking at your overall symptoms and the way you experience anxiety and finding a tailored approach to curing it.
But should you find that these self-help treatments do not work for you, you should also consider professional help, including therapy (especially cognitive behavioral therapy) and medications (prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist) to get the relief you need.
Herbs and natural remedies can help calm anxiety and stress. Here’s a list of ways to relieve anxiety naturally.
First, attempt to calm thyself. If gardening or another relaxing activity doesn’t calm your nerves and make you sleep well, you’ll have to try some of these other tips involving herbs for anxiety and anxiety remedies. If gardening does help, you can grow some of these herbs (try our Herb Growing Guide) so that you can beat your anxiety in two ways.
Insomnia can often be caused by stress or anxiety, or insomnia can lead to anxiety. For this reason, we include some natural remedies for insomnia here as well. If these don’t help, try these tips for insomnia and sleep deprivation.
- Teas of chamomile, basil, marjoram, sage, or mint help ease stress. Use about 1 ounce fresh herbs (half of that if dried) for every 2 to 3 cups water.
- A tea of elderberry flowers is considered relaxing to the nerves and is sleep-inducing, too. (Caution! Avoid if pregnant.)
- For insomnia, drink bee balm. It acts as a mild sedative, calming the nerves and aiding sleep. Take an infusion of 2 teaspoons chopped leaves in 1 cup boiling water.
- Drink rosemary tea to alleviate melancholy or depression.
- Native American tea ingredients for insomnia included lady’s slipper (decocted), yarrow, mullein, hops, and purslane (decocted).
- Valerian tea (or capsules) is a natural sleep aide. In infusions, 1 ounce of the roots in 1 pint boiling water is a common recipe, consumed by wineglass as needed. (Caution: Too high a dose may lead to negative side effects!)
Home Remedies for Anxiety: Food
- First, do not eat your final meal late in the evening, and keep the meal light.
- Eating lettuce with your dinner is supposed to be calming, helping you to sleep and have pleasant dreams. Some say you should not have vinegar with your lettuce.
- Mandarin oranges are soporifics, so consider adding them to your evening meal to help insomnia.
- Native Americans reportedly ate raw onions to induce sleep. (They also used a variety of herbal syrups and poultices, but they’re a bit too complicated for most of us today.)
- Trying to remain relaxed but alert? Some studies suggest that the smell of apples, apple cider vinegar, or spiced apples have this effect. The right smell can make all the difference.
- Adding some calm-inducing foods to your diet can also be helpful. Try this collection of herb recipes to see if you can incorporate beneficial herbs into your meals.
Natural Anxiety Relief: Massages and Rubs
- Massage your temples with lavender oil. See more about the benefits of lovely lavender for the health and home.
- A warm bath with a couple of drops of chamomile oil aides sleeping. Add a splash of lavender oil for a relaxing aroma.
- For a relaxing body rub, soak equal parts finely chopped dandelions, burdock (roots and/or aerial parts), yellow dock, and lobelia in a mason jar of vodka for two weeks. Apply externally (and avoid the temptation to drink the solution).
How to Relieve Anxiety at Bedtime
- Strew lavender in the linen closet to scent your bed sheets with this mildly narcotic herb.
- Try putting a few drops of lavender oil in or right under your nose—gently, with a cotton swab (Q-tip).
- Sprinkle infusions of dill on your pillowcases and quickly iron them dry or fluff them in a clothes dryer.
- Dill will also lull cranky babies to sleep. Add dill infusion to the bath, sprinkle on a baby’s blanket, or use as a hair rinse. (We all know babies can cause stress—if they can sleep, maybe you can sleep, too!)
- Sage is considered a “ghost medicine,” used to prevent stressful nightmares. Strew it on the floor or in the bed.
- Keep in mind: Not every fragrant herb is suitable for a good night’s sleep. Some can have the reverse effect. You may wish to consult an herbalist.
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.