5 Simple Tips for Natural Anxiety Support
Feeling stressed out? Here are 5 different types of natural anxiety support to give you help in stressful times.
I’ve struggled a lot off and on with anxiety since having my first child almost 9 years ago. It’s been a struggle but one that I’m grateful for as it has taught me so much. Over the years I’ve learned a myriad of techniques to combat anxiety and help ease it.
First off I want to say that I don’t think that the goal should be complete elimination of anxiety. That used to be my goal until my wise husband brought it to my attention that anxiety is normal and natural. EVERYONE has it from time to time. The thing is, you need to learn how to keep it under control.
Is All Anxiety Bad?
You’re probably thinking, oh yeah right, that sounds so simple, you may be past the point of feeling any control at all. I’ve been there. I feel for you. I’ve experienced days and weeks and months of pure anxiety, sometimes so strong that I could barely leave my house, which for a mother with young children, isn’t so convenient.
There are so many reasons why you might be feeling anxious. It could be from various nutritional deficiencies or an extended amount of time dealing with a major stress in life. It could be your brain and they way you think and perceive certain situations. It could be stress about your marriage or even something as simple as travel anxiety before taking a vacation. In fact, it's often more than just 1 cause.
I’m a firm believer in a holistic model of healing, you need to work with the body AND the mind.
Today I offer you just a few suggestions for simple tweaks you can start doing today to help tame your anxiety. These are simple and may even sound too simple to work. You may roll your eyes and thing, yep heard that before, but…have you tried it daily for a few weeks in a row?
Often we try something once, don’t see much improvement and then toss it to the wayside. I urge you please, no matter how simple you think these tips seem, please pledge to yourself that you will try all of them daily for a month.
Nothing out there is a quick fix or a magic bullet. Even medication can take weeks to start kicking in, and then you often have to find the right one.
On that note, let's talk about some natural anxiety help for these situations.
5 Easy Ways to Provide Real Anxiety Support
1. Breathe Correctly
Take a moment right now to pay attention to how you are breathing.
Is it shallow?
What is expanding--is it your chest or your belly?
How often do you take a breath?
One thing that happens when you have anxiety is that you become very constricted. You tense up and this directly affects your breathing.
When you breathe with shallow chest breaths you only exacerbate your stress and anxiety.
Here's where deep belly breathing comes in.
How to Do Belly Breathing
- Breathe in slowly through your nose while expanding your tummy for 5 counts.
- Hold that breath for 5 counts and then slowly release that breath for 8 counts through your mouth.
- Repeat this as many times as you like as long as you don’t feel lightheaded. If you do it’s okay, this will pass with practice.
- Repeat this breath cycle 5-10 times upon waking in the morning and then in the evening before you go to bed.
- Repeat this anytime through the day when you feel stress. Driving in rush hour traffic with hungry kids in the back seat? Do some deep belly breathing!
One great idea is to get outdoors and maybe take a forest bath and do some deep belly breathing while you're at it.
Maybe you’ve heard this remedy before but taking magnesium can be the single best supplement to take for anxiety sufferers.
Magnesium is used up quickly when we are stressed. Magnesium has also been dubbed the “relaxation mineral” and rightly so. It really does work.
Virtually everyone who suffers from anxiety is lacking this mineral. It’s been said that 80% of our population is magnesium deficient. To help yourself relax begin taking this supplement. (source & source)
I highly recommend Natural Calm magnesium supplement. I like that you can mix it in drinks, as it is a powdered form.
It’s a bit fizzy and easy to take and easily assimilated by the body. I like the plain and flavored varieties.
I take 1 heaping teaspoon twice daily which works out to be about 400 mg a day. Dr. Mark Hyman (who is a favorite doctor of mine to follow on this subject) says that most can benefit from 400-1000 mg daily of magnesium.
If you’re more of a pill person then find a good quality supplement at your health food store that’s free of gluten, soy, and fillers. Find one that feels right for you and begin taking it DAILY!
Magnesium glycinate should not result in loose bowels so it can be a good one to try if that's a problem for you.
3. Cut Out Junk Foods
An article published this year in The Lancet, said this, “Evidence is steadily growing for the relation between dietary quality (and potential nutritional deficiencies) and mental health, and for the select use of nutrient-based supplements to address deficiencies, or as monotherapies or augmentation therapies.”
The article talks about how the current “drug model” for treating mental health has only achieved modest benefits and that nutrition is extremely important in any mental health care plan. This is monumental. It’s exciting!
It really can be so much more natural and easier than we think.
Nutrition, FOOD, is medicine. I urge you to begin cutting out junk foods. Start with sugar.
I know, it’s a hard one but low quality food really can exacerbate anxiety and even panic attacks. It sends our blood sugar all out of whack and is void of nutrients.
Eating real whole foods can be one of the best things you can do for your health. Switching to a whole foods diet can be daunting at first but these easy healthy meals like this Gluten-free Chili Mac and easy healthy snacks like this Caramelized Coconut Chips really help.
One GREAT recipe to consider is this copycat "Phat Fudge" Recipe. It's loaded with nutrition and also adaptogens for stress!
4. Think Positively - and Retrain Your Brain
I never actually realized just how many negative, gloomy, worrisome thoughts I had throughout the day until I actually started writing them down at the suggestion of a psychologist. At the time I thought I’m a positive person, I read books on being positive and all that good stuff and I felt I had that all figured out.
Well I was totally wrong!
I filled PAGES the FIRST DAY with negative thoughts, fears and worries. I began to realize, no wonder I feel so crappy with all of this stuff swirling around in my head! Did you know that you think approximately 60,000 thoughts every day?
And about 95% of them are the same thoughts you thought the day before and the day before that? It is IMPERATIVE to take notice of what you are thinking and begin to catch it so you can stop it.
Keep a Thought Journal
Write down the yucky stuff you’re thinking but once you write it down, flip it and write the positive version.
For example, if you write down, “I’m so tired I’m not going to make it through this day,” then write something like, “I have enough strength to do all I need to do today.” You might not feel like it’s true but write it anyways!
Fake it (if you have to) until you become it! Your thoughts can create stress in your body, they sap energy, put you in a bad mood and keep you on this hamster wheel of stress and anxiety.
Get off the wheel and to do that you need to cut yourself off from negative thinking.
This brain work technique is super helpful for many who are dealing with anxiety.
This book is a great place to start, and this program is highly regarded as well.
5. Educate Yourself
Learn all you can about anxiety. Open up your mind to methods of healing (within reason, of course). I found so much comfort in reading books like, “The Ultramind Solution,” by Dr. Mark Hyman, “The Mood Cure,” by Julia Ross and “The Chemistry Of Calm,” Henry Emmons.
Read books about how the mind works, how to heal anxiety, how to think positively, and about nutrition.
When you start educating yourself you become powerful. You begin to take charge and take control of the problem instead of letting it rule you!
It’s incredibly empowering. Only you can get the perfect answers to your healing path.
As you read pay attention to what feels good. At first, everything might sound good and you’ll try a bunch of different things to help yourself.
As time goes you you’ll begin to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Keep learning and keep testing out new things. Keep at it. Don’t give up.
Remember your body was made to heal, your body wants to return to a state of peace and calm and equilibrium. Learn all you can.
More Anxiety Support
Speaking of learning, in recent research, supporting the Gut Brain Axis has been shown to help address mental / nervous issues. The post linked to above has some fascinating exercises that should support that connection.
The supplements mentioned at the end of the post are phenomenal for reducing stress and calming the whole brain / gut connection. (source)
I hope this short list inspired you. Please comment below and tell me what you’ve tried, what you’d like to learn and what your goals are for taming your anxiety. Together we can heal!
Do you suffer from anxiety?
What has helped you?
Hannah Hepworth is a wife and mother dedicated to teaching others how to eat whole foods, cut out sugar, make delicious fermented foods from home and most importantly help women manage their anxiety naturally.
I really like all your tips for keeping on top of anxiety! I have another one to add. It's the 90 second rule. When a strong emotion comes on it takes our body about 90 seconds to flush it out. When we learn to allow the emotions to be what they are and know it will end we can then learn to float through the surge as it happens. We also need to make the choice not to ruminate on the experience or memory after the emotion runs its course. Practicing techniques to remain calm during this rush helps as well. When this happens to me I stop myself and then say, "I notice I'm feeling......." then I do deep breathing and relax my body. I ride out the 90 seconds and also remind myself that I am not in any danger. I have little notes all over with statements that help to ease my mind from the anxiety and I remind myself of truths about the situation. I hope this is helpful for someone.
Great tip - thanks!
Anxiety can happen to anybody for small to big reasons and It's all in your head. Thanks for sharing this valuable experience with us. I love your article. Keep up the great work. For Grandma’s remedies for anxiety problem visit (site deleted by blog owner)
Hello there. Sorry but my blog is not a place to promote your business so I deleted your link to your site and now you are named Anonymous instead of your blog's name. Thanks for reading.
I would like to suggest the book " A Mind of Your Own", by Dr. Kelly Brogan. Really helps you heal your mental state with getting to the root causes of your anxiety, depression, or bipolar. Highly recommend.
Thanks. I have enjoyed her content over the years.
How do I get this
Here is a link to it (this is an affiliate link):
Thanks for the article on anxiety. I am going to use the deep breathing for sure. I wanted to share an all natural product called Securus. I wanted to find something to help me in high anxiety situations until I get control of my anxiety. It is clinical proven 15 years. I thought it may help your viewers.
I have lived my life without facing things and didn't know the effects it would have with the horrible anxiety.
I always keep busy, busy, busy to get through what I had to. Now with my kids in college and I am a empty nester I have a lot of time to worry, which promotes anxiety. I have read so much about trying to figure out what I need to heal myself, because my doctor just wants me to take Lexapro. God is my strength in my journey. Hannah when you sent the download it was blank so could you sent it again?
You are welcome. I have forwarded this on to Hannah so hopefully she will respond. Take care.
I really love this article. I have dealt with anxiety most of my life. I have family who have and are suffering from anxiety. Breathing correctly is my #1 thing to do. But another thing is if I am at work or doing something that is really causing me anxiety I think of my "happy thoughts". I got it from the movie "Hook". I go to my favorite places or thoughts in my mind. I think one of the best suggestions that I will be trying is writing down my negative thoughts. Negativity is so powerful as is being positive. I tend to have more anxiety the more negative I am about things. Thanks for the great article.
Thank you! Great suggestions. Really. Thanks for sharing!
The breathing technique has really helped me, it helped me cope with an attack during severe kidneystone pain. I was actually surprised by the effect. I've also learnt to "let the anxiety play out", not trying to force it away. Exercise can be brutal when you're experiencing anxiety, but it helps for me.
Glad it's helped you. Do you do moderate exercise or intense?v
Moderate. I think the most important thing is to actually do SOMETHING physical, and do it regularly. I'm generally happier when I've been active.
I think you are right. Doing T Tapp now and weights sometimes. I hope to add walking.
Thank you for your article. I have learned that the body has difficulty digesting and processing Magnesium. I have been using Magnesium lotion at night and have notice quite a difference and it has helped reduce my migraines.
Can you share more info about the difficulty w/ Mg, please? I remember reading it but my practitioner has recommended it. How wonderful about your migraines. I make an Mg oil but I have been negligent in using it on myself, but the others in the family have used it. Thanks!
As you may know the bottom of the feet are key to absorption; therefore a good way to obtain enough Mg when it is near impossible to do so with diet. The same applies to use of essential oils.....bottom of feet, back of neck, and wrist. He is the link to a good book about Mg and how it assists with the reduction of many ailments: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/034549458X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=034549458X&linkCode=as2&tag=houoftherisso-20&linkId=X46PIYEBTQGKVYYH Hope this helps....
I never understood why the bottom of feet are key. Do you know why? I had that book in my cart awhile ago - is it a keeper or one that getting at the library is sufficient? Thank you - very helpful!
Absorption also occurs through the hair follicles and sweat ducts. Both the rate of circulation and the warmth of the skin increase blood flow to the surface, therefore increasing the skin’s ability to absorb the oil. Circulation and warmth can be increased by massage. The permeability of the skin is a factor. Thinner skin ie: skin behind the ears and the inside of the wrists are very permeable. The palms of the hands and feet, armpits and scalp will more readily absorb oil molecules than the arms, legs, belly, back etc.
I have heard that the claim of oils entering the body faster through the palms and soles of feel is not accurate. Do you have a reliable source for this information?
Hannah ~ You are so right about our thoughts. I did Dr. Caroline Leaf's Brain Detox program, which really helped me.
Thanks for the tips on breathing-- will add that to my regimen! At the 35th week of pregnancy with baby #3, and once again struggling with early contractions-- talk about stressful! Getting my mind off them and thinking about something very engaging is helpful (sermons or lectures online, reading, etc.) Sometimes taking a warm bath or shower eases tension and helps me relax as well (that helped me through a panic attack once. I tend to start "shaking", but a bath calms that down.) Try another form of magnesium if your gut won't let you take much Natural Calm-- Magnesium Oil spray an Epsom Salts are two other methods of packing in the Mg. One other thing that helps me I learned from a lecture by Nancy Wilson: when negative irrational worries pop into your head, such as "What if ______ happens?", counter it with "But what if it DOESN'T?" Most of what worries us and causes us anxiety will never take place; don't give it a foothold in your mind! Choose to focus on the positive (even if you have to make that choice over and over again!). Hope that helps anyone else out there!
Oh Rachel, the mind is HUGE in all of this, I definitely agree! I love epsom salts in a bath, or just soaking your feet in some warm water and epsom salt. Good tips thank you for your suggestions! Good luck with your baby:)
I am a great believer in homeopathy. I have found Anx by Liddell Laboratories to be quite helpful. It is useful for anxiety & tension. The best price is at Lucky Vitamin.com. They are an awesome company & it is hard to beat their prices in most every thing!!
How interesting - 2 people sharing about homeopathy. I have had customer service issues w/ Lucky Vitamin. I hope to try them again soon, but it was quite discouraging. Glad you are having a good experience!
Interesting this product includes ignatia as mentioned above. I have heard Ignatia is a common remedy for anxiety. Homeopathy is so fascinating to me, definitely something I would love to study! A great website for more info on homeopathy is joettecalabrese.com she has so much info on her site. Thanks for the suggestion, I want to try it out now!
I love Joette's site! Our family has utilized several of her homeopathic protocols with very good results.
Have you ever taken one of her courses? Or do you just like her site in general?
I haven't taken any courses but I really want to take her Good Gut Bad Gut course because I know she covers anxiety, panic and fears in it and tells you about all the Banerji Protocols. It's about 500$ so hopefully I can take it in the near future:)
Whoa!! That's a LOT!!!
I haven't taken any of her courses yet either but hope to in the near future. They are pretty pricey but she encourages people to get a group together and share the cost as well as the course. There is an awful lot of free information on her site with exact protocols with potency and dosage information listed.
Oh interesting. Now I just need more time!!! Is it all online? So could online friends share the cost?
Yes Adrienne, I think anyone who wants to pitch in together can, the course is online.
As Hannah said it is all online with printable handouts. I haven't taken any of the courses yet so I don't know exactly how it works if you pitch in as a group. I don't know if all will be able to access the information from individual computers or if it's only accessible from one IP address. All I know is that Joette has suggested the group purchase to help with the cost. You could contact her staff and get the details. I've corresponded with them on another issue and they have been very friendly.
Nice - thanks!!
This website has helped me to become objective to all the negative thoughts and how to cope with the stress.....I have found perfect peace with no effort on my part...I do it 3 times a day...website deleted by blog owner.
Hi Rita. Thanks for commenting. I am sorry but I deleted the referenced site due to bad reviews about it and some spammy behavior that I didn't want my readers to be subjected to. Thanks in advance for your understanding.
I have had good results using homeopathic Ignatia amara.
Glad it has helped you.
That's good to hear! Homeopathy cured my life long eczema. Hyland brand Nerve Tonic has been helpful for me as well.
Wow - really? Did you see a classical homeopathist or did you self treat?
I saw an osteopathic doctor that specialized in homeopathy. He was classically trained. The second remedy cured me!
I just find that to be unbelievable. I know it has historic merit but I can not really wrap my mind around it--but I am open. That's wonderful!
I ALMOST bought that at Whole Foods today. I bought another brand instead. We'll see how it is. I really like essential oils also. I'm particularly fond of citrus scents and a couple of Young Living blends, especially Inner Child. I'm not a fan of lavender, so I've been looking for other scents that I can tolerate.
The breathing helps me and DEFINITELY the thoughts. I've been working through some anxiety-reducing lessons by someone, don't even know her name and it's not easy to find! Anyway, I am finding it really helpful. It started with a quiz. She gives you a chance to try it out for a week before paying anything. http://www.recoveryformula.com/quiz/start#
I also use magnesium oil and I eat a 72% cacao Trader Joe's chocolate bar almost every day.
Hi Nikki. Could the chocolate be adding to your anxiety b/c of the stimulants? Caffeine and theobromine? I had to get off cocoa for a long time until I felt more stable.
Hannah ~ That is both interesting and wonderful to hear! I used a homeopathic remedy to rid my gut of what I believe was SIBO. I love homeopathy and believe that it is a great addition to any health regimen.
The thing that was totally missed is that the COMT and MAO gene mutations are HUGE causes of anxiety (as are some MTHFR genes). I would say except for the true cases of PTSD and trauma in one's life, all cases are related to that genetic mutation.
THAT is what should be discussed. Explain how to check for it, and explain that these mutations make it so that the neurotransmitters are very imbalanced, causing severe anxiety for no reason at all. So, that is what I recommend you add to this post. Then, people can start searching for answers!! 🙂
So you are saying that all cases of anxiety except for PTSD and trauma are caused by COMT and MAO gene mutations?
Actually, I have something that I just have to add. My cause of anxiety this evening (and the past few weeks) are AT&T and Comcast. Seriously.
LOL! I feel your pain...
Terrible, huh? I should be able to get compensation. And it's still not totally fixed!!
Yes Rebecca, that is something that has been talked more and more about lately and is definitely something to look in to. I'm no expert on the subject and this post was just a basic starting point of simple ways to take control of anxiety. I honestly believe that the biggest key in anxiety is our mind and how we perceive situations. But that is a really hard thing for most people to grasp because they want a tangible answer. I did too. I've tried every diet, every supplement and so many things and I feel a lot of it comes down to these basics:)
Maybe Adrienne could get an expert on the subject to write an article sometime. I would be interested in learning more about it.
I would love to do that. Actually, my son is working w/ a practitioner who knows a lot about genetic issues and methylation. I could talk to him.