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10 Easy & All-Natural Ways to Tackle Anxiety

Natural, scientifically proven ways you can address anxiety and feel better fast.

Perhaps you procrastinate when it comes to finishing a project and feel yourself getting anxious as the deadline approaches, or you start biting your nails before your little one heads off for her first day of school. Anxiety is a completely normal, and sometimes even beneficial, reaction to stress. That said, it can also be challenging to cope with and negatively affect your day-to-day routine. If that’s the case, take heart: You’re not alone. When compared with men, women are 60 percent more likely to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime, according to the National Institutes of Health. The good news is that there are many research-proven ways to ease anxiety. Here, 10 strategies to try. (Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying a new supplement.)

1. Sip a soothing tea.

Any tea that isn’t caffeinated may be calming, but chamomile in particular has been shown to ease anxiety. Research done at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia found that patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxietysymptoms compared with patients taking placebo.

2. Take L-theanine.

If you want to feel more relaxed and alert, you may want to try boosting stores of the amino acid L-theanine, which is found in green tea. In research published in the Journal of Functional Foods, anxiety-prone subjects became calmer and more focused during a test if they took 200 milligrams of L-theanine beforehand.

3. Get moving.

Although it sounds counterintuitive at first, exercise -- which does prompt the creation of new and excitable brain cells -- can actually squelch anxiety. A recent study published in The Journal of Neuroscience found that being physically active over the long term appeared to blunt anxiety in response to a stressful situation. That study was done with mice, but the positive effects of exercise on reducing stress and anxiety continue to be shown through science time and again!

4. Consider valerian.

Perfect for addressing anxiety at bedtime more than any other time -- because it will definitely make you doze off! -- this herbal supplement has actually been approved by the German government as a sleep aid.

5. Sniff lavender.

A tried-and-true staple in aromatherapy, the scent of lavender is research-proven to soothe. In a study published in the journalHolistic Nurse Practice, nursing students who inhaled lavender oil scent before an exam experienced less anxiety. (Though, it bears noting that some claimed it made their thinking a bit “fuzzy,” so perhaps not the best solution if you’re striving for calm and perfect clarity.)

More from Reward Me: Can't Relax? Read about 5 ways to relieve stress effectively.


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6. Lean on passionflower.

Like valerian, this herb has sedative powers, albeit milder. The German government has approved it for nervous restlessness, and research shows that it can reduce symptoms of anxiety as effectively as prescription drugs.

7. Breathe deep.

Focusing on your breath is always a great way to center yourself and relax, but Andrew Weil, MD, ND, recommends a particular exercise called the “4-7-8 Breath,” which serves as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. To do it, exhale completely through your mouth, making a “whoosh” sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. That’s one cycle. You’ll want to inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four rounds for the best effect.

8. Eat a satiating snack.

Experiencing anxiety could be an indication of low blood sugar. For this reason, you might want to reach for a protein- and fiber-packed food, like nuts. Try 1 ounce of almonds. They’re rich in magnesium, which has been proven to have a calming effect on the nervous system.

9. Allow yourself to worry … a little.

Giving yourself the freedom to spin your wheels might actually help alleviate anxiety. Commit to thinking about a particular worry for 10 to 20 minutes. Once you reach your max, distract yourself by socializing with a friend or doing something you enjoy (like taking a walk with the kids or reading a book). Then, whenever the thought pops up again, say, ‘Stop! I already worried,’ and divert your thoughts to something else.

10. Get warm and cozy.

Snuggling up in a blanket, lying in the sun, working up a sweat, or stepping into a sauna could all reduce anxiety. That’s because, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the sensation you get from being warm may alter neural circuits that control mood, including those that affect the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin.

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