1. Probiotics. Probiotics. Probiotics. If you aren’t taking one. Start! Gut bacteria has a powerful influence on anxiety and emotional health. More than 80% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut. The important thing to remember is to only purchase a high quality probiotic, preferably from a medical provider. Not all probiotics are created equally.
2. Meditation. I know, it’s trendy, all over social media, and you’ve heard it a million times. “But it’s boring! And I barely have time to pee, how do I fit in meditating?” Until you start meditating every day, you can’t comprehend the powerful physical and emotional effects it produces. Consistency is key when it comes to meditation. Meditate every day for 10 minutes. After one month (probably less) you’ll feel a significant difference, you’ll experience decreasing episodes of anxiety. And after one month (probably less), it no longer seems boring and actually becomes an essential respite.
3. Acupuncture. Medical research clearly demonstrates that acupuncture has a dramatic impact on emotional health. It can be a godsend for people with severe anxiety. If you are suffering, try it. The effects are amazing and it certainly can’t hurt. If you have anxiety about needles (like me!), find a therapist you are comfortable with, and have someone go with you to hold your hand (I made my mom come, not even kidding).
4. EFT. The emotional freedom technique was developed by a modern psychologist and functions under the same principles as Chinese Acupressure. It’s easy to learn, you can do it anywhere and best of all its free! My 8-year old uses this technique frequently.
5. Essential Oils. Lavender, Chamomile are my go to soothers but there are quite a few different essential oils that have an anti-anxiety effect.
6. Exercise. Especially Yoga. Yoga grounds, centers, and calms both the mind and body. But any exercise is extremely beneficial. Before my injury, I was an avid runner. Running had a profound effect on my emotional health. Research has repeatedly linked increased exercise to decreased anxiety.
7. Chanting. OK, I don’t mean to go all new-age, hippie on you. But there is some science supporting the benefits of chanting. The act of chanting, causes your tongue to stimulate meridian points on the roof of your mouth which has a physical effect. Meridian points are the energy channels accessed during acupuncture/acupressure. My personal experience with Kundalini Yoga illustrated that chanting does calm the mind.
8. Nutrition. Ditch the sugar and processed flours. It shoots your blood sugar up and then you crash. This roller coaster wreaks havoc on your hormones, falsely calming you and then shooting up your anxiety. Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives do even worse damage. Studies have shown a direct connection to ADHD, ADD, hyperactivity, and anxiety. (Not to mention consuming sugar, processed flours, artificial colors & flavors increase your risk for many diseases.) Stay away from processed foods. Switch to whole grains. Sweeten with honey, agave or turbinado sugar.
9. Caffeine. Quit drinking coffee. For many people this is the most difficult option on the list. Caffeine is truly an addiction. You may not want to admit it but deep down you probably already know the connection caffeine has to your anxiety. Once you stop drinking coffee, you’ll wonder why you ever drank it at all. Switch to green tea. It will give you a delicate boost of caffeine and loads of antioxidants as well.
Anxiety impacts every area of life. Please speak with your medical provider, even if you choose to address your anxiety naturally before trying pharmaceuticals, you should do it with guidance. I hope you find solace and emotional health.
by Jessie Gill