Ten Simple Anxiety Cures
There are so many wonderful herbal remedies, Bach Flower Remedies, reflexology points, and meditation techniques that can help people with anxiety. There are also many free techniques one can integrate into their daily life, use “on the fly”, that are free and that are available wherever they are. The following is a list of my favorite ten:
- Eat a salad or a vegetable. Certain foods will cool you down (which decreases anxiety) and some foods will heat you up. Cucumber and tomato salads are so cooling and are one of my favorite ways to “feel calm” again.
- Avoid caffeine and sugar. Caffeine and sugar are two of the most commonly consumed “hot” foods in the modern diet. Hot foods can cause the physical anxiety levels in the body to increase, which, in turn, causes the mind to search for emotional reasons for this anxiety.
- Massage the thumb and inner palm. The thumb and inner palm are simple reflexology points that anyone can press on themselves. These points help relieve stress. Massage each hand for 5-7 minutes.
- Drink thyme, chamomile or spearmint tea. These are my favorites because they are gentle, won’t make you drowsy and most people have them in their kitchen. You can also use herbs like passionflower, hops, lemon balm, fennel, skullcap, linden flower, St. John’s Wort and Valerian Root. All have specific forms of anxiety they assist with and some will make you drowsy so be sure to research your choice of herb before using it.
- Try Rescue Remedy or other Back Flower Remedies. Mimulus is for anxieties that you can easily identify like being scared of spiders, of dying or of not being able to pay the bills. Aspen is for fear of the unknown. Red Chestnut is for fear that something will happen to someone you love. Rock Rose is for sudden fear and anxiety attacks that seem to come from a physical place. Cherry Plum is for fear you may lose control. Elm is if you feel overwhelmed with too much to do and White Chestnut is for someone who has repeated unwanted thoughts of worry and anxiety.
- Stretch. We carry a lot of tension in our muscles that we don’t realize we are carrying there. Relieving that tension can relieve feelings of panic, stress and anxiety and it only takes five minutes. Bend to touch your toes by gently stretching. Do this five times. Then stretch your arms over your head gently five times. Then stretch your arms behind your back gently five times. Rotate your neck slowly around five times. Put your hands on your waist and bend back and forth five times.
- Take a Time Out. If what you are doing at this moment is stressing you then stop, walk around the house or the block and then come back to it. This seems simple but can have profound results. I find these results are especially powerful when I go outdoors and simply lie in the grass for about five minutes. There is something about being close to the earth that is so calming. Well, as long as there aren’t any snowflakes or “jiggers” on the ground…
- Cover your eyes and ears. Sometimes the world is just an overwhelming place but you might not have time (or a place) for a nap or extra sleep. Take five minutes. Put in earplugs to block out sound (easily obtained at stores in the pharmacy aisle for about $1.25 and close your eyes and cover them with your palms. Lay back on a couch or in a chair while you are doing this. Covering your eyes with your palms is important because even when your lids are shut, light still comes in.
- Say “No”. A lot of stress happens because we have take on too much. Cross something off your to do list today, cancel an appointment, or call someone and say “sorry, I can’t do (fill in the blank) to help you on Friday”. You will be shocked at how instant this cure is. It is both empowering and relieving at the same time.
- Sniff a Scent. This is another simple tip that has surprising results. It always amazes me how quickly this works. There are two ways to use this tip. You can find a scent that relaxes you based on a memory. Scent is proven to be the best way to evoke memories so this is very effective. Choose a calm time in your life, relate it to a scent and then use that scent to evoke calm in yourself anywhere and any time. You can also create your own personal “calming scent” by having a scent around when you are feeling calm and thus creating this relationship between the scent and yourself. For me it is the scent of rose. I always felt at peace when visiting my great grandmother and she always had rose soap in her home. To this day rose is calming to me. The second way to use scent as a relaxation technique is to use traditional essential oils that are known to have an anti-anxiety effect on people. Rose is one of those (so it is double powerful for me). Other anti-anxiety oils you can use are: bergamot, chamomile roman, lavender, geranium, marjoram, sandalwood, valerian, jasmine, lemon balm and tangerine. However, when choosing what oil to use don’t forget the “memory factor”. Sandalwood actually causes me anxiety because in my memory it is related to a relative that caused me stress. To use these oils put a drop on a cotton ball and inhale the scent, put a few drops in a spray bottle and spray the scent around you or add a few drops to a teaspoon of massage oil and rub it into your temples.