Anxiety strikes us all from time to time, but for some of us, it can be a regular unwelcome visitor. You may find yourself getting anxious over little things that normally do not bother people or more commonly, you just feel anxious for no particular reason; regardless, it can really impact quality of life and over the long-term, your health. If your medications are falling short or you hope to handle the problem without turning to pharmaceutical means, there are numerous strategies that you can try; just remember with natural treatments, you need to be patient and diligent as they can take time to produce noticeable effects.
While diet has been firmly established as a means of treating many physical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, the role of nutrition in addressing issues of the mental realm have not been conclusively established; this does not mean, however, that it has no role. When it comes to addressing anxiety, following certain dietary strategies may help promote more optimal mental health. Eat a protein-rich breakfast to promote optimal energy levels—when your body feels good, your mind will too. When it comes to carbohydrates, pass on sugary treats and refined foods and opt for complex carbs such as whole grains—they boost production of serotonin, a brain chemical that produces feelings of calmness. Alcohol may make you feel calm initially, but as it works through your body, it can make you feel a bit on edge as can caffeine.
You might also want to experiment with eliminating common allergens from your diet to see if they have any effect; food sensitivities and allergies may promote imbalances in physical and mental health and if you happen to have such problems, this may make a difference in your anxiety levels. The most common allergens include eggs, wheat, dairy, soy, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. You might consider consulting with a health care practitioner experienced with nutritional therapy for guidance.
Acupuncture has been used in Eastern traditions for thousands of years and Western research is beginning to confirm its efficacy for treating a number of issues from chemotherapy-induced nausea to insomnia. It is based on the tenets that blockages of the life force in particular areas of the body manifest as mental and physical illnesses—acupuncture works to unblock and restore the balance. Research has found that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for coping with anxiety, particularly when it is combined with traditional psychotherapy. Studies suggest its benefits may last up to a year after treatments cease. Acupuncturists are well versed in traditional Chinese medicine in general and they can often offer other strategies to help cope with anxiety and increase the efficacy of treatments, such as breathing exercises, diet tips and herbal supplements.
Like drugs, natural supplements can effect changes in the body; there are several herbs that have been used traditionally to relieve anxiety and promote overall mental well-being. You do not need to take all of them to achieve benefit and you may consider consulting with a health care professional well-versed in natural medicine. Valerian, typically used to treat insomnia, is sometimes used to treat anxiety as well, though evidence for this use is not as strong. Passionflower may work as well as the class of drugs most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety. Other treatments that may work include kratom, ginger, chamomile and licorice.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness content; she especially enjoys sharing tips on how to incorporate natural strategies into managing your health. If you are interested in natural supplements for managing your health.