Natural Remedies for Stress & Anxiety Relief
One of the first articles I wrote for this blog was on science-backed natural remedies for anxiety and it actually turned out to be one of my most popular pieces of content.
Well, that was over a year ago and a lot has changed!
Since then, I have discovered even more natural remedies for stress & anxiety relief and they have been helping me tremendously with my mental health.
So, I thought I’d share these new tips with you in the hope that they help you too!
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1. Breath Work for Stress & Anxiety Relief
Breath work helps us to calm our anxiety on a physiological level.
When we have anxiety or we're stressed out about something, our breath becomes shallower and more rapid.
Slowing your heart rate down sends a message to your brain that everything is ok.
And if you can just concentrate on your breath, you can quiet your mind and bring your awareness to the present (which prevents you from ruminating or catastrophizing).
The best part about this natural remedy for anxiety is that you practice it anywhere and you don't need any special equipment or skills to do it!
Here's a great TED Talk on the power of breathing and how it helps us to heal:
Below is a video showing a tactical combat breathing exercise that the U.S. Navy uses to help them calm down in high-stress situations.
If you haven't already, give it a try. It always provides me with much needed anxiety relief and also helps me to calm down whenever I am feeling angry or frustrated.
Here is a guided mediation for diaphragmatic breathing, which is deep breathing during which the stomach (and not the chest) rises and falls with the breath.
This video is so relaxing. It's such a beautiful, peaceful scene on the water and the instructor does a wonderful job of giving us a guided meditation for letting go of pain or anxiety.
2. Anti-Anxiety Diet/ Cooking & Baking
What you eat (or don't eat) has a huge impact on not only your physical health but also your mental health.
Maintaining an anti-anxiety diet helps keep our hormones in check and encourages positive communication between the brain and gut.
I also find the actual cooking and baking of the food to be therapeutic.
Being mindful while focusing on cutting, seasoning and measuring helps me to keep my mind off negative things.
There are some foods that bring anxiety relief and other foods that make anxiety worse. Eating more of the good foods (oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, nuts) and less of the bad (processed food, sugar, soda) can have a significant effect on not only your physical but also your mental health.
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3. Crochet for Anxiety Relief
I received a crochet hook and some yarn for Christmas and I've been crocheting ever since!
Unlike some of the other natural remedies for stress and anxiety that help to take your mind off things, I find that crocheting helps me to think things through and find clarity.
Here's a pic of the two scarves I've made so far in half-double crochet stitch:
And the single stitch crochet cover I made for Theodoro (my cat, AKA Thodi) - he loves it!
But, I'm not gonna lie - it's pretty difficult to get the hang of at first!
So, if you're interested, here are the videos on crocheting for beginners that I used to get started.
The first one from Bella Coco is actually the first video in a 5-part series on all the different beginner crochet stitches.
*(For the scarves, I used a size 9 Clover Amour crochet hook and Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in colors Glacier, Barley & Carousel and Butterscotch, Fisherman & Black).
4. Reduce Stress & Anxiety with Watercolor
Watercoloring is another hobby I recently picked up and it has really become one of my go-to's for stress and anxiety relief!
I just love working with all the colors and trying to master different techniques - like the loose flowers and leaves in these videos:
5. Soothe Anxiety with Classical Music
Music has been proven to soothe anxiety and even reduce pain.
Try listening to soothing music while you do another anxiety-reducing activity like coloring, watercoloring, bathing, cooking, crocheting, yoga, meditating, etc.
Classical music is particularly effective for anxiety relief - here are some pieces I like:
6. Meditate to Heal Underlying Trauma
There are often underlying issues that need to be addressed when it comes to anxiety.
We may be aware of some of our emotional scars and some may be unconsciously stored in the body.
Meditation (and yoga) can heal these past traumas so that we can freely and peacefully move forward on our spiritual journey.
It's important to note that there are other ways to meditate- try going for a walk, being mindful while you clean or do the dishes, or meditating while practicing yoga. Sitting still while meditating doesn't work for everyone or in all circumstances!
7. Yoga for Anxiety- Yin & HIIT
I love this yoga video by Sanela!
It incorporates some of the best yoga poses for anxiety relief - cobra, child's pose, and cat & cow.
It also provides an excellent opportunity for pranayama (deep, controlled breathing during yoga) so if you're looking for a relaxing yoga flow, this one's for you!
Here's another "slow" yoga video for anxiety relief. After a long, stressful day, you're less than 20 minutes away from feeling calmer and more relaxed with this feel good yoga video by Julia.
But, sometimes yin yoga just won't cut it and you gotta let out all that pent up anxiety!
So, when you're in the mood to burn some cortisol, try this HIIT power yoga video by Julia. It will help to melt away the calories and the stress.
Over to you ... what anxiety relief technique works best for you? Tell me in the comments!
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