Friday, September 7, 2012

Natural Remedies to Relieve Stress and Anxiety


It seems there is always something new that causes us more stress and anxiety. You can try these natural remedies to relieve your stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety can be very damaging to our mental and physical health and in today’s world there are all kinds of reasons for stress and anxiety.

In ancient times, when people were under stress it was either fight or flight. Our bodies are made up to change physically and mentally when under stress that causes us to think of fight or flight. Except in today’s world we usually cannot fight or flight, so we sit still while under stress which causes even more stress to build up. If that anxiety and stress continues for too long without resolve, you can actually have a nervous breakdown.

Stress can actually cause us to gain weight. It is now known that stress causes belly fat to accumulate. Stress causes our blood pressure to rise; neither of these health conditions are good for our health. It is important we find ways other than fight or flight to relieve stress, here are some natural remedies to relieve stress.

Exercise as a Natural Remedy to Relive Stress and Anxiety

Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress, as long as exercise is okay with your doctor.

  • Going for a fast 30 minute walk can really relieve tension, anxiety and stress.
  • Riding an exercise bike for 10 minutes or longer is great.
  • Join an aerobics class and work up a sweat
  • Yoga is great to relieve stress
  • Tai chi, an ancient exercise is slow and very calming, it has been called moving meditation and can be done by anyone of any age.
  • Get a punching bag, a great natural remedy to relive stress and anxiety.

For more specific stress relieving exercises read Ways of coping with stress

Limit Caffeine

Too much caffeine like coffee, pop, energy drinks and some teas can increase your stress level. It is odd, but many people actually drink more coffee when under pressure or stress which of course leads to more anxiety and stress.

If you were to eliminate caffeine from your daily diet, you would be surprised at how calm you will feel during the day, all day, even during stressful times. Many think they just cannot do without that morning, afternoon and evening cup of coffee.

Start by limiting yourself to a couple of cups in the morning only and no more for the rest of the day. And then try to quit drinking coffee and all other drinks that have caffeine in them.

Lavender for Stress and Anxiety Relief

The essential oil of lavender has been used for centuries for healing purposes. One of these health reasons is for its calming effects during times of stress and anxiety.

You can take a hot bath with the lavender oil added to the water, you can put a few drops of the lavender oil on your pillow which will help you sleep, have a lavender potpourri in your home and you can have a massage with it.

Bach Rescue Remedy

As with all natural remedies, they can work wonders for some people and not work at all for others. Rescue Remedy made by Bach Flower Remedies is one I have tried myself during times of anxiety and high stress and it actually did have a calming effect on me.

I tried the spray version and you just spray twice on your tongue and it could relieve your stress and calm you. You can find this natural remedy in your health food stores.

Eat a Light Diet

A simple natural remedy is to change your diet. Eating meals that are high in fat and or fried foods can cause the blood pressure to rise and increase stress during stressful times. Eating a lighter diet will help your digestion, keep your blood pressure from rising and possibly help you feel less stress.

A lighter diet means eating less and lighter foods like more vegetables and legumes in place of a large serving of meat or fried foods.

Meditation and Breathing

Learn to meditate. It is not hard to learn and with practice, meditation is a great way to relieve stress. Learning deep breathing techniques can also relieve stress.

Vitamin B Complex Relieves Stress

A good multivitamin that has plenty of the B vitamins or just a B complex vitamin every day is very good for the nerves and can relieve stress and anxiety. If your diet is lacking in some or all of the B vitamins, that could be one reason you have so much anxiety or stress.

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy can really help reduce negative thinking which turns into worrisome thoughts which almost always causes undue stress. There are three types of talk therapy; cognitive, behavioral and interpersonal. To relieve stress, cognitive therapy should be the best. Talking with a trained professional can show you how to stop the negative thoughts and relive the stress. You can talk more freely with a talk therapist than you might with a friend or relative and it is much better than talking to yourself.

Valerian as a Natural Remedy to Relieve Stress

Valerian has been used for centuries to help with insomnia and relieve stress and anxiety. Germany’s E Commission has approved valerian as an effective sedative. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has categorized valerian as GRAS (generally regarded as safe).

Valerian is a plant and the root of this plant is what is used for the natural remedy. You can buy valerian in the form of a tincture, as a tea or in a powdered form in capsules. You can make your own tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried valerian root and let that steep for 5 – 10 minutes. You can also buy commercially prepared valerian root tea bags at your local health food store.

In some people valerian actually has the opposite effect, causing more anxiety and restless, so be aware of this. Something else to be aware of, valerian does not smell very good, it doesn’t taste bad though.

There are possible drug interactions with valerian and you should not take valerian if you:

  • Tricyclic depressants like Elavil
  • Do not take valerian if you have had alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Xanax or Valium
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Any drug that is for insomnia like Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta or Rozerem
  • Antihistamines
  • Statin or other blood pressure lowering medicines
  • Possibly some antifungal drugs

To be safe, you should ask your doctor about taking valerian if you are on any medications.


Stress and anxiety are becoming so common today that some might take it as a normal way to live, but you don’t have to. There are numerous natural remedies to relieve stress and anxiety and these remedies should be tried before turning to medications.

Copyright Sam Montana October 2, 2010


Valerian - University of Maryland Medical Center

Article photo by Maga-Chan

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