If you or the person you care for are showing symptoms of anxiety, consider these simple lifestyle changes that can help.
- Try to drink chamomile tea when you’re feeling anxious.
Chamomile contains two chemicals that promote relaxation, apigenin and luteolin. A study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center found that patients with generalized anxiety disorder who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to patients who were given a placebo.
One study found that people who received a massage with lavender oil were more upbeat and had less anxiety than people who had a lavender-free massage. Another found lavender massage can even lower systolic pressure (the top blood pressure number) that’s associated with stress. Try putting a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow or in your bath, or add a few drops to a cup of boiling water and inhale for a quick calm-me-down. You can even dab a few drops right on your skin—it’s one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly.
- Try to get outside in natural sunlight for 15 minutes a day.
This is the best way to naturally increase your vitamin-D levels, which can decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. A short 15 minute break will not only take your mind of stress, but also let you reap the benefits of outdoor activity. One Japanese study found that people who walked through a forest for 20 minutes had lower stress hormone levels after their walk than those who took a comparable walk in an urban area. If you’re stuck in an urban area, look for parks or quiet tree-lined streets to take a stroll.
- Take a hot bath with Epsom salts.
A soothing hot bath is always calming, and raising your body heat may help regulate mood and anxiety. For added benefits, stir in some Epsom salts. The magnesium sulfate in the salts has been shown to calm anxiety and lower blood pressure. You can also try adding lavender or vanilla essential oils to your bathwater, to reap the benefits of these calming scents.
- Eat these foods to help provide anxiety relief:
- Blueberries and peaches contain nutrients that relieve stress.
- Whole grains are rich in magnesium and tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts to serotonin which is known to calm and improve your mood.
- Oats also increase serotonin production and are high in fiber, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes that affect mood.
- Avocados, eggs, milk, and meat are all packed with B vitamins that help prevent anxiety.
- Foods that help regulate and lower the stress hormone cortisol include foods rich in vitamin C, like oranges, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium rich foods like spinach and other dark leafy greens.
- Indulge every once in a while in dark chocolate, which also helps lower cortisol.