Generalized anxiety disorder is a debilitating condition that affects nearly 7 million adults in the U.S., according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. People who suffer from anxiety find themselves in a constant state of worry over day-to-day activities and duties, which can make it difficult to even make it through the day, depending on the severity of the condition.
While many of the people who experience anxiety prefer to treat it medically, there are several natural ways to reduce stress and boost your mood. If you often find yourself anxious or stressed, take a look at these three ways you can ease your feelings naturally:
1. Get a massage
If you’re interested in enrolling in massage therapy training, you’re likely aware that massage provides varied health benefits. It can relieve overall aches and pains, help heal injuries and boost the immune system. Plus, on top of all of its physical health benefits, massage is also a well-known way to treat anxiety and depression. Research has shown massage, especially when done regularly, to be one of the most effective ways to boost people’s moods.
Massage actually has a chemical affect on the body: It can reduce cortisol (often called the body’s stress hormone) and increase the body’s production of serotonin and dopamine. Both serotonin and dopamine are known for regulating moods and increasing feelings of well-being. On top of the chemical changes massage provides, it’s also simply a great way to take a break from life and relax your mind and body, which can help reduce mental and physical tension.
2. Eat healthy
Research has shown that eating a nutritious diet is another way to naturally reduce anxiety. A healthy diet that consists of natural, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains can greatly affect a person’s mood and overall well-being. People with anxiety should incorporate foods high in tryptophan into their diet because the body uses it to create serotonin. Foods with tryptophan include nuts, seeds, oats and some dairy products like cheese and milk.
There are also several herbs that are known for reducing a person’s stress and anxiety. Chamomile, valerian and lavender are all known for having calming effects on the mind and body. People with anxiety should consider avoiding or limiting their intake of caffeine and alcohol, both of which can have negative effects on a person’s mood.
One of the best natural anxiety remedies is regular exercise. Exercise is known for releasing endorphins, which are known for creating happy and even euphoric feelings after physical activity. Like with massage, exercise can also reduce the body’s levels of cortisol. While working out regularly is the best way to reduce tension and stress in the mind and body, many people feel calming affects immediately after exercising for the first time, due to its chemical changes on the body.
Chemical changes aren’t the only reason to exercise for anxiety relief: It can also help with self-esteem, improve overall health and have a positive affect on a person’s sleep patterns, which is important for a healthy body and mind.