Nourish - 10 Tips for Overcoming Anxiety Naturally
We’ve all experienced anxiety at some point in our lives. Whether it’s speaking in front of a large group of people, performing on stage or heading into an interview for our dream job.
The real trouble comes when these feelings of anxiety become too much and even overwhelm us. These feelings can have debilitating effects on our day to day lives, as well as leaving us feeling like we’re not good enough, or worthy enough.
There are several tools we can use to support us when we are moving through difficult and uneasy feelings, and within this blog post, I will share with you my 10 tips for overcoming anxiety naturally.
No. 1 – Exercise
Move your body every single day! Exercise increases feel-good hormones like serotonin. Plus it increases blood flow, moving stagnant energy around and out of the body, boosting your natural energy and banishing anxiety. Running, swimming, hiking, bouldering, yoga, pilates, tennis, long coastal walks. Whatever is your jam, do it, and do it every day.
No. 2 – Connect With Nature
Many of us spend our time being constantly ON. Give yourself time to unplug from technology and your to-do lists, and restore yourself with good ole mother nature. Connecting to nature helps ease away that stress and tension created in your body and your mind, and helps melt away any anxious feelings. Actively taking the time to go outside and connect to nature by:
- walking barefoot in the grass or sand
- spending time in the garden
- have a stroll by the sea
- wander in the park or in the forest
- or simply go outside wherever you are and take several deep breaths
These are all incredibly grounding and beneficial to your mood. I would also recommend exercising outside whenever you can. Whether it’s yoga in the park, going for a walk or a run around your local park.
No. 3 – Practice Self Love & Self Care
Each and every day set aside time to practice some self-love and self-care. Have a little downtime. Unplug from the world and engage in any activity that makes you feel calm and grounded.
- practice some gentle movement like yoga
- get crafting – knit, paint, crochet
- read an inspiring book
- listen to healing/relaxing music
- get a massage
- take a detoxifying Epsom salt bath
- infuse your bath with anxiety easing essential oils like lavender, chamomile, bergamot and ylang-ylang to promote a sense of calm and relaxation.
- when you’re feeling anxious, try rubbing one of the above mentioned calming essential oils on your temples, behind your ears, on the back of your neck, your tummy, and bottoms of your feet.
- use a diffuser in your workplace, house or by your bedside at night. It’s also a great way to improve your mood and ease that anxiety.
- write a journal and reflect on anything that is bothering you and write down action points to turn it around.
And you don’t have to do it alone. Self-care can also mean playing with the kids, putting aside time to call your friends or going to an exercise class with a friend.
No. 4 – Support your Digestion
Did you know roughly 80-90% of the bodies’ serotonin is produced within the gut, and not in the brain? This makes the state of our digestive health crucial in order to allow for the proper production and function of serotonin. This is a hormone that plays a vital role in everything from our mental health to our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
One fantastic way to make a change in our mood and mental health is to support our gut health. We do this through diet by:
- reducing the amount of sugar and alcohol in our diet
- eliminating refined sugars and processed foods
- avoiding the overuse of antibiotics
- incorporating more fermented, probiotic-rich foods. Feed your microbiome daily to keep it in balance by consuming plenty of gut-healthy foods such as: vegetable ferments|sauerkraut| kimchi| coconut yoghurt | milk and water kefir and/or supplementing with probiotics.
No. 5 – Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels
Our moods are closely connected to the state of our blood sugar, and our blood sugar is a result of how we feed our bodies. When our blood sugar levels rapidly go up and down this is often a result of:
- skipping meals
- erratic eating habits
- consuming a high-sugar diet
- eating when under stress
- consuming caffeine (especially on an empty stomach)
These majorly contribute to emotional imbalances, like anxiety. Sharp rises in blood sugar will give an instant high, followed by the inevitable blood sugar crash. Unfortunately, it tends to offer moodiness, fatigue, and anxiety in energy’s place.
Eating three substantial meals at regular times every day containing whole foods, protein and fat, with small light snacks in between will help to ensure that you keep your blood sugar levels and mood elevated and balanced. And don’t forget your protein. Make sure you get enough protein everyday. This is the key in blood sugar maintenance and will stabilize your moods.
To learn more about balancing your blood sugar levels, check out my blog posts:
- 13 Natural & Easy Ways To Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels | 1
- 13 Natural & Easy Ways To Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels | 2
- 10 Tips to Help Beat Sugar Cravings Naturally
No. 6 – Consume Foods To Lift Your Mood And Combat Anxiety
So much of what we experience on an emotional and mental level is a result of what we are putting into our bodies. There are so many foods that help to lift our moods and here are just a few of my favourites:
- leafy greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, dandelion greens and mustard green)
- spirulina & chlorella
- raw cacao (and dark chocolate)
- hemp seeds and flax seeds
- walnuts, cashews, almonds
- green tea
- rooibos tea
- chamomile tea
- olive/avocado/coconut/chia/hemp/flax oil
Plus, I highly recommend gulping down these amazing stress-relieving herbs:
- Lemon balm
- Adaptogenic herbs like holy basil, reishi, ashwagandha, maca.
No. 7 – Reduce Anxiety Triggering Substances
There are three main culprits that are known to trigger anxiety. These are caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. All of these substances can play a huge role in panic and anxiety disorders and can even affect your ability to get a good night sleep (especially if taken in excess).
I suggest writing an honest food diary for one week where you write down everything you’re eating and drinking. See how much of it contains these three culprits, and how often you’re having them during the week. If you notice you’re consuming quite a bit, I would recommend reducing your intake of these substances, or even taking a break from them entirely from time to time.
By reducing your consumption of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, you will find that your blood sugar levels and hormones become more stable and your moods are less prone to radical shifts.
No. 8 – Eliminate Trigger Foods
On the subject of trigger foods, it’s important to be aware that food sensitivities, intolerances and allergies can present themselves as a range of symptoms; many of which are not always physical. Often we know when a food doesn’t make us feel too great when we feel bloated or gassy, but mood imbalances can also be our body reacting to a food.
As part of your food diary, we talked about above, I recommend you also take note of how you’re feeling after each meal and in the hours after you eat. Notice whether your anxiety has increased after any particular meal or food.
Common culprits include:
- tree nuts
- processed foods high in preservatives and additives
- sulphites (commonly found in wine and dried fruit).
If you’re curious about any major sensitivities or suspect you’re reacting to something but you’re not sure what, I recommend making an appointment with a nutritionist, naturopath, holistic doctor or GP to pinpoint any foods that are causing a reaction.
No. 9 – Supplement With Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogens are amazing. These are herbs or botanical substances that help to balance the body’s physiological systems (such as the adrenals and nervous system) to better adapt to internal and external stressors. These include:
- environmental toxins and pollution
- poor sleeping habits
- extreme nervousness or depression to name a few.
These adaptogens calm and nourish the adrenal glands and support all the processes that are controlled by the adrenals — from blood sugar and immune system regulation to hormones and blood pressure. The beauty of adaptogens is that they know what you need.
They energize without being a stimulant and calm without being a sedative. They bring the body gently back into the state of homeostasis necessary for well-being.
My top picks for mood support include ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Maca and holy basil. You can take them separately or combine them. Because we’re all unique, I would encourage you to experiment with what makes you feel best.
No. 10 – Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is incredibly important. It’s when your body restores, repairs, and rejuvenates. Plus, it’s crucial in balancing our hormones and keeping our moods stable. Often anxiety can start to creep in when we are sleep deprived or suffering from poor quality sleep. It may even hinder our abilities to sleep.
Check out my blog on Top Tips for Naturally Improving Your Sleep here for more info on how to set up a sleep-inducing routine and ways to prepare you for deep, restful, and restorative sleep.
To learn some more lifestyle tips about on coping with anxiety, have a read over my blog post:
- Natural Ways to Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Fear Whilst Also Supporting Your Immune System – Part Two
And that’s my 10 tips for overcoming anxiety naturally.
Please know that these tips are best for mild cases, not clinical disorders. If you feel you’re suffering from something more serious, contact a health professional. Talking with a professional who can offer coping mechanisms and techniques is an excellent way to help against anxiety.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.