The Top 5 Natural Anxiety Busters

Before you ask for an Rx, make these simple lifestyle shifts first to help manage anxiety.

September 21, 2017
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Anxiety is debilitating: Heart palpitations, dry mouth, sweaty palms, or just irritability and unexplained anger. It takes on many forms and faces, but for many, it is universally crippling. There are, of course, milder versions of anxiety that flare unexpectedly or at certain times of the month. The more severe forms can ruin careers, relationships, and quality of life.

More: 7 Steps to Instantly Shift Stress

Medications can be an option for managing anxiety, especially when other strategies are not working or when your quality of life suffers, but they are not the only option. By focusing on a comprehensive anxiety-management plan, you'll tackle anxiety on every front.

Here are anxiety busters to help you say good-bye to your anxious self!

If you are already on medication for anxiety, always consult your physician before starting or stopping a medication.

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Ditch the caffeine

Not sure where to start? Begin by lowering your caffeine load. While small amounts of caffeine can provide antioxidants and focus attention, more than 4 ounces of caffeine daily can trigger anxiety and disrupt sleep. Enjoy that morning cup of coffee, but think about switching to herbal teas or even decaffeinated coffee as the day goes on.

More: Eating Fermented Foods Linked to Less Anxiety

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Sleep consistently

Interrupted sleep can be a recipe for anxiety. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or simply having shifting sleep cycles can worsen mild anxiety and lower your stress response. Aim for regular sleep-wake cycles at least five nights per week (and use these 50 tricks to sleep better tonight). Consider cutting off electronics use one hour prior to bedtime, and use natural remedies, such as magnesium oil or lavender essential oil, on the bottoms of your feet to help you relax.  

More: 11 Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

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Manage your hormones

Hormone shifts can worsen anxiety. Cortisol surges, sometimes created by shifting estrogen and progesterone levels, can start unexplained panic attacks or irritability. As I explain in my book, What Doctors Eatfoods high in omega-3 fatty acids can also help manage your hormones and minimize hormone fluctuation, helping to alleviate anxiety, so increase foods like omega 3-rich wild salmon, tuna, and almonds.​ I also continue to urge women to check their hormone levels yearly and look for changes in hormones that can be the root cause of anxiety.

More: The Best Natural Remedy for Anxiety Ever?

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Get savvy about supplements

Not all supplements are good for anxiety. Too many adrenal adaptogens, such as ashwagandha or ginseng, can worsen anxiety, while calming supplements like GABA and theanine can ease it. Consult a provider who is well versed in supplements to help guide you with regard to the best supplements to take.

More: 10 Rules to Know Before You Start Taking Any New Supplement

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Lower your cortisol

The ultimate cause of anxiety is unexplained cortisol surges. A great anxiety-management plan will not only treat all the chemical reasons for anxiety, but also address stress, which is the catalyst behind surging cortisol. Acupuncture, yoga, massage, and meditation all help to lower cortisol—and stress. Add two to three hours of one of more of these cortisol-lowering activities to your weekly regimen to help lower your stress and increase your sense of well-being.

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