A great number of people of all ages suffer from anxiety . There are natural remedies to relieve symptoms of anxiety, which have been proven effective in studies which included control groups. If you are not willing to take prescriptions drugs and prefer to try the natural route, you may benefit from these natural and safe alternatives.
Research has shown that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and some natural herbs have been quite effective at treating various anxiety disorders for children, teens, and adults alike. Many of the strategies used by therapist can easily be learned by individuals.
There are cognitive and behavioural aspects to anxiety disorders and both need to be addressed in otder to best treat anxiety. Let’s start with the easier components which are the behavioural components. There are several strategies that can be used such as mindfulness, meditation, visualization, deep breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing) and progressive muscle relaxation.
For the cognitive aspect of anxiety disorders, peole need to look at the source of their anxiety. It can be a place, an object, an animal, a situation. etc. Whatever it is, there are a few cognitive techniques to address these fears: progressive exposure, exposure and response prevention, flooding. These techiniques can be done in imagination or in vivo. The ultimate goal is to become skilled to do the exposure in vivo. The main key, whatever the approach chosen, is to remember to resist the urge to avoid or escape the feared stimulus. Doing so will only reinforce your fear and solidify it. In the past, a common therapeutic strategy was to teach thought stopping as another cognitive strategy to reduce irrational thoughts related to the anxiety provoking stimulus. However, this strategy can be difficult and it does not always work. A more useful strategy can be to simply detach and stop identifying with our thoughts. Notice them without judgment, and then let them go. In the same way that we notice cars and let them drive by. It requires less effort than attempting to “stop thinking” about something. Try to not think of a pink elephant. Too late. The image is already in your head.
To master the art of allowing, accepting and simply being in the present moment it takes practice. Not disidentify with our thoughts is an easier task when we practice mindfulness and meditation. Our mind then develops the ability to quickly detach from thoughts and let them go.
Once more, these techniques have been proven quite effective and there are many resources out there that describe them in detail. They can be found in workbooks available on Amazon or other book stores, web sites and You Tube videos that give very good descriptions of these techniques.
Lastly, in lieu of prescription medication, it is worth consulting an alternative health professional (e.g. homeopath, naturopathic doctor, master herbalists) for their advise on the best natural remedies to calm symptoms of anxiety and its related problems, such as insomnia. Valerian Root, Melatonin are two example of natural sleep aids. St-John’s Wort has been shown to help with mild to moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Always remember to consult with a registered and licenced professional before using any natural remedies, especially if you are also taking prescription drugs; drug interactions are possible and can be dangerous.
Finally, it is important to have a healthy balanced diet. Eating whole foods is always best, organic if at all possible, avoid processed foods, and artificial sweeteners, among other things. Basically, eat real food! Furthermore, the excessive use of stimulants (e.g. cigarettes, cafeine, sugar, soft drinks) can imitate physiological symptoms of anxiety which in turn can be misinterpreted as anxiety or even misinterpreted as a panic attack.
In conclusion, anxiety is a disorder that is treatable and with high success rates with the natural techniques mentioned above. However, if you find you get no relief, it may be helpful to consult a mental health professional. It may be difficult to go at this alone, especially if you have been suffering from anxiety for many years.
(c) 2010 Dr. Gina Madrigrano, All Rights Reserved.