Effectively Manage Anxiety – Naturally

What if you could make your anxiety a thing of the past – without drugs? A naturopathic physician writes a drug-free prescription for how to do just that  

Credit: Flickr/sashawolff

Regain your footing when anxiety strikes with these natural remedies

Many sufferers think anxiety can only be managed with traditional medications. But what if you could effectively manage the problem with a few simple lifestyle changes?

As the number one mental health problem in North America, anxiety will touch many of us over a lifetime. If you’re reluctant to turn to pharmaceutical solutions, there are effective natural ways to manage your anxiety.

A Naturopath’s Advice on Managing Anxiety

Naturopathic physician Dr. Jilla Kahrobaei singles out three natural remedies for anxiety:

  1. Yoga or other exercise
  2. A support network
  3. Good nutrition, including supplements or herbs as prescribed by a naturopath

Exercise or Meditation

“Definitely get involved with some form of yoga or meditative breathing,” elaborates Dr. Kahrobaei of the exercise component. “That’s extremely helpful because breathing or mediation or yoga all induce the parasympathetic nervous system. Our sympathetic nervous system is fight or flight. You want the parasympathetic to take over to calm you. Those exercises affect your endorphin levels and all sorts of brain chemicals. Anything that’s with movement and oxygenation, anything you really enjoy doing, incorporate that into your lifestyle.”

Does exercise make a big difference in anxiety? “It does,” asserts the doctor. “We’re too sedentary.” That both leads to pain and exacerbates anxiety.

Stay Connected and Close to Your Friends and Family

Dr. Kahrobaei’s second prescription may be more difficult to fill, but it’s crucial nonetheless. “Get yourself a really good support network. Surround yourself with support, friends and family. It’s a huge challenge,” she admits, but especially for those who are vulnerable to anxiety, it may be time to rethink that tempting offer to relocate for work or love.

Instead, she advises, “stay close to home. Reconnect.”

What You Eat Matters for Anxiety Management

The last component to managing anxiety naturally? “Eat well. A lot of anxiety can be because your iron levels are low, or your blood sugar level is off. Those are the things that, when you come to see a naturopath, we’ll determine.”

If you arrive in a naturopath’s office seeking treatment, expect to be directed to supplements and herbs. “Fish oils come in really handy because the nervous system and the cells are all coated with this lipid layer. They stabilize the nerve cells. A lot of herbs help. Calming herbal teas like passionflower and skullcap. I’d do a full physical, bloodwork, and then I’d prescribe.”

The bottom line? Anxiety isn’t an either/or: suffer or medicate. With the help of a good diet on a naturopath’s advice, regular calming exercise and a circle of family and friends, you just may be able to manage it without traditional medications.