At some point in our lives, we all experience stress, anxiety and feelings of depression. When these states become difficult to shift, we might consider turning to medication to manage them. However, natural remedies for stress, anxiety and depression can be just as helpful for managing these emotional conditions and have the benefits of fewer side effects. Below we take a look at some of the best natural remedies for stress, depression and anxiety.
Beneficial Activities for Mental Wellbeing
Rather than reaching for medication, exercise, mediation and relaxation exercises have all been shown to have a positive impact on how we deal with stress, feelings of anxiety and even depression.
Exercise benefits our minds just as much as it does our bodies. Increasing our heart rate through exercise is a great way to burn off anxious energy. Being active boosts the production of our feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for boosting feelings of well-being, happiness and help us to manage stress, feelings of anxiety and reduce depression.
Similarly, meditation and relaxation exercises can teach us to slow racing thoughts and make it easier to manage stress and anxiety. The better management of stress and anxiety in turn reduces the triggers of depression. Furthermore, meditation can break the link between the brain centers – the prefrontal cortex and amygdala – that can cause depression.
Natural Remedies for Reducing Stress
When anxiety, stress and depression become debilitating, making changes to the foods and drinks we consume can help. Chamomile has been used as a medication since ancient times. Great for mild skin irritations such as sunburn, chamomile is also an excellent remedy for anxiety, sleep problems and stress, thanks to the two chemicals it contains – apigenin and luteolin. Three cups of chamomile tea on anxious days can provide a high enough dose to noticeably decrease symptoms of anxiety.
Another centuries old remedy for anxiety, depression and stress is lavender oil. The terpenes and other active constituents of lavender have both psychological and physiological affects when the fragrance is inhaled. These include a reduction in pain perception, feelings of anxiety and depression, and improved mood.
L-lysine, an amino acid important for creating and repairing neurotransmitters, can be found in meat, fish and some beans, it is also sold as a supplement. Studies show that people who take L-lysine either in food or as supplements have reduced anxiety symptoms and levels of stress hormones.
A relative newcomer to treatments for depression and anxiety is CBD oil. Cannabidiol has grown in popularity in recent years as a growing body of research exposes its potential as a treatment for a variety of mental health problems. As the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, CBD has a positive reaction with serotonin receptors in the brain along with indirectly activating the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors. This indicates minimal risk of becoming addicted to the substance while also showing how it supports the endocannabinoid system that helps our bodies and minds maintain balance. It’s not just depression that CBD has been shown to have a positive impact upon; panic disorders, anxiety and chronic stress can also be alleviated with this remedy.
In some cases, medication is the best treatment for the management of chronic stress, anxiety and depression. However, changes to diet, taking up an exercise routine, and trying natural remedies can also be beneficial, often without the long list of side-effects some medications come with. This alone can cause them to be a preferred option, particularly if you are looking for natural ways to manage your own stress or are supporting a child through anxiety or depression.
Written by: Elise Morgan