Guest Post by Hassan Khan Yousafzai
Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Depression
Dealing with anxiety can be stressful, difficult, and time-consuming. Pair it with depression and it can only get worse from there. There are ways to help you handle the issues through medication, but even medication comes with its pros and cons. This article in no way discourages the seeking of professional help to treat your anxiety or depression. They are illnesses that should be dealt with very carefully and treated seriously.
What this article talks about is how to avoid medication if you aren’t 100% sure of its outcomes and don’t want to deal with the side-effects, be they short or long term. These are natural remedies that have been known to help people suffering from anxiety or depression, but seek medical and professional help alongside these remedies.
Some of these remedies include dietary alterations or methods to calm you through your panic attacks, like circular breathing. One in 6 people is prescribed some medication to help tackle his or her mental health issues. These range from anti-depressants to anti-anxiety pills to better control what they feel.
Create a Routine
Natural remedies can help you regulate your routine to create a sense of circularity or method to your life. It may not be the cure on its own or cure right away but these coupled with professional help can definitely make you feel better.
The first step towards the cure is a clinical diagnosis. You may feel anxious or sad once in a while, but that is different from having an anxiety disorder or suffering from depression. With that said, however, these tips are going to uplift your mood even if you aren’t clinically diagnosed yet or do not suffer from the illness.
Understand what you’re feeling
Trying to find the root cause of your anxiety or depression can be painstakingly long, but it’s a step in the process of getting better. Once you have a better understanding of your condition, you will be able to recognize triggers that cause panic attacks. Identifying the triggers is crucial because once you know what they are you will be able to avoid them entirely. This will push you towards feeling healthier and happier.
How it works:
Another important aspect to keep in mind is that this process is not easy or quick. It is also important to give yourself enough space and time to figure out what you are going through. You should not make it worse by adding pressure to fix it within a given time-frame.
Make Dietary Alterations
Making changes to your diet is important if you want to feel any semblance of a “healthier” life when you are experiencing anxiety or depression. Eating certain foods will help balance the chemicals needed in your body to make sure you feel good enough about yourself and your life to help combat mental health issues.
How it works:
Food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish or eggs, fats that are healthy like coconut oil, flaxseed oil, and cherries are some of your options. There’s a whole list of foods that will boost your serotonin levels in your brain and play the part of medication such as Prozac would to inhibit the reuse of serotonin. This is a very healthy way of dealing with depression rather than turning to medication. You will essentially be doing the same thing medicines would, but minus the side effects.
Cut Caffeine Out
Coffee is probably something you would want to steer clear of if you are looking towards more natural ways of helping your mental health. The caffeine present in coffee increases the amount of the 5-HIA component of the serotonin molecule. This was documented from the urine samples collected of coffee drinkers.
Caffeine may give you instant energy but once it wears off, your body will experience what is known as the “crashing” effect. Exhaustion takes a toll on your body even without mental health issues. Dealing with that on top of anxiey or depression will not be easy.
Make Green Tea Your Best Friend!
While limiting your caffeine intake is recommended, drinking green tea regularly first thing every morning with a healthy breakfast can prove fruitful for your journey. L-theanine is an important constituent in your body that can boost your levels of dopamine. This can make you feel “happier” than you usually would. This nutrient can be found abundantly in green tea.
How it works:
Since it is incredibly tiny, L-theanine can easily cross the barrier between your brain and your blood. This causes the effect of psychoactive properties without the “crash” you would feel after consuming caffeine. All you’ll need to do for this is to boil a cup of water and incorporate green tea into it. You can use whatever means you choose, such as tea bags or ground tea leaves.
Give Meditation a Shot
Guided meditation may help bring you out of your loop for a bit. There are multiple methods of trying this. They include rhythmic breathing, meditation through music, yoga, or just daily reflection in a quiet place.
Rhythmic breathing such as following the 4-7-8 technique, the alternate nostril breathing method, equal breathing, or guided visualization are some of the techniques you could try before fully engulfing into just one method to know which one works best for you. These breathing exercises will help you remain calm through panic attacks and also regulate your routine to give you a head start on returning to your regular life.
It is believed in traditional Chinese medicine that stimulating different points in your body to fix or correct the”imbalances” happening within it can help to better deal with stress or anxiety. It is beneficial for one’s physical as well as mental health because it instantly relieves one of any disruptions in one’s energy flow. To make sure this is done correctly, visit a professional acupuncturist who sterilizes the equipment being used and ensures your safety first.
Find inspiration in staying fit and taking care of your body the right way by making it feel healthy. Exercise at your nearest gym or simply go for a run regularly, but make sure you do what your body likes and responds well to. If weight training is not your forte, give yoga a shot. If the downward-facing dog is a pose that is slightly too difficult for you to hold, start more slowly from an easier point.
Go for a jog, or bike through the city on your bicycle to get your adrenaline rushing so that your body knows what it feels like to be alive. Give your body time to adjust to the changes you are bringing into your life and routine.
Incorporating fragrant oils into your regular routine will help boost your mood to kick-start your day. You can later also end it on a relaxing note by unwinding and letting go of all of the stress that’s built up over the course of the day. Lavender, bergamot, grapefruit, and clary sage are some options that you could explore to try to find the scent you associate most with relaxation.
It not only helps you relax and unwind but also helps you sleep better. This is important for anyone suffering from anxiety or depression. It also reduces your heart rate and blood pressure to let your body recover smoothly after a long day.
St. John’s Wort is a known remedy for lack of serotonin in your body. In essence, it works like an anti-depressant trying to balance the neuro-chemicals in your brain. However, it may interfere with any medication you’ve been prescribed so consult your doctor before you decide to try this herb.
While this helps drastically with cases of mild depression, it will not be harmful for you to try it even if your case is more severe. Be sure to talk to your doctor beforehand if you are on medication for your illness at all times.
Talk it out
Therapy is a wonderful option for those of you who are struggling but are afraid of starting medications to treat your illness owing to the side effects. Find a therapist you are comfortable with. You may need to visit a number of them before you find the one you like but therapy is a great alternative to medication.
Finding a professional who can try to talk to you about your condition and guide you through your experiences will help reduce the occurrences of panic attacks and mood swings.
If you feel the need to reach out to someone in order to get help, please find online forums that will direct you to more equipped persons who will handle your case professionally. Do not be ashamed for seeking help, it is important. There are people around you who will support you through your journey. It is not a battle you have to fight alone. Making small adjustments to follow some of the tips mentioned above will help you get your life back on track.