10 Natural Ways to Manage Stress & Anxiety

Written by Laura Komkov
Scientifically Reviewed by Kyle Hammerick, PhD
July 4, 2019
Fact Checked

One tough truth about anxiety: it will not be going away anytime soon. Everyone suffers from stress and anxiety from time to time. For some it is a constant battle, yet for most people, it is something that can be managed. From increased digital connectivity to 24/7 emotional media coverage, and a blurred divide between work and personal time, sources of stress and anxiety have evolved.

Anxiety seems to be taking over our culture, and it often feels like there's no way to escape from the stresses and pressure of modern life.

When it comes to analyzing one’s own anxiety triggers and responses, there are numerous ways to support the body’s natural healing, calming functions, and overall health. Here are a few natural alternatives to explore when you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or stressed.

10 Over the Counter Natural Remedies to Try

1. Rituals and Herbal Tea

Rituals are long-rooted in human history and for good reason. They can provide a sense of tranquility when practiced regularly. And, when entwined with the natural stress reduction properties herbal teas such as chamomile can offer, the daily ritual of steeping and brewing organic tea is an excellent option to promote healthy sleep, relaxation, and an overall sense of calm and wellness. As caffeine can be known to increase anxiety, it might be best to stick with caffeine-free herbal teas.

2. Hemp

The molecules found in hemp promote the relief of anxiety by interacting with many systems in the human body, including helping the body process serotonin (a “feel good” hormone and neurotransmitter), “Hemp extract may provide a kind of full-body massage at the molecular level.” Ideally, the daily use of a hemp extract or a hemp extract used along with a hemp cream, can contribute to the body’s endocannabinoid system (the body’s system that strives for balance) to make sure it has cannabinoids ready when needed. However, it’s important when researching hemp options to opt for organically-grown, safe, well-tested, and high quality products. If an individual is taking other medications, it is recommended that they consult with a doctor before taking hemp-based products to understand how it might interact with other prescriptions.

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3. Bathing

Raising your body temperature in hot baths and steam rooms is an effective remedy for relieving stress as it supports muscle relaxation and promotes mood-boosting hormones. To increase the sense of serenity a bath can bring, add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the water and calming essential oils like lavender, sandalwood, rose, and ylang-ylang.

4. Go Device-Free

Even if unplugging is reserved for short periods of time, making sure boundaries are established around technology devices reduces the overall potential anxiety-inducing effects from perpetual use. With growing concerns that smartphones and social media might contribute to or increase anxiety, the time spent away from devices can help an individual analyze their own relationship to technology and then work towards developing a healthier one as-needed.

5. Breathwork

Breathwork can be found in a variety of practices and therapies including yoga and meditation. Developing a personal practice around breathing or incorporating it into existing routines (such as taking time to breathe when feeling anxious or stressed) has been proven to send a message to your brain and your body to relax.

There are pharmaceutical options to relieve anxiety, like Xanax, Ativan, and Valium, but many people take those without a doctor’s prescription and there is the chance for abuse or side effects.

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6. Vitamins

For extra anxiety and stress-relieving support, consider adding B12 and magnesium into your daily routine. Deficiencies in either of these can be harmful on the body as both of them support the proper functioning of the nervous system.

7. Massage

Taking time out for a full body deep tissue massage or trying something different like a facial massage, can ease muscle tension and may offer instant stress-relieving properties. Give gua sha facial massage a try - it “addresses the parasympathetic nervous system and can help with anxiety, stress, pain, and depression.”’

8. Get Outdoors

Whether it’s a quick walk, a long hike, or giving earthing a try, getting outside and back to nature can offer an instant sense of tranquility. In fact, the Japanese have a strong belief in forest bathing and the healing benefits of trees when it comes to decreasing stress, blood pressure, lowering cortisol levels, and boosting one’s mood.

9. Adaptogens

Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that have been said to support the body in periods of stress or anxiety. Depending on whether the stressor is subtle or long-term, recommendations have included ashwaganda, reishi, and Siberian ginseng.

10. Acupuncture

There’s some scientific evidence that acupuncture can help with symptoms of anxiety, and a study suggests that acupuncture may provide some relief from depression during pregnancy as well as general pain management.

One tough truth about anxiety: it will not be going away anytime soon.

Be sure to consult with a doctor before making any changes to medications as these offerings are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Establishing a combination of your own natural routines including a daily hemp tincture and breath work for instance, may help promote overall health and wellness.


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Sources

  • adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
  • www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/03/mental-illness-is-there-really-a-global-epidemic
  • www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ritual-and-the-brain/201709/the-anxiety-busting-properties-ritual
  • www.huffpost.com/entry/6-natural-tea-remedies-fo_b_10619928
  • www.theguardian.com/society/shortcuts/2018/oct/23/why-a-daily-bath-helps-beat-depression-and-how-to-have-a-good-one
  • www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-smartphones-causing-student-anxiety-20190607-story.html
  • www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/skin-care/a27229712/gua-sha-benefits-botox-alternative/
  • www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/could-walking-barefoot-on-the-grass-improve-your-health-the-science-behind-grounding/2018/07/05/12de5d64-7be2-11e8-aeee-4d04c8ac6158_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4e003c9c4393
  • www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/08/forest-bathing-japanese-practice-in-west-wellbeing
  • www.nytimes.com/2018/07/12/well/take-a-walk-in-the-woods-doctors-orders.html
  • time.com/5025278/adaptogens-herbs-stress-anxiety/
  • www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/integrative-mental-health-care/201810/acupuncture-anxiety
  • www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/health/research/02preg.html
  • topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/acupuncture/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier
  • wsj.com/articles/a-new-prognosis-for-pain-care-11549508700

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