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Natural Ways to Get Rid of Anxiety

We all get a little anxious here and there, but sometimes that anxiety can become overwhelming. Whether you’re pushing to get through your coursework or your job is making your head spin, the constant worrying and stress can take a toll on your wellbeing. Constant anxiety can get in the way of everyday activities, from your diet, to your social life, and even your sleep habits.

In some cases, medication may be the right answer, but there could be variety of reasons why someone wouldn’t want to turn to pills. Taking medication can include unwanted side effects, chemical dependence, or even loss of everyday emotions.

While medication may seem like a quick fix, there are a variety of things you can do at home to get rid of that gnawing, uncomfortable feeling of uneasiness. If the thought of even taking an Advil makes you cringe, here are five helpful ways to get rid of anxiety without a having to get a prescription.


Physical exercise can, not only help get rid of your anxiety in the present moment, but it also helps you deal with your emotions in the long run. Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood, help with sleep patterns, provide stress relief, and also improve self-esteem. Research has shown that even a short 10-minute walk can be as beneficial for anxiety as more vigorous exercise, so if you are feeling uneasy, taking a quick walk around the block might be a helpful solution.


Meditation isn’t just for hippies. Practicing mindfulness meditation can be more powerful in quelling anxiety symptoms than general stress management techniques, studies have found. By sitting quietly and focusing on their awareness, people experienced improved anxiety, less stress, and better eating and sleep habits. There are different levels of meditation, from sitting in silence to hours to just being aware of your thoughts and not trying to change them, but starting somewhere can have profound effects on your anxiety levels.


Recent studies have found that looking at social media can raise people’s levels of anxiety. “People look at Facebook and Instagram, and it makes them more depressed because they’re comparing their lives to other people,” says Lindsey Rosenthal, a Los Angeles-based Individual and Couples psychologist Try to stay off these social media sites to avoid comparing yourself to people’s best parts of themselves or to avoid getting that dreaded fear of missing out.


Although coffee has its benefits, caffeine consumption can actually worsen anxiety symptoms or even create anxiety in situations where you wouldn’t normally be anxious. Caffeine is a stimulant that can trigger a fight or flight effect in your body as well as trigger insomnia, so you might want to consider putting down that cup of joe if you’re feeling a little anxious.


“The best way to deal with anxiety is to figure out what the underlying fear of your anxiety is,” says Rosenthal. “Then you have to change your pattern of thinking.” It can be easy to fall victim to the constant pressure of having a stable job, financial security, and something important going on in your life, but try for a moment to stop thinking about these things and just be, Rosenthal suggest. “Be aware of the conversations in your head and don’t try to control anything you can’t control.”

Stress found to influence brain networks and reduce self-control

After a stressful day of work, good intentions concerning dieting and exercise can quickly go out the window. Now, a new study from researchers at the University of Zürich in Switzerland has demonstrated how stress can influence regions of the brain involved with self-control.

Their findings, published in Neuron, shed further light on how stress and self-control interact in the human brain, with the effects of stress operating through multiple neural pathways, according to lead author Silvia Maier, a PhD candidate in neuroeconomics.

"Self-control abilities are sensitive to perturbations at several points within this network," she explains, "and optimal self-control requires a precise balance of input from multiple brain regions rather than a simple on/off switch."

Important decisions have to be made in stressful conditions on a daily basis. Sometimes, stressful circumstances can compromise an individual's ability to exhibit self-control, in turn affecting the decision-making process.

Despite how frequently such decisions are made, however, the manner in which stress affects processes within the brain is not fully understood.

To investigate, the researchers assessed a number of individuals who were attempting to maintain a healthy lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise and looked at how stress affected choices they made about food.

Stressed participants more likely to choose tasty, unhealthy food over healthy options.

A total of 29 participants were observed and evaluated by an experimenter while one of their hands was immersed in cold water for 3 minutes in order to induce a moderate level of stress.

Following this treatment, the participants had to choose repeatedly between two food options presented on a screen - a tasty but unhealthy option and a healthy but less tasty option - for them to eat following the experiment. Maier told Medical News Today that the food options on offer were tailored to each participant.

"As what each person will find tasty is very unique, we try to cater to everyone's taste by asking for participant's taste ratings on a large set of foods beforehand," she explained. "We then customized a set of foods for each participant in the experiment that covered a wide spectrum of taste and health trade-offs."

To prevent preferences unrelated to taste influencing the decisions of the participants, Maier told MNT that they also excluded any individuals with food intolerances or allergies from participation in the study.

These participants' decisions were then compared with those made by a further 22 participants who did not undergo the stress-inducing treatment. In addition to assessing the choice made by the participants, the researchers also conducted fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans to see how their brains were affected.

The researchers found that the participants subjected to stress-inducing treatment were more likely to value a food's taste over its healthfulness when choosing what to eat compared with participants who were not stressed. This finding indicated that stress increased the influence of immediately rewarding attributes on choice and reduced self-control.

In the brains of the participants subjected to stress, changes were observed in various regions of the brain. The researchers noted increased connectivity between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) region and the amygdala and striatal regions - regions associated with perceiving tastiness.

Reduced connectivity was also observed between the vmPFC region and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex regions - regions associated with successfully exhibiting self-control. However, only some of these connectivity changes were associated with cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

Senior author Todd Hare, an assistant professor in neuroeconomics, states that these findings indicate self-control can be inhibited by even moderate levels of stress, which is important as moderate levels of stress affect a larger portion of the population than extreme stress events. He adds:

"One interesting avenue for future research will be to determine whether some of the factors shown to protect against structural brain changes following severe stress - such as exercise and social support - can also buffer the effects of moderate stress on decision making."

Recently, MNT reported on a study suggesting that alterations to gut bacteria induced by stress in early life could contribute to the development of anxiety and depression in adulthood.

Source: Medical News Daily