Whether you struggle with day-to-day worries or a clinically diagnosed disorder, you may need support for your anxiety. Conventional treatments like medicine and psychotherapy are popular ways of dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues, but there are many natural approaches 鈥 including some fairly simple (and perhaps unexpected) lifestyle adjustments.

What does science say about natural remedies?

It all depends on how you define 鈥渘atural remedy.鈥 Science demonstrates that exercise and diet, for example, play a huge role in mental health; however, evidence is blurrier regarding natural supplements, which have been anecdotally helpful for some but are not regulated by the FDA, and as such are not studied or proven safe like medications. While a number of studies show some natural remedies to be effective in managing mild to moderate anxiety, Dr. Daniel K. Hall- Flavin of the Mayo Clinic says more severe forms of anxiety will likely respond better to medication and psychotherapy. For this reason, if you鈥檙e interested in trying a natural remedy for anxiety, make sure to have a conversation with your doctor first about the best and safest approach for you.

Here are a few of the most common natural remedies for anxiety.

1. Diet: A well-balanced diet is one of the most important and well-known facets of dealing with stress and anxiety. One way to use food to reduce anxiety, according to Harvard Medical School, is to keep blood sugar as stable as possible by replacing simple sugars with complex carbohydrates, which metabolize more slowly. It鈥檚 also crucial to drink plenty of water and limit caffeine and alcohol, both of which can spike anxiety. You may find increasing minerals like zinc and magnesium helpful too.

2. Supplements: There are certain herbs and vitamins known to support our bodies as they deal with stress. Keep in mind that some herbs can negatively interact with medicines, so please discuss supplements with your doctor. Some of the most common supplements for anxiety include:

3. Exercise: Regular workouts can decrease tension, elevate and stabilize mood, support sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Yoga can also reduce stress and anxiety because it involves breathing techniques, relaxation, and taming the body鈥檚 stress response through a lower heart rate and blood pressure.

4. Meditation: Meditation, which can help the body and mind regulate responses to perceived threats, is another great way to get some relief when things become overwhelming. 鈥淎nxious feelings force people into worrying about the future or regretting the past, and practicing mindfulness meditation helps you to stay in the moment and avoid those negative feelings,鈥 said Dr. Mirsad Serdarevic, Program Supervisor for Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Health Consultation Programs at Center for Behavioral Health at Palomar Health.

If you struggle with anxiety, seeking the support of a therapist or another mental health practitioner is a great first step, especially if you would like to address the root of what鈥檚 causing your anxiety. And while natural remedies can be helpful tools for overcoming stress and managing our mental health, it鈥檚 always best to involve a doctor.

Have you ever tried a natural remedy for a mental health concern? Share your story @BritandCo.

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