While a certain amount of anxiety will creep into everyone’s life, there are some easy home remedies you can employ to help your body relax.
Some herbal supplements reduce anxiety without making you sleepy (such as L-theanine), while others are sedatives. Valerian is squarely in the second category. It is a sleep aid, for insomnia. It contains sedative compounds; the German government has approved it as a treatment for sleep problems.
Valerian smells kind of nasty, so most people take it as a capsule or tincture, rather than a tea. If you want to try it, take it in the evening—not before you go to work! Valerian is often combined with other sedative herbs such as hops, chamomile, and lemon balm.
Try to get between 1 and 3 grams of omega-3s a day
There is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may ease anxiety symptoms and lift your mood by lowering levels of stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol in the body. Caned fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, walnuts, and flax seeds are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. An Israeli study found that students given fish oil supplements had less test anxiety as measured by their eating and sleeping habits, cortisol levels, and mental states.
Try to drink three cups of chamomile tea a day when you’re feeling anxious
Chamomile contains two chemicals that promote relaxation, apigenin and luteolin. A study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center found that patients with generalized anxiety disorder who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to patients who were given a placebo.
Studies show 21 minutes is all it takes for exercise to reliably reduce symptoms of anxiety
Exercise will not only make you feel better about yourself, but will flood your body with feel-good endorphins. Some researchers even believe that increasing your body heat, a natural result of exercise, may alter neural circuits controlling cognitive function and mood, including those that affect the neurotransmitter serotonin. Researchers believe this response can boost your mood, increase relaxation, and alleviate anxiety.
In spite of the name, this herb won’t help you in love. It’s a sedative; the German government has approved it for nervous restlessness. Some studies find that it can reduce symptoms of anxiety as effectively as prescription drugs. It’s often used for insomnia.
Like other sedatives, it can cause sleepiness and drowsiness, so don’t take it—or valerian, hops, kava, lemon balm, or other sedative herbs—when you are also taking a prescription sedative.
Be careful about using more than one sedative herb at a time, and don’t take passionflower for longer than one month at a time.
They say Japanese Buddhist monks could meditate for hours, both alert and relaxed. One reason may have been an amino acid in their green tea called L-theanine, says Mark Blumenthal.
Research shows that L-theanine helps curb a rising heart rate and blood pressure, and a few small human studies have found that it reduces anxiety. In one study, anxiety-prone subjects were calmer and more focused during a test if they took 150 milligrams of L-theanine beforehand.
You can get that much L-theanine from green tea, but you’ll have to drink many cups—as few as five, as many as 20.
Named after the Greek word for “honey bee,” lemon balm , has been used at least since the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, and help with sleep. In one study of healthy volunteers, those who took standardized lemon balm extracts (600 mg) were more calm and alert than those who took a placebo.
While it’s generally safe, be aware that some studies have found that taking too much can actually make you more anxious. So follow directions and start with the smallest dose. Lemon balm is sold as a tea, capsule, and tincture. It’s often combined with other calming herbs such as hops, chamomile, and valerian.