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Tuesday
May052009

Natural Anxiety Remedies: 7 Super Simple Ways to Cultivate Calm



If a friend is upset we want to help them, we will call them up and talk things through and get our head working to see what we can do. But when we get anxious ourselves, we quickly loose sight of any possible solution. Work stress, financial worries, noise pollution and the ADHD provoking hum of a society that never sleeps and has put screens everywhere you look can leave you feeling overwhelmed and disconnected.

Anxiety has to be one of the worst feelings. It turns everything a shade of grey, drawing your attention to unwanted thoughts and smothering your joy for life.

Ancient Perspectives on a Very Current Syndrome
Ayurveda teaches that anxiety is usually due to a disturbance of vata dosha in the nervous system and it offers some excellent natural anxiety remedies that can help you be your own best friend and feel back in calm and confident control of your life.

1. Acupressure Anxiety Relief Point

Nature has provided us with a network of energy points that we can quickly learn to use for our own well-being. Some of these points are particularly good for inducing calm, one of the most convenient is a special point found in the centre of your palm. To find the point make a fist with your left hand and look at the point where your middle finger touches the palm, now press that exact point with the thumb of your opposite hand and gently massage it for about a minute. Take some deep breaths as you hold the point and, when you feel ready swap hands and repeat.

2. Almond Milk


Almond milk is very soothing to vata and calms anxiety. Here’s how to make it:

- Soak ten raw almonds in water overnight
- Remove the skins and put the almonds in a blender
- Add a cup of warm milk and a pinch of nutmeg and blend together

This is the perfect bedtime drink for anyone suffering from anxiety or insomnia.

3. Nerve Soothing Oil Massage

One of the most effective, yet little known, ways to reduce anxiety is to perform a regular oil massage. Vata responds well to gentle touch and rubbing oil into the skin treats dryness that so often accompanies vata problems and nourishes your nerves from the outside in.

Sesame oil is the best oil for vata body types while coconut is better suited for pitta and kapha types can use lighter oils like sunflower oil.

How to Do a Full Body Oil Massage

Take some of your chosen oil in a plastic cup or bottle and stand it in a pan of hot water for a few minutes to warm the oil before you apply it, then stand on an old towel and rub the oil over your entire body. Use circular strokes over your joints and long strokes on the limbs. Oil massage is traditionally performed before a morning bath or shower, but can also be done before bed if morning times are too busy. A massage before bed is particularly helpful for anxiety and sleep problems, the oil can be rinsed off in a warm shower or bath with relaxing lavender oil before settling into bed.

Read more about oil massage here

5 Minute Foot Massage

For a quicker massage try rubbing oil in to the soles of your feet, you can find more details here.

4. Uplifting Aromas

Essential oils can have a very positive effect on the emotions, the reason for this is that whatever scent you inhale has a direct connection with your brain. Calming and uplifting aromas to try include:

Bergamot - Good for relieving stress and anxiety bergamot’s warm citrus fragrance is a real mood booster.

Lavender - the traditional choice for stress relief and relaxation. Lavender can be dripped onto a tissue, your pillow, bath water or infuser for releasing tension and promoting restful sleep.

Rose - cooling and soothing to the emotions, rose is a luxurious way to boost your sense of calm and well-being.

5. Make Like a Bee

One of the many good things I learned in a recent workshop with Ayurvedic teacher Dr Vasant Lad is the Humming Bee Breath, used for centuries to calm the mind and have a positive effect on the endocrine system this simple technique involves making a humming sound that vibrates throughout your head boosting serotonin production and helping you feel deeply relaxed and peaceful.

I was surprised at just how good I feel after practising this technique and some of my friends have got quite hooked on it! Here's how to do it:

- Sit in a relaxed position
- Cover your ears with your thumbs and bring your fingers round to rest over your eyes
- Relax your jaw and allow a slight gap between your teeth
- Now take a deep breath in through your nose and as you breath out make a deep and gentle humming sound

Repeat this between 7 and 17 times. If you feel dizzy stop and take a break and come back to it another time.

To fully benefit from this exercise it's important to sit still and quiet for a couple of minutes after you finish. Just keep breathing slowly and calmly and enjoy the silence, you will find that you feel very relaxed and that your mind will actually give you a break for a while.

6. Get Moving, but Slowly!

Vata governs all movement in the body but it’s movements can become erratic, and jerky when imbalanced. Disturbed vata causes trembling in the body and makes you feel hyper. To help control and calm this hyperactive tendency do something that involves slow steady movements, and try and make those movements a meditation, do them as slowly and smoothly as you can, and make your breath slow and smooth too. The sense of relief from practising this is really tangible.

Try slow mindful walks in nature, gentle stretching yoga, or my guided qigong based meditation designed to help you feel calm and connected with your body.

7. Practice Stillness

This is not so easy to do when vata is disturbed and you feel anxious and antsy, yet it is vital to develop the ability to enjoy a few moments stillness here and there throughout the day to give your nervous system a rest and allow yourself to slide over into the beneficial state of the relaxation response. Start with very short periods of time where you commit to not talking or moving at all. One minute is a good start. Set a timer if you find it helpful, drop your shoulders, relax your jaw, wear a slight smile on your face and… hush. No moving, no talking, just notice your breath and let your thoughts float by. Try this a few times a day and you will soon feel for yourself that it is well worth the effort.

Once you have mastered a minute you can extend the time if you wish, or dabble with some other short relaxation experiences designed to lower your base stress rate so that you become more resilient to stress and overwhelm and enjoy feeling calmer and more in control of your feelings in all areas of your life.

Photo by Carlo Nicora

What's Next?

More on Natural Anxiety Remedies:


How to Control Anxiety by Changing Your Breathing
How to Overcome Anxiety with Grounding Techniques
FREE 5 Finger Qigong Anxiety Relief MP3 & Video
5 Natural Ways to Stop Anxiety & Calm Your Mind
How To Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Just 3 Minutes

 

Grounding Techniques & Further Resources:

Grounding Techniques "Make Like a Mountain" - article
How to Control Anxiety with Grounding Techniques - article
Grounding Techniques Video
Grounding Techniques audio downloads

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (8)

I love these tips. Most of them I've never tried before and I'm really looking forward to testing them out. I really like the sound of the bee idea. Sounds fascinating!

Positively Present

May 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPositively Present

Hello Positively Present,

Thanks for your comment. The bee breath is one of the sweetest little calm tricks I've ever tried. It's quick and easy to do, feels wonderful and kids can try it too.

Nice to see you hear again,
Ananga

May 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterAnanga

Thank you very much for this helpful article, Ananga! I was looking for anxiety relief strategies and came across your suggestions. Most of them I didn't know (and I've tried a lot!), so I'm really looking forward to trying them out.
P.S.: I've just downloaded some of your free audio meditations, too. Thank you so much for sharing them! :)
Michaela

Jun 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichaela

Michaela, I'm delighted to know you found this article useful, thanks for leaving me a comment and I hope you enjoy your meditations.

Jun 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterAnanga

What an incredible post! Very insightful. I will try these techniques as I used to get quite severe social anxiety. Its much improved now after self-confidence building, meditation and st johns wart!

Jul 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMikie

Mikie,

thanks for stopping by and commenting, I hope you find these techniques helpful when you come to try them out

Jul 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterAnanga

Can you write more articles about like this one ? really interested when i read this

Hello!

It was very interesting reading about how Almond Milk can help with insomnia, this is something I will have to try. In fact I found all your tips interesting. I find that Valerian is also beneficial towards relaxing before bedtime.

Trudy

Jan 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrudy

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