Natural Relief for Anxiety: How to Calm Your Fears 

By Val Silver

Do stressful anxious feelings keep you from enjoying life? Natural relief for anxiety strategies, herbs, and remedies can help you calm your fears so that you can enjoy new life experiences that come your way. 

Feeling anxious and fearful is normal when you are facing change and new situations, especially when its a big step outside your comfort zone, even if it's something you want. Your subconscious minds inherently does not like change, so anything new is perceived as a threat to your survival. The all too familiar feelings of distress are triggered in an attempt to keep you from moving forward. That may be good if you truly are putting yourself in danger. It is not so good when it keeps you from new experiences that can enrich your life. 

A little nervousness is not a bad thing. It heightens your awareness and signals your mind and body that you need to be on your game.

It shows you care and can motivate you to move forward or do a better job at something.

Sometimes, though,you may feel so anxious that you behave in unhealthy ways or avoid doing things you would like to do. Instead of working in your favor, your feelings shut you down and work against you. 

I am all too familiar with that, especially when it comes to public speaking.

Just the thought of getting in front of people would get my heart racing and my hands sweating. I see stars, hear pounding in my ears, lose my voice, and hyperventilate. Even though I have learned to manage my feelings, I still do not feel the level of enjoyment I would love to feel. I look experiencing that enjoyment in the future!

And I encourage you, too. Don't let your nerves get the best of you and limit your life. The more you put yourself out there, the more comfortable it gets. Today is a new day. Take control. Put these natural relief for anxiety cures into practice for more ease and and enhanced sense of inner freedom and enjoyment of life. 

natural relief for anxiety, yesterday is gone quote

Natural Relief for Anxiety Tips and Techniques

Anxiety natural remedies and tips seem deceptively simple and silly in light of your feelings of great distress. As with other relaxation techniques, don't be fooled by their simplicity. Give them a fair try before deciding whether they work for you or not. It takes time to retrain your system to respond in appropriate rather than exaggerated ways.

You will find that some suggestions are more useful as you anticipate an event while others are better in the moment. Use them to calm yourself instead of letting your stress response spiral beyond what you are capable of handling in a healthy way.

Note:  Seek assistance from a licensed health care provider for severe, chronic anxiety requiring medical attention. These natural relief for anxiety remedies are helpful for everyday anxious feelings. Ask your doctor about using them as complements to your treatment. Avoid herbs and supplements that interact negatively with your medications.

Anxiety Relief Techniques

Get grounded and keep your attention in the present moment.  Natural relief for anxiety begins in your head. Staying grounded and present will do much to keep anxious thoughts and feelings under control. There are several ways to accomplish this. Experiment and practice and see what works best for you.

It is the  projecting of your attention and energy into the unwanted past and future that gives them rise. The brain signals danger, obliteration, death, risk - run! Bringing your attention to the present keeps those feelings from accelerating.

For an illustration about how thoughts create anxiety, and how you can disarm and shift those thoughts, watch this video of Byron Katie with a woman fearful about her future.

When you stay present to your body and to the moment, (unless you are actually in danger), you remain calm or help yourself calm down. 

  • Mindful meditation helps you keep your focus on the here and now instead of the unknown future. You can practice being mindful whether you are sitting in meditation, eating supper, or taking a walk. The quickest meditation is to simply stop the ruminating. Literally tell yourself "Stop".  Then close your eyes, take a few slow, focused breaths, and feel your mind and body. Feel your feet rooted to the floor. Smile and give thanks that in the moment you are okay.
  • Meet your feelings with total acceptance.  Feeling nervous is a natural primal response when you feel threatened. Because we are no longer being chased by tigers, the brain finds other situations to alert on. Your predator alert has gone hyper. Tell yourself that's okay, you will help it refocus. It is not intended to scare you half to death in social situations as it does today. Ask how you can bring yourself more love and acceptance
  • Pay attention to your thoughts. What stories are you telling yourself? It is important to recognize them, write them down, and refute them with the truth. Thoughts are energy. They create your reality and influence your biochemistry. When you feel anxious, notice that you have left the present moment. Your thoughts are in the future as you imagine not having the personal and/or environmental resources you need for what you want.  Projecting negatively into the future uses the power of your mind and energy to create what you do not want.  
  • Release the anxious energy. Your large muscles are geared to run or fight by the burst of adrenaline that comes when your brain puts you on alert. To dissipate this energy quickly, you must do something physically demanding. Use those muscles -scrub the tub, jump up and down, shake your legs, walk briskly, or run up a few flights of stairs. Don't wait. Then take a few deep breaths from your diaphragm to signal your body to relax. This is natural relief for anxiety and distress exactly as nature intended.
  • Engage the voice of fear to relieve anxiety. When you find yourself imagining a negative future event, stop right away. Take three controlled breaths to relax. Engage with that voice of fear in a positive way. Thank it for alerting you.  But do not identify with it.  Stay present to your body and its feelings. Imagine putting the voice in one of your hands as if it were a small person. Let it talk itself out. Ask it questions. "What do you have to say?" Give it time and attention to be heard. Thank it for the lessons it has to teach you and how it wants to protect you. Perhaps you can ask it to help you in a more productive way. Listen to the wisdom of that voice. Learn about yourself and glean what you can to prepare and move forward, instead of holding yourself back. When used appropriately, defensive pessimism can be used to your advantage.
  • Repeat the above exercise by putting the positive voice in the other hand. Reflect and compare what each voice says. Use what you learned to determine your next steps.  
  • Focus on what you do want. Use the creative power of your mind to send your mental energy to what you want. Focus on your desired end result, not the perceived obstacles to getting there. Visualize and imagine AS IF you are feeling relaxed and happy meeting a new friend or going on a new adventure. Be open to other possible pathways that reveal themselves.  
  • Have hope. Believe. Release expectations. As much as possible, prepare yourself for the event. Access your internal and external resources. You may want to use your powerful imagination to float above the imagined scene and watch yourself perform in a positive way. When you feel competent, you are less likely to feel anxious. 
  • Ask yourself if you are really afraid or excited. Both emotions can feel like butterflies in your stomach. There is always some fear of the unknown with new and exciting things. Take a step forward. See which feeling predominates.
  • Ground yourself by focusing on your feet and the floor under your feet.  Imagine long, thick roots extending from your feet deep into the earth. When  people feel fearful they get too much in their heads or feel out of body. Grounding works as a natural relief for anxiety technique because it brings your awareness back into your body and the present moment.  
  • Play the naming game. Make this game a fun way to experience natural relief for anxiety. Look around the room and name everything and everybody you see until you are settled. I see a ___ and a ____. I see a ____. Don't rush. This game will help you ground and get present. Add the following step to this if you like.
  • Tap gently on your chest right above your heart. Use a nice slow steady thump-thump, thump-thump. Feel the space between yourself and what you see. Feel your body and yourself in your body. Feel your feet on the ground. You are in your body. You are separate from everything and everyone else. You are safe. As an alternative, tap on the indents right below your collarbone on one or both sides. These are the K-27 acupuncture points. 
  • Practice. Take small steps to prepare yourself for your upcoming event by bringing parts of the future event into the present. For example, I was terrified of driving a stick shift car. So, a week before I had to drive somewhere, I took the car out in the neighborhood and practiced where I felt safe. First I tackled flat roads and stop signs. Then a few extra stops and turns. Then a steep hill. Well, I never quite mastered those, but I can do them with a manageable amount of realistic fear of sliding back and hitting the car behind me. 
  • If you feel so anxious you can't think properly,  start by calming yourself using the technique I demonstrate in the following video. This video demonstrates one of my favorite natural relief for anxiety techniques to disable accelerating, crippling feelings fast. I think it works so well because it brings the mind out of the scary future and into the present where your power is. This technique saved me before a dreaded work evaluation. The panicky feeling was so bad that my heart was pounding and my vision was patchy.  Thankfully, I had enough presence of mind to run into the bathroom to do this anxiety relief technique. Within a minute I was much calmer and able to do my job well.

Other natural relief for anxiety techniques include:

  • A weighted blanket. Studies show that weighted blankets have a highly calming effect on the nervous system.  The physical pressure prompts the release of oxytocin and serotonin, which promote positive mood and relaxation. 

For best results, choose a blanket that more than 10% of your body weight. Position the blanket so that it evenly covers your whole body so that it provides even, constant pressure. If you suffer from insomnia thanks to a worried mind (or not), a weighted blanket can help you fall asleep easier and enjoy a better quality of sleep. 

  • EFT and/or other release techniques. When you begin to feel anxious, start tapping to calm down and gain perspective.  You may not even need words because you are already 'cued in'.  Later, when you have some time, work at getting to the core issues in order to neutralize the triggers. Seek professional assistance, if needed. 
  • Professional medical hypnosis audios can help you feel more prepared to face unpredictable situations with ease and to deal with performance anxiety. 

Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Note: Always check with your physician or pharmacist before using herbs and supplements when you feel anxious. While generally safe, they can negatively interact with your medications. 

Choose anxiety herbs that address your specific needs.

Nature provides natural relief for anxiety through the use of plants and their compounds. Choose anxiety herbs that address your symptoms and needs. Some herbs that have been shown to reduce anxious feelings include:

  • Echinacea angustifolia showed similar results to chlordiazepoxide without the negative side effects in a clinical study. Volunteers with mild anxiety took a  20 mg tablet twice a day for one week.  Echinacea has been shown to be safe for children. (study published in Phytotherapy Research)
  • Kava kava is especially helpful if you feel anxious in social situations. It stimulates dopamine receptors and induces feelings of euphoria to boost mood and reduce anxiety. A randomized controlled trial found that Kava kava is useful as a first-line therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. 
  • Valerian root increases levels of GABA in the brain. GABA is an amino acid that helps relax muscles and decrease anxiety in the nervous system.
  • Ashwagandha has been shown to be just as effective as certain medications for easing anxiety in some research studies. The average dose is 450 mg taken twice daily. It takes around a week or two to begin noticing results.
  • Calming teas and herbs  provide natural relief for anxiety and other types of stress. These are generally best for times when you feel worried, not for severe clinical anxiety.
  • Essential oils  are pleasurable, comforting natural remedies for anxiety.  Enjoy a deep sniff of lavender, Roman chamomile, bergamot, rose, or frankincense  to soothe your nerves and take the edge off.
  • Homeopathic aconite can help with anxious feelings following a trauma or fright. It is helpful if your symptoms include hot, sweaty palms, red face, weak limb, restlessness, fears, phobic feelings, startling easily and sensitivity to atmospheric changes.

Choose helpful supplements for anxiety

A lack of vitamins and minerals in your body can cause a variety of unpleasant mood symptoms.  Common deficiencies include B-vitamins, Omega 3 oil, magnesium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will provide your body with many of these nutrients. 

L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has been shown to have a soothing effect on moods. The average dose is 200 mg taken once daily.

Probiotics can provide natural relief for anxiety and may be exactly what you need, especially if your symptoms started after you were on a round of antibiotics.  If you suffer from an anxiety or mood disorder, new research shows that two probiotic organisms provide natural relief for anxiety. Study volunteers reported 50% reductions in depression, stress, and anxiety after 30 days use of a combination of Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175. These two probiotics are  specifically formulated for mental health. If this seems too good to be true, remember that your gut is your "second brain" and home to trillions of microorganisms that profoundly affect your body and communicate with it.  (Gut Microbes 2011;2(4) 2516-261)

Prebiotic GOS has also been studied to help with anxiety. It feeds good gut bacteria to promote a healthy microbiome.

Summary of Natural Relief for Anxiety

Feeling nervous about new situations is a normal response to the unknown. Feeling intense anxious feelings about upcoming events or trying something new comes from brain chemistry and your thoughts putting fears into overdrive. Like any kind of distress, feeling panicked is an inside job. Therefore, long-lasting natural relief for anxiety often comes from inside you. As you do the inner work on yourself, and faithfully practice techniques for relieving anxiety, those feelings will loosen their hold on you. For when you need a little extra support, calming herbs and supplements can help.

For additional support, visit the Natural Stress Relief Guide for a wealth of information about the effects of stress and how to disarm it. 

For a comprehensive natural anxiety relief plan, check out the seven step recovery plan.

If your fears and anxious feelings are compromising your overall quality of life and mental well-being, please seek medical attention. 

Source: Kava for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (K-GAD): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.

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Natural Relief for Anxiety page updated 12/2020

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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