Natural ways to alleviate anxiety

No one is immune to anxiety, which can be triggered by a number of factors. Many people who deal with anxiety can trace their episodes to family, finances or work, but other circumstances, including personal health or even fear of traveling, can lead to anxiety that’s difficult to manage.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting roughly 40 million adults age 18 and older. Anxiety is a significant issue in Canada as well, where the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada reports that such disorders are the most prevalent mental illness affecting Canadian adults.

While many rely on prescription medication to treat their anxiety, those suffering from anxiety disorders may want to discuss natural alternatives to such medications with their physicians. The following are some natural ways to treat anxiety that may help anxiety sufferers deal with their disorder without the need for medication.

* Chamomile: An ancient medicinal herb, chamomile is experiencing a resurgence of sorts. The dried flowers of chamomile contain many terpenoids and flavonoids that increase its medicinal properties. In fact, a study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center that examined the efficacy of chamomile at treating generalized anxiety disorder found that patients who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks experienced a significant decrease in their symptoms compared to those given a placebo. Chamomile tea has grown increasingly popular in recent years, but those suffering from anxiety may want to discuss with their doctors chamomile supplements as a means to treating their anxiety.

* Valerian: Used to treat insomnia, valerian is a sedative herb that is best taken at night. Some people drink valerian tea to reduce their anxiety, but the aroma of valerian tea can be unpleasant. If that aroma is simply too pungent, valerian can be taken as a capsule or tincture. But valerian should really only be taken at night thanks to its sedative compounds.

* Exercise: Treating anxiety does not necessarily have to involve putting something into your body. Exercise can be an effective antidote to anxiety, especially for those people whose anxiety can be traced to their concerns about their long-term health. Regular exercise improves mood and supports long-term health, and for some anxiety sufferers that’s enough to alleviate their condition. Even a relatively short 30-minute daily workout can be very effective at treating anxiety.

* Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can benefit the body in a variety of ways. Though most widely associated with promoting cardiovascular health, omega-3 fatty acids also have been linked to alleviating anxiety. In a 2011 study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, students who received omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids before an exam experienced a 20 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms over those who received a placebo. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon and other oily, coldwater fishes. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements also are available, but men and women should discuss such supplements and any potential side effects with their physicians before taking anything.

Anxiety is a significant concern for millions of people across the globe. But those suffering from anxiety may be able to treat their conditions naturally.

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