Natural Ways to Reduce Anxiety


Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Michael

Are you feeling more anxious than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs? Do you find yourself constantly worrying about everything from global warming to whether or not you left the stove on? Well, put down that bottle of Xanax and get ready to explore some natural ways to reduce anxiety that are so effective, you’ll be as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce.

Hug a Tree (Or Just Get Outside)

Mother Nature is like a free therapist, except she doesn’t judge you for wearing the same sweatpants three days in a row. Studies have shown that spending time outside can work wonders for reducing anxiety and stress.

  • Go for a walk in the park and try to identify all the different types of birds (bonus points if you can do it without looking like a crazy person)
  • Take a hike in the woods and hug a tree (just make sure it’s not poison ivy)
  • Have a picnic in your backyard and watch the clouds go by (and maybe contemplate the meaning of life while you’re at it)

Just remember to wear sunscreen and watch out for bears. Nothing ruins a relaxing day in nature like a surprise encounter with a hungry grizzly.

Get Your Downward Dog On

Yoga is like a pretzel-twisting, stress-busting superhero. Not only does it help improve flexibility and strength, but it also has some serious anxiety-reducing powers.

  • Take a yoga class and try not to laugh when the instructor tells you to “embrace your inner goddess”
  • Practice yoga at home with the help of a YouTube video (just make sure to lock the door so no one catches you in compromising positions)
  • Join a yoga retreat and spend a week in the mountains, communing with nature and eating nothing but kale (okay, maybe that last part sounds more stressful than relaxing)

If you’re not into the whole “namaste” thing, don’t worry. Even just a few simple stretches can help calm your mind and reduce anxiety. Plus, you’ll be able to impress your friends with your newfound ability to touch your toes (or at least get close).

Get Your Giggle On

Laughter is like a natural Valium, minus the potential for addiction and embarrassing social media posts. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which are like little happy pills for your brain.

  • Watch a funny movie or TV show (but maybe skip the news, unless you find global pandemics and political scandals hilarious)
  • Hang out with your funniest friend and try not to snort-laugh in public
  • Take an improv comedy class and learn how to turn your anxiety into hilarious one-liners

Just be careful not to laugh too hard, or you might end up with a case of the hiccups (which, let’s be honest, is just another thing to be anxious about).

Get Your Om On

Meditation is like a mental vacation, except you don’t have to deal with lost luggage or sunburn. By focusing your mind on the present moment, you can reduce anxiety and find inner peace (or at least a few minutes of quiet).

Find a quiet spot and sit in a comfortable position (but not too comfortable, or you might fall asleep) Close your eyes and focus on your breath (and try not to think about that embarrassing thing you said in high school) If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your breath (and resist the urge to mentally plan your grocery list)

If traditional meditation isn’t your thing, try a guided meditation app or even just take a few deep breaths throughout the day. Every little bit helps when it comes to reducing anxiety.

Pump Some Iron (Or Just Move Your Body)

Exercise is like a magic potion for anxiety. When you get your heart rate up, your body releases endorphins (those happy little brain chemicals we talked about earlier) and reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

Join a gym and try not to feel intimidated by all the grunting meatheads Take a dance class and channel your inner Beyoncé (or at least your inner awkward middle school dancer) Go for a run and pretend you’re being chased by zombies (okay, maybe that’s not the most relaxing scenario)

If you’re not into the whole “sweating profusely” thing, don’t worry. Even just a brisk walk around the block can help reduce anxiety and clear your mind. Plus, you might even meet some cute dogs along the way (and who doesn’t love a good dog-petting session?).

Get Your Snuggle On

Physical touch is like a warm, fuzzy blanket for your anxious mind. When you hug someone or snuggle up with a pet, your body releases oxytocin, which is known as the “cuddle hormone” (and no, that’s not just something we made up).

Hug a friend or family member (but maybe ask for consent first, because unexpected hugs can be a little creepy) Cuddle with your pet (but watch out for sharp claws and overenthusiastic tail wagging) Get a massage (and try not to drool on the massage table)

If you don’t have anyone to hug or a pet to cuddle with, don’t worry. Even just wrapping yourself up in a cozy blanket or taking a warm bath can help reduce anxiety and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Get Your Zzz’s On

Sleep is like a magic eraser for anxiety. When you’re well-rested, you’re better equipped to handle stress and cope with whatever life throws your way (even if it’s a curveball in the form of a forgotten dentist appointment).

  • Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night (or more if you’re a teenage vampire)
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine, like reading a book or taking a warm bath (but maybe skip the horror novels and cold showers)
  • Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet (and maybe invest in some earplugs if your neighbor’s dog likes to bark all night)

If you have trouble falling asleep, try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation (which is just a fancy way of saying “tense and release your muscles one by one”). And if all else fails, just count sheep (or maybe count backwards from 100, because who has time to imagine that many sheep?).

Eat Your Way to Calm

What you eat can have a big impact on your anxiety levels. While it may be tempting to drown your sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, there are some foods that are actually good for reducing anxiety.

  • Munch on some almonds, which are rich in magnesium (a natural muscle relaxant)
  • Snack on some blueberries, which are packed with antioxidants (and also make your tongue turn blue, which is just fun)
  • Sip on some chamomile tea, which has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation (and also makes you feel like a fancy British aristocrat)

On the flip side, there are some foods that can actually make anxiety worse, like caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. So maybe think twice before downing that third cup of coffee or reaching for that second (or third) donut.

Get Your Art On

Creating art is like a mini-vacation for your anxious mind. When you’re focused on drawing, painting, or sculpting, you’re not thinking about all the things that are stressing you out (like that pile of laundry that’s been sitting in the corner for a week).

Take a painting class and pretend you’re the next Picasso (or at least the next Bob Ross) Doodle in a sketchbook and let your mind wander (but maybe avoid drawing your boss as a fire-breathing dragon, unless you’re looking for a new job) Try your hand at pottery and channel your inner Demi Moore (but maybe skip the ghost-themed soundtrack)

You don’t have to be a professional artist to reap the anxiety-reducing benefits of creating art. Even just coloring in an adult coloring book (yes, that’s a real thing) can help calm your mind and reduce stress. Plus, you’ll have some sweet new art to hang on your fridge.

Get Your Gratitude On

Practicing gratitude is like a mental shift that can help reduce anxiety and increase happiness. When you focus on the things you’re thankful for, it’s harder to dwell on the things that are stressing you out.

  • Start a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re thankful for each day (even if it’s just “coffee, Netflix, and my cat”)
  • Write thank-you notes to the people in your life who make you feel loved and supported (and maybe slip in a Starbucks gift card while you’re at it)
  • Take a moment each day to appreciate the little things, like a beautiful sunset or a really good slice of pizza

Gratitude is like a muscle – the more you practice it, the stronger it gets. So make it a daily habit to focus on the positive, and watch your anxiety levels start to diminish (and your happiness levels start to soar).

The Bottom Line

Anxiety is like a pesky mosquito that won’t stop buzzing in your ear – it’s annoying, uncomfortable, and can really ruin your day. But with these natural anxiety-reducing techniques, you can swat that mosquito away and find some inner peace (or at least a few moments of calm in the chaos of life).

So go ahead and give them a try – hug a tree, giggle with a friend, or eat your way to calm. And remember, if all else fails, there’s always Netflix and chill (just maybe not in the way that phrase is usually used). Happy anxiety-busting, folks!

Michael

I'm a human being. Usually hungry. I don't have lice.

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