Is worry your constant companion? Does anxiety wreck havoc on your blood pressure? You could be forgiven for thinking stress and anxiety are bound to be a part of our lives in today hectic, success-oriented world. But this needn’t be the case. By doing the right things with our bodies and minds through a few simple home remedies, anxiety can be a thing of the past in our experience.
Though there are several herbal remedies for anxiety such as Chamomile, green tea (L-theanine), Valerian, Cystine and lemon balm, there are several things you can do without resorting to any sort of herbs or drugs. A few simple changes in lifestyle are all it takes. Let’s take a look at 13 natural remedies for anxiety that can easily be made a part of your daily routine.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety: Yoga and Meditation
There is large body of research that shows how hatha yoga and meditation can benefit us greatly by increasing productivity, reducing stress levels and eliminating depression. Depression and anxiety relief are handled on three levels in yoga – the body, the mind and the energies. The word “yoga” essentially means union – to move towards an experiential reality where one knows the ultimate nature of the existence. If the realization that we are all one becomes an experiential reality and not an intellectual concept, it brings forth a tremendous transformation in us, and we become joyful.
Depression can never exist in a blissful being. Yoga and meditation are essentially methods to create blissfulness within us. They help us see that the source of joy is within and give us keys to take charge of it. Then, life turns blissful. If the necessary balance and vibrancy is brought about in the physical, mental and energy bodies, to be blissful becomes natural.
#1 Isha Kriya
So let’s get started. Below is the Isha Kriya guided meditation, created by yogi and mystic Sadhguru. It is a simple process that takes only 12 minutes to complete. The video below includes an intro to the meditation to help you understand the process, and is followed by the actual meditation. Your first time through the practice will take 18 minutes. From there on, you can do it by yourself and time it out between 12 and 18 minutes as is convenient for you.
Isha Kriya is a process through which every dimension of your life – the way you perceive and express yourself will change. You no longer have vested interests. Whether you do something or not, whether you gain something or not, you remain joyous, says Sadhguru. There is no anxiety in your actions. You just do your best. If we seek to have an impact on the world and transform situations around us, it is of utmost importance that we transform ourselves into joyous beings. Otherwise, nothing of much significance is going to come out of us.
#2 Sacred Chants
Sound can have a phenomenal healing effect on the body, especially when they are arranged into certain patterns known as chants or mantras. One such powerful chant is “Brahmananda Swarupa.” It was created to ensure a peasant inner situation for a human being. The chant essentially translates to: “This whole existence is an image of the ecstasy of the creator”. It is a consecrated mantra, which when chanted regularly, enables a person to be still and at the same time, retain the liveliness of life. A chant can either be used as a key or a raiment, and if Brahmananda Swarupa is chanted with involvement, gradually, this sound turns into a protective wrap. Eventually, you yourself become the mantra. The chant is available as part of the “Vairagya” album by “Sounds of Isha” and can be downloaded for free. If it is possible to keep to yourself for a day or two and just chant throughout the day – it can definitely make a big difference.
What is Anxiety?
Let’s briefly understand what anxiety is before we go forward. Anxiety is usually one’s concern over a future outcome. More often than not, this concern is a result of uncertainty about the result or outcome. No situation is ever 100% in our hands, and as the ambit of our activity grows, so does the uncertainty. But there are two factors (on a broad level) that determine results. One is the vagaries of external influences, which are seldom in our hands. But the second factor, which is entirely in our hands, is the extent of our efforts towards achieving that objective. The more unprepared we are, the more anxious we will be. In a way, anxiety is a consequence. If we need to get something done that produces good results, we must work towards it with competence and dedication.
The two fundamental ingredients necessary for any activity to be successful are a healthy physical body and an unprejudiced, nimble mind. One should be able to utilize them to their fullest potential. If this has to happen, one must be joyful by his or her own nature, which means we should not be an “issue” in our own life. If the “I” itself is an issue, everything turns out to be a problem. Once we handle the “I”, we can deal with outside situations with absolute freedom.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety: The Right Attitude
Before we try to remedy the problem, it is very important that we create the right kind of attitude and mental focus towards solving it. Here are a few tips to help create the right ambiance in one’s life to eliminate anxiousness.
#3 Stop Making it a Habit
I hate to say it, but too many individuals form a habit out of depression and stress. This starts right from childhood, when we are frequently rewarded for sickness! We fall sick, and our parents fuss over us. But the minute we are okay and running around screaming with joy, they tell us to stop being a nuisance!
Don’t make the same mistake with your kids. If a child is sick, observe him from a distance and refrain from cuddling him. He knows that he is passing through a bad phase in life. He also knows that he has to get well soon. Instead of running to his beck and call when he is ill, give him the best attention when he is joyful. Gradually, he would have learned the lesson, his very chemistry would tell him that “it pays to be joyful; it doesn’t pay to be sick.”
70% of illnesses on the planet are chronic, which essentially means they are created within our own bodies. Even in case of infections, if we keep ourselves in a certain way physically and mentally, the virus and bacteria will not have the same devastating effect that it had on someone else. If we can convince ourselves that, “It doesn’t matter what the drawback is, I will continue to do what I am supposed to do,” the body bounces back into normalcy as fast as possible, even if it had been down with the worst kind of infection.
#4 Make a Firm Decision Not To Be Anxious
Anxiety creates a situation where we ourselves become an issue unto ourselves. This is a fundamental reason why most people create anxiety and distress within themselves. In the United States, which is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, 70% of people, adults and kids, are on at least one prescription drug. One in ten are on anti-depressant medication. When we are in such a situation, trying to handle some calamity will only result in a hundred new issues. This is happening all around the world today – in international relations, within the family and within ourselves.
We are generating thoughts and emotions that work against us and not “for us”. While passing through a difficult situation in life, we should be able to pass through it in a pleasant way. Only then will the mind work in our favor. And pleasantness fundamentally comes from within us. So first, create a strong intention towards being peasant within yourself.
#5 Make Situations into Stepping-stones not Hurdles
We say a person is depressed when his energies are “low.” Fundamentally, he expected something to happen and it did not happen the way he wanted it to happen. This could turn him against a person, against a whole situation or even against life itself and depression sets in. We ought to have the ability to accept things as they are and utilize whatever experience we are passing through for our own wellbeing. Each experience should be a lesson for us and as we pull out of it, we should have turned more mature and wise. This is the fundamental choice we can make: we can turn every situation into a wound or to turn wise.
#6 Stop Craving Attention
Depression makes a person cynical and it is deeply self-damaging. Whether he does it consciously or not, he is actually sharpening his knife in order to pierce it into his own heart, bit by bit. He bleeds and now he wants others to see that he is bleeding. By and large, he is doing it to gain sympathy. Normal sympathy is not sufficient for him; he expects the people around him to bleed along with him.
We throw tantrums; we get angry and think that it’s a privilege to get depressed. The reality is that we crave for attention. If one keeps on playing this game, a day might come when he or she will be unable to turn back. And on that day, this person will be clinically declared ‘mentally ill’, because the line between sanity and insanity is quite thin.
#7 Get Your Perspective Right
Every single one of our action springs from an aspiration to be happy. So why is it that some actions turn around and bite us! Fundamentally, the issue is a matter of perspective. The whole creation is happening wonderfully well but just one thought or emotion within us can destroy everything. We no longer see the beauty of the world; we are wallowing deep within our thoughts. One should understand that what we call “my mind” is just society’s garbage bin. Anyone and everyone who passes by him, stuffs something into his head, which seeps out as thoughts and emotions.
#8 Be The Boss!
If we look back at our lives and see, the most beautiful moments in life were moments when we were expressing our joy, not when we were seeking it. We should try to love and be compassionate to the people around us and appreciate the fact that we are very much alive to enjoy this world and its people today. The quality of our life is not determined by the clothes that we wear, our educational qualifications, the family background or the bank balances. It depends upon how peaceful and joyous we are within ourselves. All those people who depend on external situations to be happy, will never know true joy in their lives. True wellbeing will take place only if our interiority changes.
For that, yoga and meditation are the best solutions. Right now, our mind is the boss and we are slaves. We need to reverse the situation. As a slave, the mind is wonderful – it is a miraculous slave. For that, we have to be meditative. If we keep the body still, the mind will slowly start collapsing and be meditative and become our slave. Regular yoga facilitates that.
Stress seems almost inevitable in today’s fast-paced world, but actually it isn’t. By keeping our minds and bodies at peak physical condition, we can eliminate stress completely. Meditation is one easy way to ensure this. Isha Kriya is a great meditative practice that takes about 12 to 18 minutes. The simple practice is offered in 12 different languages and has the potential to transform one’s life. Plus it’s free!
Natural Remedies for Anxiety: Eating Right
#9 Choose the Right Food
Even food plays a great part in bringing down stress. Unless your workday involves a great amount of physical activity, fresh, vegetarian food is the best option for a lively body and stress-free mind. Try different varieties of food and see what suits you. You will notice that the food that gives you the most energy is fresh raw food, because it retains the most life energy or what is known as prana in yoga. If your body feels good and active after consumption, then that food is suitable for you. If you can allocate thirty to forty percent of your diet to uncooked live food, like, sprouts, fruits and vegetables, it will be extremely beneficial.
#10 Eating with Gratefulness
Food makes man. Other life forms are giving up their lives to sustain our life. So if we can consume food with that awareness and be grateful for every morsel of food, it can only have positive effect on us, the food will see to it that we remain agile, alert and lively throughout the day.
#11 Preparing and Consuming Food
There are some do’s and do not’s to follow while cooking and consuming food. Don’t overcook. Avoid cutting fresh foods like fruits and vegetables well in advance, as they will quickly begin to lose their positive benefits once cut. Chew your food properly, 30% of digestion happens with saliva. If your food is pre-digested in your mouth before reaching the stomach, it will cause less dullness.
#12 Eat Only As Much is Necessary
The older you get, the fewer number of meals you need. When you’re focused on your food, especially if you can eat in silence, you may feel more connected with your food, your body will absorb the food better, and you need less food.
#13 Foods to Avoid
Sugar: Refined sugar isn’t a healthy option. Sugar was used raw and unrefined, and was taken by boiling and clarifying sugarcane juice. This was jaggery, the sweetener used in the old days. Today, however, industrial refinement removes almost all vitamins and minerals, leaving a chemically dangerous concoction. Even among jaggery, it is best to choose the darker, and in fact uglier jaggery, since this is the least refined of all that are available.
Honey is another important constituent of a healthy diet, and there are many health benefits of honey. Be warned though, you shouldn’t take it if you are diabetic.
Milk: Avoid it. Only three-year-olds and below are capable of digesting milk. Lactose intolerance isn’t an illness, it is the norm and it exists for a reason – because adults aren’t really meant to consume milk. Undigested milk causes mucous and lethargy in the body.
Whole grains: Brown rice, whole wheat, pearl millet and finger millet are extremely healthy and often cheaper options than regular foods. Similarly, lentils, horsegram and pulses are important constituents of a healthy diet.
Tea & Coffee: Tea and coffee create unnecessary stimulaton of the nervous system and can lead to a reduced vitality in the body and energy levels in general. This can make you irritable and more liable to depression and anxiety. Drink a Ashgourd (winter melon) juice in the morning to perk yourself up and feel energetic. If you are prone to colds, add some pepper to the juice. Another option is lemon or herbal teas.
More than anything, eat joyously. Be conscious of the other lives that are willing to be a part of you, to merge and mingle with your own life and become you. That awareness of oneness is the true joy in eating.