Anxiety can be very difficult to deal with. It is often not fully understood by people without anxiety. Taking a few steps can alleviate your systems of anxiety.
Difficulty in Falling Sleep
Anyone who has anxiety knows how difficult sleep can be during bedtimes, thus making the anxiety worse. Ensuring you have a good nights sleep will help with anxiety and a lot of other issues.
Avoiding caffeine or late-night meals, only using your room for sleeping, and having a comfortable bed will help greatly in getting a good nights sleep. Sleeping well and feeling refreshed is a huge step in curbing anxiety problems.
Avoid caffeine completely. If you have anxiety, caffeine is best to be avoided completely. This acts as a stimulant and speeds up the thought process and brain in general. If you have anxiety, you basically want the opposite of that. If you enjoy the coffee you can switch to decaf, or better yet, try some natural teas.
Tea also contains caffeine but in much lower amounts. It would also be a good idea to avoid other drugs or even alcohol, as these are also known to increase anxiety levels.
Exercise is a Great Remedy
Exercise is one of the most natural and healthy ways to alleviate symptoms of anxiety. A lot of people with anxiety have excess energy. If you can use the energy in a healthy and productive way, you are taking a huge step in taking control of your anxiety. Not only does it keep you busy and burn extra energy, but exercise will also help you in having a better nights sleep.
To curb your anxiety short and long term looking into breathing exercises is a great idea. When you can master this, you will almost certainly be able to control your anxiety. When you practice a breathing exercise, you are basically trying to reset your mind and get control of your thoughts again.
Even doing this once every hour, for just a minute or two will help tremendously. You can create your own exercise, it does not even have to be breathing, maybe just a simple walk around the block every couple of hours.
Avoiding stressful situations can be a great proactive way of avoiding anxiety problems from even manifesting. Certain people or tasks can be very aggravating to an anxious person.
When you need to go somewhere, looking into public transportation or alternative options can be helpful, as a stressful commute can raise your anxiety level for the whole day, and it can stay there.
Top-10 Depression Supplements, Herbal Remedies, Minerals and Amino Acids
Watch any show on television today and you will likely see some commercial “pushing” the latest drug to treat virtually any mental or physical ailment including depression. Face it, most hospitals and drug companies do not want a healthy world.
They need and rely on you to have a prescription filled in order to keep themselves rich and their companies mega-profitable. They’re usually not interested in curing your depression, only diagnosing and placing a band-aid on your symptoms.
The good news is that there are quite a few proven natural alternative remedies for depression management. In fact studies have shown many of these ‘alternatives’ do work as well (or even better) than their laboratory-produced cousins.
Though herbs and supplements ultimately suffer from the same criticism as drugs — only able to treat the symptoms and not the cause of depression, they have several key advantages.
These include affordability (especially if you find doctor visits/drugs too expensive), availability (found most places where vitamins are sold), little or lower risk of dependence, and best of all — a lack of side effects.
Born from years of personal experience and due diligence, I have compiled my list of top-10 natural herbs and supplements to best and most effectively help a person cope with their symptoms of mild to moderate feelings of depression. Here they are:
The Top-5 Natural Depression Remedies
#1) St. John’s Wort (herbal remedy)
Administered and well-documented for thousands of years as a natural herbal remedy for low moods and mild to moderate depression management, St. John’s Wort has recently made a modern-era popularity comeback in both the holistic health community and in the mainstream public consciousness. In fact, it is the natural choice for many millions living with depression worldwide.
Though many in the west are skeptical to the effectiveness of herbs as medicine, it should be noted that there is enough evidence to show that St. John’s Wort does work wonders for many people confronting their ongoing feelings of depression. So much so that many European countries have banned it from store shelves and now offer it only through a doctor’s prescription.
Affordable and readily available in most places where vitamins are sold (in the USA), the benefits of taking St. John’s Wort greatly outweigh the negative. Depending on the brand, store, or if it’s on sale, effective daily treatment may only set you back as low as 30 U.S. cents per day.
There are few (if any) side effects for most people — even at very high dosages. It is not physically addictive and can be taken safely over a long period of time.
The only real drawback about St. John’s Wort is that it will not provide immediate relief. This may be a deterrent for depressed individuals seeking an answer to their low moods right now. This herb accumulates in the body over time, and for depression management, a patient may not notice any positive effects for 4 to 8 weeks. But with patience, a hefty daily dose may be enough to eventually lift you out of the doldrums.
With its low risk and low cost, I would highly recommend anyone suffering from endless feelings of depression to ‘at least’ give St. John’s Wort a try for a two-month trial.
#2) SAM-e (amino acid, supplement)
Though available by prescription in Europe for many decades, one of the more recent mood-enhancing supplements gaining popularity in North America is SAM-e. In fact, you can legally purchase SAM-e in the USA in most places where vitamins are sold.
Though rather expensive for a supplement (starting at over $2/day) this best-seller has few side effects and not only does it appear to benefit depression management, it may also reduce arthritis and improve overall health.
For mild to moderate depression, its effects can be noticed in just a few days.
NOTE: Do not use SAM-e as a treatment for bipolar disorder.
#3) 5-htp (amino acid, supplement)
For more immediate mood boosts (as in “minutes” — not days, weeks or months), the serotonin-boosting 5-HTP supplement may be the answer. Since the correct dosage and effects vary greatly from person-to-person, you should take 5-HTP cautiously at first (adhering to the recommended dose suggestion on the package).
Mood-lifting changes from taking 5-HTP are usually felt within 15-30 minutes after ingestion and last for several hours. In my opinion, 5-HTP is best used as needed for temporary alleviation of low-moods (keep a bottle handy and take whenever you sense your feelings of depression escalating).
For some people, an added benefit of 5-htp is its ability to combat sleeplessness.
NOTE: Long-term daily use of 5-HTP is not recommended since a physical dependence may ensue. In addition, taking too much 5-HTP may result in nervousness or euphoria for some — therefore do not exceed the recommended dose as stated on the package.
#4) Kava Kava (herbal remedy)
Banned in many parts of the world (not in the USA) due to its potential for intoxication-like effects and possible liver damage (which is disputed by many), you can be assured that Kava Kava can pack a punch!
If it weren’t for Kava Kava’s horrible taste, expense, time of preparation, and lack of immediate availability (hard to find locally — usually available through internet orders only), Kava Kava would actually be ranked higher in this depression management list, especially for temporary relief of low-moods.
The roots of this plant, grown natively primarily in Polynesian countries (also farmed in Hawaii), have been used for centuries by local villagers as the social beverage of choice to unwind naturally. The effects of Kava Kava are best described as similar to an alcohol buzz minus the dizziness.
Tasting like “liquid mud” or “mud juice,” this horrible, yet ‘acquired’ taste is not for the faint of heart. To prepare this concoction, you’ll need a blender, some time, special cloth and a willingness and expectation of getting your kitchen messy. There are plenty of places on the internet that discuss proper preparation techniques so I won’t delve into that here. NOTE: For more money, you can order pre-mixed Kava Kava concoctions.
#5) L-Tyrosine (amino acid, supplement)
Though lack of serotonin in the brain accounts as a chief chemical reason for many people’s depression symptoms, there are two other notable mood-enhancing chemicals in your brain — those being norepinephrine and dopamine. For a smaller percentage of patients, lack of these chemicals may be a main or contributing factor for their feelings of depression.
The amino acid L-Tyrosine helps boosts the production of both norepinephrine and dopamine. Mood-enhancing effects of l-tyrosine may not be noticed immediately but over time. Side effects appear to be minimal, even at the elevated dosages required for effective depression management. One pleasant side effect, however, maybe a boost in concentration, focus, and mental stamina.
Other notable Natural Depression Remedies
#6) Magnesium (mineral, supplement)
This under-rated inexpensive and readily available mineral supplement can help a myriad of problems including insomnia, anxiety, and feelings of depression. For those living with depression, daily use of Magnesium may boost brain serotonin levels — a key chemical usually produced naturally in the brain, but lacking in people suffering with low moods. A small percentage of the population is “magnesium deficient.” For these people, adding Magnesium may have a profoundly positive effect on their depression symptoms.
If your depression includes bouts of alcohol abuse, taking extra Magnesium during these times may help ward off negative bodily reactions.
NOTE: Other minerals, such as Potassium and Calcium can also be used to aid depression.
#7) Omega-3 fish oil has recently been linked to good overall body and brain health, therefore an excellent complement to other natural depression med alternatives. Omega-3 is best consumed naturally in the form of food by eating tuna, sardines, trout, halibut, and mackerel. It can also be bought in supplement form.
#8) All B vitamins are known to help calm a body’s nervous system, especially B-6, B-12, and folic acid. B vitamins are an excellent choice for those suffering from anxiety and/or living with depression. If you’re overwhelmed at the vitamin aisle, consider purchasing something called “B Complex” formula. Basically, B-Complex is a combination of several B-vitamins all mixed into a single pill.
#9) DHEA may help support older adults and elderly living with depression. DHEA is said to revitalize mind and body as we grow older, boosting mental will, stamina, and physical health. DHEA may not by itself directly improve depression, but by making you feel better about yourself as you age, it may provide an indirect “fountain of youth” feel-better effect.
#10) If you’re depressed and have been diagnosed with low thyroid function (hypothyroidism), iodine or sea kelp (both essentially the same thing) may improve feelings of lethargy and improve overall bodily energy. NOTE: Do not take more than the recommended dosage, which could result in worse thyroid function.
Herbs and other supplements can effectively be used to treat both long-term depression and short-term low moods. It appears that none of the supplements or herbs mentioned here can, by themselves, effectively treat severe depression, but many can effectively combat mild to moderate forms of the disease. Most of these are affordable and make a great alternative or complement to traditional prescription drugs, especially if you don’t have or cannot afford health insurance.
DISCLAIMER: Due to individual circumstances — such as age, health, and personal tolerance, I have refrained from recommending suggested dosages in this article. When in doubt consult with your doctor. Before purchasing and/or experimenting with these ‘so-called’ natural remedies for depression, please take time to do your own proper research and due diligence on the natural substance(s) of choice.