If you suffer from anxiety and have been trying to treat it the natural way, you've likely been told to exercise, eat well, and try meditating. However, there are a number of other weird natural remedies for anxiety that actually work that you may not have heard of. They might sound a little off-beat, but science has found that these odd tricks can actually benefit your health. And since they're all-natural, there's no harm in trying them out, even if they seem a little far fetched.
"The most natural approach is the best approach for several reasons, the most important of which is that medications have side effects," says psychotherapist Laurel Steinberg, PhD over email. " I also like people to feel that they can be in control of their mental health without having to rely on medications."
Ever person is different, and if medication works best for you, it's totally OK to stick to your routine; it's important to emphasize how key it is to work with professionals to find what works for you and stick to it. Plus, you can always supplement your treatment with some of these natural solutions. If you are trying to take the more natural route or want to add more anxiety-reducing habits into your life, consider these nine weird natural remedies for anxiety that actually work, according to science.
1. Sniffing Lavender
Get yourself a candle or burn some lavender incense. Multiple studies show that the scent of lavender can help stabilize mood as well as reduce anxiety. "The part of the brain that helps you to process smell is also the part of the brain that helps remember emotion and memory," says psychologist Dr. Ganz Ferrance over email. "Smell can illicit a range of emotions, so use aromatherapy in a positive way."
2. Eating Frequently
If you go for long times without eating, then your blood sugar drops, and low blood sugar can cause anxiety and panic attacks, according to Psych Central. "It doesn't mean to go out an eat a bunch of candy bars, but just feed your body with the right things that will serve its function to protect you," says Ferrance. "This calms the nervous system and gives it a sense of satisfaction."
3. Having Sex
That's right — time to get freaky. "Having an orgasm is one of the fastest, natural ways to increase dopamine and serotonin within your system," says psychotherapist Jennifer Weaver-Breitenbecher LMHC, CRC over email. "While these neurotransmitters are often associated with mood disorders, we tend to notice decreased symptoms of anxiety when they are increased within us."
Dancing, like most exercise in general, increases the feel-good neurotransmitters within our systems, resulting in fewer feelings of anxiety. "In addition, dancing usually requires us to listen to the beat or focus on the lyrics, rendering us pretty mindful and in the moment," says Weaver-Breitenbecher. "When we’re in the current moment, it’s hard for us to worry about the past or the future."
5. Pushing Up Against A Wall
This one's extra bizarre: Push your hands against a wall as if you’re trying to break through it, and then release. "This works the same way a hug does: You provide quick and concise pressure on the body and then release," says Weaver-Breitenbecher. "This quick release of pressure often makes us feel more relaxed."
6. Taking A Warm Shower Or Bath
Hot water helps to relax your body, which can in turn relax your mind. "This can be very soothing and relaxing to the muscles, as is drinking a warm beverage, such as chamomile or mint tea," says Steinberg.
7. Listening To Some Binaural Frequency Music
Search for "binaural beats" on YouTube, and you'll find some music that can help combat mild anxiety, according to research published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. "These engineered recordings calm the brainwaves on a very deep level and are great as an aid for meditation, enhancing sleep, and calming down," says therapist Dr. Nancy Irwin over email.
8. Chewing Gum
Turns out, a piece of gum can come in handy for more than just bad breath. Research out of Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia found that chewing gum can help relieve anxiety, improve alertness, and reduce stress. Just don't go overboard so you keep your jaw healthy!
9. Playing With Pets
Cuddling with cute kittens can have a powerful effect. Animals offer a soothing presence, they can help distract you from what's on your mind, and they encourage more touch, which can help release feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, according to Psych Central.