8 WAYS TO CALM DOWN QUICKLY
It’s natural to get stressed out, or even go into a state of mild shock if you hear bad news. It’s also possible that your hormones and neurotransmitters are out of balance and so you feel anxious all the time. Maybe you get sweaty palms a lot, or slip into panic attacks frequently (and over much of nothing). If you’re prone to anxiety, today’s article is intended to offer you help before you take prescriptions.
Millions of prescriptions are written annually for anxiolytic drugs like alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin) and lorazepam (Ativan). These drugs are all in the category of benzodiazepines, and they have severe withdrawal symptoms. There are many of you who want to relax and enjoy more peace of mind without these medications. In fact, some of you suffer on a daily basis because you don’t want to get on a benzodiazepine. Now I’m going to offer you 8 ways to calm down quickly:
You might think this is silly to list but it’s number one on my list because when you are anxious, your breathing becomes shallow. Be conscious about breathing and make sure you inhale longer than you exhale during times of stress. The inhalation is a gift to yourself, hold it a second or two, then exhale. Do it five times, preferably with your eyes closed since that instantly puts you into an alpha brain wave state.
They make pure lavender roll-ons, and if you can’t find that just keep a tiny bottle of the essential oil nearby, or in your purse. Take a whiff and put some on your wrists and temples for immediate action. You can use this to sleep too. And you can find commercial preparations of lavender tea as well.
Rescue Remedy is a combination of 5 flower extracts including Star of Bethlehem, which is known to help with trauma and shock. You can carry the tiny bottle in your purse and put drops in your mouth (or in your water bottle) all day long if you want.
California Poppy Extract.
It’s a great herbal anxiolytic, and sometimes also used for kids with Attention Deficit or bedwetting problems. You can buy it in dropper form at any health food store and online. One of the active compounds is Eschscholzia californica, and that’s been shown to promote higher catecholamines in the brain, thus elevating your mood over time. Some can make you sleepy.
This is a natural mineral abundant in leafy greens and edible seaweeds. Numerous studies show a correlation to low magnesium and depression and/or anxiety. It works pretty quickly, especially the magnesium “threonate” form which has been clinically shown to penetrate brain tissue quickly.
A double-blind placebo-controlled study tested women with PMS-induced anxiety, mood swings and nervous tension. The researchers combined 200 mg of magnesium with 50mg vitamin B6 and gave it to the women for one month. It helped some of the women, but not all.
Known herbally as Passiflora incarnata, this herb is great for calming anxiety, helping you sleep and reducing seizures. It raises GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) in the brain which relaxes you. This may not be strong enough on its own, that’s why you see it in combination with other herbs such as valerian or lemon balm. Sometimes holistic practitioners recommend low doses of Passionflower in the days and hours prior to surgery, as it is very calming and doesn’t appear to affect recovery time from anesthesia. This is something you need to ask your surgeon (or physician) before doing on your own as it could interact with anesthesia medications by enhancing their sedative effect.
A study with people who had “generalized anxiety disorder” were tested with Passionflower, and it was found to be as effective as the benzodiazepine called oxazepam (Serax).
Valerian is basically nature’s Valium, at least for most. Sometimes people get a paradoxical effect, and it causes agitation and insomnia but most people do become relaxed and even sleepy. Depending on the brand you get, valerian has a natural strong (and unpleasant) scent, but don’t let that stop you from using it. Valerian has been used for sedation and anxiety for thousands of years. It’s sold in every possible form: teas, extracts, pills and more.
It’s known as Melissa officinalis and it comes from the mint family. My hubby takes this at night sometimes to help him sleep. The herb has awesome properties for your gut health too, and so the added benefit is that lemon balm can help with a nervous stomach, digestion, bloating, gas, vomiting, colic and general belly aches. It also helps with focus and attention over time. Some progressive doctors-in-the-know are recommending lemon balm for Alzheimer’s disease and overactive thyroid problems like Graves’ disease. It’s sold at health food stores and online e-tailers, but if for some reason your physician doesn’t want you to take this natural product, then you can always diffuse the essential oil in an aromatizer. I am recommending this now for dementia and other cognitive disorders, and encourage discussion with your own doctor. If you have the essential oil, you can dab it on fever blisters for faster healing.
I hope these ideas provide you relief when that awful anxiety starts to creep in. If you have other natural calming cures you like to employ, I’d love to hear about them!
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.