We can all tolerate a little stress—it makes us more alert and gives us an edge in certain situations. Chronic anxiety, on the other hand, is emotionally and physically debilitating. Nobody should have to live in a state of constant fear and worry, or suffer through panic attacks or anxiety-driven insomnia, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal problems, and heart palpitations. Here are some of my favorite recommendations for dealing with stress and anxiety naturally.
*Gaba to the Rescue. I suggest that you first try Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is more than an amino acid. It is also one of the central nervous system’s most important inhibitory neurotransmitters, meaning it stimulates receptors that inhibit, or calm down, activity in the brain. It works, in a sense, in opposition to the excitatory neurotransmitters that rev up the brain. Obviously these two types need to be in balance, and taking supplemental GABA when you’re restless, anxious, or irritable helps restore necessary equilibrium. Because supplemental GABA is safe, nontoxic, and non-habit forming—in addition to being effective—it should be a frontline defense in the battle against anxiety. For quick relief during an acute episode, open a capsule and stir it into water. For chronic anxiety, take 750 mg one to three times a day as needed.
*L-theanine and 5-HTP lift you up. There are a number of other safe and effective supplements for easing anxiety besides GABA. L-theanine, an amino acid abundant in green tea, raises your body’s GABA levels and promotes calming alpha-wave activity in the brain. 5-HTP, also an amino acid supplement, helps boost levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood and sleep.
*Relax with Kava and Valarian. Kava (Piper methysticum), an herb used for thousands of years in the South Pacific islands, is renowned for its ability to cause profound relaxation and an overall sense of well-being. Valerian, another anxiety-reducing herb, is especially useful when taken at bedtime because it also induces sleep.
*Exercise the stress away. Exercise is a great way to both stave off anxiety and calm down an acute episode. If your body is already in the fight-or-flight mode, you might as well take flight! Going for a walk or jog brings down levels of stress hormones, boosts production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, and releases muscle tension. It’s also a distraction that shifts your focus away from whatever is making you anxious.
Whether you experience occasional anxiety or chronic worry, use these solutions to calm your mind and create the sense of tranquility that you deserve. If GABA doesn’t do it for you, try the other anxiety-relievers discussed above, one at a time, and see what works best for you