Two weeks ago, I had an encounter with anxiety.  Here’s what happened: my breathing was very shallow, it was like tightness in my chest where I couldn’t take a deep breath and was constantly aware of trying to get a deep breath. Like I wanted to put my head between my legs or breath into a paper bag. Very annoying! It lasted about 2-3 days.

Now, I don’t often have anxiety, but I do have a bag of wellness tricks so I tried a few things:

– Meditation
– Shoulder stand (yoga pose)
– I dabbed some calming peppermint oil on my neck and wrists
– And Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 Relaxing Breath

When these didn’t get me back to normal, I took a powerful step — I reached out for help. (I’m reaching out for help and support more & more lately, and it is awesome!) I asked some of my health coach friends if they had suggestions to help with anxiety and I was touched with their thoughtful responses.  I have collected them here in case they can help someone else.

Holistic Remedies for Anxiety

1. Breathing: Deep belly breathing — putting your hands over your navel and focusing on pushing your belly out when breathing. Alternate nostril breating is also helpful. 

2. Acupuncture: to calm and balance the system

3. Supplements: Sam-e and L-theanine to calm the nerves (please talk to your doctor about these)

4. Nature: Fresh air in the lungs, exercise, and go barefoot outside

5. Guided Relaxation: here is a guided relaxation exercise that was recommended

6. Diet: One woman pointed out that she became anxious on a strictly vegan diet and felt better incorporating meat, eggs and ‘grounding’ root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and squash into her diet. Good for me to pay attention to, as I am a vegetarian. Another mentioned that salt is very grounding, and recommended umeboshi plums to bring the energy back down.

7. Herbs: passionfruit, chamomile and skullcap are some that are great for anxiety

8. Flower Essences: I am a big fan of flower essences myself. I love the Lotus Wei essences, in particular there are Quiet Mind and Inner Peace that are good for anxiety. I am also experimenting with the Bach essences, which are available at my Whole Foods. I am taking Mimulus, which is good for shyness, anxiety and fear. I’m also trying the Bach Rescue Remedy.

9. Yoga: Standing poses like Mountain pose and inversions (like a backbend) are helpful.

10. Get Grounded: The anxiety can be a message that you need to get grounded or create stability. Cleaning, paying attention to finances, spending time with animals (hi Coconut!), rubbing the feet, and walking barefoot in the grass (literally putting feet in the ground) can be helpful.

11. Look to the underlying reason: Yes, it’s important to look deep for the underlying reasons for the anxiety. For me, morning pages is the most powerful tool to re-connect with myself, figure out what’s happening deep down. Don’t see the anxiety as “annoying” but tap into the anxiety and realize there is a message to listen to and learn from. Use the opportunity to slow down and take really good care of yourself.

Of course, I couldn’t do all of these things at once, but was able to use my instincts and choose the ideas that resonated most for me in that moment. I love how so many of these suggestions are low-tech … you don’t need any equipment or to spend money to do some deep belly breathing, journaling, get out in nature, clean, rub your feet or do some yoga poses. Beautiful!  And I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better now.

Coco getting ‘grounded’ in the mud of Central Park. Can’t stay anxious for long with this muffin!
Please, chime in and share your suggestions if you have any remedies for anxiety.