Anxiety is a pervasive and debilitating condition affecting millions worldwide. In the United States, statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reveal that 51% of the population lives in a constant fight-or-flight state, including 19.1% of adults and 31.9% of adolescents. The repercussions of anxiety extend beyond emotional distress, manifesting as physical symptoms such as insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, substance abuse, and more, impacting the quality of daily life.
Conventional treatments like therapy and medication exist, but there is a growing interest in natural and holistic approaches to anxiety management for reasons I discuss later in this article.
This article explores the synergy of homeopathy, proper nutrition, and the healing power of nature, offering a comprehensive strategy for anxiety relief and promoting a balanced, harmonious life. Stay tuned for a bonus remedy at the end of the article to aid further those seeking natural solutions for anxiety.
Challenges of Pharmaceutical Medications for Anxiety
Pharmaceutical medications, like benzodiazepines and SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), are commonly prescribed for anxiety but come with significant drawbacks. Benzodiazepines can lead to dependency, withdrawal difficulties, and various side effects, including sedation, memory impairment, and more.
On the other hand, SSRIs, which can be associated with withdrawal symptoms, may take weeks to months to start their suppressive action and can induce effects like sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Furthermore, long-term use of these medications can sometimes paradoxically worsen anxiety symptoms.
These drawbacks highlight the need to consider various treatment options, including nutrition, natural medicine, and lifestyle changes, to address anxiety comprehensively and avoid these potential problems.
Holistic Healing: Natural Approaches to Anxiety
Natural approaches to anxiety work in harmony with the body’s innate healing abilities, addressing the root causes of anxiety rather than merely suppressing its symptoms. Holistic methods aim to rebalance the body and mind, promoting long-term well-being. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help regulate the body’s stress response, reducing the production of stress hormones like cortisol.
Proper nutrition provides essential nutrients that support brain health and mood stability. Herbal remedies, supplements, and homeopathic treatments can aid in restoring neurotransmitter balance without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. Engaging with nature, physical activity, and social support fosters a sense of connection and emotional well-being.
By nurturing the body and mind through these natural approaches, individuals can work towards not just alleviating anxiety symptoms but achieving a deeper, more sustainable healing process that enhances their overall quality of life.
As a bonus, all of these approaches are either free or are a fraction of the cost of expensive psychotropic medications that do more harm than good to your health.
Homeopathy: Balancing Energies
Homeopathy is a holistic healing system that views the body as an interconnected network of energies. It operates on the principle of “like cures like,” using highly diluted natural substances to stimulate the body’s own healing response. Millions of people worldwide use it, and it has a safety and efficacy track record of more than 200 years since it was developed into a system of medicine by the German medical doctor Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843).
There are hundreds of years of clinical experience, peer-reviewed science, and clinical studies to verify homeopathy’s effectiveness. It has survived vicious attacks and efforts to discredit its use by the AMA (American Medical Association) because it works to bring on true health.
Homeopathy is often considered the precursor to modern nanomedicine due to its use of highly diluted substances. In homeopathy, remedies are created by repeatedly diluting a substance, often to the point where no molecules of the original substance remain. It is believed that the water retains a “memory” and nano particles of the original substance, which has healing properties.
This approach, utilizing profoundly diluted solutions with enduring effects, is thought to deliver therapeutic benefits at the cellular level in a more precise and effective manner compared to the larger chemical molecules often found in conventional pharmaceuticals and without any dangerous side effects. It is a gentle yet powerful medicine.
In the context of anxiety, homeopathic remedies are tailored to the individual’s specific set of physical, mental and emotional symptoms that are unique to each person. Homeopathy addresses anxiety at its root, considering not just the mental and emotional symptoms but the physical manifestations as well, which show up in the body as a result of unresolved anxiety and emotional traumas. This is why we go to the root cause with homeopathy: instead of just merely trying to get rid of physical symptoms, homeopathy uproots emotional symptoms and the resulting physical manifestations often go away on their own.
Most common homeopathic remedies for anxiety may include, but are not limited to:
– Aconitum napellus: Used for acute anxiety and panic attacks, fear of death; for someone who desires company, has anxiety about others, and worries about every ailment.
– Arsenicum album: Effective for individuals with perfectionist tendencies and fear of the unknown. It is also a great remedy for someone who fears being alone and desires company, can be demanding and clinging, and critical of others.
– Ignatia amara: Suitable for those experiencing grief or emotional turmoil. Changeable mood: sad, sighing and sobbing; wants to cry but is unable and feels a lump in the throat.
– Lycopodium: Helps with anticipatory anxiety and performance-related stress. It is a good remedy for someone who lacks self-confidence but puts on an image of capability and courage and tries to hide feelings of inadequacy.
There are thousands of remedies in homeopathic Materia Medica that can help with anxiety significantly, but it is essential to consult with a skilled homeopath who can take a detailed case history to prescribe the most appropriate remedy for you, aiming to harmonize your vital energy and alleviate anxiety. Homeopathy treats the individual and not just the symptoms – it truly is the most tailored and personalized medicine and NOT a one-size (or pill) fits all approach.
A Success Case
The case involves a client who came to me with a complex history of trauma, including a dysfunctional family, abuse, and violence during childhood.
At the time of the initial consultation, she was struggling with migraines, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, memory issues, and digestive problems that were always worse after 4pm. Additionally, she had a history of gallbladder removal, hair loss, joint pain, and a range of emotional challenges, including difficulty setting boundaries with other people.
She expressed a strong love and desire to write honestly about important issues but had a strong anxiety about it – fear of being judged or even physically attacked for her views. She also had strong anger towards injustice in the world, most likely stemming from her childhood experiences. The client presented a host of physical and emotional symptoms related to her traumatic history, which significantly impacted her overall well-being.
During my case analysis, I focused most of my attention on her deep anxiety levels about doing one of the things she loved the most – writing. The fear of being attacked for expressing her views honestly was very real. Being authentic-self meant being vulnerable. Closing up and putting her guard up was the defense mechanism she developed to protect herself from being hurt again. This is the definition of living in a constant fight-or-flight state. Her freedom of expression in life was absolutely blocked. In homeopathy that is a marker of greatly suppressed life force. This is important, because the life force is the energy that empowers all living organisms to engage in self-healing, maintain balance or homeostasis, and sustain life by adjusting to environmental shifts. Her traumatic history was also of great importance in my remedy selection.
The top remedies that I considered for this case were Natrum muriaticum, Causticum, and Carcinosum. They all covered ailments from abuse, fear, and anxiety. After further analysis, I decided to start with Causticum, because this is the remedy that fit her complete symptom picture best: in this remedy there is history of sexual abuse and violence in the family; it also covers her fear that something bad will happen; rebels against authority; anger over injustices; unable to tolerate other’s suffering. Many of the physical symptoms she was suffering from were also part of this remedy picture.
In follow-up sessions, after taking Causticum one time, improvements were noted in various aspects of her health. Joint pain, digestive issues, and sugar cravings were reduced or resolved. Migraines and headaches stopped being an issue while on homeopathic treatment. However, some symptoms persisted – healing years of suppressed symptoms and emotional trauma takes time and patience.
Most importantly emotionally, she reported feeling more balanced, less irritable, and more at ease with setting boundaries. She also experienced a significant shift in her approach to writing and no more anxiety related to expressing herself honestly. “I can write!” she stated calmly at the first folow-up meeting. This change occurred in a matter of weeks of starting the remedy! She noticed moments of greater self-awareness and a shift in her interactions with others, marked by reduced concern about others’ opinions. This kind of emotional change is a great indication of homeopathy working on a deeper level and is always an encouraging sign of a well-matched remedy.
Throughout the case, homeopathic treatment effectively addressed various aspects of the client’s physical and emotional well-being, providing relief and fostering personal growth and discovery.
Homeopathy has the power to reach deep into the emotional and mental sphere and shift the stuck energies to allow for new insights and emotional, as well as physical healing – after all we, humans, are all energetic beings. By addressing the underlying emotional and mental aspects of health, homeopathy can facilitate profound transformation and support overall well-being.
Nutrition: Fueling the Mind
The food we consume has a profound impact on our mental health. A balanced and nutrient-rich diet is essential for maintaining a stable mood and reducing anxiety. Unfortunately, today, most people don’t even eat real food anymore. Instead, they are eating food-like substances, which creates disease instead of health in the body.
Specific nutrients and dietary habits can play a vital role in managing anxiety:
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like fatty fish and certain plant sources, may offer relief from anxiety through various mechanisms. They can reduce inflammation, influence neurotransmitter function, support neuroplasticity, regulate stress hormones, provide antioxidant protection to brain cells, and help balance mood-related hormones. These are called EFA’s (essential fatty acids) as they can only be otained through food, because the human body cannot make them.
2. Magnesium: A magnesium deficiency is associated with increased anxiety. Magnesium plays a role in anxiety reduction by acting as a natural relaxant for both the body and mind. It helps regulate the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and supports the function of GABA receptors in the brain, which have calming effects. Magnesium’s ability to relax muscles and reduce muscle tension can also alleviate physical symptoms of anxiety.
Most people today have a magnesium deficiency due to chronic stress and poor diet. Even if the diet is optimal, the amount of magnesium in food today is minimal compared to foods we ate just 50 years ago. This is due to soil mineral depletion and food processing, which removes about 80% of this vital mineral from already magnesium-deficient food.
3. Probiotics: The microbiome, the community of trillions of microorganisms residing in our gut, has a significant impact on mental health. This “gut-brain connection” is bidirectional, meaning the microbiome influences the brain and vice versa. The microbiome helps regulate the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which are crucial for mood regulation. Furthermore, it plays a role in the immune system and inflammation, which are closely linked to mental health.
An imbalance in the microbiome, known as dysbiosis, has been associated with conditions like depression, anxiety, and even neurodegenerative diseases. Research into this intricate relationship is ongoing, but it’s increasingly evident that a healthy gut can positively affect mental well-being. Live fermented foods and probiotic supplements, as well as avoiding medications and toxins, can help balance the gut microbiome, influencing mood and anxiety.
4. Healthy Fats: butter, coconut oil, and saturated animal fats nourish the brain, maintain healthy hormone levels, provide a steady energy supply, and support stable blood sugar levels, reducing anxiety. The brain relies on a consistent supply of energy to function optimally, and saturated fats are a dense energy source. Moreover, they help form the myelin sheath, a protective layer around nerve cells that facilitates efficient transmission of electrical signals in the brain.
On the other hand, vegetable oils, which have AHA’s (American Heart Association) “heart-healthy” label on them, are extremely inflammatory and cause physical and mental degeneration on every level in the body. Avoid those oils like the plague!
5. Herbal Teas: Herbs can help with anxiety through their natural calming and stress-reducing properties. Certain herbs, like Holi basil, St. John’s wort, chamomile, valerian, and lavender, contain compounds that can act as mild sedatives, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety symptoms. These herbs may work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain, such as GABA, which have a calming effect. They are especially recommended before bed to promote better quality sleep, which in turn helps lower anxiety levels during the day. Everything starts with restorative sleep; that’s why we say that sleep is king.
6. Limit Caffeine and Sugar: Limiting sugar and caffeine intake is crucial for managing anxiety because both substances can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can trigger feelings of irritability and nervousness. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate, induce jitters, and worsen the physical symptoms of anxiety. It can also disrupt sleep patterns, making it harder to manage stress.
A Success Case
In his early thirties, Jason sought my assistance to address his persistent, debilitating migraines, which had been landing him in emergency rooms regularly and even causing vision issues. Additionally, he grappled with weight gain, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and short-term memory problems – all indicative of systemic inflammation in his body. It was a heavy burden for someone in the prime of his life.
Unfortunately, by the time he reached out, he had already explored conventional medical options without improvement, and pharmaceutical medications, such as SSRIs and prescription pain relievers for migraines, had taken their toll. Years of merely suppressing symptoms had damaged his gut microbiome and led to nutrient deficiencies.
On a positive note, Jason possessed a great attitude, an unwavering commitment to reclaim his health, and a love for cooking – essential tools for recovery.
Over three months of collaborative work focusing on diet and lifestyle, he successfully discontinued all medications (SSRIs being tapered off gradually), shed over 20 pounds, eradicated migraines and vision issues, improved his sleep quality and energy levels, and gained control over his anxiety.
This transformation was made possible through specific dietary changes and without the need for calorie counting or restrictive dieting.
Jason’s testimonial after our journey together reflected his newfound well-being and vigor:
“I simply wanted to say thank you. I appreciate your direction on my nutrition 100%! As you know, it’s been 3 months since my last migraine. (Knock on wood). But today was the first time in 3 years I’ve actually been able to go all out at the gym without feeling like I was going to pass out. It hit me in the feels all sorts of ways. So thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Feedback like this underscores the immense rewards of my work, motivating me to continually expand my knowledge and share this vital health information with clients to help them attain the true health they deserve.
Food indeed is your medicine!
Nature: The Ultimate Healer
Nature has a remarkable ability to calm the mind and soothe the soul. Spending time in natural settings, whether it’s a park, forest, or near the water, can have a profound impact on anxiety reduction. Here’s how nature contributes to mental wellbeing:
1. Stress Reduction: Natural environments often elicit what’s known as the “relaxation response.” This is characterized by a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension, all of which help to reduce stress. It has been shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol levels and stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural hormones that promote feelings of well-being and happiness.
2. Mindfulness and Meditation: Natural surroundings offer an ideal setting for mindfulness and meditation, both of which can help manage anxiety. Be with nature without headphones or your phone, listen to the sounds, and pay attention to the smells and sights to reap the most benefits from your outside time. Take it all in using all your senses!
3. Physical Activity: Walking, hiking, or simply being active outdoors can improve mood and reduce anxiety. This is a perfect way to disconnect from screens, which have been proven to worsen anxiety symptoms. It can reduce mental fatigue and improve concentration and cognitive function. The release of endorphins during exercise can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
4. Connection: Nature fosters a sense of connectedness and awe, which can promote feelings of inner peace. To deepen the connection with nature, aim to spend time outside in the morning sun right after sunrise, without sunscreens or sunglasses, and barefoot, if weather permits. Hug a tree if you can’t put your bare feet on the ground. Seriously, be a tree hugger.
5. Vitamin D: Exposure to natural sunlight and fresh air can boost your mood and increase feelings of happiness. It is important to expose enough skin to direct sun without any sunscreens in order to reap the benefits of natural vitamin D. Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, which plays a role in mental health. A deficiency in vitamin D has been associated with conditions like depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
What Studies Show
Nature-based outdoor activities for mental and physical health: Systemic review and meta-analysis.
This study focused on the impact of nature-based interventions on mental and physical health in community-based adult populations. The findings suggest that outdoor nature-based activities have a positive effect on mental health, benefiting those with common mental health problems, serious mental illnesses, and long-term conditions.
Nature-based therapies, including forest bathing, demonstrated consistent effectiveness in improving mental health outcomes. Group gardening and green exercise interventions were also effective, especially for positive mental health outcomes.
The most significant treatment effects were observed in interventions lasting between 8 and 12 weeks, with 20 to 90 minutes of contact time per session. These findings suggest that nature-based interventions, which enhance mental health and well-being, could play a crucial role in addressing the growing demand for mental health support.
Bonus Remedy: Help others to help yourself – it’s a win-win!
Last but definitely not least, is perhaps one of the most overlooked remedies for anxiety. Giving and caring for others is the surest way to happiness, and science also supports this.
In a study published in the Annuals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers conducted 2 surveys of middle-aged adults. These surveys reveal a compelling connection between support-giving behavior and improved health.
Study 1 demonstrated that giving to various social targets, including family, friends, and volunteering, was linked to lower levels of inflammation, a potential biological factor impacting overall health. Notably, receiving support did not show the same association.
Study 2 further strengthened this link by confirming that more frequent support-giving independently contributes to reduced systemic inflammation, irrespective of social network size or social desirability. While more research is necessary to establish causation, these findings offer a promising pathway for understanding how support-giving behavior can positively impact one’s health and longevity.
There is a strong link between systemic inflammation and depression, and anxiety comes hand in hand with depression. Therefore, we can safely conclude that reducing chronic inflammation in the body will, in turn, reduce anxiety. In fact, all of the approaches discussed above will have the same positive effect on systemic inflammation in the body.
Anxiety is a complex condition with a variety of causes, and what works for one person may not work for another. Homeopathy, nutrition, and nature offer a holistic and synergetic approach to anxiety management. The combined effect of these three approaches can harmonize the body and mind, helping individuals find relief from anxiety while nurturing overall well-being.
As you explore these natural remedies, remember that it’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals, such as homeopaths, nutritionists, and mental health experts, to create a tailored plan that best suits your individual needs. The journey to anxiety relief is personal, and it may involve a combination of these approaches, along with patience and self-care.
We all want a quick fix now, but it does not exist, or it comes with a heavy cost to our long-term health, which defeats the purpose. Taking the time to address the root cause of anxiety is worth the time investment to live a more free and joyful life because health is true freedom.
Anxiety Disorders – Facts and Statistics. (2022). Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Pitsavos C, Panagiotakos DB, Papageorgiou C, Tsetsekou E, Soldatos C, Stefanadis C. (2006 Apr). Anxiety in relation to inflammation and coagulation markers, among healthy adults: the ATTICA study. Atherosclerosis.
Peter A. Coventry, JenniferV.E. Brown, Jodi Pervin, Sally Brabyn, Rachel Pateman, Josefien Breedvelt, Simon Gilbody, Rachel Stancliffe, Rosemary McEachan, PiranC.L. White. Nature-based outdoor activities for mental and physical health: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Science Direct, Volume 16, December 2021, 100934
Tristen K Inagaki, Gabriella M Alvarez, Edward Orehek, Rebecca A Ferrer, Stephen B Manuck, Nicole M Abaya, Keely A Muscatell. Support-Giving Is Associated With Lower Systemic Inflammation. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 57, Issue 6, June 2023, Pages 499–507
Daiva Rizvi, NC, CCH works with people who’ve had enough of the sick-care system of symptom suppression and bandaids and are determined to claim their health back. She focuses on a results-based comprehensive approach to health by combining holistic nutrition and classical homeopathy to help her clients address the root cause of their long-term chronic conditions. Her goal is to empower people to take charge of their own health and live life to the fullest.