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Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Depression

Find natural ways to relax, recharge and reconnect.

pexels/simon migaj
Source: pexels/simon migaj

It would be easy to say “just turn off those notifications or ignore the news for a day or so” but it doesn’t work that way. Many people use their phones for work, or to stay in touch with their children, or they use social media to stay connected to people they care about. Simply turning it off doesn’t work, so many people turn to drugs to help ease the distress. A drug can pick you up out of your depression, but then you may need one to calm you down so you can sleep at night. A drug may quell your anxiety, but then leave you listless and unable to perform your day-to-day activities with the energy you need. For many people the drugs are a godsend and help to regulate natural imbalances in the brain, but for many others, the drugs cause more problems and can even make the problems worse.

If you aren’t functioning well and anxiety has a hold on your everyday life such that you are struggling just to keep focused on what you need to do, don’t despair. There are many natural things you can do to ease your mind and focus more effectively. This article isn’t about homeopathy or acupuncture or any of the other alternative medicines you could choose in place of big pharma drugs. It is about accessing the natural power you have inside yourself, and learning how to use your own mind and body in a different way.

Many of these techniques are based upon strategies taught in self-hypnosis. If you haven’t ever heard of hypnosis, or been to see a hypnotherapist yourself, it is a natural approach that simply leverages different parts of the mind in new ways. Instead of being forced to run around and repeat bad habits by your conscious mind—which often isn’t working in your best interests any way—it helps to unlock what sits in your subconscious mind. This natural Healer often stays behind the scenes until you find ways to bring those aspects forward.

To begin the process, it’s important to find just a few minutes of quiet time – preferably each and every day. The best time is often in the morning, before the day begins. Many people get up really early for work or family, so don’t feel compelled to make this a 3 a.m. endeavor; it can work just as well to practice at different times throughout the day. The key is to make sure you have a small block of uninterrupted time where you can focus and not be disturbed.

Find a comfortable place to sit – make sure your back is supported and your feet touch the floor. Don’t allow your legs or your arms to cross; rather, have them rest comfortably on the floor and lay your hands in your lap or on the arms of the chair. Begin with your eyes open and simply breathe. Focus on your breath and imagine you can see the breath coming into your body and filling your stomach, and then leaving your body. Breathe in imaginary clean and fresh air, and breathe out any impurities, negativity or distress. For 1-2 minutes, do nothing but just breathe and focusing on your breathing. Next, take three deliberate big breaths in and then let them out – breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. On the third breath, close your eyes. Sit still for a moment, doing nothing but breathing. Focus on your body – become aware of how you are sitting in the chair. Make sure you are comfortable and supported. Let your arms relax even more ... let your body sink into the chair even more deeply. Get into a comfortable and relaxed state physically.

Once you are very relaxed, become aware of any thoughts flitting through your brain. The mind doesn’t like quiet, so it will often dredge up something to think about. Anyone who has lain awake at night, with their mind running out of control, knows what this is like. Notice your thoughts but don’t get attached to them. Allow them to enter your mind and then gently push them back out. I like to use the image of a broom, just gently sweeping the thoughts off to the side and out of the main picture.

Once you are able to stay peacefully sitting and breathing (and this could take 2-5 minutes in total), then claim a positive mantra for yourself. “I am calm. I am at peace. I can deal with things that come my way” is one example. Use whatever words are soothing, but ring true to you somehow. If you tell yourself “I am a billionaire” but you are not, your brain will reject the idea. The phraseology has to be believable by you. Repeat your mantra over and over again, for about a full minute. “I am relaxed. I control my thoughts and I choose to focus on things that bring me peace” is another example.

If you practice this every day, preferably more than once a day but start with just once so you can make it happen, you will find that this relaxed state starts to become more real for you. The more you practice it, the more you will be able to draw upon this strength in times of distress or anxiety. The new, calmer you will start to emerge and replace the anxiety-ridden one slowly but surely.

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