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Take Steps to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Naturally

According to a 2005 report published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, 18 percent of the adult population in the United States suffers from an anxiety disorder.  A 1999 study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychology found that the treatment of anxiety related disorders costs the United States over $42 billion each year.

Benzodiazepines, the class of prescription drugs typically used to treat anxiety, can be addictive and potentially dangerous.  As the author of a report published in a 1995 edition of Psychiatric Annals explained, benzodiazepines are potentially addictive and can cause psychological and pharmacological dependence.  A person can become dependent on benzodiazepines after using them for only a few weeks, and long-term users are at an increased risk, according to the report.

Fortunately, there are natural ways to relieve anxiety without risky medications.  Read on to learn more.

Lower Anxiety with Exercise 

If you have been suffering from anxiety, regular exercise may alleviate your symptoms.  In a study published in a 2012 edition of the journal Acta Kinesiologica, female participants performed two weekly sessions of aerobic exercise for a period of ten weeks.  At the end of the study, these women had lower levels of anxiety, stress, and depression, whereas women in a control group experienced no significant changes.

A second study, published in 2009 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that just a single session of aerobic exercise could reduce anxiety.  In the study, men and women completed twenty minutes of bicycling and experienced significantly reduced levels of both anxiety and negative moods after the exercise.

If you have been suffering from symptoms of anxiety, develop a regular exercise routine.  You may experience reduced anxiety immediately after the exercise, as well as over the long run.

Reduce Anxiety through Dietary Methods 

Aside from exercise, specific factors in your diet may play a role in reducing anxiety.  One such factor is your consumption of certain fatty acids.  A study published in a 2013 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition found that consumption of a fatty acid called DHA was linked to a decreased risk of having anxiety.  Study participants who consumed the most DHA were 50 percent less likely than those who consumed the least DHA to have anxiety disorders.  According to the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, fish and organ meats are good sources of dietary DHA.

Dietary magnesium may also be related to anxiety.  A 2012 study published in the journal Neuropharmacology found that rats that were deficient in magnesium showed more anxiety-related behaviors.  The authors of a report published in a 2010 edition of Nutrition Journal explained that several studies have shown that magnesium supplementation reduces anxiety when taken along with other vitamins.  Specifically, a study published in a 2004 edition of Current Medical Research and Opinion found that a supplement consisting of magnesium and two plant extracts reduced anxiety among patients with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder.  Patients who received the supplement experienced greater decreases in anxiety than those who were given a placebo pill.

According to a 2013 report published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, magnesium can be found in foods such as spinach, black beans, sunflower seeds, and figs.  Add these foods to your diet to potentially lower anxiety.

Bring Home a Pet to Reduce Anxiety 

photo of dogIn addition to exercising regularly and adding certain foods to your diet, becoming a pet owner may reduce your anxiety.  A 2003 study published the journal Anxiety, Stress, and Coping found that the act of petting a live animal reduced anxiety among participants who were faced with a stressful situation.

Having a pet may also help you to remain calm.  A study published in a 2002 edition of Psychosomatic Medicine found that pet owners had significantly lower heart rates and blood pressure levels than those who did not own pets.  Furthermore, pet owners experienced smaller increases in heart rate and blood pressure during stressful activities than did those without pets.

Bringing home a pet may help you to lower your anxiety levels.  Begin a regular exercise regimen, and add fatty acids and magnesium to your diet to experience an even greater reduction in anxiety.  These methods may help you to relieve your anxiety without ever setting foot in a doctor’s office for a potentially addictive medication.