We have all experienced it sooner or later, that unpleasant sensation that tightens the chest, but can also be felt in the belly, heart or throat. We are talking about the anxiety that can arrive when we least expect it or can keep us company for a long time, often changing our lifestyle, leaving us more fearful and less willing to do things, unsure of ourselves and our abilities, ready to expect a threat, already thinking that we will not be able to deal with it. And anxiety then opens the doors to sadness and depression. Nowadays, in these cases, drugs are too often used, which however have non-negligible side effects, in addition to the fact that very often they do not allow the desired results to be achieved. What can then help to support us? Are there any natural remedies that can help combat anxiety and sadness? Of course yes. So let's try to understand better on the basis of the most recent scientific research.
A pill ... of gardening against anxiety and depression
Working in the garden or taking care of a vegetable garden seem to be a real cure, for the health of the mind but also of the body. Gardening improves self-esteem, the feeling of well-being and the personal level of satisfaction, effects that are observed even more if there is a problem such as anxiety and depression. In fact, in these cases the benefits were even greater, about double, compared to those without depression (Yang et al, Int J Environ Res Public Health., 2022).
Then, being outdoors and exposed to sunlight helps keep blood pressure under control and promotes vitamin D synthesis. A vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of developing anxiety and depression (Menon et al, Indian J Psychol Med, 2020). Not only that, digging, raking and moving the earth becomes a real physical activity leading to burn the same calories as a session in the gym. According to scientific studies, moderate physical activity protects the brain, both from the risk of mood changes and dementia (Thompson et al, Clin Med, 2018). What if you find yourself unable to work in the garden or in the vegetable garden? No problem, even just looking at nature, a park or trees outside the window is enough to reduce stress, fear and sadness (Thompson et al, Clin Med, 2018).
Aromatherapy in case of anxiety
Aromatherapy uses essential oils that are inhaled, thus stimulating the olfactory receptors, which in turn send signals to the hypothalamus and the limbic system, the parts of the brain responsible for the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, or they penetrate the skin through a massage, thus acting on the nervous system. Among all the essential oils that can be used in aromatherapy, lavender essential oil has shown the most effective action against anxiety and in improving mood (Li et al, Front Public Health, 2022).
Infusions against anxiety
Drinking chamomile tea regularly helps to counteract anxiety, as evidenced by scientific studies (Mao et al, Phytomedicine, 2017). But also drinking twice a day, morning and evening, a lavender tea, prepared with two grams of dried plant in a cup of boiling water and left to infuse for ten minutes, allowed, in just two weeks, to improve anxiety and depression, including in the elderly (Bazrafshan et al, Complement Ther Med, 2020). Other drinks that can help counteract anxiety are passionflower, rhodiola, valerian tea or even saffron milk, just add a pinch of saffron powder to a cup of warmed plant based milk and sip, and finally the Agar-35 (Yeung et al, Phytother Res, 2018). The latter is a set of 35 traditional Tibetan herbs that can be found in the best-stocked herbalists and online. Well, studies have proven the effectiveness of the infusion obtained from this compound in reducing anxiety, depression and the tendency to ruminate and in improving mood (Martin et al, Explore, 2017).
Pranayama against anxiety
Sometimes it takes very little to get better, like when practicing pranayamas, which are yoga breathing techniques. For example, practicing the following paranayama every day for a few minutes has been shown to effectively reduce anxiety. At the end of the experiment, all the volunteers reduced their feeling of anxiety. Sit in a comfortable position, inhale through the nose, slowly, imagining that energy is entering the body.
Then hold the air until you feel comfortable, imagine the energy reaching where it is needed.
Then exhale, slowly, imagining the toxins and impurities coming out of the body and being given to the earth. Pay attention that the exhalation should be longer than the inhalation (Nemati et al, Int J Yoga, 2013).