The UK seems to be full of worriers, panickers, dreaders and nervous people. Last year ‘What is anxiety?’ was revealed as one of the top 10 most searched for questions in the UK on Google and Anxiety UK received more than 12,000 calls to its helpline (1).
To help out those suffering here are some useful tips to help beat stress and anxiety.
1. A relaxing Brew
A fragrant cup of chamomile tea can help to take that stress away. The herb is renowned in folk and traditional medicine for its health, cosmetic and nutritional benefits. But a study by the University of Pennsylvania Medical Centre found it decreases anxiety symptoms in just eight weeks (2). Matricaria recutita in the herb binds to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium, providing similar calming benefits. Time to get the kettle on.
2. Smell Something
Commonly used in fragrances and shampoos that help wash and purify the skin, lavender has even been linked to mental health. A German study found the aroma of lavender, Lavandula Hybrida, has the same affect as anxiety medication such as lorazepam (3). So get out there and have a good sniff.
3. Gut Busting
You may think with the gut being all the way down there that it wouldn’t affect your mind. But the latest research has revealed that a healthy gut leads to a healthy mind. The University of Oxford conducted an experiment on a special type of prebiotic (GOS) and found that they affect emotional processing and stress hormones, especially those related to anxiety (6). After this research it seems you need to look after your gut if you want to look after your mind.
4. Hot Hot
Have you ever wondered why you are so relaxed after a steam room or sauna? A group of researchers found that the warmth may alter neural circuits and serotonin levels, the ones that control our mood (7). So get out your bathing suit and head to the latest Spa or even better, book yourself a trip to the Caribbean.
5. Laugh a Little
Having a laugh by watching the latest viral Vine or YouTube clip may in fact calm your jittery nerves. Research has found laughter to be a great reliever of stress and even help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety (8). So get on YouTube and enjoy the latest fail or cat video.
6. Take a Walk
You may think getting lost in the woods is a bad idea, but Japanese researchers found that people who walked for 20 minutes in beautiful surroundings had a decrease in their stress hormone levels, compared to those walking in an urban area (9). So put on those hiking boots and head out to the forest.