April 27, 2021 8 min read

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults in the U.S. are affected by an anxiety disorder. Many more are affected by anxiety that goes undiagnosed. Anxiety is highly treatable, but many people are (understandably) hesitant to take daily medications.

If you’re one of these people, you may be wondering how to reduce anxiety without medication. Which natural remedies for anxiety really work? And what’s the best way to get rid of anxiety once and for all?

Before we cover the anxiety natural remedies at your disposal, let’s talk about anxiety and what causes it.

A man in need of natural anxiety remedies anxiously grasping his fingers together.

Natural Remedies for Anxiety Table of Contents

What Causes Anxiety?

Best Ways to Reduce Anxiety Without Medication
The Drawbacks of Anxiety Medications
Can You Reduce Anxiety Using Cannabis?
Resources

What Causes Anxiety?

Although anxiety is quite common, the causes behind stress and anxiety can vary greatly. In some cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint what’s causing discomfort, and in other cases the causes may overlap.

Still, understanding the cause behind your anxiety can help you better learn how to manage it without medications. Here are some of the common reasons people experience anxiety:

Anxiety Disorders

The primary cause of anxiety is an anxiety disorder, which needs to be diagnosed by a doctor. The most common type of anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Panic Disorder

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Unmanaged Stress

Stress is the body’s response to uncomfortable or unsafe situations and everyone experiences stress. In fact, stress is an important and integral part of life that results in the production of cortisol, a crucial hormone.

It’s the way that we manage stress that defines whether it has a positive or negative impact on our bodies and minds. For some people, anxiety is the body’s response to stress, and unmanaged stress can sometimes cause anxiety overload that leads to panic.

Poor Sleep

You already know that sleep is crucial to feeling okay and having the energy you need to get through the day. But did you know that your sleep cycle directly impacts hormone production, including hormones that affect your mental health?

In fact, insomnia has frequently been linked to anxiety and depression and vice versa. Feeling anxious can make it difficult to fall asleep, and not getting enough sleep can make it hard to properly manage stress and anxiety.

Improper Diet

Experts generally agree that there's a link between anxiety and diets high in refined carbs, sugars, and processed foods. One study has even shown that high-fat diets may increase anxiety.

In general, proper nutrition is crucial to mental health, hormone production, and overall regulation in the body. That means that a low-nutrient diet filled with processed snacks and sugary foods can prevent your body from regulating anxiety on its own.

A full sized model of the human endocannabinoid system as part of a museum exhibit.

Endocannabinoid Imbalance

Another factor to consider is an endocannabinoid imbalance, or an imbalance in the Endocannabinoid System.

The Endocannabinoid System is a bodily system that’s responsible for maintaining regularity throughout the body, a state called “homeostasis,” a big part of which includes regulating neural pathways relevant to mental health disorders.

Recent evidence suggests that the Endocannabinoid System has a hand in the regulation of anxiety, fear, and stress responses. That's why cannabinoids (the active components found in cannabis) are sometimes used in the management of conditions like PTSD (under a doctor's guidance, of course).

Whether you understand the cause behind your anxiety or not, you may still benefit from some of the natural anxiety remedies below:

Best Ways to Reduce Anxiety (without Medications)

There are plenty of wacky methods out there that claim to be the best way to get rid of anxiety, but there are also many tried and true natural remedies for anxiety, like the ones below:

Lower Anxiety With Deep Breathing

Experts generally agree that deep breathing is a useful natural anxiety remedy for stopping panic attacks, but it may also have a place in your daily management routine.

A 2017 study suggests that diaphragmatic breathing can help reduce stress naturally. Deep breathing exercises can help increase the brain's oxygen levels, which can stimulate the nervous system to promote a calming sensation.

Diaphragmatic breathing, sometimes called belly breathing, can be done for 20-30 minutes daily to help manage stress. Start by placing your hand on your stomach just below the sternum and exhaling completely. Then, breathe deeply through your nose and into your belly until your hand rises.

Finally, exhale slowly and steadily through slightly pursed lips. Your bell should relax and your hand should fall towards the spine. Repeat as long as necessary, up to half an hour, and combine with meditation for best results.

Mindfulness and Meditation May Be a Natural Anxiety Remedy

A woman meditating and deep breathing to help naturally reduce anxiety without medications.

In 2014 Researchers from Johns Hopkins University published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine called “Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” The research focused on 47 research trials chosen based on strict testing criteria. The findings suggest that meditation can generally help to manage various psychological stressors, including anxiety and depression.

Meditating for even 10 minutes per day may prove to be effective. To start meditating, you may use a guided meditation practice you can find online, or you can just try to clear your mind and focus on your breath while doing the breathing exercise above.

Fight Mental Stress with Regular Exercise

A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Depression and Anxiety suggests that people with a diagnosed anxiety condition who self-reported high levels of physical activity were less likely to develop active anxiety symptoms than those who reported only low levels of physical activity.

Another study suggests that just one exercise session may have a positive impact on anxiety, which means you can experience benefits from this natural anxiety remedy almost immediately.

The type of physical activity matters far less than the consistency. Just choose any activity that gets you up and moving and try to do it for 20-30 minutes every day.

Getting More Sleep

The relationship between sleep and anxiety is bidirectional, meaning anxiety disorders can cause sleep loss, but lack of sleep can also worsen anxiety. If you experience both, they can be pretty difficult to manage.

Regardless of which issue came first, you may be able to naturally manage your anxiety by positively adjusting your sleep schedule. Start by setting and maintaining a bedtime and wake time to help replicate a natural circadian rhythm.

Remove distractions and cut out screen time at least an hour before bed since blue light may block melatonin production. Some people benefit from a warm bath before bed to help them relax and fall asleep more quickly.

You may also be interested in supplements that naturally support sleep or our CBD for Sleep collection.

Anti-anxiety Supplements and Foods

You may also consider adding foods and supplements that are thought to be “anxiolytic,” or anxiety-reducing, to your daily routine. Some examples of foods that may help naturally reduce anxiety include dark chocolate, brazil nuts, turmeric, pumpkin seeds, and fatty fish.

Various supplements also suggest anxiolytic benefits, though you should be careful when adding any new supplement to your routine, especially if you already take other medications daily.

Because of the endocannabinoid system’s role in regulating anxiety and stress, certain cannabinoid formulations could potentially offer therapeutic benefits. The National Cancer Institute defines Delta-8-THC as an “anxiolytic” substance. Other cannabinoids, like CBD and CBG, may have mood-regulating benefits.

Although cannabinoid-based therapies have not yet been approved as a treatment for anxiety disorders, many people use CBD and Delta-8-THC as a regular part of their daily wellness routine to promote endocannabinoid balance and lower stress.

To learn more, read “Delta-8-THC for Anxiety.”

The Drawbacks of Anxiety Medications

A bottle of anxiety medication spilled onto a table

Many people treat their anxiety with prescription medications, which is perfectly fine, especially if they work for you!

However, there are various drawbacks associated with anxiety medications that may make them less desirable than natural methods.

For instance, it can be difficult finding the right medication, and many people need to work with their doctor to cycle through different medications before finding one that works for them.

Then, they still need to regularly see a doctor to check the dosage, and it may need to be adjusted over time. In some cases, a medication that once worked for you may stop working completely and will need to be changed.

There are also various side effects associated with common anxiety medications. Take Xanax, the most popular anti-anxiety medication prescribed today. Xanax comes with a list of potential side effects, including:

  • Drowsiness or tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep problems
  • Memory problems
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Increased sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred vision
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Swelling in your hands or feet
  • Loss of sex drive

As you can see, the potential side effects list is expansive. Unfortunately, many of the medications used to treat anxiety and common mood disorders come with a similar list of potential side effects.

Many people seek natural remedies for anxiety before turning to medications, but medications are necessary and effective in some cases. Talk to your doctor for help determining what’s right for you.

Can You Reduce Anxiety Using Cannabis?

Many people turn to natural remedies for anxiety. In states where cannabis is legal, it's not uncommon to hear someone say that they use cannabis, particularly THC, for managing anxiety.

Hemp flower, a form of cannabis without psychoactive properties that may help naturally manage stress

On the other end of the spectrum, some people suggest that THC actually worsens anxiety. It’s not new news, as panic and paranoia are well-known side effects of THC, especially at high doses.

In today’s market, there are more options than just high-THC cannabis, which is known for its high Delta-9-THC content. That means that you may be able to use cannabis to naturally manage stress without the same negative drawbacks.

For instance, Delta-8-THC is a mildly psychoactive analogue of Delta-9. Unlike traditional THC products, Delta-8 products are federally legal, and they are thought to be much less likely to incite any negative side effects.

Many people find that Delta-8 actually helps them unwind and relax, offering a euphoric effect for the body and mind. Some people even use Delta-8-THC to help them sleep, which may help reduce anxiety naturally.

One of the greatest benefits to using Delta-8-THC to manage stress is that it’s fast acting. A Delta-8 vaporizer takes effect in a matter of minutes, which means it may be useful for managing active symptoms. Other Delta-8 products (like edibles) have slow-building, long-lasting effects that may be better for daily maintenance and preventing stress.

You can also try other cannabinoids to help create balance.Delta-8-THC can be combined with other hemp products, like CBD multivitamins, for a thorough full-spectrum approach to daily wellness and stress management.

Where to Buy Legal Delta-8-THC

Since Delta-8 is legal in the U.S., you can find a wide variety of different products online. Of course, some states have Delta-8 restrictions, so you should read “Where is Delta-8-THC Legal?” to determine if Delta-8 is legal in your state.

Then, feel free to browse our entire Delta-8-THC collection to find a selection of high-quality, potent Delta-8-THC edibles, tinctures, and vaporizers.

All Vida Optima products are made from premium U.S. grown hemp and are third-party tested and 100% compliant with federal law. We strive to offer a variety of dosing methods, potencies, and formulas, so you can easily find a product to meet your needs.

Want to learn more? Read “11 Delta-8-THC Facts You Need to Know.”

Resources

  1. “Anxiety and Depression Association of America Fact and Statistics” https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics#:~:text=Anxiety%20disorders%20are%20the%20most,of%20those%20suffering%20receive%20treatment.
  2. “High-Fat Diet Induced Anxiety and Anhedonia: Impact on Brain Homeostasis and Inflammation” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4869056/
  3. “The endocannabinoid system in mental disorders: Evidence from human brain studies” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30026022/#:~:text=Studies%20carried%20out%20in%20humans,pathophysiology%20of%20several%20mental%20disorders.
  4. “The endocannabinoid system in guarding against fear, anxiety and stress” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871913/
  5. “The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/#:~:text=Evidence%20from%20diaphragmatic%20breathing%20studies,test%20performance%20in%20primary%20school
  6. “Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754
  7. “Physical activity protects from incident anxiety: A meta‐analysis of prospective cohort studies” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/da.22915
  8. “The anxiolytic effects of exercise: a meta-analysis of randomized trials and dose-response analysis” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18723899/

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