Natural Ways to Stay Calm

A woman's face with a peaceful, calm expression.

If you find yourself starting to feel overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety, anger, or panic, calm may seem impossible in the moment. However, there are some lifestyle changes you can make as well as simple things you can do to restore peace of mind. Try the following techniques to feel more relaxed.

 

Make Sure You are Eating Enough

If you start to feel anxious, hangry or unsettled, that may be a cue that you haven’t eaten enough and need a healthy snack. If you struggle with remembering to eat throughout the day, set reminders on your phone and schedule your meals/snacks, focusing on eating balanced, whole foods high in nutrition. Need a quick way to calm down? Nibbling on dark chocolate may help to alleviate stress and improve brain health. 1 We have a list of healthy snacks here too to make sure your blood sugar is regulated throughout the day.

 

Avoid Refined Sugar & Caffeine

A diet high in refined sugar may contribute to feelings of stress or anxiety. Research shows that those who consume a high amount of processed sugars experience higher levels of stress than those who eat a balanced diet low in refined sugar. 2 Refined sugar is found in many processed foods and sweets such as cookies, cakes, and candy. Try limiting these foods and instead reach for fresh fruit when you are craving a sweet treat.

Caffeine can also worsen anxiety in some people. If you regularly experience anxious feelings, try swapping your usual coffee or other caffeinated beverages with herbal tea.

 

Limit Screen Time

Many people spend a significant amount of time every day using computers, tablets, and smartphones at work. On top of that, 82% of Americans use at least one social media channel, so most people are spending time with screens when they are not working, too. 3 Studies show that excessive use of social media can contribute to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. 4 If you want to feel calmer in general, trying a social media cleanse may help. Schedule how much time you will spend on social media each day and have designated times when you do not have your phone on you. For more information, see our post on How & Why to Do a Social Media Cleanse.

 

Move Your Body

When you’re feeling stressed out, moving your body can make you feel more regulated. Try taking a time out and doing a few minutes of yoga or putting on your favorite song and dancing around your living room – dancing, specifically, has been shown to help combat feelings of anxiety and depression. 5 

 

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindful meditation regularly can reduce anxious feelings and increase calm. 6 There are many ways to practice mindfulness, so even if you are very busy, you can find a simple, quick practice that you can easily fit into your day. Try these easy daily mindful meditation exercises next time you have a free few minutes. 

 

Spend Time in Nature

Have you ever felt a sense of calm come over when you go for a hike or walk through a beautiful garden? Getting out into nature can help reduce feelings of stress. Research shows that spending even ten minutes in nature can increase happiness and reduce stress. 7 Try spending more time in nature by visiting local parks, beaches, forests, and other green spaces or tending to a garden.

For more lifestyle and dietary changes that may help you feel calmer, speak to a naturopathic doctor (ND). An ND will work with you to determine the best steps to take, tailored to your own unique needs.

If you experience feelings of anxiety or panic, integrating some of the above ways to stay calm may help you. If those feelings are severe and you think that you may be experiencing a mood disorder, a professional assessment and medication may be the best option for you.

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, seek medical attention immediately.

 

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