It’s no secret that our lives are busier and more hectic than ever before — a fact that’s doubling our risk of chronic stress and full-blown anxiety disorders. The good news? Researchers have uncovered some effortless (even fun!) natural remedies for anxiety that restore your inner peace — in a flash.
1. Ease anxiety with coconut oil.
Taking six slow, deep sniffs of coconut essential oil can soothe edginess and anxiety in as little as one minute, studies show. Turns out that compounds in coconut’s distinctive tropical aroma relax the anxiety center of the brain!
2. Feel rosier with red-skinned peanuts.
Snacking on a half-cup of red-skinned peanuts daily can help ease worries and increase relaxation in as little as four days, says researcher Dalia Saleh, PhD. Red-skinned peanuts are rich in resveratrol, the anti-aging, disease-fighting antioxidant that also acts like a gentle, natural antidepressant to enhance your mood when absorbed by brain cells. Other top sources of resveratrol include red wine and red and purple grapes.
3. Shut down stress with jiaogulan.
This Ayurvedic herb is such a powerful anti-anxiety agent, just taking 250 milligrams to 500 milligrams daily helps 89 percent of women stay calm even on hectic days. Plus, it can cut your risk of stress-triggered insomnia by 67 percent! Bonus: Jiaogulan relaxes artery walls, lowering high blood pressure for 82 percent of people studied. Important note: Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
4. Jettison the jitters with leafy greens.
Eating at least one cup of spinach, romaine, or other leafy greens in your daily diet could cut your risk of anxiety by 45 percent, according to a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Greens are loaded with folate, a B vitamin that’s a key building block of the mood-steadying hormone serotonin, says study co-author Johan Eriksson, MD.
5. End irritability with finger massages.
Stimulating the pressure-sensitive nerves in your fingers kick-starts production of a tension taming brain compound called GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid)— and that can cut your anxiety levels in half for 90 minutes straight, say University of Connecticut researchers. How to do it: When you can’t seem to unwind, try giving yourself a two-minute finger massage. Focus on one finger at a time, starting at the base and working toward the tip, firmly massaging all sides.
6. Fake it!
Relaxing your brow and speaking in a calm voice soothes your brain’s anxiety center, helping you feel calmer within one minute — and lowering your blood pressure by 10 percent, too.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.