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5 Ways to Calm Anxiety Naturally

Simple, proven methods to calm your body and mind.

By Kellee Katagi

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Anxiety is trending—and not in a good way. One in five American adults—and one in three teenagers—suffer from an anxiety disorder, and current events have inspired anxious feelings even in those without a disorder.

But don’t let this news make you anxious. Fortunately, natural antidotes abound. Here are five of our favorite ways to calm anxiety, plus a bonus list of anxiety-squelching foods to eat—and a few foods to avoid.

Get your heart pumping. Aerobic exercise—anything that bumps up your heart rate—has been shown in study after study to ease anxiety. Moderate-intensity workouts seems to be best, but any movement can help. Aerobic activity stimulates the feel-good brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin and can reduce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Weave movement into your daily activities and increase your commitment to working out.

Lift it away. The anti-anxiety effects of aerobic exercise have long been known, but recent research published in the journal Nature suggests strength-training can be effective as well. In the study, young adults who performed two sets of eight resistance-training exercises (8 to 12 reps) twice a week for eight weeks had a much greater drop in anxiety than a control group. For tips on getting started with strength-training, regardless of your age, click here.

Get outside. This tip can help on a lot of levels. First, just being in nature is calming. Second, it’s a way to increase your vitamin D levels (low levels have been linked to people with anxiety disorders). Third, when you’re outdoors, you’re more likely to be active, giving you a double boost in your fight against anxiety.

Opt for omega-3s. A meta-analysis of 19 studies performed across 11 countries found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements calmed anxiety symptoms in participants, compared with a placebo. Larger doses, about 2,000 mg daily, seemed to be most effective.

Take a tea. Even your grandmother knew all about the calming effects of chamomile tea, but recent studies back her up, showing it to significantly diminish General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) symptoms. Click here for a deeper dive into what chamomile is and how to get enough.

Diet Dos and Don’ts

To keep anxiety in check, here’s a short list of what to eat and what to avoid.

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Refined sugar



Citrus fruits


Whole grains

Diet soda







Dark chocolate




Fatty fish




Green tea



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