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Natural remedies to ease anxiety

Vegan yoga guru and Ayurvedic specialist Sophia talks us through her tips for easing anxiety

by Sophia Senior, founder of Unity Yoga in Sheffield and Yogaayurvedic.

Sometimes we all need a little self care. It’s not indulgent, it’s undeniable. No matter which natural method you choose, they all serve the purpose of soothing the senses a little and will give you time to take stock. We all deserve that at the very least, but we often don’t allow ourselves the time or consider it’s importance.

Here are my top tips for easy ways to ease anxiety the natural way.

Grab a brew 

Put the latte down! Caffeine is not advised in this case. Try a chamomile, valerian or lemon balm tea to help soothe your system if you start to feel a little frantic. It’s not just the tea itself that has a calming effect, but taking a few minutes to stop and take stock can be very beneficial.

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ŸMeditate

Sometimes meditation will feel like a pointless (or even impossible) chore if you are in the throws of anxiety. Rather than aiming to be an island of zen, just take a minute to observe your mind from the perspective of a witness. No judgment, just a subtle shift of perspective. Who knows where that may lead? Maybe the island of zen isn’t so far fetched after all? If you feel a little unsure then try the Headspace app (the worlds most popular mediation app) which has a 10 day free trial, or seek out a class in your local area.

Invest in some good quality botanicals 

Some essential oils can be really beneficial for anxiety. Bergamot, chamomile, lavender, tuberose and vetiver are just a few. Check out the mood mist range by the Ayurpothecary for a ready made mood boost. They are local, handcrafted in small batches and vegan. There’s a choice between the ‘love yourself mist’, a blend of french tuberose and bergamot or the ‘de-stress mist’ featuring bergamot, chamomile and vetiver. 

Have a bath

In times of stress, I find there is not much a bath can’t soothe. Try using a calming bath oil or some simple Epsom salts. Light some candles, lay back & enjoy. Warm water, salts and oil are great for muscle and mind relaxation. 

Take a breath

Sit as straight as possible while maintaining some comfort. Place a hand on your stomach and a hand on your chest. Observe the breath. Is it in the chest? Is it moving down further so the navel rises too? After noticing how your breathing is for a short while, make the inhalation slower, softer and more comfortable. Make the exhale a little longer. Feel that any unnecessary thoughts are released as you do and creating a clean slate with every new breath.

Ÿ Try mudras

Mudras are Yogic hand postures that are found to create different physical and mental affects. There are a few for anxiety but my favourite one is the Kshepana Mudra – a gesture of letting goIt is said that if you hold this mudra for 3-6 minutes daily, you will notice a subtle energy shift.  It’s a great one to practice before daunting tasks, exams or public speaking, for example. 

How to practice?

  • Kneel / Sit comfortably
  • Using both hands, interlock your fingers and release your index fingers so they are joined and facing upwards
  • Overlap the left thumb over right
  • Hold this position over your heart centre and take a few minutes to breathe gently
  • Allow your attention to hone in on the mudra and your breath

(Credit to Swami Saradananda – this information is an abridged version of her description from Mudras for Modern life.)

Buy a journal

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Note down any emotions, occurrences, doodles or random thoughts. It can really help to have a space just to mind dump on paper. Think of it as deleting unnecessary files in your brain and helping to create space. Sometimes writing things down can bring clarity. Ideally you should make this a daily practice but if it isn’t realistic, have it there in times of need. It doesn’t even need to make sense, just give yourself this space to unload without over analysis, self judgement or guilt.

To find out more about Sophia, yoga and Ayurveda, follow her on Instagram.

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