A recent GoodRX study found that 1 in 10 prescriptions in 2022 were for anxiety and depression medications in much of the U.S. (43 out of 50 states).1 These included fast-acting benzodiazepine drugs like Ativan®, Xanax®, and Valium®, as well as SSRIs and SNRIs such as Prozac®, Zoloft®, and Lexapro®.
Though these pharmaceutical drugs can be helpful for many, prescription anti-anxiety medications are associated with a number of harmful side effects, including drowsiness, weight gain and weight loss, headaches, constipation, and dependence. To avoid these side effects, it’s recommended to explore gentle alternatives first and leave prescription medications as a last resort. From mindfulness practices and aromatherapy to homeopathic medication and herbal teas, here are some of the top ways you can learn how to reduce anxiety immediately and long-term with natural and non-prescription options.
How Effective are Natural Anxiety Remedies?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress, so it makes sense to try natural approaches first to manage its symptoms. Research has shown that practices like meditation and journaling can help reduce anxiety, as well as exercise and aromatherapy.2, 3, 4, 5 Such interventions have a real impact on physical and mental symptoms and are just as effective or more effective than common pharmaceutical drugs. Learn more about how each of these natural and non-prescription remedies work.
Studies have shown that meditation is just as effective as prescription medication in reducing anxiety, without the side effects. As a mindfulness practice, meditation actually changes the way the brain responds to stress by shrinking the amygdala, which is in charge of the fight-or-flight response. At the same time, it helps to expand the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with awareness, concentration, and decision-making.
If you’ve never meditated before, it’s normal to be put off by the idea of sitting still for extended periods of time, but even brief meditation sessions can have profound results. In a 2015 study on the effects of mindfulness on mental health care professionals, a week of five-minute mindfulness meditation exercises via the internet resulted in a significant reduction in stress.6
Get started with this beginner’s guide to meditation.
Journaling is another mindfulness practice that can help reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms with regular practice. In a study of journaling among multiple sclerosis patients, journaling helped to reduce anxiety and improve well-being.7 And another study found journaling to be just as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy in young adults.8
It’s never too early to start using this mindfulness practice. Check out these journal prompts to get to the root of your child’s anxiety.
Numerous studies confirm that aromatherapy can be used to ease anxiety, stabilize the mood, induce sleepiness, and even relieve pain. According to experts at John Hopkins, when herbs like lavender or lemon balm are inhaled, the scent molecules travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala to calm anxiety and induce calmness.9 In one 2016 study, aromatherapy using rose water noticeably reduced the anxiety of hemodialysis patients, helping to improve their “emotional and spiritual condition.”10
Hoping to use aromatherapy to help your anxious child? Review this guide for kids and aromatherapy.
4. Moving Your Body: Exercising
You may already know the benefits of physical exercise for your body, but do you know it can also help ease anxiety? According to a new Swedish study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, regular moderate exercise can help improve symptoms of anxiety for people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder (PD).11 The research showed that a combination of cardio and strength training done for at least 45 to 60 minutes, three times or more per week, had the best results.
5. CBD Oil
There is a lot of emerging research coming out on the benefits of CBD, though still in the early stages. If you’re not familiar with CBD, it is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, which is said to have a number of medicinal properties. This includes easing muscle pain, reducing PTSD, and relieving anxiety. Though studies are promising in showing its efficacy in reducing anxiety, the ADAA has reported that there are not enough properly controlled clinical trials to support its use, especially in children.12
6. Herbal Supplements
From chamomile to valerian, there are a number of herbal supplements that may ease anxiety by reducing cortisol, induce sleepiness, and even increase cognitive performance. However, the Mayo Clinic recommends using caution as such supplements are not monitored by the FDA in the same way as medications.
The most promising herbal supplements for children and teens are: lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, St. John’s wort, passionflower, and valerian. The top herbal supplements for adults include the ones mentioned above as well as: ashwagandha, kava kava, and gingko biloba.
7. Herbal Teas
While herbal supplements tend to be stronger and more concentrated than herbal teas, the latter can be a gentler and more palatable way to enjoy the medicinal benefits of herbs. In one study, drinking lavender tea reduced anxiety and depressive symptoms in elderly patients.13 Another study showed that green tea with low caffeine content helps to calm the stress response and improve sleep thanks to the effects of an amino acid called theanine.14 Sipping turmeric tea can also reduce your anxiety due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
8. Homeopathic Medications like Brillia
Though non-prescription homeopathic medication is not the same as a “natural remedy,” or supplement, it is a gentler alternative to prescription medication and works well in combination with the natural remedies listed above. Brillia is unique in merging homeopathy with science to ensure the product works. Backed by clinical studies supporting every claim the product makes, Brillia is a non-prescription homeopathic medication that helps control anxiety, restlessness, irritability and other symptoms. Free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects, Brillia’s active ingredient consists of antibodies to the S100B protein, which is a key regulator of many different intracellular and extracellular brain processes. Almost all mental and neurological diseases (as well as temporal stress-induced conditions) are accompanied by a disturbance of these processes and Brillia works effectively to balance brain chemicals for a more positive, focused mood. The medication achieves this without impacting any other systems in the body or altering blood chemistry.
Unlike prescription drugs, which are associated with a number of harmful side effects, Brillia will not cause drowsiness, dizziness, affect appetite, or mask the personality in any way. The medication also has no contraindications with any medications, so it can be added to your regimen without worry. There are two formulations available: Brillia for Children and Brillia for Adults.
Brillia is also unique in being part of a holistic approach to managing anxiety. Like the natural remedies listed above, such as mindfulness and exercise, Brillia promotes healthy lifestyle habits as a first line of defense in reducing symptoms of anxiety. Known as the Five Pillars, these habits consist of following a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, practicing mindfulness, and controlling screen time, which maximize the medication’s success. With clinical studies to prove its efficacy, Brillia is a safe and impactful way to manage anxiety with or without prescription drugs.
Find out more about how homeopathic medication compares to natural remedies.
Additional Treatment Options & When to Consult a Doctor
No two people experience anxiety the same. What may work for one person may not work as well for another. We recommend exploring a variety of options to find the best path for you or your child. This might mean prescription medication, homeopathic medication, mindfulness, talk therapy, or some combination of all of the above.
If you find that you are not seeing progress, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor to see if there are options you haven’t yet explored. Keep in mind that Brillia is available without a prescription or official diagnosis. If you have questions about how the product may work for you or your child, contact us and see what others have said about their experience in our reviews.
We’ll share helpful tips, the latest studies and personal experiences.