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7 Essential tips for Anxiety (Part 3- Time in Nature)

Anxiety is an extremely common problem, with one in seven Australians currently experiencing an anxiety condition. According to Beyond Blue, one quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime, while 26.3% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder to date.[1] This is equivalent to 4.96 million people having experienced an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months, or 2.71 million people with anxiety right now.[2]

Anxiety is so widespread that it is the most common mental disorder worldwide.

This week we’ve been exploring natural remedies for anxiety, including those recommended by the ancient practice of Ayurveda, specifically the role excessive Vata dosha has on anxiety, and the need for grounding to bring consciousness back into the whole body.

7 Essential Tips to for Anxiety

Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, an Ayurvedic approach will include looking at your whole life to reduce imbalance and bring energy out of your head and back into your body that may include:

  1. Diet: Avoiding sugary foods, take-away, junk foods like soda and I hate to say it – chocolate – as these foods can be overstimulating. Increase grounding, warm, moist, less oily foods, like, hot cereals (porridge), dairy products, bread and pasta or their gluten-free or vegan equivalents like almond milk and oats
  2. Structure: Staying warm, taking a hot bath with aromatic oils, and avoiding distracting or busy music, stressful work or study zones, or entertainment like violent programs or gaming. Create a sanctuary for yourself where you can control your environment
  3. Mindfulness Use mindfulness techniques, meditation or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, listen to grounding music or guided meditation tracks, learn breathing techniques to help eliminate the use of stimulants like nicotine, coffee, energy drinks, illicit drugs etc.
  4. Sleep: Keeping a regular sleep cycle in tune with your natural circadian rhythm, going to bed before 11pm and waking before 8am. Develop a wind-down routine to eliminate stressful activities like answering work emails or browsing social media at least an hour before bed-time, keep your sleep area free of blue light
  5. Nature: Spending time in nature to ground your energy, get your toes into the sand or dirt, create a small garden, talk to your plants, sit on a rock in the sun, hug a tree or look at pictures of nature
  6. Exercise: Undertaking exercise that grounds, strengthens and warms, hot yoga, weight training or hot pilates
  7. Essential Oils: Supplementing with plant-based remedies like essential oils that include concentrates of grounding ingredients including cinnamon, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, rock salt, sesame seeds, anise, citrus, lavender as either aromatics or ingestibles have been shown to support the parasympathetic nervous system to relax, reducing anxiety and stress

So far we have explored the role of Essential Oils and Exercise in the management of anxiety. If you missed these, you can find them here:

Essential Oils: https://cephyra.com/7-essential-tips-for-anxiety/

Exercise: https://cephyra.com/7-essential-tips-for-anxiety-part-2-exercise/

Today our topic is the wonderful benefit time in nature can provide to reduce our stress and anxiety.

Natural wellness treatments and lifestyle routines for anxiety

Tip Number 5 – Nature

Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects.[3] It can:

  • improve your mood – even a short time in nature can improve mood according to researchers
  • reduce feelings of stress or anger , the simple act of being outside in nature has been shown to reduce stress
  • help you take time out and feel more relaxed by switching off devices
  • improve your physical health through exposure to fresh air and movement
  • improve your confidence and self-esteem as it takes you focus off your problems
  • help you be more active, just through the process of getting outside
  • help you make new connections by getting you out of your house
  • provide peer support, through accessing a safe space where you feel accepted and understood

People “…are at higher risk for mood disorders as they age, from dealing with sudden life changes like health issues, the loss of loved ones, and even the new world of retirement,” says Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance. “They may not want to turn to medication or therapy for help, and for many, interacting with nature is one of the best self-improvement tools they can use.”[4] But it’s not just people in mid-life and retirement who benefit from nature. Anybody who is couped up in an office (whether at home or in a town or city) can benefit just as much from spending time out-doors.

Time in nature is grounding and inherently harmonizing. Try to put your bare feet on the earth, in the sand, or touch a tree for at least a few minutes (or much longer) every day. Get into wild nature at least once a week for a walk, hike, swim or picnic if your anxiety is severe. The restorative role of nature is a part of ancient Ayurveda, and it is also backed by science![5]

Spending time in nature can act as a balm for our busy brains. Both correlational and experimental research have shown that interacting with nature has cognitive benefits—a topic University of Chicago psychologist Marc Berman, PhD, and his student Kathryn Schertz explored in a 2019 review. They reported that green spaces near schools promote cognitive development in children and green views near children’s homes promote self-control behaviours.[6]

Adults assigned to public housing units in neighbourhoods with more green space showed better attentional functioning than those assigned to units with less access to natural environments. And experiments have found that being exposed to natural environments improves working memory, cognitive flexibility and attentional control, while exposure to urban environments is linked to attention deficits.[7]

Here are some top ideas for spending time in nature:

  • grow or pick food – either your own garden, a community garden or with a foraging group
  • bring nature inside – create an internal green space with pot-plants or a terrarium, the process of caring for them will provide time-out from screen-based activities
  • do activities outdoors – meditate, picnic, walk the dog, walk on the beach, do tai chi or yoga, swim, row, kayak or hike
  • help the environment – join a conservation group, plant trees, go plogging, volunteer as a guide at your local botanic gardens
  • connect with animals – volunteer to walk shelter dogs if you don’t have your own, go bird watching, care for rescue animals, or volunteer on a farm

Experimental findings show how impressive nature’s healing powers can be—just a few moments of green can refresh a tired brain. Australian researchers asked students to engage in a dull, attention-draining task where they pressed a computer key when certain numbers flashed on a screen. Students who looked out at a flowering green roof for 40 seconds midway through the task made significantly fewer mistakes than students who paused for 40 seconds to gaze at a concrete rooftop.[8] 

Even the sound of nature has a recuperative effect. In a study published in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review in 2019, researchers found that participants who listened to nature sounds like crickets chirping or waves crashing performed better on demanding cognitive tests than those who were exposed to urban sounds like traffic and the sounds recorded in a busy café.[9]

In Summary

Anxiety is a complex problem and, thus, there are no simple solutions. The greatest improvements I have seen come with dedicated effort across multiple dimensions of life. |As a clinical hypnotherapist for over 30 years, I have seen people experience dramatic improvements in their anxiety levels if these suggestions are consistently and diligently practiced. Think: lifestyle change rather than one-time adjustment.

As Deepak Chopra says, “the journey of self-discovery, taken with an open heart, inevitably leads to healing.”[10]

At Cephyra® we want you to Be Better, Naturally.

You’ll see a symbiosis in the symbology and herbology of Ayurveda and Kabbala repeated throughout the Cephyra® Activated Oil™ products, which were designed to help us navigate our way through the challenges of the world and thrive, rather than struggle and just survive.

My favourite Cephyra® Activated Oils™ for managing anxiety include Sirius™ formulated to take advantage of the well-established anxiolytic properties of Lavender, Bergamot, Chamomile and Lemon Myrtle. This wonderful edible essential oil can be used in combination with Cephyra® Earth™, Cephyra® Moon™ or Cephyra® Mars™, designed to support grounding and to feel safe and strong in your own body.

To celebrate the release of these products we are offering 20% off store-wide.

Calm your overstimulated brain with Cephyra® Sirus™:

Regain your foundation with Cephyra® Moon™:

Ground yourself with Cephyra® Earth™:

Tone your nervous system with Cephyra® Mars™:

Yours in Wellness,

Elisabetta Faenza

Cephyra® & LeafCann® CEO and Founder

[1] https://www.beyondblue.org.au/media/statistics

[2] https://www.beyondblue.org.au/media/statistics

[3] https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/how-nature-benefits-mental-health/

[4] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-019-0754-8

[5] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature

[6] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0963721419854100

[7] (Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 28, No. 5, 2019).

[8] (Lee, K.E., et al., Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2015)

[9] Van Hedger, S.C., et. al., Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2019

[10] https://chopra.com/articles/an-ayurvedic-approach-to-anxiety