Anxiety is very prevalent in college students. When these students reach their breaking points and go to the doctors, they are looking for a quick fix. That quick fix is usually prescription drugs. The thing about prescription drugs is that they don’t work for everyone; Doctors are forced to assume what will work for their patient. When these medications don’t work, the patient has to keep trying different one’s until they find the “perfect match”. These can be very hard on someone’s body as well as their mental stability. It takes approximately three weeks for the medication to “kick in”, and three weeks to “ween off” of it. You do the math. That’s a long time for something to start working when it’s labeled as a quick fix. Let’s explore some alternative remedies to coping with your anxiety!
Soothe Your Worries Away with Herbal Remedies!
Once upon a time, long before recorded history, plants were used for everyday medicinal purposes. The Chinese are commonly known for still using “original medicine”; teas, tinctures, infusions, syrups, and herbal baths. More naturopathic doctors are being recognized for their natural path of medicine, in the U.S., than ever before. There are many herbs that are known to help mitigate anxiety such as Kava root, chamomile, lavender, wild oats, passion flower, holy basil and rosemary. Chamomile and lavender work well in an everyday tea mixture as well as in aroma therapy. Many herbs can be taken by mouth every hour or so to reduce immediate anxiety such as passion flower, Wild oats, and Skullcap. Massaging sesame seed oil into your feet before bed helps release tension in your nervous system while also aiding to a good nights sleep. Researchers say one of the best tips to reduce anxiety is to go caffeine-free. The first step is to switch from coffee to green tea. You can take as many herbs as you would like, however, not every herb works for everyone.
Become a Yogi!
Yoga has become a very popular form of exercise in recent years. Yoga decreases blood pressure and heart rate which would have a calming effect on your body and overall every day health. One of the many symptoms of ‘high blood pressure’ is actually nervousness and difficulty sleeping which are also symptoms of anxiety. By lowering your blood pressure, you are lowering your heart rate which in turn is lowering your nervousness. Many yoga connoisseurs have constructed research on the positive effects of yoga and have found no negative influences. In sync with their research, they have all found the same outcome of reduced anxiety in yoga. Many colleges offer free yoga class!
Balance Your Chakras!
I recently realized that not a lot of college students know what Reiki is. Reiki, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being”. The energies these therapists call upon are called your chakras. Chakras are used to help us find our individual spiritual identity. The idea with Reiki is that you basically release the harvested energy that is causing you to have anxiety. So, how can someone simply placing their hands on certain chakras make your body do anything? Have an open mind.
My yoga instructor did a Reiki treatment on me and I was very skeptical about it. I tried going into my first session with an open mind, and that I did. I could feel her energy so much that the muscle between my shoulder started to twitch, which she told me might happen. After the session, she explained to me that my Solar Plexus Chakra was out of balance. The Solar Plexus Chakra has to do with stomach issues and anxiety. I have always had a ‘nervous stomach’, so much that I used to make myself faint when I was younger. There I was having, a Reiki treatment done with a lady who barely knew me and she just explained to me all my issues. She told me I needed to balance my chakra by eating bananas and other yellow food, bringing more of the color yellow into my life, and using aromatherapy scents such as rose, chamomile, and sandalwood. It was amazing!
Waldo Finds Himself: Proof Meditation Changes Your Brain
“Omn”, she mumbled to herself,with her eyes closed, while seated in a ‘pretzel’. Maybe this is what you would think of when someone says meditation. Well, meditating isn’t just about making sounds and sitting in a pretzel. It’s proven to be directly effective to changes in your lobes. In an interview conducted by Brigid Schulte, Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar illuminates efficient evidence suggesting differences in the brain after meditation. When Schulte asked Lazar what she found in her study, one of the things she said was, “The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear, and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through mindfulness-based stress reduction program. The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels”. The amygdala decreased in size, the levels of anxiety the contestants were experiencing got significantly lower. Many more studies have come out with sufficient research with a direct correlation between mind and body. Meditation lowers high blood pressure by responding to stress hormones, which in turn decreases the rate of anxiety attacks. This is a simple experiment that has been proven multiple times. A symptom of anxiety is negative feelings and self doubt. Meditation transmits neurotransmitters to the brain which releases serotonin; making the patient more happy. Bonus: You can meditate almost anywhere!
What’s Up, Doc?
Doctors need to be more willing to advocate for these alternative treatments as they have no negative side effects. The alternative treatments are no doubt better than this ‘Russian Roulette’ game they have been playing with the “try this”, “try that” commonly known as the ‘guess and check’. Think about how wonderful you will feel when you can take as many alternative therapies as you want with absolutely no side effects! If you took as many as you want with pharmaceuticals, it would kill you! These doctors would be ‘nutty as fruitcake’ to not strongly recommend trying alternative therapies before pushing detrimental prescription drugs onto their patient.