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Got Anxiety? Try These Natural Remedies

podcast cover art for: Got Anxiety? Try These Natural Remedies

Join Dr. James Odell for Season 2 of the Science of Self-Healing Podcast! He's the Medical and Executive Director for BRMI, as well as a practicing naturopathic doctor for over 35 years, and he's here to share with you his extensive knowledge of medicine from a different perspective.

Anxiety affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, from occasional nervousness to chronic disorders. But what if you could manage and even reduce your anxiety through natural, lifestyle-based approaches? Join Dr. James Odell as he unravels the complexities of anxiety and anxiety disorders, exploring their causes and offering practical, holistic solutions.

Discover how nutritional supplementation, mindful practices, and bioregulatory therapies can play a pivotal role in alleviating anxiety. In this episode, Dr. Odell provides you with a comprehensive toolkit to manage both everyday stress and more persistent anxiety disorders. With valuable insights and actionable strategies, you'll learn how to regain control and live a calmer, more balanced life.

Transcript: Got Anxiety? Try These Natural Remedies

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Science of Self-Healing podcast. For health and wellness knowledge from a different perspective. Produced by the Bioregulatory Medicine Institute, also known as BRMI. We are your source for unparalleled information about how you can naturally support your body's ability to regulate, adapt, regenerate, and self-heal. I'm your host, Dr. James Odell, the medical and executive director for BRMI, as well as a practicing naturopathic doctor for over 35 years. And remember, this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for the direct care of a qualified health professional who oversees and provides unique and individual care. The information here is to broaden our different perspectives and should not be construed as medical advice or treatment. Let's get started.

In this episode, I will discuss the complicated topic of anxiety and how it can be mitigated with lifestyle approaches, specifically nutritional supplementation and certain bioregulatory therapies. 

Anxiety affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and we've all experienced it at times. For some of us, daily. For many is an occasional anxiety. And there are also chronic anxiety disorders. 

Let's start by sharing what anxiety is, an anxiety disorder, and the difference between them. 

Anxiety is a normal reaction to a difficult experience or event. It is triggered by a stressful situation and has a starting and ending point. It lessens when we're away from the stressful situations. Thus, it is a natural or normal response to an unexpected or stressful circumstance. 

Anxiety disorders are when anxiety is extreme and when the extreme feelings can last for six months or longer. This disorder can limit what you can do and interferes with life's interactions. The feelings of an anxiety disorder are more intense than simple anxiety and can be debilitating. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States. It is estimated that there are over 400 million U.S. adults experiencing anxiety disorders. 

The following mental health and medical conditions feature anxiety as a symptom. 

  • We have post-traumatic stress disorder is anxiety following a traumatic event and that can often last for years. 

  • A major depressive disorder often has accompanying anxiety, so anxiety often goes with depression. 

  • Chronic disease also can result in anxiety. 

  • Inflammatory conditions can cause anxiety, as does chronic pain. 

  • Substance use disorders can be a part of anxiety, people trying to self medicate and help reduce their feelings of anxiety. 

The autonomic nervous system is composed of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Physiological anxiety causes the sympathetic nervous system to overreact, and then can cause muscles to tense up in preparation for fight or flight mode and result in overall tension. 

It can divert blood flow away from the digestive system, causing nausea and stomach cramps. 

It can increase sweating and a rapid heartbeat, which also can create a feeling that the heart is almost jumping out of the chest. 

Prolonged anxiety puts the brain in an altered state, draining resources and affecting serotonin, which can cause headaches, migraines, and chronic fatigue. This chronic anxiety can contribute to breathing issues as well as hyperventilation. 

Chronic anxiety can even contribute to skin conditions like acne, eczema and other skin issues. 

Chronic anxiety can result in irritability, obsessive behaviors, over scheduling or overworking, overindulgence, dizziness or numbness, sleeplessness and insomnia, lack of concentration, and avoidance of social circumstances. 

For many, anxiety is often worse at night and can cause physical symptoms like headaches, body aches, and digestive issues. It can be exhausting, and it can be unpredictable and make the person feel guilty, like they've done something wrong. 

Anxiety disorders often seem to come out of nowhere, or a disproportionate emotional response that could last for weeks or months and interfere with day to day life makes a person feel that life is impossible and produces physical symptoms like trembling, racing heartbeat, and sweating. 

Research has shown that chronic anxiety is rooted in our brain and our gut and our immune system as well. It affects our metabolism. 

So I'm going to share some mindful practices. Food and supplement recommendations, aromatherapy, environment and exercise recommendations – all aimed at reducing anxiety's negative impact on our life. 

Let's first discuss some dietary strategies. Anxiety can be greatly reduced by lowering sugar, soda intake, fast food, and junk food. A whole food diet rich in vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and blood stabilizing proteins can help to regulate mood and reduce anxiety. There are also reports of patients' depression, anxiety and attention problems being greatly reduced and in some cases, disappearing altogether on a ketogenic diet and also from intermittent fasting. Herbs and natural food supplements can also be helpful. Anxiety and panic attacks are sometimes linked to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, so you want to make sure you're supplementing with a quality multivitamin mineral that affords B vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals. You could even use extra magnesium and vitamin D, as well as fish oil. All of these can help reduce anxiety. 

As far as herbal therapy, the herb holy basil helps lessen anxiety as well as bacopa, B-A-C-O-P-A. It's a foundational herbal remedy in ancient healing traditions in China and India, and it's been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. One of my favorites is passion flower. All of these can be obtained in capsules or in tinctures. Insofar as the mushroom kingdom, we have lion's mane. It's a mushroom often used to aid digestion. It has been found to support anxiety, sleep, immunity, and particularly cognitive function. It's very helpful for cognitive decline – that is lion's mane. 

Exercise and movement help release anxiety. Regular walks are an excellent way of mitigating it, as well as studies show that practicing yoga can ease pain, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, and reduce anxiety. Individuals report that regular exercise substantially decreases anxiety. Just a simple walk around the block can help. 

There are other numerous bioregulatory therapies that can help with chronic anxiety disorder. 

  • Acupuncture treatments have been shown to help both anxiety and depression. This is in part because acupuncture helps restore the autonomic nervous system balance. It stimulates the parasympathetics, which allows the body to relax. Many people are low in their parasympathetic tone and are high in their sympathetic tone, so they have a sympathetic dominance. This creates an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system. 

  • Various forms of sound therapy and music therapy are also helpful. 

  • Biofeedback has long been used successfully to help chronic depression and anxiety. These are usually administered by a psychologist or a social worker. 

  • Aromatherapy is a simple and unique modality for chronic anxiety. The smell of bergamot and lavender soothes the nerves and reduces tension and anxiety. Baths with magnesium salts like epsom salts, can also help soothe the muscles and reduce anxiety. Adding bergamot or lavender oil to a bath can be very relaxing. 

Today's culture has been called an “urgent culture” and is defined as a society's expectation to always be available or productive. Many experts believe that this brings our bodies into a chronic fight or flight mode that can cause and contribute to anxiety. 

  • Therefore, we really must pace ourselves and give ourselves time to schedule things and to accomplish our goals and tasks. Not to be too rushed or feel too overwhelmed with scheduling. 

  • Insofar as environment, we want to remove ourselves from the situation or environment that triggers the anxiety. 

  • If this is your job that's causing chronic anxiety, then maybe you need to consider another place of work. 

  • If you feel overwhelmed that you must figure everything out, ask yourself what's the best thing that you can do right now? Is it to get up and take a brief walk, or to drink some pure water? Then devise a to do list. What would be a positive, helpful thing to do is what you need to ask yourself. 

  • If you feel anxious when you're underprepared. Sometimes being underprepared can cause anxiety, so being prepared can help alleviate anxiety. So if you have a big event, try to prepare for it the day before. Don't leave things for the last minute. Make a list of what you need before the event and take care of it as soon as possible, a day or two before the event.

  • Affirmations can be very helpful. You could practice affirmations such as: “I am safe,” and “I breathe out tension,” “I let go of what I cannot control.” 

  • Use the 90 second rule to accept that you feel fearful or anxious and allow yourself to feel terrible. Allow yourself only 90 seconds to feel terrible, then refocus on the present and what you need to do to handle the situation. 

  • Other things that better regulate the autonomic nervous system and combat anxiety include moving around more and being less sedentary.

  •  Getting an adequate amount of sleep. So, so important - sleep. 

  • Disconnecting from the Internet and mainstream news.It's best not to watch anything traumatic or violent or watch the news prior to going to bed.

  • Eating more vegetables, whole foods and proteins.

  • Not over committing or over scheduling yourself.

  • Performing calming activities like meditation and relaxation exercises, connecting with nature through nature walks or hikes, cultivating social interactions – healthy social interactions that don't cause stress, and volunteering to a purpose you feel really connected to. All these can contribute to a sense of well being and help mitigate anxiety. 

  • Also monitor your personal need for rest and remember that there is mental rest, spiritual rest, creative rest, emotional rest, physical rest, social rest and sensory rest. 

  • Consider creating a simple life. You could choose to transition to a lifestyle where you have fewer things, less debt, different work, and thus less stress. 

  • Explore stress reduction techniques. For example, deep breathing on a regular exercise can help strengthen the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce the overall sympathetic nervous system – again, help to balance the autonomic nervous system, just taking in very deep, slow breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth can often mitigate an anxious type of moment. 

  • Research shows that anxiety and gratitude cannot coexist. The recommendation here is to notice feelings of anxiety and then turn your focus on what you're really grateful for, or could be grateful for. 

  • Other techniques are to rewrite your life story by using templates such as the Hero's Journey to reframe experiences and to recognize and celebrate when you have been resilient and gotten through, survived, and even at times thrive despite going through new things and difficult things. This is helpful as some chronic anxiety is related to past trauma that has caused suppressed anger and emotional hurt. 

  • Self talk and affirmations and focus on the present rather than obsessing about the future are also helpful. 

  • The physical environment really matters. A cluttered space can increase or overwhelm and cause anxiety. Keeping the house clean and orderly will help to keep anxiety in check. Sometimes it's helpful to relieve anxiety by cleaning the house. 

  • Going for a walk in nature is proven to lower stress hormones and anxiety. Getting outside and enjoying nature and getting physical activity for your body – so, so important. 

  • Studies show that having a plant in your bedroom can reduce anxiety and panic attacks. Particularly jasmine plants in bedrooms reduce anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. 

  • Music can help regulate stress, and experts recommend making personal playlists that can help reduce anxiety levels. Individualizing environments to what is calming is recommended. 

  • Many find that letting natural light into their house can have a soothing effect, and uplifting music, candles, fresh flowers, all can help to provide a sense of calm and positivity to help and keep anxiety at bay .

Here are some final thoughts to consider. 

  • Anxiety triggers can include too much caffeine, too much sugar and too little protein. 

  • Not eating a well balanced diet of whole foods. 

  • Certain medications can cause anxiety, so you may want to review that dehydration and getting adequate fluids is important. 

  • Financial challenges.

  •  Too much social media and mainstream news excess alcohol, house clutter, lack of sleep, lack of sunlight and over committing oneself. It's important to limit time on mainstream media and social media. Keep your environment clean and well organized. 

  • Get adequate sleep. 

  • Prioritize exposure to morning sunlight. 

  • Eat a healthy whole foods diet to regulate blood sugar and moods. 

  • Exercise regularly and when possible, exercise in nature. Taking a walk outside is a healthy way to really gain a more optimistic perspective. 

  • Schedule yourself for success and not get overwhelmed with commitments. Every once in a while you have to say no. 

  • Keep yourself well hydrated with pure water or spring water. 

  • Remind yourself that you're safe, you've handled things before and you'll handle this situation too. 

  • Hold your legs up on a wall for five minutes a day also helps to lower anxiety and stress by calming the nervous system. 

  • Supplement with vitamins, minerals, and herbs as needed. 

  • Notice if meditation and prayer help you stay calm, then incorporate them into the tools that you use to keep calm. This may be very helpful. 

  • Rather than trying to calm the storm, learn to calm yourself. The storm will pass. Notice what works for you. Reducing anxiety is accomplished when you use the tools and strategies that work for you. 

So that's all for now. Please check back in two weeks for another episode of the Science of Self Healing. Thank you all. Be well.

Thank you for your time today, and remember that this podcast is made possible by the Bioregulatory Medicine Institute, also known as BRMI, a nonprofit, global, non political, non commercial institute to promote the science and art of bioregulatory medicine. We extend our gratitude to each and every one of you for listening today, and if you haven't already, make sure to visit us at A treasure trove of invaluable information awaits you there. Connect with us across various social media platforms as well. Come and become a member of our thriving tribe. If you've enjoyed today's episode, we invite you to show your support by rating us, leaving us a review, or sharing the podcast within your circle. Our podcast and mission flourish through sharing, and your participation means the world to us. Our organization is sustained by donations, each of which is tax deductible and fuels projects like this. Visit our website,, to contribute or simply to explore the wealth of uncensored and impartial information we offer. No contribution is too small. In just two weeks, we'll be back delving into another captivating topic. Until then, we thank you once again for listening. May wellness and wisdom be your path. Be well.

1 Comment

May 28

I found this episode of the Science of Self-Healing podcast incredibly informative and empowering. Dr. James Odell's expertise shines as he delves into the complex topic of anxiety, providing practical tips and holistic approaches for reducing its impact on our lives.

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