By Rosie Main
In the fast-paced and uncertain world we live in, anxiety has become an all too familiar companion for many individuals. It can be overwhelming, leaving people feeling lost, alone, and struggling to find peace. While modern medicine offers treatments with medication, exploring natural remedies without dangerous side effects can be a much better option. Drawing inspiration from biblical scriptures, we can uncover valuable insights that offer solace and strength to overcome anxiety.
- Embracing the Present Moment – Anxiety often arises from worries about the future or regrets from the past. The biblical verse Matthew 6:34 wisely reminds us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” By focusing on the present moment, we can alleviate anxiety’s grip on our minds. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and deep breathing techniques help us stay rooted in the here and now, fostering a sense of calm and inner peace.
- Nurturing a Grateful Heart – The book of Philippians 4:6-7 emphasizes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Cultivating gratitude in our lives can significantly impact our mental well-being. Regularly expressing gratitude for the blessings we have, no matter how small, shifts our focus from negativity to positivity.
- The Healing Power of Nature – God’s creation is abundant in natural remedies that soothe anxious minds. Spending time outdoors, surrounded by nature’s beauty, can offer a sense of peace and tranquility. Whether it’s taking a leisurely walk in the park, stargazing on a clear night, or listening to the calming sounds of the ocean, connecting with nature helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Physical Activity and Exercise – The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, reminds us, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” Taking care of our bodies is not only essential for spiritual reasons but also for our mental well-being. Engaging in regular physical activity, be it through sports or simply taking a dance class, releases endorphins that uplift our mood and reduce anxiety.
- The Power of Prayer and Community Support – Seeking comfort in prayer and sharing our burdens within a supportive community can bring relief in times of distress. The book of Psalms is filled with verses that express the human experience of anxiety and how seeking God’s refuge can offer solace and strength. Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Surrounding ourselves with caring individuals who can offer empathy and understanding can help lighten the weight of anxiety.
- A Balanced Diet for a Balanced Mind – Maintaining a balanced and nourishing diet can have a significant impact on our emotional well-being. The biblical focus on nourishment and caring for our bodies reflects the importance of fueling ourselves with wholesome foods. Reducing caffeine and sugar intake and opting for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can stabilize mood and reduce anxiety.
Special Mention Foods – Turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods we have, especially the extract from turmeric, called curcumin. Turmeric is not commonly used in the U.S., but Indian food has a lot of turmeric with all the curry.
Herbs for depression and anxiety include St. John’s Wort, the mints, and chamomile tea, which helps calm down and uplift the spirits.
Ginger is loaded with antioxidants and potent anti-inflammatory properties, and is believed to play an important role in the health of the brain. A 2012 study found that ginger extract helped improve cognitive function and attention in middle-aged women.
Pumpkin seeds are highly essential for the functioning of the nervous system. They help to produce GABA, an anti-stress neurochemical in the brain that soothes nervous irritability and other mental conditions. Pumpkin seed oil exhibits anti-inflammatory effects.
Flaxseeds are high in those all-important omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for brain development and function. Flax contains alpha-linolenic (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that boosts the cerebral cortex, an area of the brain that processes sensory information.
Walnuts and almonds contain a number of neuroprotective compounds, including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. They may support brain health, cognition, and memory.
Avocados are “full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that promote healthy blood flow in the brain, along with several of the brain’s most valued nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and copper. The B vitamins in avocados relieve stress and keep nerves and brain cells healthy. Its high amount of potassium helps lower blood pressure. And the monounsaturated fats also help support information-carrying nerves in your brain, according to research from the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology.”
Supplement with Magnesium – Magnesium helps to improve the brain’s stress response by protecting the neurons from over-excitation. It also maintains the integrity of the blood brain barrier and reduces the amount of stress hormones that are able to get into the brain. Additionally, it helps to balance and stabilize blood sugar levels.
The best forms of magnesium are those that cross the blood brain barrier where they can help to modulate the HPA axis* and the body’s stress response system. These include magnesium malate, magnesium threonate and/or magnesium glycinate.
In the Bible, God tells us to “cast our cares upon Him,” in Psalm 55:22. Jesus says in Matthew 11:30 that His “yoke is light and His burden is easy.”
God wants us to give Him our worries, doubts, fears, stressors and setbacks. He is our Father and He looks down upon us with a loving concern for our well-being. In fact, He loves us more than we could ever love ourselves. Spend time speaking these verses over your life.
*“The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis involves the central nervous system and the endocrine system adjusting the balance of hormones in response to stress (from Verywell Health at verywellhealth.com).”
If you have questions or need more information, text Rosie Main at (208) 859-6170 or email her at [email protected].