Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 40 million Americans, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. For those men, women, and children, a sense of dread, worry, and nervousness can be a constant companion.
While there are many prescription drugs currently on the market for treatment of anxiety, they are far from the only solutions.
Books, hypnosis, supplements, aromatherapy, and even toys are offered online as potential treatment options for people suffering from anxiety. We’ve rounded up some of the best.
1. Anxiety Toys
Being able to occupy your hands can help calm your mind. This is the idea behind a slew of toys marketed at anxiety sufferers. The Tangle Relax Therapy toy is just one, offering ergonomic stress relief and a tactile distraction from whatever might be making your mind spin. Another option: Pull and Stretch Balls. Think clay, but softer and stretchier. These balls won’t fall apart and can easily fit in your pocket, whether you’re in traffic, at the mall, or sitting at your desk.
“When Panic Attacks” from Dr. David D. Burns is one of the most popular books for anxiety sufferers. The focus of the book is cognitive therapy — dissecting your thoughts and replacing them with healthier ones. But this is far from Dr. Burns’ only contribution to the anxiety library. Books like “Feeling Good” and “The Feeling Good Handbook” can be much like the therapy you receive in a one-on-one counseling session, helping people identify flawed thought patterns in an effort to reduce anxiety and depression.
“The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” is another classic in the world of anxiety assistance books. Using relaxation, cognitive therapy, imagery, lifestyle, and breathing techniques, author Dr. Edmund J. Bourne helps people tackle phobias and anxiety, step-by-step.
3. Essential Oils
Aromatherapy has to help relieve anxiety and stress. Lavender oil is known for its relaxing properties — which is part of the reason we see it so often in bed and bath products. Look for an oil that explicitly states it is an “essential oil,” like this 100% Pure Lavender from Now. Also, don’t apply the oil directly to the skin without diluting it in another carrier oil. Alternately, you can use a diffuser to fill the air in your home.
You can also try a blend of oils rather than a single one. This Balance grounding blend from doTERRA includes spruce, frankincense, and more to help you relax and stay calm.
4. Easy Listening
Research shows that self-hypnosis can be an effective treatment for anxiety. This recording is free and offers a guided hypnosis that will help with focus, relaxation, and anxiety. Like most guided meditations, this one features music, soothing sounds, and a voiceover to help you unwind.
Another guided meditation and hypnosis collection, “Goodbye Anxiety, Goodbye Fear” isn’t only for general anxiety, but for specific phobias as well. There are four tracks on the collection, each led by Roberta Shapiro, an anxiety specialist and hypnotherapist.
5. Herbal Supplements
According to Mayo Clinic, herbal supplements taken by mouth — like lavender and chamomile — can be effective at treating anxiety, although the research is limited and most evidence is anecdotal. Amino acids like tryptophan (which boosts your body’s levels of serotonin, a mood stabilizer) to help with major symptoms of depression, and have been suggested to help with anxiety, though more research is needed.
There are numerous supplements available online, featuring various herbs designed to relax and calm. NOW Foods makes a True Calm blend that uses amino acids to calm overstimulated nerve cells. Other options like Nuphorin include both chamomile and amino acids, as well as ashwagandha.
Not everyone has to spend a fortune on prescription medication to treat anxiety. But even if your doctor does recommend pharmaceutical treatments, many of these widely available products may be able to assist.