Natural ways to combat anxiety and depression

For the millions of Americans who suffer from anxiety and depression, the treatment options can be quite overwhelming. Because we believe in helping empower each individual to help themselves, we rarely recommend medication as the first option. The reality is, no matter how severe the anxiety and depression symptoms, in the end, we all must learn healthy ways to cope with our feelings and emotions. Self care is the key to improving these coping mechanisms from the inside out. More on that HUGE topic later, for now let's focus on the self care that is exercise.

One of the most natural ways to combat anxiety and depression is good old fashioned exercise. The hardest part when dealing with depression is feeling unmotivated to get up and go. Having some sort of support system and starting with a small goal are great starting points. A coworker, friend, family member or fashionable FitBit are all good options to get us going. Then we need small, specific goals to start moving along our path. Note the word SMALL goals:).

Here are the best exercises to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression.

1. Yoga- There is a great deal of focus on breathing and the mind/body connection in yoga. Research has shown that regular yoga participants greatly reduce their stress and anxiety. Nowadays there is a yoga class on every corner and most will let you try it out before any sort of financial commitment.

2. Running- Yes, running. Most of us have heard about the "endorphins" and "runners high". Endorphins are released in the body when exercising and interact positively with our neurotransmitters in the brain, triggering positive feelings psychologically and physically. Running is one of the best ways to combat depression, and it's free:).

3. Nature hiking- The outdoors offers us fresh air, sounds of the birds and a true "get-away" from our regular day to day life. Connecting with nature tends to lower stress levels and improved memory, according to research. Check out your local forest preserve or Conservation District for a list of trails.

4. Any form of exercise is better than no exercise- No matter what your interests or barriers, there is something out there for everyone. Here are some other options to consider. Swimming, biking, walking, gardening and dancing are often accessible and low cost.

No matter what you try or where you begin, exercise is the best natural way to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression and worth a try before going the medical route. Need a coach to support your growth? Our counselors are awesome in helping set goals and guide success along the way.

Sourced from;; Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, Bourne, 2010.

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