Trumpaphobia anyone? Whether or not America’s newest president is in fact the harbinger of the apocalypse or just a fresh breath of politically incorrect air, remains a hotly debated matter. In fact, all over Facebook, people are unfriending each other faster than you can say “tyrant with a toupee,” leaving many on both sides of the political fence feeling betrayed, anxious, and overwhelmed.
This new political anxiety is known on the social media streets as Trumpaphobia, which often results in sleeping problems or Trumpsomnia. After a few months in office, who knows, we may even see people presenting with PTTD (post-traumatic Trump disorder).
Politics aside, it is safe to say that while most people are not truly suffering from a Trump-induced phobia, there are certainly a significant number suffering from major stress and anxiety, unrelated to presidential pains.
In fact, according to a 2012 study, the majority of Americans report unhealthy stress levels, with 1 in 5 Americans claiming their stress levels as “extremely high.” Even more alarming is just 37 percent of Americans feel they are able to manage their stress levels adequately. And all this was in 2012, before Trumpaphobia even existed!
Anxiety and stress go hand in hand and can range from mild to severe. Classic symptoms include sleep disturbances, racing thoughts, depression, worry, apprehension, hopelessness, angry outbursts, frustration, stomach pains, uncontrollable crying, and increase or decrease of appetite, just to name a few.
However, if numbing yourself out to the realities around you is not really your thing, you will be relieved to learn that there are a lot of natural remedies for anxiety and stress. From herbal teas to avoiding a Facebook frenzy, the following is a list of ten things you can do to manage your anxiety naturally.
1. Don’t Isolate Yourself
On Nov. 9, members of a liberal church in a small Midwestern town (yes, they do exist!) met for an emergency post election gathering. Many of them expressed, through tear-swollen eyes, that their worst fears had been realized. The anxiety they had worked so hard to curb over the past year now loomed large in the aftermath of the shocking election results.
“People were freaking out,” recounts Reverend Denis Paul of his Unitarian Universalist congregation.
They needed to be with other people, they didn’t want to be alone that day. So we basically camped out in the community room, sitting on couches, thinking about this and sharing our anxieties. There were people who were in such a state of despair and other people who said, when you can’t hold yourself up, we will hold you up.
He describes a lot of tears and emotions, but also remarks that everyone left feeling better.
“There is nothing worse than isolation for increasing anxiety,” Paul states.
And he’s right. Numerous studies have shown that a strong, supportive environment reduces depression and anxiety.
You might even consider joining a support group, church, or other caring community to help reduce your sense of isolation and loneliness, especially if your friends and family do nothing for your peace of mind.
Unfortunately, those of us suffering from anxiety and depression often want to just crawl under the covers and hide, but connecting and sharing with others is much healthier in the long run, whether Trumpaphobia is the cause or not.
So throw the blankets off, put down that tub of ice cream and go find a supportive shoulder to cry on.
2. Do Talk About It
Justin Simons, a licensed clinical counselor, recommends talking about your fears with a professional therapist as a way to reduce anxiety naturally, stating that getting specific and naming the thing you fear most can help people put their fears and anxieties into perspective.
I ask people to tell me exactly what they are afraid of and we go from there. Some fears are irrational, some are based in fact. Usually, it’s a mixture of both. Even when the fear is very real, it can be therapeutic to talk about it with a trained professional.
3. Do Stay In The Present Moment
Simons also recommends staying in the present moment. He explains how anxiety, even those from Trumpaphobia, stems from fear, which is generated from the parts of our brains that are more animalistic and instinctual.
These emotions are necessary for survival and are not ‘bad.’ It’s when we stay in that place, always worrying over what’s coming, a constant-fear loop that our health and quality of life are diminished. What separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to reason, to rise above, if you will, to choose our reactions. I teach people that they can learn to respond rather than react, which allows them to feel more in control of their lives.
4. Don’t Forget To Breathe Deeply
One of the best ways to stay in the present moment is through deep breathing exercises and meditation. Deep, intentional breathing is my personal favorite natural remedy for anxiety because it has an immediate calming effect and you can use it anywhere, anytime, no special prep needed.
For example, maybe you are on your way to work when you get cut off by a distracted texting twit … just breathe. Or, let’s say your right wing neighbor continues adding to her “Trump For President” yard sign collection months after the election is over … just breathe.
The point is, no matter where you are or what you are doing, you are already breathing. So when you feel your anxiety, worries, and anger getting the best of you, go off auto-pilot and breathe intentionally, deeply, perhaps even adding a personal mantra that soothes your soul.
If you have ever suffered through a debilitating panic attack, you know what a frightening affair it can be. Taking deep breaths often doesn’t seem to help. This is because, according to some experts, we actually forget to exhale during the attack. Practice these special breathing exercises sometime before your next panic attack.
5. Don’t Stay Plugged In
One of the best ways to ensure your anxiety doesn’t go away is to stay glued to the tube. Mainstream media, and most of the TV shows we watch for that matter, have this special way of tapping straight into our fears and anxieties, vilifying public figures and creating criminals on every corner.
So be your own parent and set limits for yourself. Don’t feed your face full of sensationalist media garbage and Facebook rants. If you are feeling worked up and anxious, take a break from television and Facebook. Instead of staring at your screen, invite a friend out to coffee, go to an art museum, or read a book — preferably something non political. You’d be surprised how the Trumpaphobia anxiety wanes when you spend time in the real world instead of online.
6. Do Use Herbs And Essential Oils
There are an amazing number of herbal supplements available to help calm nerves and ease anxiety. Laura Fry, a homesteading herbalist from Ohio, recommends valerian, kava kava, and oat straw as three great herbs for anxiety and stress.
Her absolute favorite herb for anxiety and depression is motherwort. “Motherwort is a really amazing herb because it basically returns you to your mother’s breast. The same spiritual and emotional security that a baby receives from her mother, can be realized in this beautiful herb.”
Jennifer Tolentino, an aromatherapist from North Carolina, suggests using vanilla to ease anxiety and stress. “Vanilla is a comforting aroma for most people and is often attached to pleasant memories like baking cookies with grandma.”
For those of us feeling sluggish and depressed, Tolentino recommends citrus scents for their uplifting, energizing qualities, and positive associations. Beeswax lime scents can be especially effective at clearing your mind.
7. Supplement Your Mental Health
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 24 studies show that “nutritional and herbal supplementation is an effective method for treating anxiety and anxiety-related conditions without the risk of serious side effects.”
L-tryptophan and L-teanine are amino acid supplements that help with mood and sleep. L-Theanine is a unique amino acid, considered a nootropic, found almost exclusively in green and black tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Camellia sinensis is an evergreen shrub native to East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. Currently it is cultivated across the world in tropical and subtropical regions. Studies have shown that taking L-theanine affects the emission of alpha waves, and the levels of dopamine and GABA in the brain. This helps support focus and relaxation.
L-tryptophan, also a nootropic, assists with the production of the nuerohormone melatonin, which regulates mood and stress response, and the hormone serotonin, which regulates our sleep and wake cycles.
8. Plant Medicine To The Rescue
Industrial hemp is extracted from the cannabis plant and has no euphoric properties whatsoever. CBD Oil nourishes the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. A decrease in the functioning of the ECS can lead to chemical imbalances throughout the whole body. CBD acts on the ECS to increase its function and promote total body health including the calming of nerves and aiding with focus and relaxation.
9. Don’t Be A Couch Potato
For those of us suffering from anxiety or Trumpaphobia, getting out of bed can be a real struggle. But the importance of exercise to help reduce stress and anxiety cannot be ignored.
However, if the idea of donning yoga pants and hitting the gym sounds about as likely to happen as Trump giving up Twitter, then start slow. Do a few yoga relaxation stretches. Take a walk around the block or bike to the store. Push your limits but don’t overwhelm yourself.
The benefits of yoga are many and can be done from the comforts of your own home. YouTube has a really great free yoga channel which teaches customized yoga poses to help overcome specific emotions, such as anxiety and grief.
Kickoff Your Yoga Routine With This Video:
10. Do Take Action
Both Paul and Simons recommend getting involved and taking some sort of action to help ease anxiety and fight feelings of despair.
“People who feel like their lives are out of control, often benefit from just doing something,” says Paul, who takes his own advice and reaches out to local lawmakers on a regular basis now. “It has become a daily spiritual practice for me, so much so that for the first time in my life, I don’t have to look up their numbers anymore, they are in my contacts.”
Simons says he often suggests that his clients get involved in something bigger than themselves to help ease their anxiety, anger, and grief. “Start a blog, join a group, volunteer your time, giving back and taking action can be incredibly healing.”
Inadvertently or not, Trump is inspiring people all over the world to take action and unite. Unprecedented numbers of people, including Simons and Paul, along with the majority of his congregation, participated in the Women’s March on Washington D.C., held just one day after Trump’s inauguration. Those who couldn’t make the trip, were able to join sister marches held throughout the country and even the world.
When one particular marcher, Mary Mcgovern was asked how she planned to carry this energy forward into the future, she responded, “I have made a commitment that as long as Trump is in office, I am going to do one good deed a day, one act of social justice, small or big, every day.”
So if you, like millions of other Americans, are suffering from Trumpaphobia or anxiety and stress, politically induced or not, remember that you are not alone in your struggle. You are not hopelessly helpless either. Although Big Pharma would like to convince you otherwise, addictive antidepressant medications are not your only option. Coming together and uniting in purpose is a powerful antidote to anxiety. So is personal inner reflection, such as meditation and yoga. The truth is, there are many highly effective herbal remedies and lifestyle changes that you can adopt that are proven to be very useful in overcoming anxiety and stress, one intentional breath at a time.
Daisy Jean is a freelance writer who lives with her fabulously feral family deep in the woods on a little piece of land they call Serenity. Read about our off-grid extreme homesteading (mis)adventures on her blog.
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