Natural Remedies for Nervous Conditions

First, I'd like to suggest some things you can do to improve your mental health that does not require taking supplements or medications.

  • Sunlight, or just more light (but less light at night)
One common reason for depression is not getting enough light.  You may find that using full spectrum light bulbs helps you maintain a better mood.  Open up the blinds if you have to be indoors for any length of time.  For those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are special light boxes available.
  • Time outdoors, either for chores, exercise, or nature study
Indoor light is never as bright as outdoor light, even on an overcast day.  For this reason, try to get at least a little bit of time outdoors every day.  If it is storming, see if you can at least stand on the porch for a few minutes.  Fresh air is energizing and uplifting. 
  • Social times at least once or twice a week (a family game, perhaps, and church attendance)
You may have to force yourself to be sociable, but it will help you keep a happier mood.  Our family plays a game and eats homemade pizza every Thursday evening.  Choose a time for some sort of socializing on a frequent basis and make it a priority.  If you suffer from social anxiety, be gentle with yourself.  Don't feel like you have to force yourself to shake everyone's hand at church.  Maybe you can push yourself just a little though, and then congratulate yourself for the effort.  I have a little social phobia, so I know how difficult situations like church dinners can be.
  • Journaling or writing poetry, preferably in connection with a daily time of Bible and prayer
Journaling is a lifeline for me!  It provides several great benefits.  One of the most important is that you get to know yourself better.  You also can keep track of things that happen, which can help you figure out what types of events trigger your psychiatric symptoms.  You can also record prayers and Bible verses that mean something to you.  A quick reminder:  don't try to be perfect or it will become a duty and a chore instead of a source of great joy.  Another suggestion:  Try to keep it positive.  If you feel you must vent, turn it into a prayer for peace and the ability to accept and/or forgive the person or circumstance that is frustrating you.
  • Exercise
Ten or twenty minutes of vigorous activity can lift your mood for hours.  Try to make it fun, but even if it isn't, keep doing it.  Call it therapy and consider it as important as medicine, if that helps you be more consistent.  In fact, if there were a miracle cure that every doctor would prescribe, exercise is it.  The problem is in getting the patients to take the medicine!
  • Yoga poses or other relaxed stretching exercises
I'm not sure about yoga, per se, being good for the child of God because of the connection with a false belief system.  However, I did hatha yoga with Lilias Folan on the old tv show, "Lilias, Yoga, and You" back in the early 70s, and I am thankful for the awareness it gave me for my body.  I can feel where tension is and I have a way to breathe and stretch that helps me relieve that tension.  In short, I learned how to do progressive relaxation, and for that I am thankful.  There is a Christian version of relaxed stretching.  I will try to find out about it and share my insights here.
  • Aromatherapy (lavender, neroli, or whatever scents cheer and relax you)
People like different scents, but lavender is usually relaxing for most people.  Neroli is expensive, but you may find it used in a blend.  I like "Panic Button" which is a blend of oils from Aura Cacia.  It even helps to have a bottle of it in the car to sniff when I feel anxious about driving in traffic or crossing bridges.
  • Music (Find out the style and the amount that works best to cheer and relax you.)
Singing is wonderful, but so is listening.  Determine what works and what makes you more anxious.  I get kind of down when I listen to the radio for hours on end.  Some types of music irritate me, too, if I listen to them too long at a time.  That can be music I kind of like, such as soft jazz.  After a while, I have to get rid of it!  Sometimes silence is really restorative, too, so see if you can turn off the TV or other entertainment device for a while if it's getting you down.
  • Art, craft, or fix-it projects. Make time for this. It's worth it.
Getting something accomplished that you have been procrastinating about is a real upper!  Just remember to pat yourself on the back for getting it done, or even for taking a stab at it if it turned out to be more than you could handle.  That happens to us a lot.  ;-)

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