Anxiety Products That ACTUALLY Help
When I published Conquer Your Anxiety a few months ago, I had intended to put together a list of anxiety products and resources to go along with it.
And then I conveniently never got around to doing it. 😀
Until now, that is. Better late than never!
The biggest reason I wanted to put together this list is just because I thought it would be helpful to have it all in one place with links.
But I also wanted to write it, because – quite frankly – I get annoyed by the manner in which many so-called anxiety products are marketed. As if ONE product is going to magically poof away all your stress and anxiety. Just drink this tea! Just use this spray! Just wear this bracelet!
Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure. In my experience, overcoming anxiety requires a holistic approach that includes optimizing the functioning of your physical stress response system, adopting a lifestyle that leaves room for self care, and learning techniques for keeping fears and worries from spiraling out of control.
It may not be fast, easy, and flashy, but it’s what actually works!
So – with a few exceptions – most of the “anxiety products” on my list are not even specifically designed to combat anxiety. Instead, I included them, because they are products that I have personally found helpful in supporting the kind of lifestyle that, in the long run, has helped me find calm.
Anxiety Products That ACTUALLY Help
Any Product That Helps You Sleep Better
Both low sleep quantity and poor sleep quality can mess with your stress response system and exacerbate anxiety. So anything that helps you sleep better is going to help with your efforts to stay calm.
Here are my favorite sleep-related products.
#1 Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Melatonin is produced when it’s dark, so if you have trouble falling asleep at night, too much light exposure in the evening might be to blame. Blue wavelengths of light from digital devices are particularly disruptive to sleep.
If you can’t part with your devices, you could try blue light blocking glasses. There are also various apps that you can use to control the brightness of the screen, like the Night Shift Mode for Apple devices.
#2 Eye Mask
Light can also be an issue in the middle of the night. Like when your 6-year-old turns on every light in the house when she uses the bathroom at 3am. 😀 I love this silky smooth eye mask to help me avoid those rude awakenings.
#3 Mouth Strips
Your nervous system associates shallow mouth breathing with emergencies and deep nose breathing with safety. So breathing through your nose and way into your belly is one way to coax your body to keep calm.
Mouth strips look creepy, but I never sleep without them anymore. Not only do they improve sleep quality, but they’ve helped me get used to breathing only through my nose during the day too. This is the kind I like to use.
#4 Weighted Blanket
I felt conflicted about including this one, because I think it’s one of those over-hyped anxiety products. Contrary to what the advertising implies, weighted blankets do not prevent zombie apocalypse nightmares and they are not a cure-all for middle-of-the-night-ruminitis.
But with that being said, I LOVE my weighted blanket. And so does my husband. We are both dreading going on vacation this summer and having to sleep without them. We have this kind – I have the 15-pounder and he has the 20-pounder. While these blankets are not a cure-all for nighttime anxiety, we both find them strangely comforting and are convinced they help us fall asleep faster.
Any Product That Helps You Stay Active
So sleeping helps, but so does its opposite. 🙂 For me personally, exercising and otherwise staying active have helped curb my anxiety levels probably more than anything else.
Now, let me start off by stating that you don’t have to have any products to stay active. Humans – just like any other animals – have an innate capacity to move without any extra equipment. For years and years, I used to just get out the door and run.
But then I had kids and I couldn’t just leave them at home by themselves. And then we moved and now I would need to get in the car and drive somewhere to get on a trail.
And hence I now do have some equipment that makes staying active more convenient.
#5 Home Gym Equipment
I like saying home gym, because it sounds fancy, but really I just have random mismatched exercise equipment in a dark, unfinished part of the basement. 😀
And I want to tell you about my “home gym” to make the point that setting one up doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars.
- I bought my first treadmill used for a hundred bucks.
- I have this inexpensive exercise bike.
- And I bought my elliptical more than a decade ago for around $200. That model is not even available anymore, but here’s an equivalent with really good reviews.
- I also have this yoga mat and a set of small dumbbells.
#6 Active Office Equipment
Prolonged sitting is harmful to your physical and mental health, even if you include an exercise session in your daily routine. So if you have a desk job, finding a way to either stand or move for part of the work day is something you can do to help keep the anxiety monster at bay.
Also see this post for more ideas for avoiding prolonged sitting.
Any Product That Helps You Relax
Anxiety is basically stress on steroids.
Human beings evolved to deal with short spurts of stress. So when you’re under stress for longer periods of time, without a chance to recover in between stressful events, your brain gets stuck in the “I’m under threat” mode.
So anything that helps you break the stream of stress and achieve a relaxed state is a useful tool in your battle against anxiety.
Here are some products that I have found helpful for stress relief and relaxation.
#7 Spire Stone
Spire Stone is a piece of wearable technology that you clip on your pants where it measures your breathing based on the movements of your belly. It then uses your breathing rate to detect when you’re getting tense or when you haven’t taken a deep breath for a while. Aaaand then it alerts you by buzzing and sending a notice to your phone, so that you can take immediate action to work on calming down.
Short story: I absolutely LOVE my Spire Stone. It does a great job of helping me catch stress before it has a chance to grow.
Long story: check out this post for a full review to see if it might be something you would benefit from.
#8 Neck And Back Massager
My husband has pretty severe neck and shoulder pain at times, so the kids and I gifted him this neck and back massager last year for Father’s Day.
And guess who’s been using it more – me or him? 😉
I can’t help it – it’s sooo relaxing. But I have to warn you – it’s pretty hardcore and really digs into the muscles. If you’re looking for a gentle massage, then pass on this one and maybe consider the next item…
#9 A Scalp Massager
Did you know that massaging your scalp releases oxytocin? Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter and hormone that is associated with relaxation and emotional stability. This little tool is perfect for doing the trick.
And btw, it works for calming down kids too. As in “Mom, can you keep doing that forever?” 😀
#10 Yoga Equipment
I haven’t been able to fit a daily yoga practice into my schedule, but every time I do get around to doing yoga, I find it leaves me feeling calm.
I have this yoga mat and I like to follow along with the yoga videos that are included with my Amazon Prime membership. There’s quite a bit of variety with different styles of yoga and for different levels of skill.
Or if you’d rather practice with a book, I really like Yoga: Relaxation, Postures & Daily Routines. When I first started doing the videos, it was sometimes a little hard to follow along and this book helped me figure out the basic moves.
#11 Relaxing Music
This is another one where an Amazon Prime membership comes in handy. Amazon Music offers 2 million songs included with Prime with no extra cost. And these 2 million songs include a bunch of nature sounds and instrumental music. You can just search for “relaxing music” or “nature sounds” to find something you like. My favorite is Calm Music Guru.
Any Product That Helps You Nourish Your Body And Brain
What you do and don’t eat influences your blood sugar levels, your hormones, your gut bacteria, and inflammation in your body. All of these factors in turn play a role in your brain chemistry, and therefore, in your mental health.
So anything that helps you keep your body well-nourished has the potential to ease your anxiety levels in the long run.
Other than sticking to the outer isles of the grocery store, here are a few items I have found helpful in keeping my body nourished.
#12 A Cookbook Emphasizing Whole Foods
I’m typically not too into cookbooks. With most cookbooks I’ve tried, I end up finding one or two recipes I like and the rest of the book ends up just serving as shelf filler. Plus it’s so easy to find recipes online nowadays, why bother with books?
With that being said, there’s one cookbook I stumbled upon a few months ago that is totally worthy of taking up space in my kitchen. One of the hardest things about eating a whole foods diet and avoiding processed foods is that it involves a whole lot of time-consuming cooking from scratch.
But the simple recipes in The Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook make food prep a breeze. Plus I actually like the vast majority of the recipes in this book, which matters more than anything if you want to stay motivated to eat healthy.
#13 ReMag Magnesium
Another thing I’m typically not too into is taking nutritional supplements. I firmly believe that nutrients work best when they come from whole foods rather than from a factory.
But after reading The Magnesium Miracle, I became fairly convinced that magnesium is not sufficiently available in our food supply and that I could benefit from supplementing.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with a whole host of ailments, including mental health issues, as it plays an important role in regulating neurotransmitters. There are also some studies showing that magnesium supplementation can specifically help ease anxiety, although the research is not conclusive yet.
But anyway, I had so many of the potential symptoms listed in The Magnesium Miracle that I thought it was worth a try for me.
I take this liquid form of magnesium, which is better absorbed by your body and less likely to cause side effects than some of the other forms.
It tastes odd at first and it took me a few days to get used to it. I mix a quarter teaspoon per a can of LaCroix and that helps with the flavor. By now, I’ve been taking it for so long that I kinda crave the taste.
The impact is not instant, so it’s hard to say how much it’s actually helping. But it’s definitely not hurting. And lately, I feel like my stress response has been “muted”. It’s just not as strong or uncomfortable as it used to be.
But I can’t be 100 percent certain whether it’s the magnesium, the gazillion other things I’ve been doing, or this:
#14 Bifidus Mood Boost
The one other supplement I take is a probiotic with bifidobacteria. Bifidobacteria help make GABA, which is a calming neurotransmitter.
When I did genetic testing via Nutrition Genome, I found out that I’m at risk for low GABA levels. (Not terribly surprising given my life-long battle with anxiety!) So I take the probiotic to give my GABA a boost. 🙂
Again, there are so many factors at play here that it’s impossible for me to quantify how much it’s helping, but I don’t think it’s hurting, because I continue to make progress and feel better all the time. 🙂
Any Product That Helps You Process Fears And Worries
The feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety come from the primitive parts of our brains – from the parts most concerned with immediate survival.
To win your battle against anxiety, it’s necessary to strengthen the parts of your brain tasked with reasoning.
This is another one that’s not an instant cure, but over time, with practice, the reasoning parts of your brain can get better at overriding the instinctual fears.
#15 An Anxiety Workbook
The Conquer Your Anxiety eBook Bundle includes a printable workbook packed with worksheets and reminder lists, walking you through all the strategies I have found helpful in processing fears and worries and nipping them in the bud before they grow out of control.
All Of These Anxiety Products Help, But None of Them Help Alone
While I have found everything I have listed here to be helpful, I want to emphasize again that none of these products have proven all that helpful in isolation.
For example, if I were to take a magnesium supplement, but did nothing to address my sleep, activity levels, or worrying, I would still struggle mightily.
The key to overcoming anxiety, in my experience, is taking a holistic approach and reaping the cumulative benefits you get from addressing all the factors that might be contributing to your anxiety.