11 Old Wives' Tales About Anxiety That Are Actually True


Some old-school beliefs deserve to stay in the past. Taking snake oil in place of medication, for instance, is probably not the greatest idea of all. With that said, plenty of folk wisdom has held up to the rigors of scientific study. In fact, the old wives' tales about anxiety that are actually true just might make your great-aunt say, "I told you so."

Many typical treatments for anxiety, from lavender to chamomile tea, have been shown to have a legitimate soothing effect in persons with anxiety. Even the simplest of ideas, such as taking a walk or soaking in the tub, have also been shown to induce a state of calm. Sometimes the foremothers really did know best.

In this case, anxiety cures may be more wanted than ever before. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an estimated 40 million adults in the United States cope with an anxiety disorder. In many cases, therapy and medication are the most direct route to wellness. Basically, I'm not suggesting that anyone should throw out a Prozac prescription in favor of some bottles of essential oils, but these old-school remedies may help individuals with mild to moderate or serve anxiety as a supplement to your regime of therapy and medication. A warm bath, nap, or walk in a sunny space will help calm most nerves, but these remedies help too:

1Sniff Lavender


Maybe there is something to aromatherapy after all. As noted in the University of Maryland Medical Center, research has indeed confirmed the calming effect of lavender. If nothing else, the pleasant aroma will give you something to focus on in periods of stress.

2Take A Deep Breath


If a loved one is dealing with high anxiety, you may suggest they take a deep breath to calm down. There's evidence to support this idea as well. As noted by Anxieties.com, taking deep breaths can help stimulate your body's calming response. Practicing breathing techniques can help anxiety sufferers feel more steady and calm.

3Sip Chamomile Tea


The word chamomile is basically synonymous with calm. And according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, findings suggest that chamomile extract had the effect of reducing anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. It's an interesting case of scientific study appearing to back folkloric wisdom.

4Soak In The Tub


Who doesn't love a soak in the tub? According to Calm Clinic, a warm bath can actually be a fantastic way to reduce anxiety symptoms and provide relaxation. Breathe deeply and use some lavender-scented soap for maximum effect.

5Take A Nap


It's no surprise that sleep deprivation can make anxiety worse. And as explained by Anxiety.org, you can use naps to help pay off your sleep debt, and feel more calm in the meantime. For many people, napping is an art form.

6Get Some Sunshine


Light can have a tremendous impact on your mood. As noted by the Calm Clinic, light therapy does appear to have a positive effect on those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. The exact correlation between light and anxiety is still being studied, but you just might benefit from catching a few rays.

7Go For A Walk


The positive effects of exercise are almost impossible to overstate. As noted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, even a quick walk can help offer anxiety relief. Best of all: it's a free activity.

8Tell Someone About It


Confiding in others has been a from of anxiety relief since forever. And for plenty of modern people with anxiety, talk therapy is a common way to help find relief, as noted by the National Health Service. Basically, talking it out is a fantastic way to bring your anxieties out into the light for examination.

9Have A Snack


For some people, anxiety is related to a drop in blood sugar. According to Health, a snack with some sustenance, such as walnuts or dark chocolate, can help bring your blood sugar back up. Keeping some hearty foods on hand is never a bad idea.

10Go Outside


I don't know about you, but my grandmothers were big on spending as much time outdoors as possible. And it looks like they were onto something. As noted in The Washington Post, the act of forest bathing, or simply spending time outside, has been associated with decreased stress levels. Something about the great outdoors does promote a sense of calm.

11Drink More Water


Sometimes the easiest solutions are also effective. As noted in Healthline, drinking enough water every day can help your body function well and reduce stress. Drink up.