The Ultimate Guide to Treat Anxiety and Stress with Nootropics
Suppose, you have many mentally taxing tasks to complete and waking up in the morning, you look for a nootropic that can help you perform the task! It’s because you know very well that nootropics are usually helpful to improve your concentration, memory, or motivation, right?
Of course, nootropics are helpful, but they can’t help mental performance when you are anxious and have mental stress in the way. And for this reason, first, you need to reduce anxiety and stress to improve your mental performance. Think back to your high school or college days; when you were super fearful, anxious, and nervous, could you do well? In fact, anxiety decreases performance.
Treating Anxiety – Fight or Flight
Actually, reducing stress and anxiety is a lifelong task that requires re-wiring parts of the brain in the amygdala. The “fight or flight” response normally causes people much distress for their being unable to discern real threats (a lion) versus false threats (an attractive woman).
However, there are ways and meditation can be a great one. A lot of science about the benefits of meditation prove its effectiveness in reducing your general anxiety levels and stress. But the problem is that meditation takes time to show serious anxiety-reduction benefits. That means, meditation may not be helpful enough to make a real lasting difference in your anxiety levels for near term exams and mental challenges. And in such situations, you should consider nootropics for a short term fix because these are more effective and work quicker.
Natural Anxiety Relief
Natural herbs, extracts, and products are much better than visiting a doctor to get prescription medications for reducing your anxiety and stress levels. Some popular anti-anxiety prescriptions, such as Xanax, are known to cause black-outs and other dangerous side effects. Here are some natural compounds for you to consider.
L-Theanine is a great nootropic to increase focus or reduce anxiety. You can also combine L-Theanine with caffeine to improve concentration. A 2006 study in Biological Psychology says that L-Theanine can “…cause anti-stress effects via the inhibition of cortical neuron excitation.” In addition, L-Theanine can improve alpha brain waves which are associated with the rest and relaxation state within the brain. Often, the alpha brain state allows for the best performance.
Bacopa Monnieri, an ancient nootropic herb and also an adaptogen, has been used in India’s Ayurvedic tradition of medicine for thousands of years. Bacopa Monnieri has the ability to improve cognition and performance by means of reducing anxiety. This herb specifically works on the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems to promote neuron communication. Both dopamine and serotonin are brain chemicals associated with an increased mood so it is plausible this supplement is a mood enhancer.
Lemon Balm is a Mediterranean herb traditionally used for a variety of cognitive purposes, but it is incredibly effective to reduce anxiety, to feel stress free, and relax. Lemon balm works to relax individuals through the GABA brain chemical (specifically by inhibiting effects of GABA transaminase). Though everyone may not see the same exceptional results from lemon balm, it is a memory boosting, anti-anxiety nootropic that is said to calm the nerves and relax the body.
Kava root is an herbal plant native to the South Pacific area of Polynesia – Oceania. Some studies claim that kava root is a nonaddictive and a non-hypnotic anxiolytic with the potential to relieve anxiety. An aptly named study “Kava extract for treating anxiety” showed that there was a positive influence of kava against anxiety (with 95% confidence). Although kava is primarily useful for mental performance, it can also be used to improve female sexual performance, which is attributed to reduced anxiety.
Mucuna Pruriens has a variety of powerful nootropic, medicinal properties. Dopamine is a brain chemical that influences happiness and feelings of euphoria. One of the problems for people who struggle with anxiety is that they often also have depression or poor mood. Mucuna pruriens is a natural source of L-DOPA which is the precursor for the brain chemical dopamine. In fact, it is such a good source of dopamine that it is used more often than some prescription drugs for the people who have Parkinson’s disease. Mucuna pruriens is an excellent option if you can find a natural way of boosting your dopamine.
Taking the Next Step
Besides the above herbal stuff, the following nootropics to reduce anxiety are great. Some of these are synthetic and there is nothing wrong with that, but it is important to separate these options out.
Aniracetam is a popular choice among nootropic users for its ability to enhance cognition while reducing anxiety and boosting mental performance and mood. There are a few studies about aniracetam reducing anxiety despite the benefits for memory and general cognition. The drug has positive effects on dopaminergic and serotonergic receptors, which makes it a perfect way of reducing anxiety.
Tianeptine Developed in the late 1960s, this drug has been used as a supplement that can reduce depression and anxiety. Unlike most SSRIs, which can be potentially dangerous, tianeptine normalizes glutamate levels in animals subjected to stress. There are some possible side effects with Tianeptine, such as dry mouth or nausea. Other instances include dizziness and insomnia.
However, out of these two, we recommend Aniracetam the most. It is well-studied, has fewer side effects, and is able to help improve several other aspects of your cognition at the same time.
Anxiety Reduction Techniques & Nootropics
Though there are several ways people deal with anxiety and stress, often they are not productive and certainly don’t improve mental performance. When trying to relieve anxiety and stress, it’s important to tackle the problem with a two-sided attack.
- Long term techniques –The longer term techniques include meditation. But trying to find physical exertion is funnier and more enjoyable. The exercise will balance your brain chemicals and offer some advantages for your mood and reduce anxiety that way. Also, eating a diet that is free from too much sugar will make a big difference for your overall health.
- Short term supplementation – Besides your long term techniques to reduce your general stress levels, nootropics can be a great tool. It is better than traditional prescription drugs for any anxiety treatment.
When you avoid becoming dependent on nootropics to solve your problems with anxiety, you can use them as needed to develop a better ability to handle stress and perform cognitively.