Tips On Managing Anxiety Without Medication
Feelings of anxiousness here or there are a completely normal part of life. Generally they are situational and resolve quickly after whatever event set them off.
When those feelings start to stack up and remain more of a constant, that’s when it becomes an anxiety disorder. While medication is an option, it isn’t the only option. Many people find the symptoms manageable with lifestyle changes and different habits.
Exercise may very well be the last thing you want to do when deep in anxiety, but it is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. If you find that your mind is racing or you’re feeling overly jittery, some physical activity can be a great natural anti-anxiety fix.
Exercise causes a release of endorphins and serotonin, which are natural mood boosters. It also can help take focus away from whatever is causing you anxiety. Your brain isn’t able to share equal attention to multiple things at one time, so your workout can take front and center for a little while.
Health experts recommend moderate physical activity for 30 minutes, three to five days a week. That being said, any movement can be considered good in this instance. Trial out different methods to see what gives you some relief from your anxiety, whether it’s yoga, running, swimming, biking, or even dancing.
Conscious Nutritional Habits
When life starts to feel stressful and your anxiety kicks in, it’s often easy to skip meals or turn to junk food varieties. While it may seem harmless, these habits can cause quick drops in blood sugar. Adding low blood sugar into the mix can make you jittery, irritable, and more anxious.
Focus on eating well-balanced meals throughout the day and adding in healthy snacks when needed. This can keep your blood sugar from spiking and dropping. Rather than sugary snacks or processed foods, choose fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheese, and lean meats.
If you’re a coffee drinker or caffeinated tea drinker, this one is important to pay attention to. When you’re feeling your anxiety ramp up, you may find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee or tea (or even an energy drink). Unfortunately, the stimulants in these caffeinated drinks can exacerbate your symptoms. Instead, hydrate with water or an herbal tea variety.
The same concept applies to smoking, recreational drug use, and some prescription medications. Anything that contains nicotine or other stimulants can increase anxiety.
How often do you actively think about your breathing? It’s something rote and often overlooked. When the body becomes stressed, it’s natural to experience a shift in your breathing pattern. Unfortunately, it’s usually in an unhelpful way.
Proper breathing is important for lowering your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure, aiding your body in relaxing, and ceasing the release of those stress fight or flight hormones. Practice taking slow and deep breaths the next time you’re feeling anxious. Explore online or on apps if you need inspiration for different breathing exercises or guided techniques.
Much of anxiety has to do with fear and a sense of lack of control. Your brain wanders into thoughts of tasks you have to do next week or stresses about plans for the future that don’t need to be a concern in the present moment.
Try shifting focus on today rather than tomorrow’s problems. You can incorporate mindfulness practices to help keep you grounded and in the present. Take time each day to practice meditation or intentional journaling to help reduce your stress and anxiety.
If you’re struggling with anxiety and are looking for additional treatment options like anxiety counseling, schedule a consultation with us today.