There are several various reasons for anxiety. Including COVID-19, some of these reasons may be work and finances, relationships and family, and/or daily stress. Whatever the reason, anxiety is often crippling. It affects our ability to eat, sleep, work, socialize, travel, and overall, to live our best lives.
Some people do need to treat their anxiety with medication and nothing is wrong with that. I say that because I was one of them for a very long time. But there are also other ways of dealing with anxiety that can be effective for many people.
Almost everyone has some anxiety, but few of us are actively doing anything to relieve our anxiety. You can easily do things to help you avoid anxiety and implement these strategies into your everyday routines, which will improve your quality of life.
Check out these tips for dealing with anxiety without medication.
1. Eat breakfast.
If you’re one of those people that skip breakfast, I’m sorry to say this but it might be making your anxiety worse. According to the Anxiety & Stress Center, skipping meals releases stress hormones like cortisol to increase energy, which causes stress on the body and increases anxiety, as well as depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. We definitely don’t want that to happen.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’re running late for work or school and forget to eat breakfast, then that is okay. It happens. But don’t make it intentional to where you’re aware of yourself not eating breakfast and allowing it. At least grab you a nutrition bar or a healthy snack on your way out the door.
2. Eat well
Eating well means eating natural foods. Processed foods have a variety of chemicals and other artificial ingredients that affect many people in negative ways. Cleaning up your diet can have a huge impact on anxiety for many people.
This is extremely hard to do. Yes, even for me. Some days I eat well, some days I don’t. On the days I do eat well, I notice a change in my mood. I am more happier and energetic. My goal is to eat well every single day because it will only be great for my body in the long run.
3. Take a short walk
A short walk can be a great way to clear your head and shake off some nervous energy and I would be the one to know that. If you know me personally, then you know I enjoy walking by the water. Whether it’s a short twenty-minute walk or a long hour and thirty-minute walk. Breathing in fresh air just does something to me. I love it!
And while you’re taking a walk, you are also exercising. Exercising, of course, plays a part in reducing anxiety as well. A good short walk every day will leave you feeling like you put some work in but won’t exhaust you.
4. Focus on your environment
You can’t feel anxious if you’re not thinking about something that makes you anxious. You’re inside your head when you’re anxious. Focusing on the sights and sounds around you is one way to put your
attention on something real rather than your thoughts. When you focus on your environment, this is a form of grounding yourself. When you ground yourself, you identify things around you to help your brain recognize where you are. This creates a sense of comfort because you know where you are and you feel more in control of the situation.
Breathe. The thing that seems so easy and natural to do but can be super difficult when you’re anxious. Trust me, I know that feeling too well.
Take some deep and relaxed breaths. Breathing in a controlled way will decrease your anxiety symptoms. It’s a great way to slow your heart rate and feel better overall.
When we focus on our breath, our minds calm and we return to our bodies. Long, slow inhales and exhales bring us into the present moment and signal to our brains that everything is just fine. You can utilize this technique anywhere.
Are you getting enough sleep?
I am super grouchy if I don’t get enough sleep. But sometimes our body won’t rest when we’re anxious because our mind is filled with so many racing thoughts. Next thing you know, it’s four in the morning and you have to be up for work at five.
Everyone feels like crap if they don’t get enough sleep. Getting sufficient sleep on a regular basis is important if you regularly feel anxious. Your brain just doesn’t function properly if it doesn’t get the sleep it needs. One thing to remember is that sleep is essential for us. And if we are suffering from anxiety, we need more sleep, not less.
7. Address the issues in your life that create stress. Eliminate as many stressors as you can.
Identifying the things that stress you out in your life is the first step towards eliminating them. Take five to ten minutes to think about what stresses you out during the day. Whether it’s an unreliable car or a job that you totally hate. It may seem small but small things can add up. Make a list, see which of these stressors can be eliminated, and start to weed them out.
If you can’t weed something out completely, brainstorm ways you can make it less stressful.
8. Talk to someone supportive
A supportive friend is a true blessing. Knowing that you’re not alone can greatly reduce the anxiety you feel. I have a couple of friends I can turn to when things get bad for me and honestly just knowing that is comforting. My family is also super supportive and there for me when I need them but I do know that some people don’t have that option.
For many, working with a therapist for anxiety treatment is helpful in getting to the root cause of the feeling. Anxiety counselors are trained to help individuals identify, understand, and resolve the core issues that are causing anxiety in the first place.
Dealing with anxiety without medication
If your anxiety is overwhelming, be sure to let your doctor know. If your anxiety is manageable, but making you unhappy, there are plenty of things you can try to bring your anxiety down to a more reasonable level. You can even start by identifying some of the toxic habits that are fueling your anxiety in the first place.
Give some of the above ideas a try. You’re sure to find something that helps significantly without the cost and potential side effects of a pill. You have nothing to lose my friend, except some anxiety!