Overcome Anxiety Without Medication

When I first took my magic pill for anxiety, it was blissful, as the pain, anger, stress, and just ANXIOUSNESS was gone. After being in bliss, I realized I was kind of numb, with lack of pure joy. And I was tired. You know really sleepy, all the time. I also noticed other side effects, that I didn’t enjoy. So that triggered the search for helping me cope with anxiety without medication.

The struggle is real. Per the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety medication can numb you, and medication side effects can include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea.
  • Nervousness or restlessness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Reduced sexual desire.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Insomnia.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Headache

Ya, um, no thanks. No thanks!

There are numerous ways to start taking action to reducing and overcoming anxiety, without medication. I wrote a post, here, with 5 other tips, and I wanted to share some more. Here are 5 more ways to overcome anxiety without medication.

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Prevent Anxiety from starting:

Exercise. This is the BEST ANTI-ANXIETY medicine.

DO:

  • Mini workouts – 10 minutes will start to give you benefits
  • Sustaining workouts is important to get the most benefit. Complete 3-7 days per week.
  • Take brief walks – again, 10-15 minutes
  • Find something you enjoy. Yoga? Tai Qi? Hiking? Zumba? Dance in the living room with your kids?
  • Stand and walk more. Sit less. Fold laundry while pacing. Walk up and down the stairs 10x. Get 10,000 steps in a day.

Action: Pick 1 new exercise habit and add it to your calendar for 3 to 7 days in a week. Schedule exercise for 15 minutes in the calendar.  Yes, you have the time. Yes, yes, you have the time.

Why? This is THE MOST researched and proven link to prevent anxiety and it’s also proven to help with anxiety management. Exercise brings out happy hormones, increases the ability to cope, tires out the muscles so they are more relaxed, it improves your sleep, and burns out the stress hormones.  Having problems with motivation? I get it. Start with just 5 minutes. Commit to just 5 minutes – and then re-evaluate to see if you can go more. If you can, great! If not, do 5 minutes tomorrow.

Pete, meet Repeat.

Add Magnesium to chill out

Magnesium does not prevent anxiety, but from what I’ve read it IS Mother Nature’s Xanax.

Yes, you read that right. Mother Nature has a chill pill.

So, this is the deal, with our food lacking magnesium due to it being stripped from our soil AND stress depleting magnesium from our body  – it is likely that you might be low in this important mineral.

To have more of a calming feeling, add magnesium. Of course, talk with your doctor beforehand.

DO:

Caution: too much magnesium can cause diarrhea. I know from, um, eh, um, experience. Start with small amounts!

Action: Talk with your doc to make sure this is OK for you. Then pick one way to add magnesium to your body. Start with the smallest dose (TRUST ME!), then increase.

Control your Breathing, Control your Anxiety

I know! You’ve heard this before. This is what you might not have heard: The Flight / Fight / Freeze response is hard-wired into us, on the plus side, mother nature also hard-wired a relaxation response. We can activate it by controlling our breathing. We need to first STOP the SHALLOW breathing and START deep breathing.  Deep breathing sends out signals to stop the flight / fight / freeze response and neutralized it.

DO: Try all 3 to find one that works for you

There are dozens of breathing techniques. Find one that works for you.

Here are some options:
  • Breathe in through your nose slowly for 5 to 6 seconds.
  • Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Breathe out through pursed lips (like whistling) for 7 seconds.

Make sure your belly is rising with the deep breaths.

Another technique is the 4-7-8 breath. This breathing technique was developed by Dr Raymond Weil.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. This is one breath.
  • Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

The last technique here, and one of my favorites, has a lot more perks than the others. It’s called the Nadi Shodhana “Alternate Nostril Breathing”.  In addition to breaking the anxious response, this breathing technique improves our ability to focus the mind, supports our lungs and respiratory functions, and restores balance in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. TIP: it creates energy, so don’t try this before bedtime.

  • Find a comfortable position
  • Hold your right thumb over your right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril.
  • At the peak of inhalation, hold your right ring finger over your left nostril and release and exhale through your right nostril.
  • Repeat the breaths 3 to 5 times.

Action: Pick 1 and practice it so you can access it when anxious.

Prevention, Xanax, and neutralize.

Alrighly, that was 3 new tips for managing anxiety. Anxiety can be overcome, and it starts with you taking action. You can do this!  You deserve better! As with my Occupational Therapy practice, different tips and techniques will work for different people. We need to experiment and see what will be your perfect fit.

I’ve been in your shoes. I know anxiety has a significant impact on your quality of life. It made its way into every realm of my life. Getting exercise, adding magnesium, and controlling my breathing all helped me.

Pick 1 tip here, and test it out. See if it works for you. If it does, leave a comment below with how it helped. Your story will impact others!