Being on medication for anxiety can be really overwhelming. There are a number of benefits to using medicine, such as being able to reduce the anxiety from panic attacks, but it also comes with its own set of problems which can sometimes make you feel more anxious. So, management of anxiety disorder is a must.
Facing difficulties in managing anxiety? In this post, we outline 11 ways to manage your anxiety without having to use meds or say, anxiety management techniques are helpful. They range from lifestyle changes like starting healthy exercise routines and controlling your caffeine intake, coping skills for when your thoughts about medication are too strong (like just talking about it or taking a break), and even using certain meds in non-dangerous ways that will not necessarily require them (such as taking an over-the-counter pain reliever).
Everyone knows that exercise isn't just for maintaining healthy muscles, it's also a great way to reduce anxiety. It's something we're constantly encouraged to do by our parents and doctors, but we often put off because it seems like a lot of work. Studies have shown that exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety and seasonal affective disorder, which is a form of depression related to the winter months. For those who are just starting exercising, it might be good to start with small goals such as taking a walk or going jogging even once a week. You can eventually make your routines more intensive.
If you're struggling with anxious thoughts, like worrying about how you're going to medicate your anxiety, or if you feel hopeless because the medicine seems ineffective, it's a good idea to talk to a professional. Talking with a counselor or therapist can help you express your concerns and come up with ways to accept the situation. For example, if there are particular medications that are causing side effects that are triggering your symptoms or making them worse, then coming up with ways to make yourself feel better despite the side effects.
3. Change the Environment
If you're feeling anxious when faced with a situation that's triggering, like going to a social event, then changing your environment can be beneficial. For example, if going to a party would make you anxious, then maybe going to a restaurant instead would help. Or if it would be more comfortable for you to sit home and watch TV rather than go out and join in the conversation at the party, then inviting friends over can really help.
4. Use Supplements
It's been shown that certain supplements can help with anxiety symptoms. For example, vitamin B5 has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety in people who are taking medication for depression, especially if they are also deficient in zinc and magnesium. Other supplements, such as zinc and magnesium, have also been shown to treat anxiety symptoms.
Coffee and tea have both been linked to heightened mood, which can make you feel more anxious or depressed. However, the exact amount of caffeine caffeine is safe for different people varies by about 400%. For some people, 2-3 cups of coffee might be too much while others can drink up to 8 cups (or more) of coffee a day with no noticeable ill effects. It's best to work with a routine doctor who is aware of your medical history and will help you determine how much caffeine is right for you.
6. Keep a Journal
If you feel like your medication is making your symptoms worse, but then suddenly they just disappear without any explanation, it might be a good idea to keep a journal. It will help you track the side effects of medications so that you can better report them to your doctor in the future.
7. Set Limits (How to manage anxiety attacks without medication)
If you're having trouble with anxiety caused by anxiety attacks and don't want to take medication, it's good to set limits on yourself. For example, if you know anxiety attacks are likely to strike after driving over a bridge, then choosing an alternate route can save you from additional stress. Similarly, if you know that a particular setting is going to cause you to feel anxious (a party, an interview, etc) then having a plan in place to stay away can be beneficial.
8. Change Your Schedule
A little bit of planning can prevent you from having to avoid situations where you feel anxious. For example, going to bed earlier than usual, or having a little less caffeine in the morning. It might also be helpful to change your hours at work so that you can stay later on certain days if it's one of your bad days.
9. Spend Time with Friends
Social interaction has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms. In particular, spending time with friends has been shown to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety disorder, without affecting the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Spending time with friends also benefits both sides in a relationship, as it allows for comfort and sharing of problems together. This can make it easier for someone to take care of themselves when needed.
10. Ask Questions
If you're struggling with your anxiety but don't know what else to do, or if you just want someone who is an expert on how to manage anxiety and stress disorders, then it may be good to ask others who have experience dealing with the condition. It could be a psychiatrist or a counselor. It can also be helpful to talk with your friends and family. They may have their own insights into how they deal with stress and anxiety, or they might be able to recommend someone who can help you out.
11. Relaxation Exercises
Relaxation exercise includes techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises, which can help reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and levels of stress-related hormones. If you're feeling stressed or anxious without any clear reason, try doing relaxation exercises daily until symptoms improve by yourself.
12. Support from Friends and Family
Having friends and family who are supportive of you can be a great way to reduce stress. They might be able to provide you with ideas for ways that you can cope with anxiety, or they might have been in your shoes before, so they know how it feels.
If you're dealing with anxiety, then identifying the underlying cause can be vital to managing it. If you are dealing with trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder problems, then you may want to consider talking to a therapist. In many cases, counseling and therapy is an excellent way to deal with anxiety symptoms. You can also opt for managing anxiety without medication.
However, if your anxiety isn't as severe as someone else's, or if there are other issues that need to be dealt with first, then medications can be a good idea. But the best approach is still one that combines natural remedies and medication. By using both, you can get back to a normal life and stop feeling anxious all the time.