You may be in the midst of a crisis. Perhaps you were raised in an anxious home, and anxiety feels like the norm. But even without such severe causes, everyday life is enough to contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder. Finances, relationships, family — the list goes on. It is no surprise that anxiety is the top mental health problem on the planet. Edginess, sleep disturbances, and loss of libido are just a few of the common symptoms. Can you manage anxiety without medication?
Here’s the good news. Medication is far from your only option. If you commit to some simple, basic steps, you can manage anxiety without popping a pill.
3 Simple Tips on Managing Anxiety Without Medication
- Take Care of Your Physical Health
It’s all connected. By fortifying your body, you build up your defenses against anxiety symptoms. Here are three basics:
- Regular Sleep Patterns – An anxiety disorder can make falling asleep and/or staying asleep tougher. Conversely, lack of sleep is a cause of anxiety. So, now what? A good start is setting a strict bedtime and wake-up time (preferably eight hours apart). It’ll feel off at first, but with consistency, your body will acclimate to the healthier rhythm.
- Daily Exercise – Here we have a classic win-win. Exercise makes you healthier. It also helps keep your sleep patterns regular. But, on top of that, it increases your levels of endorphins and serotonin, which is a known mood enhancer. Start small and be consistent – 5 minutes a day is better than 30 minutes once a week – build that habbit…..
- Don’t Skip Meals – When struggling with anxiety, the thought of eating can be unappealing. But, as is the case with sleep, you must set a rhythm and stick with it. Eating regular healthy meals prevents a drop in blood sugar. When you let your blood sugar levels drop, your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol — a recipe for more anxiety. Also, while on the topic of diet, reduce or eliminate the consumption of stimulants (like caffeine) in your life.
- Cultivate Some Relaxation Techniques
An excellent start is some good, old-fashioned breathing exercises. Deep, rhythmic breathing counters anxiety’s fight-or-flight symptoms. From there, you can ease into a mindful meditation practice. Even just a few minutes a day has been found to dramatically decrease the intensity of anxiety. It also helps you stay in the present moment.
So many anxious thoughts are rooted in our inability to stay present. We often live in past regret or future fears. Mindfulness is so powerful in that it reminds us that all we have is now — and that is where calmness can dwell. I recommend the app Headspace to all of my clients – it offers a great intro to mindfulness meditation concepts and has a lot of options in terms of focus and length of meditations.
- Prioritize Yourself
Remind yourself that you are worthy. Add self-love to your daily schedule. Make a long list of things you enjoy doing. Nothing is too small! Then commit to doing those things more often. A big part of this concept is getting more comfortable with saying no to others. Of course, this is not an invitation to ignore those in need. Rather, it’s an invitation not to get overwhelmed with the needs of others.
Set boundaries. Find a productive balance. Use the extra time you get back doing things you enjoy and practicing the self-care discussed above. Then watch anxiety lose some of its grip on you.
Guidance and Support Are Available
The above suggestions, of course, could have you grumbling about how it’s easier said than done. If that’s the case, never forget that therapy is another powerful way to reduce anxiety without medication. Meeting with a skilled professional on a regular basis is a proven path toward finding the root causes of your stress. From there, you can work together to create new approaches to living. I’d love to schedule you for a free and confidential consultation to tell you more.
You can get the latest info by following me on Facebook.
Therapy for Men is a practice led by Dr. Rick Pomfret that offers solution focused counseling and psychotherapy services tailored to the needs of men. Their services encompass anxiety therapy, depression therapy, relationship therapy, men’s issues and support for those navigating life transitions or divorce. With offices in San Francisco and Corte Madera, Therapy4Men provides convenient access to mental health care for men in the San Francisco Bay Area and online across California. He can work with you on how to manage anxiety without medication.