Tap Into Your Spirituality
Religion can be an impactful source of support for many people dealing with depression, but there is no need to join a church, synagogue, or mosque unless you wish to. Simple daily practices such as meditation or adding to a list of things you’re grateful can help boost mood and overall well-being.
Meditation can have a range of beneficial effects such as lowering stress levels and helping people to become more aware of their thoughts and reactions.
Research indicates that an intervention called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy , which combines elements of cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness meditation, can be helpful in treating depression and preventing future relapses of symptoms.
Studies also suggest that different types of mindfulness meditative practices can also be effective in the treatment of depression.
There are many different types of meditation, but you can get started with a simple meditative exercise with these steps:
Meditate And Practice Mindfulness
A main goal of meditation is full awareness of the present moment, which includes noticing all thoughts in a nonjudgmental way. This can lead to a sense of calm and contentment by increasing your ability to mindfully tolerate all thoughts and feelings.
Meditation is known to relieve stress and anxiety and is a primary facet of CBT.
Research from John Hopkins suggests 30 minutes of daily meditation may alleviate some anxiety symptoms and act as an antidepressant.
Most Of Us Have Days That Are Great When We Feel As Though We Are On Top Of The World And Can Accomplish Anything
Then, there are the days where life is not so great, and we are filled with sadness, remorse, guilt, anger, or a plethora of other negative emotions. When these negative thoughts begin to consume us, we can easily fall into depression or feelings of anxiety.
Many of us know someone who is taking medication for anxiety or depression. Medical attention may be necessary in some cases, as depression and anxiety can lead to suicidal thoughts. It may be difficult to get out of a negative slump, but certain habits of self-care can also help to ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you struggle with anxiety and/or depression, here are some tips to getting yourself on the road to a happier life:
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Anxiety Fast
Add Aromatherapy To Your Life
Aromatherapy is an affordable, but super powerful way to ease anxiety. “Try lavender essential oils on the wrist and adding some to an epsom salt bath,” says Swimm. “Take six deep ‘belly breaths’ every time you use lavender oil and it will start to train your mind that the smell is associated with relaxation. Keep some in the car, at work, and you can diffuse some in the bedroom.”
Talking To Your Doctor About Withdrawal
Discontinuing benzodiazepines is a serious matter. Always talk to your doctor about the safest way to gradually reduce your medication, and follow your doctors instructions. Your doctor will taper you off of the medication, and perhaps give you other medications to ease you off of your medication so that you will not have withdrawal symptoms.
Do not use the Internet, including this article, as a source for how to stop taking them. Your body type, the length of time you’ve been on the medication, your dosage – all of these affect how dosing should be completed in order to safely stop taking medications.
With drugs like benzodiazepines, a very slow withdrawal is crucial. Some studies have put the withdrawal rate as slow as 25% less per month, implying as long as 3 to 4 months or more before the drug is wiped from your system. Weaning off of these drugs can be a very slow process, and one that must be completed exactly as directed to avoid withdrawal.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Stress Anxiety And Depression
Take A Moment To Slow Down
Take moments throughout the day to relax and center yourself. Deep breathing or taking part in an activity you enjoy can help break the anxiety cycle.
What would be great is if we practice the deep breathing, the relaxation technique throughout the day, said OMara. Set an alarm for morning, noon and night for five minutes.
Take a walk, listen to music, get a massage or practice yoga on your lunch break. Taking mini breaks will help take your mind out of stressful moments and make you more productive, too.
Michelle Llamas has been writing articles and producing podcasts about drugs, medical devices and the FDA for nearly a decade. She focuses on various medical conditions, health policy, COVID-19, LGBTQ health, mental health and womens health issues. Michelle collaborates with experts, including board-certified doctors, patients and advocates, to provide trusted health information to the public. Some of her qualifications include:
- Member of American Medical Writers Association and former Engage Committee and Membership Committee member
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
- Original works published or cited in The Lancet, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal for Palliative Medicine
- Patient Advocacy Certificate from University of Miami
When To Contact A Doctor
Most people experience anxiety from time to time. When a person has anxiety so intense that it undermines sleep, daily functioning, or relationships, it is time to seek help. This type of anxiety is a medical condition. And while medication is an option, it is not the only treatment.
A doctor can help with getting the correct diagnosis, ruling out physical health issues, and finding therapy and other remedies.
A person should contact a doctor or healthcare provider if they experience the following:
- They feel chronically anxious for no clear reason or have constantly shifting anxieties.
- Their anxiety is disproportionate to the stress they feel, such as if a person who has a relatively safe and comfortable life is chronically afraid of violence or starvation.
- They experience panic attacks or physical anxiety symptoms, such as a racing heart or stomach pain.
- Their anxiety treatment does not work or suddenly stops working.
Read Also: What Meds Are Used For Anxiety
Take Steps To Reduce Stress And Anxiety Naturally
According to a 2005 report published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, 18 percent of the adult population in the United States suffers from an anxiety disorder. A 1999 study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychology found that the treatment of anxiety related disorders costs the United States over $42 billion each year.
Benzodiazepines, the class of prescription drugs typically used to treat anxiety, can be addictive and potentially dangerous. As the author of a report published in a 1995 edition of Psychiatric Annals explained, benzodiazepines are potentially addictive and can cause psychological and pharmacological dependence. A person can become dependent on benzodiazepines after using them for only a few weeks, and long-term users are at an increased risk, according to the report.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to relieve anxiety without risky medications. Read on to learn more.
Focus On Something Less Anxiety
At times, it may be most helpful to simply redirect yourself to focus on something other than your anxiety. You may want to reach out to others, do some work around your home, or engage in an enjoyable activity or hobby. Here are a few ideas of things you can do to thwart off anxiety:
- Do some chores or organizing around the house.
- Engage in a creative activity, such as drawing, painting, or writing.
- Go for a walk or engage in some other form of physical exercise.
- Listen to music.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Know If My Child Has Anxiety
Anxiety Treatment Without Medication
Over the last two or three decades, we have witnessed an increase in the demand for anxiety treatment without medication.
That means more people are looking for alternatives to supplement or even replace traditional treatments like psychiatric medication and psychological therapy.
Although natural treatments for anxiety have been around for centuries, experts have only recently discovered the underlying biochemical mechanisms that explain why certain physical practices and natural supplements prove so useful in alleviating the unpleasant symptoms associated with this condition.
But not all supplements or natural treatments for anxiety that you buy from pharmacies or online marketplaces are effective or safe.
That is why its essential to do some research and consult with a medical professional before you try any alternative practices or over-the-counter supplements for anxiety.
Where To Get Help
For mild to moderate anxiety, these strategies might be enough to manage your symptoms. Still, it’s a good idea to discuss your efforts with your primary doctor, who can make more personalized suggestions about anxiety treatment without medication.
If these strategies don’t work, or if you have severe or worsening anxiety, talk to your doctor immediately. He or she will want to screen you for underlying medical conditions that could contribute to your anxiety. Your doctor might also recommend prescription medications or refer you to a mental health specialist for therapy.
Just remember that you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are common and treatable. There’s no shame in seeking help, and nothing to gain by suffering in silence.
You May Like: What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder
Strategies For Treating Depression Without Medication
Verywell / CSong
In the Ask a Therapist series, Ill be answering your questions about all things mental health and psychology. Whether you are struggling with a mental health condition, coping with anxiety about a life situation, or simply looking for a therapist’s insight, submit a question. Look out for my answers to your questions every Friday in the Healthy Mind newsletter.
Reduce Anxiety With Exercise
This is not news, perhaps, but exercise is an excellent stress-reliever! According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, studies have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self esteem. Remember the stress hormone adrenaline released from your fight-or-flight response? Exercise naturally reduces this hormone, allowing your body back into a state of equilibrium and relaxation. In addition, physical activity helps release those feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins, making you feel happier and less anxious. Aerobic activities also have the added benefit of allowing you to think of something other than what you might be worried about, serving as a form of active meditation.
You dont need to run a marathon to get the benefits of exercise, either. Go on a hike, go to a yoga session, or play a game of tennis with a friend whatever you enjoy! Any form of exercise will help with stress management, and youll get all of the other added health benefits along with it.
Also Check: What Anxiety Disorder Do I Have
Anxiety Treatments: Know Your Options
Anxiety disorders can have multiple potential causes and co-existing conditions, so there is no single remedy that works for all of them. Anxiety treatment must be tailored specifically for each individual what works well for one person may not work for another. Understand your options – and then work with your doctor or therapist to determine the course of action that is best for you.
Go To Bed On Time All The Time
Ever notice how anxiety ramps up when you’re tired? “Researchers at the University of Berkeley found that a lack of sleep can amplify anticipatory anxiety by stimulating regions in the brain that are associated with emotional processing,” Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, tells Bustle. “This means sleep deprivation can contribute to common anxiety symptoms. These symptoms include excessive worrying, and by restoring proper sleep patterns, people with anxiety can reduce feelings of fear, worry, and tension.”
To get a better night’s sleep , it can help to shut off your phone, turn down the lights, and climb into bed at the same time each night. “Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night in order to reduce stress, balance your hormones, prevent moodiness, and reduce fatigue,” Axe says. “You can also diffuse lavender or Roman chamomile essential oil in your bedroom to help induce relaxation.” Works like a charm.
Don’t Miss: What Is A Good Natural Supplement For Anxiety
How Seeking Control Consumed Me
Like so many of the millions of people experiencing anxiety worldwide, I wanted to have control over my life. I became obsessed with losing weight, and although I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, I displayed some worrying symptoms.
I would weigh myself three or four times a day and divide all foods into categories of good or bad. Whole foods like chicken and broccoli were good, and anything processed was bad. I learned that foods like rice, oats, sweetcorn, and potatoes could spike your blood sugar and lead to cravings, so those foods became bad too.
The cravings came anyway, and I reacted by either chewing junk food and spitting it into the trash or eating large amounts of food until I felt sick.
I visited the gym every day, sometimes up to three hours at a time, lifting weights and doing cardio. At one point, my menstrual cycle stopped.
My body image issues then turned into social anxiety. I gave up alcohol to improve my mood, but without a vodka in my hand I found it difficult to unwind and open up, even around my best friends. This escalated to a bigger fear of having to explain myself to strangers. Why wasnt I drinking? Why wasnt I working anymore? Anxiety made me catastrophize and assume the worst possible outcome, leaving me terrified to socialize in public.
Treat Anxiety Naturally Without Medication
There are quite a few easy, natural ways to lessen anxiety and help you fall asleep faster. But before we get there, its good to know why we should consider treating anxiety without prescription medication.
First, anti-anxiety medications can have some serious side effects. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil are used to treat depression and anxiety by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain these can have some serious side effects including nausea, insomnia, diarrhea, nervousness, emotional numbness, blunted emotions and sexual dysfunction to name a few.
Alternatively, Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium, are used to treat anxiety by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the brain they are essentially tranquilizers used to treat acute panic attacks. In addition to possible side effects like dizziness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, and nightmares, benzodiazepines can cause physical dependency and can be easily abused.
Second, recent research suggests that, for anxiety disorders, short term structured learning-based treatments regularly outperform medication treatments. This is especially true for long-term results. By teaching your brain not to panic, you treat the cause rather than the symptoms. Learn more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy here.
Recommended Reading: What Does Anxiety Feel Like Physically