Healthy Ways To Treat Anxiety And Stress
To condition your mind and body to cope with anxiety, without resorting to using drugs, focus on the following:
- Mental: There are things in life that you cant control realizing this is an important first step. Perfection may not be possible, but doing your best is, particularly when you maintain a positive attitude. Having fewer negative thoughts will help you feel less anxious, so challenging such thoughts will be worth it in the long run even if it is unpleasant in the moment.
It also helps to write things down. You might find solace in doing so, or perhaps you will notice a pattern that reveals certain triggers of feelings. You might also find that it helps you process your emotions or remember why you are so committed to your recovery.
- Physical: Alcohol and caffeine dont mix well with anxiety, so make an effort to cut them out, even if alcohol was not the drug you initially had a problem with. On the other hand, healthy eating can help with anxiety not only do you feel better and have more energy, but you get protein, vitamins, and minerals that can help you maintain a stable blood sugar level. This reduces your bodys physical stress response, which is one common trigger for anxiety. Avoid skipping meals and consuming sugar and refined carbohydrates to avoid any blood sugar highs and crashes that might lower your mood and drive you to a relapse of your addiction as you struggle to cope.
Guided Imagery And Music Therapy
Guided imagery is a form of meditation in which you envision a goal in as much detail as you can. This technique uses the power of positive thinking to help attain something specific, like happiness.
Music therapy has been used to help improve the moods of people with depression. Sometimes it involves listening to music that promotes relaxation and positivity. Other times, it involves singing as a form of therapy.
One study showed that both of these therapy types could help decrease stress and improve mood.
Tips On How To Manage Anxiety
The best way to combat anxiety is to commit to a comprehensive treatment program. Overcoming anxiety needs to be a lifestyle, meaning that it is something you work towards on a consistent basis. Think about the last time you wanted to get fit for the summer. You knew you had to exercise, but you couldnt just do it sporadically it required consistent healthy eating and exercise to achieve your fitness goals. This is the same with managing anxiety.
That being said, there are various tactics that can help you better manage anxiety and can be integrated into your life at home, without medical intervention.
Cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of talk therapy can be useful, but the following represent how to overcome anxiety without medicine.
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If You Need To Wallow Wallow But Do So Constructively
Suppressing your feelings and emotions may seem like a strategic way to cope with the negative symptoms of depression. But this technique is ultimately unhealthy.
If youre having a down day, have it. Let yourself feel the emotions but dont stay there.
Consider writing or journaling about what youre experiencing. Then, when the feelings lift, write about that, too.
Seeing the ebb and flow of depressive symptoms can be instructive for both self-healing and hope.
Many Alternative Therapies Are Safe And Effective Treatments Of Anxiety
Anxiety: an overview
Generalized anxiety is a chronic condition characterized by both psychological or physical symptoms such as feelings of tension, excessive worrying, and heightened arousal that significantly interfere with work, going to school, being in a relationship, or functioning in society generally. Symptoms of generalized anxiety often change over time, last for months or longer and are not due to another mental health problem, a medical problem, or substance abuse. Many explanations of chronic generalized anxiety have been proposed and the condition is probably related to how the brain responds to chronic stress at the level of neural circuits or neurotransmitters.
Panic attacks are transient episodes of intense anxiety that may be triggered by an unexpected or frightening situation or object, or occur spontaneously. Panic attacks are typically associated with dizziness, perspiration, hyperventilation or shortness of breath, elevated heart rate or palpitations, feelings of intense dread, fear of dying. There is considerable variation in the duration and severity of symptoms that take place during panic attacks. Many individuals who experience panic attacks suffer from significant social and occupational impairment. Biological, social and psychodynamic theories have been advanced in attempts to explain generalized anxiety and panic attacks.
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Observe Your Stress Levels Throughout The Day
If you think you might be suffering from stress, take a few minutes throughout your day to jot down whats on your mind. At night, review what youve written and ask yourself if any of those things might be causing undue anxiety. Then, consider taking steps to tackle those sources head-on by spending more time with loved ones or going for a walk outside. If youre feeling particularly stressed about something in particular, make an appointment with a therapist or counselor. At worst, theyll confirm that your concerns are unfounded at best, they can help alleviate some of your anxiety by providing guidance and advice.
Anxiety: 15 Ways To Feel Better Without Medication
Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes and theres no one-size-fits-all approach to managing it. Although medication can be effective, its not without potential side effects and is generally preferred as the last resort option. Most of us have had some sort of brush with anxiety, but for those whose lives are deeply affected every day, there is hope. Theres still a lot we need to learn but anxiety has spent quite a bit of time under the research spotlight recently. As a result, were becoming wiser about the way anxiety works and ways to manage anxiety without medication. Here are 15 of them:
Hearts love omega-3 and so do heads. In one study, 68 medical students who received 2.5 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids each day for 12 weeks showed less exam anxiety than students who were given a placebo for the same duration. Omega-3 can be found in supplements or naturally in flaxseeds, walnuts, edamame, salmon, sardines and grass-fed beef, all of which are excellent sources.
Unfriend. Unfollow. Un-him. Un-her.
If theres anyone in your life or in your social media circles who sets you to feeling bad, move them along. You just dont need it or him or her. You dont have to explain and it doesnt need to make sense. Its enough that it happens. It doesnt mean theres anything wrong with either of you. Its just the way it is. Just dont keep putting yourself through it. If you need permission, here it is.
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Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle Through Exercise Diet And Sleep
Burning the candle at both ends will take its toll on anyone, especially those already prone to mental health issues.
Getting regular exercise, whether its 30 minutes to an hour a day, eating a nutritious, low-glycemic diet rich in whole foods combined with fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, and getting 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep each night provides the body with sufficient energy.
It also helps regulate the brains chemical makeup and processes so that it functions at peak performance.
Though it sounds simple, maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes planning and discipline, although the mental wellbeing rewards are well worth the effort.
Cultivating a healthy lifestyle actually encompasses three things exercise, diet, and sleep and together they form the three pillars of health.
Making small, positive changes to each can add up to huge gains in the way we feel, both physically and mentally.
Ways To Improve Depression And Anxiety Without Meds
As a psychiatrist trained in psychopharmacology, it would be easy for me to rely exclusively on psychiatric medications as the be-all, end-all treatment option for patients with mood disorders. Psychiatric medications work, and they work fast, and I use them regularly in my practice to treat a host of problems and conditions, from depression and anxiety to bipolar disorder and chronic insomnia. That being said, I am always mindful of other, equally significant ways to enhance mood and wellbeing, specifically methods related to our ways of thinking and daily behaviors. Here then are my top 10 recommendations for improving depression and anxiety, sans medication:
1. Limit Your Time on Facebook A recent cover article in The Atlantic magazine asked, “Is Making Us Lonely?” and confirms what I have been seeing in my own practice over the last several years. When Facebook is used as a casual tool to keep in touch with friends or stay in the social loop, it can be a useful distraction. However, when Facebook is used to keep constant tabs on others or to promote a certain self-image, it can lead to an unconscious need to compare ourselves to everyone in our social network. This frequently leads to jealousy, insecurity, misplaced feelings of superiority or alternatively, feelings of inadequacy. Limiting time on ubiquitous social media sites like Facebook may be hard at first, but it may be one of the best things you do for your mental health.
For more by Sheenie Ambardar, M.D., .
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Types And Severity Of Depression
Depression is used as an umbrella term to describe a lot of different symptoms. There are actually several different types of depression. And depression can vary greatly in severity. People with mild depression may not even know theyre depressed and their friends and family may not recognize it either.
People who experience severe depression may struggle to function. Everyday tasks, like getting out of bed and taking a shower, can feel too overwhelming to tackle. Therefore, there isnt a one-size-fits-all treatment for depression. Depression treatments can range from self-help strategies all the way to inpatient hospitalization.
And while its unclear what type of depression you have or how severe it is based on your question, medication may not be the only way to feel better. There are other things you can try.
Tms Therapy For Depression
TMS Therapy is a painless, non-surgical method for treating depression. It is particularly useful for those who struggle with treatment resistant depression.
Similar to getting an MRI, TMS Therapy administers short, highly focused pulses of electromagnetic fields to areas of the brain known to regulate mood and issues of depression.
It is used successfully around the country by many depression treatment facilities because it delivers outstanding results for those who have not had success with prescription medication.
Its important to note that not all Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation machines are the same, and some like the Magstim Horizon Performance TMS Machine offers higher performance features with additional benefits like the StimGuide 3D Positioning System.
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Alternative Options For Major Depression Treatment Without Medication
It is usually advisable for someone struggling with the life-altering impact of MDD to seek out traditional treatment first, that being antidepressant therapy and psychotherapy. However, if these treatments are not successful in relieving symptoms why not try an alternative method? Here are some alternative depression treatments without medication:
- Physical activity has a powerful effect on mood by the release of certain brain hormones called endorphins.
- Exposure to sunlight increases vitamin D levels, which boost mood. For areas that have little sunlight, a therapeutic light box can help.
- Certain mood-enhancing supplements can be suggested by your doctor once any drug interactions are eliminated. These include St. Johns Wort, SAMe, L-Theanine, 5-HTP, Omega-3, vitamin B.
- Avoid caffeine, which reduces serotonin levels, and alcohol, which is a depressant
- Certain foods boost levels of serotonin, a mood-enhancing brain chemical. These include fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, lean proteins, healthy fats such as nuts and seeds.
- Mind-body activities. Certain holistic therapeutic activities can promote overall relaxation and centeredness, which can positively impact mood. These include yoga, mindfulness exercises, prayer or meditation, journaling, guided imagery, and massage therapy.
- Brain stimulation therapy. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation is a safe and effective treatment for major depression that uses the power of magnets to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.
Give Yourself A Bedtime
With your busy schedule, theres no time for sleep, right? Some workaholics brag about only needing three or four hours of sleep a night, as if to say, Im more determined and committed than everyone else. But no matter what you might tell yourself, youre not a robot. Humans need sleep to function properly, so unless you beamed in from some nearby planet, this also applies to you.
Whether you deal with insomnia, purposely limit your amount of sleep, or youre a self-professed night owl, chronic sleep deprivation makes you susceptible to anxiety. Do yourself a favor and get eight to nine hours of sleep every night. Develop a bedtime routine to read a book or do something relaxing before bed. The better prepared you are to get a good nights sleep, the better quality of sleep youll have, which leads to a better morning as well.
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Breakthrough Treatments Work In Novel Ways
Researchers continue to make progress in developing new kinds of antidepressant treatments, such as psychedelic-assisted treatments.
In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved two first-of-their-kind medications:
- Spravato , a nasal spray, may help people who arent responding to other antidepressants. It is derived from ketamine, a widely used anesthetic , and it is only administered at certified treatment centers because of the possibility of abuse and addiction. While traditional antidepressants can take weeks to take effect, esketamine acts quickly, usually within hours.
- Zulresso , a hormone thought to be associated with postpartum depression, is the first medication specifically approved for new mothers with postpartum depression. Its administered as an intravenous infusion in a healthcare setting for two and a half days continuously, and it usually works within a few days. It is chemically similar to a hormone thought to be associated with postpartum depression.
Some mental health providers offer ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in which ketamine treatment is administered in conjunction with a psychotherapy session says Sarah Norring, PhD, director and program manager at PsyBio Therapeutics in Coconut Creek, Florida.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be beneficial for treatment-resistant depression and acute or severe suicidal thoughts or behaviors, she adds.