Anxiety medicine may be unfairly demonized. While there are a lot of side effects, the medications have become much better. There are some cases – when you have exhausted every treatment and you need immediate help – when a pharmaceutical option may be useful, and if your doctor recommends it then you should consider it.
But medications – not just medications, in fact, but any supplement or pill to reduce anxiety, even natural ones – should always be a last resort, because these options cause what’s known as psychological dependence. The longer you take them, the more you need them, because they become your only source of reducing anxiety. That’s in addition to the side effect risks and the physiological dependence that can occur with some of these medicines.
Fighting Anxiety Without Medicine
There are several strategies out there that are very effective at reducing your anxiety without medicine, herbs, or any type of supplement that you need to take regularly. Consider the following at home strategies to get yourself started on reducing anxiety naturally:
The single most important strategy to use is exercise. Exercise has been extensively studied, and provides several benefits that are extremely effective for anxiety relief. A small sample of these includes releasing neurotransmitters that improve mood, burning away stress hormone, providing symptom relief through hormone and muscle regulation, and improving sleep. Exercise is an absolute must, and often an effective remedy on its own.
- Busy Planning
Many people with anxiety feel this incredible need to be alone. But anxiety is also the type of disorder that takes advantage of your thoughts by altering your brain chemistry to create more negative thinking. That’s why ideally you need to fight the urge to be alone and stay busy with people and activities that take mental energy. The less you think about your anxiety, the more it will go away.
- Controlled Breathing
Controlled breathing is also an incredibly important strategy for anxiety reduction. Many of the worst anxiety symptoms during an anxiety attack are due to inefficient breathing. Controlling your breathing reduces them dramatically. Take slow, controlled breaths and you’ll find some symptom relief. Make sure you take at least 5 seconds to breathe in, hold for at minimum 2 seconds (but no more than 4), and breathe out for at least 7 seconds through pursed lips. Fight any urge to take deeper breaths than you need to.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Sleep is an extremely important part of overcoming anxiety, and progressive muscle relaxation is a valuable strategy for improving your ability to sleep with tension. PMR involves tensing each muscle for ten seconds one at a time, starting with your left foot all the way up until you reach your face. Tensing the muscles drains them of energy, so you’ll have a bit of an easier time sleeping.
It doesn’t always feel this way, but the mind has a way of getting used to anything. It can only remain anxious about a subject for so long before it stops feeling anxious, provided you continue and wait out the anxiety. You can use this to your advantage by exposing yourself to your fears on purpose. If you’re feeling up for it, put yourself in a safe environment that causes some anxiety (like standing out in public dressed like a clown if you have a fear of embarrassment) and don’t leave until you stop feeling the fear.
Finding the Perfect Anxiety Reduction Strategy
Controlling your anxiety is about finding the complete anxiety reduction strategy, like the Triad Technique or any of the other effective solutions currently available. But the above tips are valuable ways to help you drastically reduce your anxiety and start experiencing real, noticeable changes in your anxiety symptoms.