We all experience anxiety occasionally. It is a normal aspect of being human. It usually arises when change is transpiring. Anxiety can become a problem, however, if it is showing up on a regular basis and interfering with your happiness. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Medication can be helpful for some, but many people prefer to not take medication due to side effects among other reasons. If anxiety is getting a grip on you and you want natural ways to deal with it, here are 9 ways to get a grip on anxiety without medication.
You’ve heard it before. Maybe you’ve even tried it. But the key to making meditation effective in your battle against anxiety is consistency. Meditation is also scientifically proven to aid in anxiety. One of the ways in which it works is by increasing your natural levels of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid).
GABA is a hormone your body produces that helps you to feel calm. When we don’t have enough GABA, the result is anxiety, racing thoughts, nervousness and insomnia. Meditation increases the production of GABA. In one study, participants experienced a 27% increase in GABA levels after 60 minutes of meditation. To get a grip on your anxiety, start meditating every night and keep doing it.
This one is so simple and yet, can be so effective. Get a journal or notebook and dump into it. Allow yourself to write out every single thing that bugs you and why. Don’t hold back. This can serve to purge them from your mind as well.
Did you know that the simple act of talking to someone about your worries will reduce them by up to 70%? It can be one of the single most effective strategies for dealing with anxiety. If there are people in your life that you trust, talk with them. Some people even choose to go to a counselor. It’s not that they can’t handle their anxiety, rather, the act of talking it out reduces the anxiety and helps it to dissipate.
4. Clean up your food.
Food is one of the biggest culprits in anxiety and most people don’t even realize it. Sugar and grains are hugely inflammatory and can contribute to anxiety. Likewise, dairy can often be inflammatory to many people as well as any other foods you may be intolerant to.
One of the most effective ways to help anxiety is through the foods you eat. Eat foods that are high in protein, vitamins and healthy fats. Eliminate all sugar, grains and processed foods.
Many people fee much better on the Paleo diet. A great resource is The Paleo Cure by Chris Kresser.
If you’ve been under chronic stress, no doubt your adrenals need some tending to. The Adrenal Reset Diet by Dr. Alan Christianson is a great resource for balancing mood and restoring energy.
5. Name Your Feelings.
According to many experts, the simple act of naming your feelings, helps to reduce them. For example, if you are feeling worried over something, you could say to yourself (or aloud), “worried.”
For more on this see, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach.
6. Just breathe.
Even though this may seem simplistic, breathing can be an amazing strategy for coping with anxiety. To start, simply slow your breathing. Pay attention to how it feels to inhale slowly and deeply and then to exhale in a way that feels calming. Another great breathing strategy is alternate nostril breathing and fire breathing.
7. Move your body.
Multiple studies have shown exercise to be just as effective and sometimes even more effective than medication in reducing anxiety. If anxiety is getting its grip on you, try moving. See Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey.
8. Go into gratitude.
Stop and take a few moments to reflect on what is positive in your life. Say, thank you. Shifting away from the worrisome thoughts to consider your abundance acts as a counterattack against your anxiety. Developing gratitude on a regular basis can help to reduce your anxiety before it even starts.
9. Use visualization.
Visualization can work in many ways. For example, close your eyes and imagine your worries are collected onto a fluffy white cloud. Now, imagine that cloud with your troubles on it floating up and away into the sky. You can barely see it. Then, it’s gone.
*Be sure to talk with your health care professional about dealing with your anxiety without medication.