An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder. It’s one of the most common mental health issues in the country, and most people will battle anxiety at some point in their lives.
In a world where everyone is constantly on the go and bombarded with information, it’s not surprising that anxiety is such a common problem. And while conventional medication is available, many people look for natural, drug-free ways to control anxiety. Here are ways to control anxiety without meds:
When you’re feeling anxious, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. Depending on the day and what’s going on in your life, the very thought of working out may give you anxiety.
But exercising is one of the simplest ways to keep anxiety at bay.
Working out helps boost serotonin levels and endorphins to help lift your mood and make you feel better.
Exercise will also keep you in the present moment. You’ll be so focused on your workout that you’ll forget your problems – even if only for an hour.
Find something you love doing. The most important thing is to make sure that your body is moving.
- Dance around the house.
- Break out your yoga mat.
- Go for a run on the treadmill.
- Go for a swim.
Your body will thank you for the exercise, and your mind may feel a little more at ease when you’re done.
Eat Healthy and Regularly
Anxiety can make you feel nauseous, and that can make it difficult to eat regularly. Food is the last thing you want when anxiety and nausea decide to creep into your day.
It’s tempting to skip meals until you feel better, but doing so can make you feel even worse. When you skip meals, your blood sugar drops. And when your blood sugar drops, your body releases cortisol (a.k.a. the stress hormone). Cortisol can make you feel even worse.
Do your best to eat regularly to prevent this from happening. When you eat, stick to healthy foods, like lean meats, legumes, vegetables and whole grains.
Don’t be Afraid to Say No
There are only so many hours in the day, and your plate is only so big. Don’t be afraid to say no and set boundaries for the sake of your mental health.
Overfilling your plate will only make your anxiety worse. If you’re spending so much time doing things for others that you don’t have time to care for your own needs, it may be time to make a change.
Yes, it’s important to give and help others, but not at the expense of your health. It’s okay to say “no” once in a while, especially if your time is already stretched to the max.
Zen Out with Meditation
The idea of sitting alone with your thoughts may amplify your anxiety, but like exercise, it can be a helpful way to calm your mind and help you confront the issues that are causing your anxiety in the first place.
One review of over 200 studies found that mindfulness-based meditation was effective for reducing anxiety, stress and depression.
The goal is to focus on your breath and bring your attention to the present moment.
If you’re not sure where to start, try a guided meditation. It’s okay to start with 10 minutes and work your way up to longer meditation sessions.
Many people use cannabidiol, or CBD, to help control anxiety. New research suggests that CBD may help lower anxiety levels, although researchers still don’t know why.
These are just a few of the many ways you can get your fears and anxiety under control without meds. These methods are ideal for people with mild to moderate anxiety, but severe cases may require medication and the help of an experienced therapist.