This post is all about anxiety treatment: how to calm anxiety and what else you can try to calm your anxiety that you may have not tried yet. Because everyone is different and so is our anxiety. What works for someone may be a waste of time for you. Therefore, below you’ll find some extra tips on how to calm anxiety without meds.
I’ve been dealing with generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety for many years. It all started thanks to my overprotective and anxious parents who instilled all possible fears in me in my childhood. I had no idea why in college everyone else seemed calm and I seemed to be the only one nearly dying from a heart attack every single time I had to speak in public. I had no idea why people didn’t understand that talking to a stranger, making phone calls, appointments, bookings was just ABSOLUTELY impossible for me. Before I traveled somewhere, I had imagined a million of scenarios how I was going to die on that trip. Once I was close to not getting on a plane because the flight had been delayed for several hours and I thought it was a sign. I have many stories related to generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety but what’s more important is that I’ve figured out how to calm anxiety without meds. Also, see How to Overcome Social Anxiety (on your own and without meds).
How to calm anxiety without meds
Stop watching negative news, films, TV series, listening to sad songs, etc.
When we watch negative news about murders, accidents, bad economic situation, etc. we do nothing but frighten ourselves. Films and TV series about crimes, psychopaths, dysfunctional families teach us little but they do frighten us and instill a thought in us that this is common, this is what can happen to us, this is how people live. Listening to sad songs about suffering after a breakup contributes to victim mentality. If you have anxiety of any kind and you often watch or read negative news, watch terrifying films, TV series and shows, listen to sad songs, please answer: why do you do it to yourself? Why do you keep adding fuel to the fire? Why do you keep feeding the monster inside – your anxiety?
Our mindset shapes our reality. If you have a negative mindset, you’ll never have a positive life. I know how addictive the negative junk is but it’s either you remain an addict and continue suffering from anxiety or you just put an end to this negative habit and eventually calm anxiety for good.
Remember that being aware of all news is not your job. Dysfunctional families often shown in TV series are not common and not normal. Breakups are not the end of the world and are not even worth talking about or listening to sad songs about them. See How to Get Over a Breakup.
Find the root cause of your anxiety
The problem with anxiety is that you often don’t know why you feel anxious. Have you ever woken up in the morning or in the middle of a night feeling intense anxiety for no obvious reason? I have. But thankfully, at least, nowadays, I rarely feel so during the day. When I studied in college, I used to feel anxious 24/7. Back then I didn’t understand what that feeling was and I didn’t know the term for it was “anxiety”. Then I accidently saw a video on Youtube that changed the whole thing for me. It’s called INSTANT Cure for Anxiety! (Peace of Mind in 3 Minutes or Less) by Vishuddha Das. The guy in the video suggests to try to find the root cause of anxiety whenever you feel anxious. Remember you day or previous days, ask yourself: “did that situation or that event cause my anxiety?” Eventually, you’ll find the root cause. I don’t know how exactly it works but from that moment, it will become much easier to calm that anxiety.
Don’t let your mind wander in the past or in the future. Don’t let your mind overthink the past or the future. If something that makes you anxious can be changed or improved – do your best to improve it. If it’s past and it can’t be changed, let go of it. Read Solve Your 99 Problems with a Proactive Approach.
As for the future, it’s not worth spending your precious time on thinking about it too much because the future doesn’t exist yet. Your mind can’t predict things, so don’t let it predict and expect negative scenarios.
Practice mindfulness instead. Mindfulness is being aware of and being fully present in the here and now. How to practice mindfulness? Focus your attention on your actions right now, on what surrounds you. What objects do you see? What sounds and noises do you hear? Focus on your breathing. Focus on sensations in your body. Try to feel your toes, then your feet, ankles, calf and go up.
Choose what works best for you. For me it’s focusing on the sounds and noises. In case you want to become more advanced in practicing mindfulness in all spheres of life to finally lead a stress-free lifestyle, read How to Practice Mindfulness |30 Best Tips|.
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A portable Zen garden can aid in focusing on the here and now, relaxing your mind and relieving stress. It’s also a great tool when you need to slow down, stop rushing, and meditate but your mind is too used to being active and overthinking.
Make use of positive affirmations
If you are dealing with any kind of anxiety, it means that most probably you have some negative beliefs. For example, if your problem is social anxiety, you may believe that people dislike you; people watch you; people want to see you make a mistake or fail, etc. Read How to Overcome Social Anxiety, where I shape tips that have helped me overcome social anxiety after 13 years of struggle.
A negative mindset will never give you a positive life! Substitute your negative beliefs with positive affirmations. There are several blogposts on Mindfulness Inspo aimed at helping you with this. See Life-Changing Affirmations for Women and 42 Positive Affirmations with Wallpapers for Phone.
Go offline more often
Unlimited access to the Internet with everything it has to offer: from negative news to social networks which give the feeling of being available for socializing 24/7 causes a lot of stress. Switch off the Internet on your phone whenever you don’t have to be online. And you probably don’t have to be online 24/7.
Write down your thoughts and feelings
Writing down my thoughts and feelings whenever I was overthinking, stressed out or in doubt, has always helped me cope with anxiety.
In case you don’t understand how to calm anxiety without meds, just with help of writing and don’t know what to start with or what questions to ask yourself, try this journal.
Hugs or a weighted blanket can help calm anxiety
How to calm anxiety without meds, with help of something as simple as hugs? It’s weird but even people with social anxiety feel less anxious and a lot better when hugged (by someone we feel affection to of course). So why do hugs have such an effect? As stated on MedicineNet, it’s thanks to hormones and neurotransmitters. Hugs instantly boost oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that lowers anxiety and helps lower cortisol – a stress hormone, as well as provokes the release of serotonin and dopamine – neurotransmitters responsible for our feeling of happiness. A lack of serotonin can lead to depression, anxiety and disrupt circadian rhythms.
In case you don’t have a human being to hug to reduce your stress level and calm anxiety and hugging your dog whenever you need to feel better seems inhumane, consider getting a weighted blanket. The deep pressure it creates, helps release oxytocin. Thus, the effect is similar to the one we get when we hug someone. According to Psychology Today, a weighted blanket also helps improve sleep as oxytocin that is released plays a role in regulating sleep-wake cycles. Increase in oxytocin during sleep improves sleep quality, can increase sleep time and may reduce the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Also, deep pressure stimulation reduces cortisol – a stress hormone which makes it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. A weighted blanket can improve sleep if you often go to bed stressed or anxious.
Here is a good inexpensive weighted blanket with a washable cover. For ideal sizing, choose a blanket weight in the range of 10-12% of the user’s body weight; if the weight falls between 2 sizes, the lighter choice is recommended.
How to calm anxiety without meds, with help of aromatherapy? Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy to reduce stress, calm anxiety, help to relax and elevate mood. Choose essential oils that work best for you because scents are a very individual thing. However, if you don’t know with that essential oil to start, try lavender. It’s probably the best known essential oil to calm anxiety.
Go to Amazon to buy this or choose other essential oils for aromatherapy.
Other essential oils that may help calm anxiety are sage, ylang-ylang, jasmine, chamomile, vetiver, patchouli, bergamot. As strong scents can cause difficulty breathing in certain people, be careful with aromatherapy, especially if you have asthma, allergies, or any other problems with breathing.
One of my favorite ways to relieve stress in the evening and practice mindfulness (being present in the here and now) is a cup of Yogi Tea.
Yogi has a variety of different blends from Bedtime to Stomach Ease.
How to calm anxiety without meds, with help of exercise? While exercise can’t cure anxiety, it can significantly improve the symptoms and in the long-term run, shows to be more effective than taking drugs that help calm anxiety. The main point if you want to see any positive results, is to exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes three to five days a week. When I was dealing with severe anxiety, I went to the gym 2 times a week and pumped iron for about an hour. At the end of a session I felt so exhausted that I had like zero thoughts which was great because I used to overthink a lot back then, which made me anxious.
Walk in nature
Regular walks in nature are super beneficial for mental health. Find time in your schedule and a place where you don’t have to rush and where you can rest from the need to wear a social mask.
So, here is how to calm anxiety without meds. This helped me, so it may also help someone else who is dealing with anxiety. Going through hard times? See Inspirational Quotes for Going Through Hard Times with free phone wallpapers and How to Relieve Stress Quickly.