If you’re like me, you may have faced such significant and relentless anxiety that you resorted to medication in order to heal. No judgment here. There is a time and a place. However, let’s face it, the pharmaceutical options to combat anxiety are not good on a long-term basis, both in terms of efficacy and side effects. Alcohol is the over-the-counter drug that many women use to take the edge off anxiety or stress, but it taxes your liver, makes you gain weight, causes insulin resistance, wreaks havoc with hormone balance, and ultimately is a depressant.
Without a doubt, anxiety is one of the worst things to experience, and unfortunately, most women do experience it at some point in our lives. So, what are some safe and accessible alternatives to overcome it, things you can DO rather than TAKE, that can actually shift anxiety for the long term?
Here are 28 proven ways to shift anxiety. I invite you to incorporate one or more now if you’re feeling anxious. And if you’re ready to wean off your meds, definitely use some of these strategies.
28 Ways to Shift Anxiety without Taking Anything
☑️ 1. Meditation is proven to help anxiety, and over time it actually changes your brain. Use an app, like 10% Happier or Headspace.
☑️ 2. Spirituality helps you feel like you’re a part of something larger than yourself. Spirituality does not have to mean religion.
☑️ 3. Community (with supportive people that you choose) also connects you to a greater life force. Hang out with people.
☑️ 4. Exercise and moving your body can move the energy of anxiety, and make you feel more confident and strong.
☑️ 5. Breathing practices. There are many types. To download a simple five-minute reading practice, sign up for our newsletter.
☑️ 6. Biofeedback – like heart math or Muse, which are things you can easily do at home.
☑️ 7. Being in nature and soaking up the negative ions, and the calm and peace it provides.
☑️ 8. CBT, cognitive-based therapy, which you can learn from a trained therapist and then practice on your own. It works!
☑️ 9. Mindful movement, like yoga, tai chi, or Feldenkrais movement lessons, can shift the state of your nervous system.
☑️ 10. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation contributes to anxiety.
☑️ 11. Filter your exposure to stressful media, from all sources, including social media and stressful shows.
☑️ 12. Protect yourself from being around people who feel toxic to your mental health and peaceful mind.
☑️ 13. Talk to a friend or family member about how you feel – someone who can listen without trying to “fix.”
☑️ 14. Journal – the physical act of writing can help you release anxious thoughts and shift your state of mind.
☑️ 15. Acupuncture is highly effective for alleviating anxiety. It elicits a release of your own calming neurotransmitters.
☑️ 16. Go for a walk. The combination of movement, distraction, and getting out outdoors can create a shift.
☑️ 17. Cuddle with a pet. If you don’t have one, borrow a friend’s dog or volunteer at a shelter. This releases oxytocin, which is relaxing and calming.
☑️ 18. Do volunteer work on a regular basis. Giving to others shifts your perspective and makes you feel wanted, needed and rewarded.
☑️ 19. Listen to music that stirs your soul and makes you want to move your body.
☑️ 20. Read inspirational books, such as Pema Chodron or Brene Brown.
☑️ 21. If there is an actual situation that’s triggering anxiety, get help to work through it.
☑️ 22. Stay away from caffeine, because it raises stress hormones. Caffeine and anxiety do not mix. Drink noncaffeinated beverages.
☑️ 23. Gratitude shifts your mental state and relieves anxiety. It can be as simple as a practice of thinking of, and showing appreciation for, something you are grateful for every day.
☑️ 24. Cross things off your to-do list, especially if you feel overwhelmed and that’s contributing to anxiety.
☑️ 25. Use positive affirmations that you can write down and tack up on the wall, or to use during meditation.
☑️ 26. Eat to balance your blood sugar, as blood sugar fluctuations can contribute to anxiety.
☑️ 27. Pick up an art or craft. Making things taps into creative energy, which is therapeutic on many levels. Something like knitting can be meditative and relaxing.
☑️ 28. Take a warm bath with magnesium salts, or a hot tub. Heat is calming and magnesium is the great relaxer mineral.
This gives you 28 things to try in lieu of pharmaceuticals or alcohol. Plus, all of these are things that you can do rather than take.
Are there “natural” things to take for anxiety?
There are many! However, you normally can’t simply supplement your way out of anxiety. It takes a broader approach, one that examines the root causes of why the anxiety is there in the first place.
Besides actual situations and events in your life that cause anxiety (including unresolved trauma), a functional root-cause approach to anxiety investigates:
- Adrenal hormone dysregulation (HPA-D).
- Hormone imbalance, particularly low estrogen or progesterone.
- Impaired neurotransmitter production (often a gut issue).
- Inflammation in your brain. All chronic inflammation in your body affects your brain.
- Nutrient deficiencies – nutrient-deficient anemia is an example.
To get help investigating the root causes of your anxiety, please reach out. I know how awful anxiety is, and I’m here to help.
I welcome your questions and comments below,