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 their 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 22 ways to shift anxiety, without taking a pill or relying on alcohol. 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.
22 Ways to Shift Anxiety without Taking Anything
- Learn Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
- Practice prayer or gratitude.
- Join a community of people with common interests.
- Exercise and move your body, and include mindful movement such as yoga, tai chi, or Feldenkrais.
- Explore a breathwork practice, such as SKY breathing.
- Train in biofeedback like Heartmath or Muse.
- Spend quiet time in nature.
- Learn CBT (cognitive-based therapy) from a trained therapist.
- Get more sleep, at regular hours. Sleep deprivation and circadian disruption affect mental health.
- Strengthen your boundaries toward stressful media and people, including social media.
- Write in a journal to release anxious thoughts and shift your state of mind.
- Get acupuncture, which stimulates your own calming neurotransmitters.
- Cuddle with a pet to increase your calming hormone oxytocin.
- Do volunteer work to bring perspective and a sense of purpose.
- Expose yourself to funny, heart-warming, or inspirational media.
- Get help from supportive people, or even a professional therapist, to talk and work through situations that need resolution.
- Stay away from caffeine, because it raises stress hormones.
- Cross things off your to-do list, especially if you feel overwhelmed and that’s contributing to anxiety.
- Use positive affirmations that you can write down and tack up on the wall, or for use during meditation.
- Eat to balance your blood sugar, as fluctuations can contribute to anxiety.
- Pick up an art, craft, or hobby. Creative expression is therapeutic and inspiring on many levels.
- Take a warm bath with magnesium salts. Heat is calming and magnesium is the great relaxer mineral.
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 biological root causes of why YOUR anxiety is there in the first place. Besides actual situations and events in your life that cause anxiety (including unresolved trauma), a biological root-cause approach to anxiety investigates:
- Adrenal hormone dysregulation (HPA-D) – resulting in high or low cortisol levels.
- Sex hormone imbalance – low levels, high levels, or a combination.
- Impaired neurotransmitter production – often a nutrition and absorption issue.
- Gut dysbiosis – there’s a strong connection between your gut microbes and your brain, part of the gut-brain axis.
- 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.