5 Ways to Get Rid of Anxiety Without Medication
Work + Life Balance

5 Ways to Get Rid of Anxiety Without Medication

by Avery Johnson
Photos Tonhya Kae | June 23, 2015

DON'T LET ANXIETY TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE. TACKLE THE PROBLEM HEAD ON WITH THESE 5 TIPS YOU CAN BEGIN PRACTICING TODAY!

A quickened heartbeat, a swirling pit in our stomach, a buzzing in our heads. Whether it is a too-long to-do list, a long day at work, an important decision, or any other uncomfortable situation, it is probably safe to say we have all experienced stress at one time or another.

When we are in the midst of a stressful day or week, it can be confusing to wrap our minds around what our bodies are feeling and how to cope.

But what happens if we cannot find relief even once our to-do list is tackled, or we land the new job, or we finish our work project? You may be struggling with anxiety. 

Let’s first take a look at the difference between stress and anxiety. Though both of these words are used interchangeably and have many overlapping symptoms, the conditions themselves are actually different.

While stress is usually caused by external factors, anxiety may be harder to pinpoint, sometimes emerging from a fear or worry spiraling out of control. You may be going throughout your week wondering what even has you all worried in the first place, then soon grow anxious about simply being anxious!

When anxiety threatens to take over your sense of well being, it is important to know there are steps you can take to find peace and lasting relief from your worries.

When anxiety threatens to take over your sense of well being, it is important to know there are steps you can take to find peace and lasting relief from your worries.

Here are five ways to manage anxiety (without medication*):

Related: How to Avoid Stress-Eating and Fuel Your Body Right

GET OUTSIDE

Spending time in nature—whether near awe-inspiring vistas, towering mountains, or vast oceans—has a way of making all of our other problems fade away. When soaking up the view from the top after a long hike, you may even question what had you so worried in the first place.

As Elizabeth Bennet says in Pride and Prejudice, “What are men to rocks and mountains?”

Not quite the outdoor adventuring type? Try walking. Stroll around your neighborhood or a local park to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.

SWEAT IT OUT

The benefits of exercise extend far beyond just looking good in your summer shorts. Endorphins released during your sweat sesh contribute to feelings of euphoria and boost your mood, while working out regularly has been known to reduce stress levels over time, as well as regulate sleeping patterns (source: Mayo Clinic)

Feeling overwhelmed? Throw a few punches in kickboxing or go all out in a 45-minute spin class at the end of your workday. If you need to clear your mind, try vinyasa yoga.

Make this time for yourself a part of your weekly routine to keep your anxiety levels in check.

MAKE SPACE FOR CALM

Look back on your week for a moment—can you remember what you did after work on Monday? How about what you wore Tuesday or ate for lunch on Wednesday?

Was it all harder to recall than you think it should be?

We often find ourselves rushing from work to errands to obligations with very little reprieve in between. But by jam-packing our days together, we aren’t giving our bodies and our minds the time we need to unwind and recharge.

Give yourself time during the week to recover from your days. Slow down your pace of life to really tune in to how you are doing and feeling. {Click to Tweet} Try practicing meditation or deep breathing exercises at the beginning of each day, or incorporate them into your bedtime routine for easier sleep.

If meditation or sitting silently with your thoughts sounds near impossible to you, try reading a light book before bed to get your mind off your worries.

I like keeping a small notepad on my bedside table to scribble down any thoughts keeping me from dreamland. When I wake up in the morning, I often find these worries seem trivial in the light of a new day.

Related: The 5 Best Habits to Adopt Today

SURRENDER

The truth is, we are bound to face situations throughout our days we cannot control. Each time you find yourself in an anxiety-inducing situation, ask yourself: What can I control? What do I have no control over?

Rather than multitasking and further overloading our to-do lists, relinquish the need to solve everything all the time. Change what you can, but slowly breathe out and let go of the things you cannot change.

Rather than multitasking and further overloading our to-do lists, relinquish the need to solve everything all the time. Change what you can, but slowly breathe out and let go of the things you cannot change.

Letting go takes practice, so give yourself some grace. Have an inner dialogue with yourself when new anxieties arise. By talking through them, you may find they’re smaller than your imagination builds them up to be.

TALK TO SOMEONE

When anxiety becomes too much to handle or interferes with your ability to complete daily tasks, it is time to seek out a professional. Therapists and counselors specializing in anxiety will help you work through your worries in a safe, comfortable environment.

Therapy isn’t just lounging on a couch and talking about your feelings! Your counselor will work with you to discover tools to treat your anxiety head on before it spirals out of control, preparing you for future situations while treating the symptoms happening right now.

Stress and anxiety are more than unfounded worries, they’re a serious wellness issue. {Click to Tweet} Prolonged feelings of stress may lead to anxiety disorders, depression, illness, and other serious health problems if left untreated.

Related: It's Okay to Not Be Happy All the Time

Knowing you aren’t helpless or alone during these troublesome times gives you the power to push through and find relief. Don’t be afraid to seek out help or confide in a trusted friend or family member. Let’s not let anxiety rob us of the joys of daily living. 

*NOTE: I do not wish to diminish the seriousness and severity of anxiety disorders or the need to use medication as a viable treatment. The above are simply suggested alternate ways to re-center and find peace without the use of medications. Treatment options for severe anxiety should be considered in discussion with a professional, as each person and each case is unique.