How to deal with anxiety, without medication

Introduction

Many of us get anxious throughout the day, some more than
others, and some don’t understand or feel like they can do anything to change
this. I’m here to help you fight that little Satan in your head when you are
feeling anxious. I myself have been a very anxious person in the past.
Throughout high school was a very difficult time for me as I was becoming more
aware of my surroundings and what people thought of me as a person. I hung out
with a group of lads that were always mocking each other, and when everyone’s
doing it, at the time you may feel it’s normal because everyone’s doing it, but
I realised after some time, this was not the case. I realised they were the
source of my anxiety, always feeling judged if I wore something new or did
something different, and if you have experienced that too, then you understand
that feeling of always being on edge around them and not being your true self.
What I have just explained is more related to social anxiety because that is my
own experience and I understand it very well. However, I know there are many
types of anxiety and some can seem like the smallest things to the outside
world but to you they have the biggest effect, and they need to be addressed. I’m
going to give you some things to try, that you can include in your daily
routine that will help you deal with your anxiety, without needing medication.

Breathingbreathing-techniques-for-anxiety

I recently learned some ways in which to take away the nerves
you may feel when you’re about to do something for the first time, like meet a
group of new people etc. Something you may have heard of is taking a deep
breath and counting to 10 in your head to regain your composure for a
presentation. This works for meeting people too, as you approach focus on the
numbers as opposed to what you’re going to say or what this person is going to
think of you. If you literally don’t know what to say, as starting point is just
introducing yourself and asking how this person is doing. The same applies
during a presentation for example, address the audience directing first, and
ease them into your topic. Another way to remain calm is to focus on your
breathing through your nose. This is important. As you breath in through your
nose, sense it. Bear with me that might sound confusing! This technique links
to being calm whilst meditating, you use the same slow and steady breathing
which makes you feel calm. When I had a counsellor, she gave me the analogy of
a tree sucking up water from its roots and all the way up into its trunk and
branches. Imagine you are that tree and as you breathe the air you breathe in is
the water that tree takes in, and the branches are your muscles and your organs
and every part of you.

Tapping

waiting-in-a-queueI’ve seen people do this for a long time, I thought maybe
they’re tapping because they’re bored or impatiently waiting in a queue, but
another reason could also be to let out nerves. I’ve tried tapping and it does seem to release some negative energy, it may work well for you too!

Tapping is associated with the meridian points in the Chinese concept of “chi”. In Chinese
medicine, these points are harbours of energy and when tapped are believed to
release that energy. Whilst tapping, focus on the problem going away and
emptying your harbours. The process of tapping on these meridian points is called emotional freedom techniques (EFT). Here is a book on how to properly use EFT and the order in which to use the points.

Researchers carried out tests with acupuncture with meridian acupoints and three Anmian acupoints. They found that both together improve depression and anxiety and also improved the quality of sleep with patients who had insomnia.

Drink green tea and avoid caffeinedrink-green-tea

You may be thinking, I can’t drink that it’s disgusting! I
agree, most green tea isn’t nice at first but just like anything else, your
body will get used to it, and the benefits are worth far more than the bad
taste stopping you drink it at all. Green tea contains L-theanine which is
useful for treating anxiety as it does not produce the same “hyper” boost that
caffeine does. Caffeine can cause a massive high which can quickly turn into a
massive low so it is best to go with decaffeinated drinks, or at least cut down
on the caffeine. Researchers have found that L-theanine can be particularly
effective in helping one’s mental state, possibly useful for sufferers of
bipolar disorder or depression.

Listen to music

listen to musicThis may seem like an obvious one and many of you probably
do it. It can be good to listen to the music you love whenever you’re feeling
anxious. This is because music can help you escape, and you can focus more on
the music than whatever your problems are. However, I’ve learned from
experience that although I like listening to rap or rock music, some of it does
put me in a worse mood and I start thinking more negatively about things. I
recently focused more on what the lyrics were and any song that has mostly
negative lyrics I tend to avoid when I’m feeling anxious as it can bring me
lower. I switch to uplifting music, whether that’s typing in “happy/uplifting
playlist” or using specific positive music scientifically proven to help mood,
focus or relaxation. There are many options available on YouTube by simply
typing in “positive music”, “study music” and “relaxing music” for example.
Alternatively, you can buy CDs or mp3 downloads on sites like Amazon.

Get lost (not literally) in nature, or a bookget-lost-in-a-book

Going for a walk on your own or with a friend and taking in
all the beauty that is around you can be a perfect stress reliever. Many people
are too focused on the working day and have little time to relax, but it is
important for your mental health and you must make some time daily or if not
daily at least a few times a week to just forget about things. If you’re not a
fan of nature, or the weather isn’t great, which is quite often here in the UK,
then try reading a new book. I have found that reading fiction books help me to
escape reality for a bit, I can let my imagination loose and get lost in that
world and not mine. Also, books that are very realistic can help people as they
feel comfortable in reading that others experience the same issues as them.

Summary

I hope you’ve got some new things to try to help with the anxiety and I’d love to know what works for you! I haven’t covered the importance of exercise in helping relieve anxiety as I have
mentioned that in a lot of detail in a previous post which can be found here. If
you enjoyed the read, then let me know in the comments. Have any thoughts you’d
like to share? Also, if I missed something feel free to comment any questions you
have, and I’ll get back to you!

Nick

References

Huo, Z. J., Guo, J., & Li, D. (2013). Effects of acupuncture with meridian acupoints and three Anmian acupoints on insomnia and related depression and anxiety state. Chinese journal of integrative medicine, 19(3), 187-191.

Hwang, Y. C. (1992). Anatomy and classification of
acupoints. Problems in veterinary medicine, 4(1), 12-15.

Nobre, A. C., Rao, A., & Owen, G. N. (2008). L-theanine,
a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific journal
of clinical nutrition, 17(S1), 167-168.

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22 thoughts on “How to deal with anxiety, without medication”

  1. I think that drinking green tea could be nice. But I wonder how many cups are too many? How many cups do you recommend for people who drink a lot?

    1. Yeah drinking green tea has a nice relaxed vibe to it I think! I’d recommend 1-3 cups a day for most people at the beginning, but if your metabolism is already high then maybe not more than 3, it will be different for everyone, just try different amounts a day and see how you feel, but don’t over do it! If you already drink a lot then 3-5 cups a day will give you sufficient catechins. These are mostly found in green tea and are currently being studied to see if they can help prevent heart disease and cancer, so it seems you can only benefit from them!

  2. I personally find walking a good way of easing my mind. I like the concept of green tea, it sure is something I may try especially since I will be compelled to take it without sugar. Great post.

    1. Walking is a perfect way of easing the mind! Even being out in nature and focusing on taking it all in can be beneficial to your health! Mindfulness daily can help improve things like cognitive function among other great benefits!

  3. These are some really great tips and ones I use regularly! I use breathing, in through the nose and our through the mouth, which calms me down and help me to relax. I really want to try tapping, i would love it if you wrote an article about it! I would definately check it out 🙂

    1. Glad to hear Danielle! That’s the perfect way to do it. Many of us don’t focus on breathing through our nose and realise how that can calm our nerves and help us focus. I’ve mentioned tapping briefly in this article and a book that I highly recommend to learn the techniques of tapping and why they work. I can do a more detailed explanation and include a lot of my own experience in another post. It will hopefully be very thought provoking!

  4. I think a lot of us deal with this, myself included. Heck, I get crazy anxiety when going out into public, and even as I sit here and type this reply I’ve barricaded myself in a separate room at a pre-New Year’s Party.

    I’ve incorporated many of these techniques and each have worked. Breathing often helps me get through my workday, and any time I feel anxiety coming it’s my go-to. I usually do this at work or if I’m dragged into town by others. I stumbled across breathing in a college text.

    I’ve never tried tapping but it’s something I’ll incorporate in the future.

    Getting lost in nature or a book is priceless and arguably my favorite on this list. I write books, myself, and getting lost in them or just mulling over my works when facing anxiety situations is a huge boost.

    I usually listen to music during workouts and I revert to a certain playlist when there’s a crowd present, as there will be in a few short days with the New Year’s Resolution Crowd invading gyms.

    Thank you so much for this article and I’m sharing this one with the Facebook and Twitter network. It’s too important of an article and I know dozens who are on anxiety medication that they can do without. This article will help in such a mission.

    1. In think breathing is amazing for social anxiety, to me it’s about regaining control over your thoughts and feelings! I think you’re doing great there by knowing when you need to do it! Learning breathing techniques from a book is great! I’ve learnt from my counsellor and it just goes to show that there are many ways in which someone suffering with anxiety can learn how to deal with it! Reading is definitely one of my favourites on the list, it’s a healthy escape, a much better alternative in the long run than alcohol! It also helps the minds creativity and knowledge, the benefits are endless in my opinion! I know the feeling, it’s great having comforting music when crowds are around, helps my focus on why I’m in there and not who’s watching me! Thank you for the share my friend!

  5. Speaking of tapping, I went to a seminar about depression and mental illness and they said that there are certain pressure points that stimulate chemicals associated with calmness and happiness.
    I forgot the specifics but I remember that there was an exercise where you put both hands over your chest in a butterfly position and tapped lightly and repeatedly.
    I don’t think I verified if that was a myth or not.

    1. I haven’t heard of this type of tapping. I usually tap the meridian points and one close to the chest is the side of your lower chest just above your rib cage I believe. I will look into this and if I find anything I will make sure to cover it!

  6. I found this article really useful when discussing how to deal with anxiety without having to take medication.
    I myself suffer from mild anxiety and find the thought of taking medication to help it not for me personally.
    I already listen to a lot of music and go on walks to help. But I found the other solutions you included in your article really interesting, especially the tapping one and also drinking green tea to help.
    So thank you for giving me more alternatives to help cope with my anxiety, will definitely be recommending to other people that I know will benefit from this.

    1. Although medication will help a lot of people, I think that using ways to deal with it without taking meditation is the better option, this way you also improve your mental strength at the same time! Being able to say “I have to do this now so I don’t feel anxious later” gave me a sense of achievement and belief in myself. Until fairly recently I had never heard of tapping and using it over the last few months has definitely taking my mind off stressful things so many times I couldn’t keep count! Furthermore, green tea is an interesting one because many people think it’s taken just to lose weight, but the fact it has many other health benefits is great! I’m glad you benefitted from the read!

  7. Anxiety is something a lot of people don’t actually understand in depth at all and you’ve made so many good points that will help a lot of people with figuring out exactly what it is and how it can be triggered.
    What you said about school is something I can agree with 100% as I’ve been in the same situation but not just with trying to fit in but on the other end with the people doing the mocking etc to me. You should never have to change who you are for others to like you or feel like you can be one of them.
    As you grow up you realise who your true friends are and from that anxiety in that respect can lower massively alone, just make sure you surround yourself with people who make you happy and not overthink any situation because that’s not healthy.
    You’ve also made a lot of good points with they ways everyone can deal with anxiety. There are a wide range of different ways and some may not work for certain people but others will and vice versa, it’s just making sure that you try and keep making positive changes to your lifestyle.
    Your articles are getting better and better, keep up the good work bro, you’re smashing it!!!!

    1. I thinks topics like this need to be across the internet! I know growing up I didn’t read enough into anxiety and now that I have all I want to do is just share it and help others! I’m glad I decided to write this posts because reactions like yours make it worth while! I think you’ve figured out who you should be surrounding yourself with and you know who brings out the best you which is absolutely great! I hope others read your comment and consider who are actually the best people for them to be around and then act accordingly. From my experience I have been far less anxious without certain people in my life and I feel free in a sense and I can just build on myself without feeling under pressure and expecting a negative comment! Glad you enjoyed the read bro! Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate the support!

  8. Awesome stuff Nick! For me personally I’m not a big coffee or tea drinker so I’ve never considered drinking tea to ease the state of mind and keep things right. However exercise has definitely brought many benefits; mental, physical and social. As someone who’s always on their toes it leaves a big space in terms of what to put my attention, to other than work/studies which I find exercise, whether cardiovascular or weight training fills that gap and keeps me in a good state of mind and most importantly helps you stay present. Which I believe is what countering anxiety is about, enjoying the now and not fixating negative thoughts on what could go wrong. In all a great read and good food for thought whether you struggle with anxiety or know someone who does! Thanks for sharing

    1. You have that spot on! When exercising you can set goals to focus on and focusing on your training means less time worrying and overthinking anything! Exercise is no doubt an important part of my routine to prevent anxiety and I could mention it here but I don’t want to repeat content! There are so many health benefits of it and hopefully people will read my other article! From what I’ve learnt it can treat a lot of different forms of anxiety so I hope anyone reading sees your comment listens to your insight! But thanks for your thoughts bro, glad you enjoyed the read!
      Anyone wanting to know the benefits of exercise on anxiety and other things then click on this link http://thefitnessfeeling.com/how-can-exercise-impact-mental-health

  9. Great article! Deep breathing is really a quick way to control anxiety. As you said enjoying nature is another great way. But when I tried to read books, it did not control my anxiety rather I became restless.. lol… Maybe I should try some other relaxing books. What is your suggestion for books?

    1. I’m glad the first two are helpful! In terms of books it depends what you like to read. Do you mean books about dealing with anxiety or any type of book that can be seen as helpful? if it’s the first then try “The Anxiety Solution” by Chloe Brotheridge which you can find on Amazon.com! If you want a book that takes your mind off the anxiety then I’d recommend something that isn’t human reality, so you can let your imagination run free. By this I mean anything sci fi for example.

  10. Hey Nick!

    I really enjoyed reading this post!

    That tapping was a new thing for me, it makes sense tho and I will try it later on 🙂
    I have noticed that deep breathing and walking in the woods with my dog really helps.

    I think you told everything important in this post. It is too common just to take some medication to it and make it easier that way. Thanks for this article!

    1. Tapping is quite new to me too but I love it! Dogs and nature are the perfect match for dealing with anxiety! I can take mine out for hours and not worry about a thing. Personally I’d rather not take medication and like to do everything naturally, I found these methods to work well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  11. This is really interesting to read, and makes total sense! I love to listen to music when I go for a walk, and as you say ‘get lost in nature’- especially when I’ve got a lot of work to do. It just helps to take my mind off things for a while and helps me focus better when I get back to it. Great job on the article, some really useful information!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I’m glad that nature and music work for you! There are certain types of music that have been researched and proven to help relieve anxiety too, although they don’t always have words they are very uplifting if you relax and listen. Search something along the lines of “positive music” and you can find a variety of useful, uplifting music!

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