Everyone has a moment of weakness. You know the feeling of tension before a job interview, or when you’re getting ready to hear the news from your doctor? Even though everything might turn out well, you still can’t help the feeling of impending doom that washes over you.
In such situations, it is perfectly normal to feel stressed and worried. If it is objectively possible that something bad will happen, anxiety is not only perfectly understandable but expected as well. However, if you get the same feeling in everyday situations – for example, when your boss invites you to their office for a chat, or while riding a bus, or even just waiting in line in a supermarket, you likely have some kind of anxiety disorder.
People who suffer from this kind of issues find themselves facing their everyday lives while simultaneously combating stress and a sense of dread disproportionate to the problems they have. A typical course of treatment includes medication and talk therapy. However, if you want to help yourself, aside from the visits to a therapist, you’re probably wondering how to manage anxiety without drugs. Luckily, there are several things that you can do.
1. Move it
Physical exercise is one of the best ways to combat anxiety. The activity helps your body produce more endorphin and serotonin, which make you feel happier and better in general. The exercise itself can take your mind off your problems. Also, the happy feeling it gives you can help you improve your outlook.
You really don’t have to go through terribly demanding cardio sessions. Any type of exercise will help. Dance around in your home, or go for a walk when the weather is nice. Ride your bike to work, or take your dog for a long walk. 30 minutes a day is enough to lift your mood – and it’s great for your physical health and your shape too!
2. Get Your Beauty Sleep
Sleep deprivation is one of the things that can creep up on you and ruin your life without you being aware of it. It causes a plethora of problems with both your psyche and your body. On the other hand, a well-rested mind is a strong mind – it deals with the emotional burden and stressful situations much more easily than a sleep-deprived one.
Getting enough sleep can equip you with more patience and objectivity, both of which are necessary skills for survival when you have an anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, anxiety disorders don’t encourage sleep – but the contrary. On the bright side, this is easily fixed by sticking to a routine.
Your body loves routines. Therefore, a bedtime routine will make it much easier for you to actually fall asleep. Set a bedtime, and take it seriously. Set up a series of tasks to complete before going to bed. Don’t eat and don’t do exercise before bedtime, and everything else is pretty much a safe bet – take a shower, have a cup of tea, read a book. It’ll take your body a few days to fall into a routine, but soon you’ll look forward to your bedtime – and sleep like a baby.
3. Eat Healthy
You need to eat regularly. If you don’t, your sugar levels will drop, and that will increase the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Seeing that you don’t need any more stress in your life, it’s easy to understand why you shouldn’t skip meals.
Of course, it matters what you eat, not just how often you do it. Have you ever heard the expression you are what you eat? If you eat healthy, you’ll be healthy. More importantly, if your sugar intake is too high, you’ll likely go through what we call sugar rush – your body’s response to an increased amount of sugar. Physically, it can look a lot like anxiety. Your body starts shaking, and you feel nervous. Since this is obviously too close to home, you should try to limit your sugar intake.
4. Skip the Coffee
Caffeine boosts energy levels – that much is common knowledge. However, it also stimulates your nervous system, which can trigger a panic or anxiety attack. Therefore, you should restrict your intake of caffeine if you possibly can. Don’t quit cold turkey, but at least swap a couple of your daily moccas for decaf, and see how it goes.
5. Say NO
Every person needs to know their limits. You have only so much time and strength – don’t give it to others if you need it yourself. Always be aware of the fact that you don’t have to do favors to anyone. Don’t let others usurp your time and energy, no matter how much you love them. It’s okay to say no when you need to.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should be a selfish individual who only cares for oneself. However, you need to be your first priority. Look at it this way – if you’re unwell, you can’t help anybody. Make sure you have the energy to spare before you dive into somebody else’s problems, and you’ll avoid quite a bit of stress.
6. No Past, No Future
Live in the moment. It’s no use worrying about something that happened in the past. You can’t change it anymore. When you catch yourself reliving a situation in which you felt bad or embarrassed, give yourself a slap on the wrist and redirect your train of thought. Similarly, don’t let yourself worry about the distant future. You don’t know how things will play out. The farther in time the situation is, the less you should think about it. It requires discipline and hard work, but you can train yourself to simply stay in the present – and thus avoid the unnecessary stress.
The Final Straw
If you know that you have an issue, you need to address it. Adjust your lifestyle to your needs. Don’t put yourself through any unnecessary stress, and choose your battles. Don’t let your problem trick you into thinking that you’re helpless – you’re most definitely not. Try to use some of these tips and see how it goes – we’re all rooting for you!