Ever since I was a young girl, about 6 or 7 years old, I have suffered from anxiety. It runs in my family and sadly, did not skip me by any means. Anxiety is so awful for so many reasons and whenever I chat with someone who also suffers, I know how horrible, confusing and unpredictable it is. BUT over the years, I have found a few different medicine-free ways to handle anxiety.
I’ve chatted about anxiety a little bit on Instagram and had many requests for a post on ways I deal with it. I have always been weird about taking medicine (even as a young child) in fact, taking medicine is one thing that actually brings me a LOT of anxiety. With that being said, I have found many medicine-free ways to handle anxiety and as I have gotten older I’ve learned to turn most of my anxiousness into a positive.
A little background with exactly what happens with my anxiety- when I was younger I started experiencing spells that made me feel like I was on laughing gas. It mainly happened when I was in large crowds. It got so bad that I eventually had to have scans done of my head (all clear!!) but I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic attacks. I’d feel like I was on laughing gas, impending doom, the world was ending freakouts. As I’ve gotten older, I also feel lots of anxiety towards situations and I always feel like the worst is going to happen. I still get panic attacks, but maybe once or twice a year vs. weekly when I was younger.
Even though I like finding medicine-free ways to handle anxiety, there is nothing wrong with taking medicine! If that is how you handle yours, I’m so happy you found something that works! Maybe these are a few additional ways you can help make your day to day a little better.
Medicine-Free Ways to Handle Anxiety:
- Staying Calm. When I first started getting anxiety as a child, I would feel a panic attack coming on and immediately start freaking out. I would go full panic mode and make things 10 times worse. I felt like I was going to feel that way forever. When I was younger I worked with a therapist to develop a plan to beat my attacks. Although these didn’t prevent them, they did help me work through them. They mainly focused on breathing slower and focusing to stay calm. Once I noted what the beginning of my attacks felt like, I was able to step away from what I was doing breathe and gather my thoughts. It may not prevent them 100% but it has helped me gain control over them.
- Self Care. As I got older, I also began to realize that certain things triggered my anxiety. For instance, too much caffeine, not enough sleep or drinking too much/being hungover. I try to avoid these situations as often as possible but sometimes things happen. I especially get bad anxiety with any of these things + a late night. It’s a bad combo.
- Security Blanket (ish). For me, I like having something that will calm me down. It could be a song or, in my case, a TV show. Something comforting, familiar and light-hearted. My “security blanket” is Sabrina the Teenage Witch, yes the 90’s sitcom ha! I know it’s silly but it helps me relax every time, I watch an episode on Hulu and it helps keep my mind off things. Even if it isn’t a song or show- find something that helps keep your mind off what’s happening while calming yourself down.
- Being Prepared. While the first three steps have really helped with panic attacks, I still find myself suffering from day-to-day anxiety, primarily focused on doing something new or in the workplace. I notice that my anxiety is worse when I am feeling overwhelmed, that I’m not performing my best or if I feel unprepared. I’ve had many scary meetings with new potential clients, interviews, and situations, all which garnered LOTS of anxiety. The only way I have felt to conquer this is to feel prepared and then know you are prepared. Research, study, learn – whatever you need to do but knowing you can do something helps take away the anxiety.
- Making Anxiety a Positive. I know, I know. This sounds nuts but it IS possible and probably been the biggest way I’ve conquered my anxiety. First, you have to change the way you look at anxiety. Yes, some anxiety (ie. panic attacks) is crippling and not helpful in your day-to-day but some anxiety can be a good thing. I’ve learned whenever I experience anxiety around a situation such as work, it can be a motivator. It has led me to push myself harder, try new things and work to be my best. I don’t think my company would be where it is today without anxiety and overcoming it. Take a day to sit down and look at your anxiety, what it causes and how it can be made positive and then work to make that happen every time you feel it. I also think this podcast from Lady Lovin’ is a great listen if you too have anxiety! It actually was so eye-opening for me that it made me cry.
Anxiety is a no fun, awful, scary beast and I hate that it’s in my life BUT it’s also part of who I am and I think, all in all, it’s made me a better person because of it. I try to stay positive and cheery but some days you just can’t control it. I want to know- what has helped your anxiety? Or made it worse? I hope these tips on medicine-free ways to handle anxiety can be helpful and if they are please let me know! One other way I feel that my anxiety has been made better is through exercise, you can check out some of my favorite exercises here. XO