How to Treat Anxiety without Meds
Michelle Velan, Founder of Wondersource
If you’re among the many adults who suffer from high levels of stress or anxiety, we’re here to tell you we can relate. To paint a picture of how prevalent anxiety and stress are at work, here are some stats from research conducted by Champion Health based on a sample size of 4170 individuals:
- 60% of individuals experience at least mild symptoms of anxiety
- 56% of individuals experience at least mild symptoms of depression
- 67% of employees aged 16-24 are experiencing anxiety
- 65% of females are experiencing anxiety
- Only 10% of employees are seeking mental health support
And according to mental health company, Spill, a staggering 79% of British employees commonly experience work-related stress which has increased by 20% since 2018.
While these numbers are alarming, there’s a lot we can do to support ourselves. Doctor Daniel Amen, a leading Psychiatrist and best-selling author who changes peoples’ brains, has seen it all. His first choice of treatment is guiding people toward non-prescription treatments to see if symptoms can be managed without medication.
Here are his tips, along with other leading experts in the field, for overcoming anxiety without medication.
Get lab work done. If you’re chronically anxious, have your doctor check for hyperglycaemia, anemia, low iron and hyper hypothyroidism. If the results come back with low iron levels for example, you are prone to anxiety. If your traditional doctor does not do labs, a functional medicine practitioner can help you here.
Change your diet. Cut out gluten, dairy, artificial dyes and sweeteners. This change has been shown to reduce symptoms by 30%.
Try supplements. While everybody is different, supplements like Theanine, Magnesium, Ashwagandha, Gaba and Valerian may work for anyone experiencing high levels of anxiety.
Practice self-care. Whether it’s listening to relaxing music, making space for things you enjoy or saying “no” when you don’t want to do something, there are many ways to practice self-care. The idea is to cherish and nourish yourself and work towards becoming the best version of yourself whatever that means to you.
Look at your spiritual side. Hypnosis, meditation and prayer, according to Doctor Amen, are all incredibly powerful and have no negative side effects.
Get regular exercise. Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis according to the Mayo Clinic. Research on links between depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Relaxing exercises like yoga and tai chi in particular are very good for lowering anxiety.
Improve sleep. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day — weekends included — to improve your circadian rhythm. Achieve this by avoiding caffeine after 2pm, getting sunlight early in the morning and creating a pre-bed routine. Need ways in which to do this? Try 60 minutes before bed with no devices and instead read a book or take a bath. Avoiding potential triggers, like work emails or scrolling social media, is key. Creating a sleep routine will help you fall asleep faster and reduce the chances that you’ll toss and turn with your mind racing.
Set goals and stay disciplined. To get what you want out of life, you first need clarity about what it is you want. According to Doctor Amen, people who are successful, in loving relationships and in peak physical condition aren’t lucky, it’s because they know what they want out of life and they match their behaviour to help them get it. While often easier said than done, you can learn to do this too. Self-discipline has been shown to be a key principle in overcoming feelings of anxiety and in feeling happy in life.
Make time for loved ones. Relationships matter in life and contribute to our overall sense of wellbeing. When we spend time with loved ones it significantly reduces the occurrence of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Being physically present with loved ones creates a strong emotional support that strengthens your resilience and coping reserves through life’s challenges.
Include more humour in your life. Laughter can help reduce stress, depression, anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem. Watch a funny show, call a friend that always puts a smile on your face and no matter what you’re going through, give yourself permission to laugh.
Additionally you can consider seeking expert support in the form of hypnotherapy, coaching, talk therapy, emotional freedom technique, or Reiki.
Wondersource works with the best holistic health professionals in the business. If you need some support or someone to hold you accountable, reach out to schedule a free consult to find out more.