How to Overcome Anxiety Without Medication
This hub has been written to answer someone's question about how to deal with anxiety without medication. I have several years of personal experience with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I've used several techniques to stop anxiety. I don't take any medication. Instead, I've learned how to overcome anxiety without medication.
My Anxiety Symptoms
People with anxiety disorders may be able to relate to my experiences. In addition to the typical symptoms of PTSD such as flashbacks, exaggerated startle reflex, fear, and hyper-vigilance, I used to have panic attacks in public. I often felt threatened. I went through periods of time when I would have difficulty sleeping but I wouldn't be able to take sleeping medications due to my previous reactions to the meds.
Since developing an anxiety disorder, I felt the need to have something positive in my life. I knew I needed to focus on something good. I'm a very goal-oriented person, so I would set attainable goals. These goals gave me something positive to work on instead of being focused on the anxiety. I realize that for some people, setting goals to work on may actually make them feel more anxiety instead of less. If you use this coping skill that worked for me, I'd suggest not putting too much pressure on yourself to complete the goal. The goal should be a challenge but not overly demanding or stressful. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of helping stop anxiety.
When I went into a treatment program at a hospital for the anxiety, one coping skill that they taught was to exercise. Since then, I've seen many other resources mention exercise as a beneficial activity for anxiety. The anxiety perpetuates a fight-or-flight reaction in the body. I think exercise helps alleviate the stress that this fight-or-flight reaction causes. I have found it helpful to use different types of exercise including general aerobics, kickboxing aerobics, yoga, basic weight training, and using a stationary bike. I do some form of exercise every day. I find that not only does it help with the physical symptoms of anxiety, but it helps me feel like I'm taking care of myself again rather than being only in survival mode after the onset of the PTSD.
The PTSD and anxiety made me feel on edge and constantly threatened. I had stopped taking care of myself, because my complete focus was on avoiding this nonexistent danger. As I became able to do so, I have found that nurturing myself has become a great coping skill for anxiety. Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, long bubble baths, and time to myself have become important for feeling healthy and balanced.
Poetry and Journaling
I have found that using poetry and writing my thoughts down in a journal have been extremely helpful. When I feel stressed or anxious, I pour that energy on the page and the writing helps me feel better. Sometimes, I just do freewriting during which I simply write everything that comes into my mind for several minutes. What I write doesn't have to make sense. It's just for me. Sometimes, that freewriting becomes the basis for a poem. Other times, it's just a series of things I needed to release on the page for my benefit.
At times, the anxiety or depression would be so intrusive that it would be hard to focus on anything related to personal growth or nurturing. When the anxiety or depression would be extreme, I found it best to distract myself first to lessen the anxiety. What I do in these moments is to force myself to watch a movie. I would pick a comedy from my collection and watch it from start to finish. I wouldn't let myself get caught up in the anxiety or depression during the movie. Watching the movie was like giving myself permission to take a break from the stress of the anxiety. Often after watching a movie, I would be more calm and relaxed. Then, I could do something nurturing or try to focus on something positive.
I hope you found these tips about how to overcome anxiety without medication to be helpful. Here is some more information about coping with anxiety without medication which includes a video that teaches how to meditate.