Treatment for Anxiety without Medication

By

Katie

Published on

December 6, 2023

Updated on

December 6, 2023

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ari Magill

Anxiety

Treatment for Anxiety without Medication

There are many ways to treat anxiety, including the use of medication, although, in this article, we will discuss various alternative treatments. There are many options you can take in managing your anxiety, so there is hope in feeling better!

At re-origin, we help people battling anxiety manage symptoms by using science-backed neuroplasticity and brain retraining tools. These tools have been proven to help you calm your nervous system, reframe your anxious thoughts, and see an overall reduction in anxiety. If you are interested in learning more, try our 30-day free trial today (no credit card required).

Reasons Why You May Want to Avoid Anxiety Medication

If you have tried anxiety medication with minimal change in symptoms or you prefer to treat anxiety disorders the natural way, you are not alone. Many are turning towards alternative treatment in order to combat common side effects and long-term negative impacts of anxiety medication.

Some of these side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • Confusion, agitation, drowsiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Headaches
  • Decreased libido
  • Dizziness, blurred vision

If you have been diagnosed with any other mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or panic disorder, it is important to discuss natural anxiety treatment with a medical professional first.

Rest assured that you have options when it comes to treating your anxiety naturally, and at re-origin, we can help! Below, you can find our four favorite natural remedies to treat your anxiety without needing to take daily medication.

Four Ways to Treat Anxiety Naturally

1. Practice Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity is known as the brain’s ability to change throughout our life span. What once was thought of as a static, unchanging organ is now known to be incredibly malleable. So, your anxiety disorder is not you, and it can be changed!

Trying activities like cognitive reappraisal and pattern interruption are two great ways to shift away from anxious thoughts and behaviors. Next time you begin to feel anxious about something, try pausing where you are, doing some deep breathing, and actively choosing to focus on a new thought- one that uplifts and empowers you!

It can be as simple as, “When my mind is calm, my body is at ease.” At re-origin, we offer a program designed to help you do just this.

2. Generate “feel-good” neurotransmitters

Getting your daily “DOSE” of feel-good hormones can be easy and rewarding! These hormones (known as Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins) are paramount for reducing anxiety and increasing feelings of motivation, happiness, love, and energy! A few fool-proof ways to produce them every single day include:

  • Open up your blinds or step outside first thing every morning.
  • Play your favorite song while showering, eating breakfast, or driving in your car.
  • Hug your loved ones or pets for a little bit longer than you normally would.
  • Check off something on your To-Do List and really celebrate it!
  • Move your body: Wiggle your fingers and toes, shake out your arms and legs, and take some big, deep stretches while yawning.
  • Relax on the couch with your favorite herbal tea.
  • Compliment, hold the door, or do a favor for someone.
  • Get some self-care in- a massage, a warm bath, a therapy session, or watching your favorite show.

As small as some of these acts may be, they send a signal of safety to your nervous system, which allows your anxious brain to feel calm. Combine multiple of these throughout the day, spend time really savoring them, and notice how your mood and well-being change!

3. Spend time in nature

Multiple studies have begun to show the power of nature in not only improving focus, cognition, and memory but also reducing overall anxiety. Stepping outside and finding something green to look at for as little as 40 seconds has proven to decrease instances of mistakes in school children doing their work.

One study even showed higher test scores in people who listened to nature sounds versus those who didn’t. So, next time you are feeling drained, overwhelmed, or anxious, step outside for a minute and notice something green or listen to the birds chirp. Your brain will thank you for it.

4. Join an uplifting group or community

Being part of a community of people who are challenging themselves to overcome anxiety can be incredibly motivating and inspiring. When we are around like-minded people, the body produces oxytocin which helps reduce blood pressure, increases feelings of relaxation and well-being, decreases anxiety, and makes us feel calm and content. In the re-origin community, you will experience encouragement, new perspectives, laughter, and accountability to keep going on your healing journey.

Six Coping Strategies for Anxiety

In addition to the treatments listed above, it can also be incredibly helpful to practice coping strategies if you are struggling with anxiety. These six listed below have proven the most beneficial for members of the re-origin community.

1. Journal Your Thoughts

Journaling has proven an effective tool to help with emotional regulation and thought processing around certain stressful or anxiety-producing events. There are various types of journaling techniques. A few that we recommend at re-origin include:

  • Day Framing: Ask yourself positive questions (i.e., “What am I looking forward to today?”) to project positively on the day ahead. At the end of the day, reflect on all of the good that happened during the day. This can help shift your focus from ruminating on the negative to appreciating the positive.
  • Gratitude: Write down three things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
  • Free Flow: Write whatever comes to mind without judgment. Allow yourself to let your thoughts and feelings onto paper. When you are done, close the journal and take a deep breath to symbolize letting those thoughts and feelings go.

2. Tell Yourself Positive Affirmations

Reframing old, unhelpful thoughts into positive, uplifting affirmations can help break the pathway that your anxiety runs on. Next time you experience an anxious thought, try pausing, putting the thought to the side, and choosing a positive affirmation to say out loud.

Staying proactive by having positive affirmations posted in your home (on your bathroom mirror, your bedside table, or your computer) can help produce DOSE chemicals and reduce anxiety symptoms of anxiety overall.

3. Practice Ways To Calm Your Nervous System

This may include activities like breathing exercises, intentional yawning, tapping, or giving yourself a hug. Relaxation techniques that calm your nervous system can decrease the stress hormone cortisol. This will assist in lowering your heart rate, decreasing your blood pressure, and producing feelings of safety in your brain. Calming your nervous system in moments of distress makes managing anxiety much easier.

4. Create a Simple Workout Routine

Physical activity is a powerful way to decrease anxiety by producing endorphins and taking your mind off of anxious thoughts. If you are new to working out, start with activities as simple as gentle stretching or yoga, bodyweight movements or qigong, or even daily, slow walks.

Exercise does not have to be intense to offer your nervous system the benefits of increased endorphins and decreased anxiety.

*If you have a medical condition, please refer to your general health professional for approval prior to engaging in a regular exercise routine.

5. Join a Momentum Group (not just a Support Group)

Joining a community of like-minded individuals can be a powerful way to feel safe, accepted, and motivated. While support groups help us not feel alone, they often perpetuate negative mindsets and rumination.

At re-origin, we offer expert-led group coaching designed to help you create a positive shift in the way you think about your anxiety. Using science-backed neuroplasticity exercises, you will learn to retrain your brain to stay calm in the face of anxiety. Not only that, you will be surrounded by people who understand you and offer insights and perspectives that can help you heal!

6. Join a brain retraining program

Brain retraining is a form of self-directed neuroplasticity that is designed to help you interrupt anxious thought loops and choose new, empowering thoughts and behaviors. This practice can teach your nervous system that you are safe in situations that may have caused you anxiety in the past.

Treat Your Anxiety by Retraining Your Brain with Re-origin

Treating anxiety can happen in many different ways. At re-origin, we provide insight on how to calm your nervous system, generate feel-good hormones, interrupt unhelpful thought loops, and reframe your thoughts to decrease anxiety. All of this and an incredible community can help keep you motivated and empowered to keep healing. Members of the re-origin program have experienced a 26% reduction in generalized anxiety in as little as six weeks. If you are interested in hearing more about our neuroscience-backed brain retraining program, visit our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I try Talk Therapy?

Psychotherapy can be a helpful tool for those who experience anxiety, although it is important to remember that not all therapy is the same. While traditional talk therapy has proven helpful for some, one detriment is that continually talking about anxious thoughts without interrupting the pattern can actually further cement them into old, unhelpful neural pathways in the brain.

If you are considering working with a therapist, consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This technique helps you address unhelpful thought patterns and work to change them, thus moving towards a more empowering narrative.

What about CBD Products for anxiety?

Multiple recent studies have proven CBD products to be effective for anxiety-related symptoms, although the range of dosage and time used vary. While there is proof that CBD may help relieve anxiety, we recommend discussing usage with your healthcare provider.

Should I Take Supplements for anxiety?

As with CBD, there are studies that show benefits to taking various supplements for anxiety treatment, but needs will vary based on the individual. Re-origin does not provide formal recommendations on herbal supplements- we encourage you to discuss any potential treatment plan with your healthcare provider.

Does aromatherapy work?

Some studies have proven the benefits of aromatherapy on anxiety, while others have shown no difference. In order to find out if aromatherapy works for you, consider working with a wellness or mental health professional who specializes in the use of aromatherapy.

References:

  1. Any Anxiety Disorder. (n.d.-b). National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder
  2. Website, N. (n.d.). Treatment – Generalised anxiety disorder in adults. nhs.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/treatment/
  3. Nurtured by nature. (n.d.). https://www.apa.org. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature
  4. Neville, L. (2023, May 18). How to Use CBD for Anxiety: Products, Benefits, and Risks. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-to-use-cbd-for-anxiety#research

By

Katie