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Lifestyle changes can help mitigate your anxiety. Of course, if you have severe anxiety, then you should seek professional help. But if it is manageable, then changing your eating and sleeping habits, seeking comfort from animals and nature can be some of the lifestyle changes you can use to combat anxiety. Read more about these alternative ways. ~ Ed.
Given the fast-paced world of today that prioritizes productivity over wellness, it’s no wonder anxiety is more rampant than ever before.
Millions of adults report the diagnosis of an anxiety disorder every year. Many more go undiagnosed and untreated.
If you count yourself amongst the many suffering from anxiety, you have likely tried a myriad of the usual methods for getting it under control, such as psychotherapy and medication.
Many adults who experience frequent anxiety do not want to rely on medication if they don’t have to, though, and often find themselves on the constant hunt for reliable alternatives.
Of course, you should always consult your doctor first on any issues related to your physical or mental health and never forgo any medication that they deem to be necessary. But research and anecdotes alike prove that an overall healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce those suffocating feelings of anxiety.
Read on for a list of suggestions on alternative ways to manage your anxiety symptoms by simply being good to your body and your mind.
5 Ways to Combat Anxiety that Don’t Involve Medication
You can practice healthy eating habits, maintain a good sleep routine, and more to successfully deal with anxiety on your own.
Seek Comfort from Animals
Most would agree that the presence of an adorable, well-trained animal is an instant mood booster. Something about their silent, warm companionship works wonders for mental health.
Luckily, today’s society is increasingly accepting of emotional support animals. With the proper registration, they are welcome in most public places within reason.
Even offices and universities are making provisions for emotional support animals, understanding that employees and students who take care of their mental health tend to be much more successful and productive.
So, if you think your anxiety could improve with a pet and you have the means to take care of them, definitely look into getting one for emotional support purposes. There’s not much standing in the way nowadays of going through life with an ESA.
Explore Methods of Self-Expression
A lot of what causes anxiety is just the lack of an outlet for expression—having pent-up feelings does nothing to help anyone’s state of mental well-being.
So, why not experiment with releasing them instead?
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a naturally creative person, chances are there’s still some sort of outlet that calls to you, such as painting, sculpture, or photography. Some simple journaling of your thoughts can also be a great way to put all those anxious feelings somewhere else.
It doesn’t matter what your medium of choice is, or even how good you are at it, as long as you are expressing your feelings in a creative and free manner.
Get Back to Nature
It’s no secret that spending time in nature is good for us.
Activities outside generally involve some sort of physical activity, which is known to reduce anxiety. There’s also the element of all that fresh air and the vitamin D from the sun, which can also play an essential role in lifting one’s mood.
Aside from the obvious health benefits, though, a moment surrounded by nature’s peacefulness and beauty would make anyone feel calmer than usual. Being out in nature provides the space to put all of one’s daily concerns and stressors aside for a bit and refocus on oneself in a whole new environment.
Even if you don’t have the means to take an extended backpacking trip or feel healthy enough for hiking, there are smaller ways to build an element of nature into your daily routine.
Attending farmer’s markets, going for walks in a nearby park, and getting your hands dirty with some home gardening are all pretty easy ways to rekindle your relationship with the natural world around you without going too far.
Practice Healthy Eating Habits
Similar to getting regular exercise, the benefits of healthy eating habits go beyond just nourishing our bodies. Those who eat certain healthy food groups over other, less healthy ones tend to be less anxious, as well.
Foods high in protein, antioxidants, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial to beat back stress. Salmon, avocados, plain yogurt, and green tea are some easy go-tos when it comes to putting together healthy, anxiety-reducing meals.
On the other hand, anything high in sugar, caffeine, and refined carbs veer in the opposite direction by actively increasing anxiety. Alcohol is also known to wreak havoc on one’s mental health.
None of this is to say that one healthy meal will solve all your anxiety problems or that you should never have that piece of cake lest you descend into a panic attack. But building and maintaining healthy habits over some time can make a world of difference in the long run.
Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene
You’ve heard of hygiene, but what about sleep hygiene?
Sleep hygiene is the term used by doctors and therapists to refer to the practice of keeping healthy routines around bedtime. It involves sticking to regular hours for the proper amount of sleep each night and being mindful about the activities you do before turning out the lights.
Too much screen time before bed can disrupt your ability to put your mind at ease and fall asleep, as can ingesting anything with caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine. Instead, try reading a book for 5-10 minutes before bed or partaking in some light exercise to get your body tired.
No matter what activities you choose for your bedtime routine, make sure you practice them as many nights as possible so that your body and mind develop a regular rhythm in the evening.
Keeping your bedroom environment clean, free of clutter, and relaxing is also an obvious benefit when it comes to sleep hygiene.
None of the suggestions listed should come as a huge surprise, as they all tend to be fundamental components of an overall healthy lifestyle.
What you should take away from this list, though, is that prioritizing your physical well-being can have a significant impact on your mental well-being, too. When you take the time to care for yourself and your health, calm thoughts are more likely to follow.
Over to you
Have you tried any of these or other ways to deal with your anxiety? Share your tips and experiences in the comments section.
Disclaimer: We're not offering any medical advice here. These ideas are for educational and entertainment purposes only. Always seek a professional medical opinion from a physician of your choosing before making any medical decision. The information provided here is not intended to be a substitute to the advice given by your physician or another healthcare professional.
Disclaimer: Though the views expressed are of the author’s own, this article has been checked for its authenticity of information and resource links provided for a better and deeper understanding of the subject matter. However, you're suggested to make your diligent research and consult subject experts to decide what is best for you. If you spot any factual errors, spelling, or grammatical mistakes in the article, please report at [email protected]. Thanks.