If you’re currently taking medication to help you manage stress and anxiety, we’re not here to tell you to flush all those pills down the drain. Your doctor prescribed said medication for a reason, and suddenly removing them from your regimen could cause more harm than good.
However, we are here to tell you that in addition to your medication, there are dozens of medicine-free routines, practices and habits you can put into practice to help you manage your stress and anxiety. Perhaps, over time, the practice of these habits will help lessen the need for medication and give you greater control over your stress naturally.
1. Diffuse essential oils
Aromatherapy has been used for many years as an effective means of boosting the immune system, purifying the air and reducing stress. Plus, stress-reducing essential oils make your house smell really nice and tend to be less toxic than candles. Some particularly good scents to diffuse (or apply topically) include lavender, ylang-ylang, Roman chamomile and clary sage.
2. Stop drinking so much caffeine
We won’t deny you your morning coffee, but we will encourage paying attention to just how much caffeine you consume throughout the day. Caffeine is a stimulant, it does more to your body than keeping you awake. It can increase your stress and anxiety and cause an unpleasant feeling of jitters or shakiness. Instead of additional caffeine, opt for lots of water and watch your stress naturally reduce and your energy naturally increase.
3. Talk to your clinician about adaptogens
Adaptogens are natural supplements that support your adrenal glands from which stress hormones are released. Adaptogens such as ashwagandha, jiaogulan and tulsi utilize their natural properties to minimize stress-inducing chemicals and counteract the effects felt by stress, leaving you more relaxed and calm, naturally. Before incorporating an adaptogen into your routine, be sure to clear it with your doctor as some have been known to mix poorly with certain medications.
The endorphins released via exercise not only promote an overall sense of wellbeing but naturally reduce the levels of stress-inducing chemicals in your brain. Have you ever gone on a run to burn off steam? Felt better after a yoga or spin session? Experienced more mental clarity after a nice long walk? It’s the way the brain responds to exercise and the resulting lessening of stress that makes exercise such an effective and simple stress reducer.
Sometimes our stress seems like a mountainous obstacle, but only because it’s kept all up in our heads. Taking the time to write about the things in life causing you stress can offer you fresh perspectives, help you figure out how best to deal with the stressful situation and allow you to realize it’s not as overwhelming as you initially believed. Plus, journaling gives you the chance to slow down and process what is going on, providing you with a moment of rest and attention given solely to you.
6. Talk to a friend
Friends can be incredible supports, mentally and emotionally, during stressful times. When you feel overwhelmed with anxiety or stress, tap into your friends or a close family member, and allow them to offer you guidance, provide a healthy distraction and remind you about the important things in life.
7. Consider an emotional support animal
Maybe you already have a fluffy best friend, or maybe you’ve never considered one. It can’t be denied that animals have a unique way of calming anxiety, reducing fears and offering a sense of peace. Dogs especially get you out of the house and into the fresh air for daily walks. Cats know when you need an extra cuddle or two, even reptiles can bring you joy in ways you didn’t expect.
8. Say no
Sometimes our stress roots from being overcommitted and stretched thin as butter across toast. Overcommitting, be it to work, social events, family, friends, classes, whatever it is, can have detrimental impacts on our mental and physical health. With so much emphasis put on busyness and racing from here to there and so little respect for leisure and rest, culture tends to glorify the burnt-out, overworked and overcommitted human. We weren’t designed for that lifestyle, which is why learning to say and stick to your “no” is one of the best things you can do to reduce your stress.
9. Reach out for help
Counseling can do wonders for stress management. Talking with a licensed counselor can provide alternative coping mechanisms to stress, help you brainstorm effective methods of dealing with stress that doesn’t involve additional medication, plus the trained knowledge of a counselor will provide perspectives and tools you might not have considered before. When it comes to seeking the best for your mental health, there’s no need to go at it alone and no shame in asking for help when you need it. If it allows you to deal with your stress in a natural and healthy way, seek it out.
For additional tips on managing stress and anxiety without medication, or to get in contact with a mental health counselor today, contact Pyramid Online Counseling at 833-525-3077.