Nowadays, general anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most common mental illnesses in the UK. Studies have shown that around 8 million adults get anxious thoughts, with women being twice as likely to be affected by this problem. But what is causing this epidemic?
Usually, people experience anxiety attacks because they are too worried. They tend to overthink the problems they have, and their minds enter ‘fight-or-flight’ mode, in which hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, start rising. As a result, blood pressure and the amount of sugar in their blood go up, and it becomes almost impossible to relax.
Consequently, many people start taking anxiety meds, such as benzodiazepines. Nevertheless, seeing that this drug can easily cause addiction, perhaps it would be safer to try a few medication-free techniques first, as they can be quite helpful.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss five ways in which you could get rid of anxiety without any medication. Let’s check them out!
1. Let It All Out
First of all, it is advisable to try confiding in someone close to you, such as your friends or family. After all, they are the ones who have been through thick and thin with you — odds are they will understand what you are going through and try to help you as much as they can.
Perhaps they could give you some useful tips on handling this issue. They might even suggest visiting a therapist with you. At the very least, they will lend you a sympathetic ear, and, once you have shared your intrusive thoughts with them, we guarantee your problems will seem a bit less world-ending.
However, if you are not comfortable with this, we suggest letting it all out by screaming. Although it might sound like we’re joking, this technique is incredibly useful when it comes to stress-relief. Still, if you are too embarrassed about being heard by others, try screaming in a pillow or going somewhere secluded.
The most important thing, though, is not to suppress how you feel, as it could easily overwhelm you and exacerbate your anxiety.
2. Learn How to Say ‘No’
Anne Frank famously said that no one has ever become poor by giving. While this may be true, as giving can certainly be fulfilling and make you feel great, it can also drain you of all your energy. If you already have too much on your plate, but you feel nervous about saying ‘no’, your anxiety might worsen.
That is why you have to learn how to say ‘no’ to other people’s requests. Most importantly, you need to be aware of your limits. You should know how much you can take at any given moment, and which favours you feel comfortable granting. If you explain your struggles to the people asking for your help, they will most likely understand and find assistance elsewhere.
We should emphasise that it’s perfectly acceptable to say ‘no’ even if you simply need some time for yourself. You don’t owe anyone anything, and your mental health should always come first.
3. Find a Stress-Reducing Game
Don’t get us wrong — occasional stress is perfectly normal and acceptable. Nevertheless, once you start experiencing it daily, it can cause some severe health problems, such as elevated blood pressure, headaches, or mental issues. That is why it is essential to reduce stress to lessen the risk of these problems, and you could do so by taking up a stress-reducing hobby such as playing online games.
Perhaps you could solve puzzles, as they seem to have a calming effect. While playing with them, you will be required to pay attention to different shapes, sizes, and colours, to make everything fit. As a result, you might be able to put what’s bothering you to rest, at least for a little while.
Or, you could have fun with poker games, instead. While playing a game of chance, your body will release dopamine, which will excite you and keep you focused. Once you are done, serotonin will kick in, and it will help you remain happy afterwards. If this sounds like fun to you, make sure to check out the numerous options found online.
However, if you are not interested in poker, you could also try one of the many strategy games offered on the internet. They can be quite handy, too, as the tasks you are expected to perform will preoccupy your mind to a great extent. Consequently, you may end up forgetting about the thoughts bothering you.
4. Don’t Forget to Exercise
Physical activity is undoubtedly one of the best ways to fight anxiety. Again, this has a lot to do with hormones, since being active allows your body to release serotonin and endorphin. These two are nature’s way of helping you feel better and reducing your stress.
You’ll be able to sweat the anxiety out of your system doing an activity you enjoy. Naturally, you should only do as much exercise as you feel comfortable with; after all, no one expects you to over-exert yourself. Decide what kind of tempo suits you and make sure you don’t feel stressed about meeting the goals you have set for yourself. This would be somewhat counterproductive, wouldn’t it?
To be honest, you don’t even have to choose a goal-oriented activity. Instead, you could just go for a hike, do some yoga or go dancing. All of these activities are bound to make you feel better.
5. Practise Mindfulness
Finally, you must stop worrying about what is to come. You should avoid stressing about something that has not happened yet, especially if there is nothing you can do about it. Plus, the thing you are worried about may not even end up happening, so you should try to take a deep breath and think about the present moment instead.
For example, you could try focusing on what you can be grateful for in your life. Your family, your friends, your job — all of these could probably contribute to you feeling less stressed, so try to think about how happy you are that you have them the next time you start worrying.
Or, you could look around and express your gratitude for the beautiful day, the clear road ahead, or the delicious cup of coffee you purchased from your favourite coffee shop. Even though these things are often taken for granted, if you start paying attention to them, we are sure you will come to see that many things can make you smile every day.
Of course, this does not mean you should not be proactive about your future. But you should remember that there is no need for worrying if you can’t find a solution to every problem. If there is no way of making the issue go away, what is the use of overthinking it?