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What are alternative ways besides medication to deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety?

306 Answers
Last Updated: 08/18/2020 at 6:18pm
What are alternative ways besides medication to deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Kristin Noyes, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Depression and anxiety can feel overwhelming even on the best of days. I believe in helping clients understand these disorders and help them to reduce and manage symptoms.

Top Rated Answers
TaranWanderer
April 12th, 2017 2:52pm
A first step is to take care of yourself: eat enough good food, exercise, etc. There are more immediate things you can do, like challenging any negative thoughts you may be having and trying to come up with positive alternatives; meditation or guided relaxation thinking; holding your hands tight for ten seconds and then releasing and repeat; controlled breathing...in essence simply trying to relax yourself, let yourself feel how you're feeling (without trying to fight the anxiety or force it down, just ride through it), and try to asses the situation as it really is.
RibenaFan55
April 13th, 2017 11:45am
Talking to somebody who can empathise with you, such as a listener on 7 cups or real life. Exercise, recharging in nature, reading and music can also play their parts. Sometimes getting it all out, whether that's verbally or written down, in a controlled environment is really useful
Anonymous
April 22nd, 2017 4:10am
Take deep breaths and look around you. Find five things that you can see, touch, hear, smell. Count from 100 to 1. And you can also sing the abc's backwards. It should help you calm down.
friendlylion
April 26th, 2017 6:22am
One way I've found is to use Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It relaxes each muscle group individually until you've gone through your whole body. The entire process normally takes around 20 minutes, so it can be a little while, but for me it's perfect for helping me calm down and relax. Look up some videos to walk you through it, hopefully it'll help with the physical aspects of anxiety!
Mhysie14
April 30th, 2017 11:33am
There are many different ways to overcome physical symptoms of anxiety, I rather think that medication is more of a cover than a way to deal with it. First you must determine what it is causing your anxiety, after this point you can then look for ways to overcome it. Conquer rather than deal. Breathing techniques are great, you focus on the breathing rather than the worry, another method is when you start to panic, look around you and take everything in, what you can smell, what you can see, what you can hear, again a distraction method.. it takes your mind away from the problem, it might be difficult at first but after a while you will start to do the techniques without noticing or having to try and do them.
Anonymous
April 30th, 2017 2:32pm
When you are feeling anxious, try deep breathing to relax your muscles and provide a distraction. Exercise to naturally release endorphins which will make you feel good and help your body and mind handle stress. Skip the junk and eat a diet full of healthy foods to nourish your body.
Anonymous
May 13th, 2017 10:02pm
Whenever I've had anxiety, I've found myself suffering from headaches, feeling sick, and sometimes even a tummy ache. What helps me is taking a moment to "ground" myself; Find 5 things I can; See Hear Smell Taste Feel If I still feel unwell after trying these things, I try to have a lie down and a cup of tea, sometimes with a good book or relaxing music.
HattieMae
May 14th, 2017 2:30pm
In my personal experience exercising (of any type) works wonders. When you run yourself untill you're tired, your body doesn't have as much pent up energy to have those anxious symptoms.
DanDan1991
May 18th, 2017 11:25am
There are many effective ways to deal with the physical signs of anxiety. The first and foremost skill that you should learn is how to meditate. It's a tool that will help you no matter where you are or what you are experiencing. It helps you become in tune with your body and calm those pesky symptoms. Another is breathing exercises. A lot of the time the physiological response to anxiety can be shortness of breath, increased heart rate and tingling in the fingers and toes. This is due to oxygen deprivation. So, by gently cupping your hands over your nose and mouth, whilst breathing at a regular or slightly slower than regular pace, you will find your symptoms will elliviate. This is due to your body becoming saturated with oxygen again!!
bestGrace18
May 21st, 2017 12:32pm
You can try yoga and meditation. Do the things you love. Spend more time with the people who make you feel good. Stay away from things that bring you anxiety. Exercise daily. Take deep breathes in fresh air. Observe the nature. Divert your mind. Stay away from negative thoughts. 😊
ChamomileCup12
June 2nd, 2017 7:39pm
For most of my time in therapy, I was not on medication. I have found that the best way for me to reduce anxiety is changing my environment. If I stay in the same environment, I become panicked very quickly because I am prone to rumination, but going outside and walking around, abandoning my phone and my current thoughts is super helpful.
Anonymous
June 16th, 2017 8:22pm
There are many alternatives to deal with physical symptoms of anxiety: Meditation Focusing on your breathing Focusing on what is going on around you (for example the color of the walls you are in, how many people are around you etc)
CreativeName85
June 18th, 2017 6:29am
I have found exercise a great way to combat sadness and anxiety. This can be anything from doing yoga to going for a swim or simply go for a long walk outside, whatever activity you may enjoy. Not only does it take your mind of whatever is making you anxious, it also releases endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. If you are experiencing anxiety at night when you are in bed, guided meditation can be helpful. There are plenty of free guided meditations available to download online.
GentleMoon09
June 25th, 2017 3:28am
Breathing exercises as well as talking to someone about it. Sometimes it's good to try to channel that pain and throw it into something artistic like drawing or listening to music to help ease some of that anxiety.
Feelingsmatter
June 28th, 2017 5:22pm
Yoga, meditation and keeping yourself busy with something you enjoy are some ways to fight anxiety.
TheRandomFail9
July 12th, 2017 7:18am
As a person with anxiety I usually practice breathing exercises, find ways to distract myself in a situation that gives me anxiety, or I can have somewhat of a "de-trigger", (back rubs, people supporting you or anything like that)
Anonymous
July 15th, 2017 12:40am
Talk therapy is very successful when it comes to anxiety. Being able to talk about the anxiety and try to get to the bottom of it with a professional can be very helpful. He or she will be able to direct you and can better advise you on what to do next and how to alleviate some of the anxiety and physical symptoms
4confidenceiskey
July 30th, 2017 6:54am
The physical symptoms are always there because of the mental ones, which is why breathing exercises (and mediation) tend to work really well. A simple breathing exercise would be 4-4-4, where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 and exhale for 4 seconds. As you fell yourself become calmer, you can go up to 5, 6, 7 seconds and so on. Writing down all the things that give you anxiety works as well. It gives your mind something to focus on, slows your mind down a bit and gives your body something to do. Exercise is always great, because it helps you get rid of all the nervous and anxious energy in your body, and makes you feel happier and more relaxed. Just taking a walk or dancing in your room for a few minutes can make a major difference. There's a million more things and you can find really great suggestions by searching on the internet for a bit. Of course this are just a few ideas, so take what you find useful and ignore the rest. Good luck!
Creativewatermelon79
August 2nd, 2017 10:22am
Mindfulness and grounding techniques can be very helpful. There are so many different versions online, some may work really well for you and some may not. I find that being able to focus on something like my breathing (breathe in for 4 and out for 8) really helps me calm down. Making sure that the out breath is longest helps keep your breathing under control, which in turn helps with the other symptoms of anxiety.
Mikeandike007
August 3rd, 2017 5:32am
Breathing exercises! Here is one that has always helped me. First close your eyes and stomp your feet. Make sure you feel reality. Then slowly Breath in and out every time you should feel a different muscle relax until you're completely relaxed.
Anonymous
August 4th, 2017 4:02pm
It really depends on what you like to do! Things like exercise, yoga, meditation, going for walks, talking with friends can all help some people, but not everything will work for everybody. Try to think of times when you've done something that has successfully reduced your anxiety. What was that thing you did? Can you do it again? And don't blame yourself if medication really is helpful. For a lot of us, we need that medication because our natural wiring is a bit off.
Anonymous
August 13th, 2017 1:40pm
Yoga is the best option. Any kind of anxiety and any kind of symptoms can be treated. A morning walk, quality time wid family are other ways ,but don't skip yoga. Healthy food is also very important
Sairita
August 18th, 2017 9:47am
Some of the ways that are available here through 7 Cups are: Mindfulness Exercises (short guided meditation recordings focused on different themes, including anxiety); Self-Help Guides that provide some self-guided strategies to address anxiety, OCD, social anxiety, and many other themes; chatrooms and forums to connect with others confronting similar issues, obviously; and talking to Listeners one-on-one when you need to get into something in more depth. I think all of these alternatives can provide anxiety sufferers with different ways of handling it when they are feeling the physical symptoms (including sharing of ideas about how to handle physical symptoms when one is not in that situation). I wish you the best of luck in learning how to manage your symptoms.
SoulHealing
August 18th, 2017 4:20pm
Meditation, yoga, relaxation methods. They really work amazing and much better than medicines. In all cases you need to make a little effort to overcome it
madelmins
August 19th, 2017 8:13pm
Some of the things that I do personally are to take a walk, focus on my breathing, listen to music, eat a healthy snack.
radiantTruth95
August 19th, 2017 9:46pm
Yoga, breathing exercises, playing a sport, eating healthy, drinking plenty of water. Also, think about what is causing you to feel like that. Is it really worth the anxiety? Or if you don't want to think about it, play a game or watch a movie for a distraction.
Anonymous
August 27th, 2017 11:43am
What I use instead of medication is yoga and meditation. Both have changed my life and helps with my anxiety.
lovingSalamander80
September 1st, 2017 2:52pm
Personaly I start with controlling my breathing, slower deeper breathing (not too much air). Slow breaths through stomach will reduce some worst anxiety symptoms.
Anonymous
September 6th, 2017 4:02am
Personally, I tell someone how I'm feeling. Or I write it down. Depends on just how bad it is. Breathing exercises are very useful as well to help calm the physical effects of anxiety. Sometimes i start making lists. Either of things going good in my life, or of things I see around the room. Anything to distract myself or re-roure my thinking.
aluminum1azalea
September 7th, 2017 3:27am
I use several techniques. the first, of course, is deep breathing, making sure I am inhaling through my nose all the way through my belly to my diaphragm. Then I let it out slowly through my mouth and begin again. Another thing that I do is to practice mindfulness by naming all of the sounds I can hear at the current moment. Or naming the things that I see. Both of those take my mind off of the worries I am having in my head and give me a chance to empty it and reset my body.. it also can help to count, counting down being the thing you would want to do as you exhale. If I am feeling particularly anxious and having physical symptoms, I listen to my body. if I need to move around and pace, I do. If I feel like laying down and trying to empty my mind is the current best solution i will try that. The main point is to control your breathing and to try to get your heartbeat to slow down as these are the physical symptoms that anxiety can manifest. Using the breathing and counting can help with heart rate and chest pressure, while the visualization exercises provide a blank mind and a chance for the episode to end.