If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety, or know someone who has, then you’ve probably witnessed the painful cycle of going from medication to medication looking for the “right pill” to ease the suffering – and rarely finding it.
I was fortunate during my struggle with anxiety to have found a medication early on, although it did take a switch or two to get it right.
Looking back, I don’t regret my decision to take a medication but I wish I had of had the time and energy to explore other treatment options. Being a single mother at the time, I craved a quick fix.
Having been off medication for almost two years, I have learned day-to-day ways of dealing with my anxiety. However, if it ever escalates to the point it was at before, I would definitely consider one of these alternatives before going back on medication:
(Although I would certainly take medication if absolutely necessary.)
Mental Health Counselling
Anxiety is a complex issue and not just something that can be expected to go away by taking a pill – or through a handful of visits to a mental health counselling professional.
And, while a combination of both medication and counselling can be effective, it could take years to see results depending on the severity of the anxiety.
However, talking to a professional is a great way to get to the root cause of the anxiety. From there, you can make changes in your life to reduce the triggers and strengthen your mental fortitude to avoid it in the future.
What is the Best Kind of Therapy and Medication?
That’s a big question and one best answered by your health care provider.
For example, you may have an allergy that precludes you from using a certain type of medication or you may not take well to a specific model psychotherapy.
Overall, however, individuals with anxiety tend to do well with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in combination with a medication prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist.
Are There Quick and Effective Ways to Ease Anxiety?
Anxiety is debilitating and can easily hinder your day-to-day life. So, of course, you’re likely looking for a way to deal with anxiety quickly instead of waiting for the benefits of therapy and medication to kick in.
The answer is: Yes. You can practice exercises and techniques that will help ease your anxiety in as little as 15 minutes.
This doesn’t mean that counselling and treatment aren’t viable options and should be taken off the table – but they are not the ultimate cure for anxiety. They are merely supplements to help you get better.
Here are some simple and effective ways you can quickly deal with anxiety:
- Practice Deep Breathing. Breathing with slow, deep breaths about 3-5 times is physically proven to provide calm and reduce stress.
- Learn How to be Mindful. This will help you “ground” yourself in your environment when you start to feel anxious and panicky.
- Write in a Journal. Sometimes just getting your worries and thoughts on paper is enough to help dispel them.
- Scan Your Body. Pay attention to tense muscles and focus on releasing that tension.
- Take a Break. Do something that relaxes you – yoga, puzzles, reading, listening to music, showers, baths – whatever brings you a sense of peace.
- Talk to Someone. Having someone to console and assure you can help reduce your feelings of anxieties.
- Use a Relaxation App. There are many apps out there designed to help you relax, such as Calm and Headspace.
The majority of the work to overcome anxiety is done by YOU – so you have the power to calm your anxiety and live your best life.
What about you? How do you deal with anxiety? Share your story in the comments.