Fighting Anxiety With or Without Medication: 10 Tips to Help You Feel Calm

When anxiety hits you, it can be terrifying. The panic and frightening thoughts coupled with physical symptoms may lead you to believe that you're having a heart attack or suffering from a terrible disease, when in reality, you're perfectly healthy!


Anxiety can often cause you to have an exaggerated nervous system reaction to common stressors that others are able to ignore.


If you're one of the millions who struggle with anxiety, the good news is that you can feel better, even without medication. And frankly, even if you do use medicine to help with anxiety, day-to-day stressors can still trigger anxious responses now and then. Anyone can take positive action on their own to get a handle on anxiety and feel more in control.

***Of course, especially if your symptoms are debilitating, please consult your doctor or other health professional for their advice.


Both your mind and body are involved in anxiety. It's a vicious circle: the constant worrying and negative thoughts can produce physical symptoms, which can cause more anxious thoughts. It becomes a pattern that can be challenging to break free of.

But when you're able to overcome this challenge, it's well worth the effort! Tackle your anxiety on both the physical and mental levels today by practicing these 10 strategies.


Physical Ways to Lower Anxiety


Try these tips to physically lower your anxiety levels:


  1. Breathe. If you're breathing from the top of your chest and not from your abdomen, you might be making yourself more nervous. Breathe from your diaphragm and take full, deep, slow breaths. Be smart about the tools available to you - your smart watch/Fitbit has breathing tools built in and apps like Calm have great emergency breathing exercises.

  2. Get moving. Use up that extra energy and adrenaline that your body produces. If you don't, it can build up and make you more nervous. By getting frequent exercise, you'll prevent your body from storing excess adrenaline.

  3. Sit still. Yes, I know just said it’s important to exercise, but sometimes it's more effective to be still. If you usually run from a panic attack or anxiety episode, force yourself to stay where you are and focus on your relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, to help prevent your impending anxiety. (The anxiety might get worse for a moment, but you'll be calmer after a few minutes and you'll be more prepared the next time you face anxiety.)

  4. Distract yourself. It's hard to think about feeling nervous when you're actively engaged in other activities. Help others, play a game, or do something else that requires your total concentration as soon as you start to feel anxious.

  5. Get in shape. Being physically fit can help you feel better about your health and reduce anxiety. It's not a quick fix, but more of a long-term goal that you can actively pursue. Staying in good physical condition goes a long w