About 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders – like generalized anxiety disorder or chronic anxiety, making it the most common mental health condition.
And even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, about 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily. It can cause panic attacks, insomnia, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
There are many ways to treat anxiety. Some people turn to medication while others try natural remedies.
In this article, I am going to share with you 9 natural ways to calm anxiety without medication.
1. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing techniques calm your physical system and bring balance to your body and thoughts.
Deep breaths are an easy way to relieve tension and anxiety without medication. They also improve focus and concentration.
When you take slow, deep breaths, oxygen enters into your lungs and fills your bloodstream. Oxygenated blood flows through your entire system helping you remain alert and relaxed.
Try this go-to deep breathing exercise that I use even when I’m taking a walk:
- Firstly, take a deep breath into your belly for 5 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 5 seconds.
- Then exhale slowly through your nose for 10 seconds.
- Repeat as many times as you want until you feel a bit better.
This technique calms your nervous system and helps reduce feelings of tension and anxiety. It also reduces blood pressure and heart rate.
It’s an especially great way to relax before bedtime and already laying down!
Provided that you’re not suffering from any medical conditions like asthma, COPD, etc., there is no expected issues when you do these exercises on a regular basis.
So, give them a shot today and see how much more relaxed you become.
2. Admit That You’re Anxious
When you label and express your anxiety levels (or anything that you’re feeling), it will often decrease.
If you have trouble admitting that you’re anxious, you may consider writing down all of your worries and fears on paper. This could help you identify what exactly makes you anxious and why.
By admitting that you’re anxious, you’ll be able to make changes to improve your situation. For example, if you admit that you’re worried about money, then you might start saving up some extra cash every month so that you won’t need to worry about finances later on.
As long as you keep yourself accountable, you should find that you get less stressed out over time.
3. Engage In ANY Form of Physical Activity
Yes, it can really be ANY form of physical activity – gardening, pacing around the house when you’re anxious, aerobic exercise, or even sex.
If you feel like you can’t calm down with deep breathing exercises, then physical activity can give your anxiety a healthy channel for release. That means that any increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, or other symptoms of anxiety could be soothed through physical activity that you feel comfortable doing.
It might seem counterintuitive to soothe your physical symptoms with more physical exercise, but sometimes your body just needs to focus on something else to induce the relaxation response.
Exercise has been proven to relieve symptoms associated with anxiety. In fact, research shows that exercising regularly decreases anxiety levels.
If you’re looking for something fun to do during the day, try doing yoga at home. There are great yoga programs that you can do at home so that you can go at your own pace and do it whenever you want to!
4. Visualize Yourself As Calm
By focusing on calm images of yourself, you give yourself an alternative to being anxious.
How does it work? It’s in the fundamentals of mindfulness and another healthy way to release your anxiety.
Moreover, by visualizing yourself in a calm state, you train your brain to associate those thoughts with calming emotions. So, next time you think about being anxious, instead imagine yourself relaxing.
5. Listen to Your Favorite Music
Listening to music can have quick calming and uplifting effects. In fact, music therapy is a known treatment for anxiety.
It’s one of the best natural ways to calm anxiety without medication!
There’s no specific type of music you have to listen to. You can soothe anxiety symptoms and even a panic attack if you listen to your favorite music.
Moreover, listening to soothing music helps reduce stress hormones such as cortisol which causes feelings of anxiety.
So, whether you prefer classical, jazz, rock, country, pop, hip-hop, R&B, etc., there’s bound to be a song that calms you right now. Try to find a comfort song (or playlist) that you can rely on to help you feel better.
Here’s a few spotify playlists that help me with my mental health:
6. Relax/Drop Your Shoulders
Relaxation techniques like simply dropping shoulders can connect you with your body so that it physically reduces stress.
Moreover, when we tense our muscles, they become less flexible and this makes us more susceptible to injury. By loosening up these tight areas, you’ll make them stronger and healthier.
You don’t need to spend hours practicing meditation or muscle relaxation techniques to get results. Just drop your shoulders once every hour throughout the day. This will help you relax and stay focused.
If you want to combine breathing with muscle relaxation, here’s my favorite breathing exercises that I learned in behavioral therapy. It’s a VERY quick progressive muscle relaxation technique that my therapist said I could do – even during work/school meetings:
- Take in a deep 4-second breath while lifting up your shoulders.
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
- Slowly breathe out for 4 seconds while dropping your shoulders.
- Repeat as many times as you want until you feel a bit better.
Think of it as a 30-second yoga session!
7. Write It Down
Try to write down ANY words, phrases, or even broken sentences down. This helps get negative thoughts out of your head.
What’s more, writing things down also gives you an opportunity to process what happened before moving forward.
Think of it as a self-therapy session where you’re spending time with yourself and your thoughts in a healthy way.
So, next time you notice that you’re starting to feel anxious, just write down everything that comes to mind. Then, once you’ve written it down, you can feel good about releasing them out of your mind and onto a piece of paper.
It might be one of the most time-consuming natural ways to calm anxiety but it’s effective!
8. Get Some Fresh Air
Fresh air or a change of scenery can lower anxiety and interrupt anxious thinking. (Yep – a great excuse for a quick vacation!)
Plus, getting some fresh air is one of the best ways to clear your mind from all those stressful thoughts.
So, if you have any free time today, go outside and enjoy nature. You might see something beautiful that reminds you of happy memories. Or maybe you’ll hear birds chirping or smell flowers blooming.
You can try My Therapy Buddy’s new “Go On a Walk” tool so that you don’t feel so alone when you go take a walk!
9. Eat Well & Stay Hydrated
I know it’s said all of the time, but this will give your brain what it needs to function well.
If you’re feeling stressed, eat foods high in protein such as eggs, chicken breast, fish, nuts, beans, leafy greens, etc. These are known to be calming because they contain amino acids which produce serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and endorphins.
You can think of good food as natural remedies for anxiety!
Serotonin is often referred to as “the happiness hormone” since it has been shown to increase feelings of joy and contentment.
And remember to drink plenty of fluids! It doesn’t have to be water, especially if you struggle with making that transition.
As long as you keep yourself hydrated, you won’t experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, or other symptoms associated with dehydration.
So, make sure you always carry around at least 2 bottles of liquid on you wherever you go. And if you find yourself struggling to stay hydrated, then consider drinking herbal teas like peppermint tea instead of plain old water.
In Sum – Natural Ways to Soothe Anxiety That Work For You
In brief, there are several natural ways to calm anxiety without medication. Try implementing at least two of these tips into your daily routine.
You can even combine them!
As long as you do your part by following through with each step, I’m confident that you’ll start noticing positive changes within no time.
Remember: The key here isn’t necessarily how fast you achieve results; rather, it’s whether or not you stick to your plan over time. So, commit to doing whatever works for you.
They may not seem like much, but implementing them consistently over time can start making a difference.
I hope this article helped you calm your nerves without medication. Feel free to share any other ways that worked for you below.
Thanks for reading 🙂