Nowadays in American culture it’s common to look to drugs as a solution for anxiety as well as other psychological problems. However, drugs do not have to be the only tool in your toolbox for finding relief from anxiety.
Downsides to Medications as a Solution for Anxiety
Using medication as the solution for treating anxiety may have limited effect. This is because medication does not help you understand why you have anxiety. They do not help you get to the root of the problem and find solutions for your anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, other downsides, depending on the drug, can include many physiological, emotional and even cognitive side effects.
For some people, the potential negative side effects of medication can be a concern when trying to treat their anxiety. However, there are other tools available for those who struggle with anxiety.
Using Cognitive Therapy as a Solution for Anxiety
Using Cognitive Therapy as a solution for anxiety can help with identifying your thoughts and finding different interpretations of those thoughts to reduce your anxiety. It is a process that you undertake with a trained therapist. Some other ways Cognitive Therapy can be helpful include:
- Identifying your thoughts and feelings through the use of Socratic questioning.
- Understanding how you interpret your thoughts and feelings, your “self-talk.”
- Performing “experiments” to change thinking patterns and behaviors.
The advantage of Cognitive Therapy is that the process can help you find solutions for the root cause of your anxiety and resolve the issue. Cognitive Therapy helps you to change your brain more permanently. Medication only treats your symptoms.
Performing Meditation as Solution for Anxiety
Meditation is a helpful solution for treating anxiety. It requires you to slow down, notice changes in your body and thinking, and maintain focus. The advantage of meditation is that you can focus on your breathing and allow your thoughts to come and go in your mind without having to forcefully block them. It teaches you to embrace your thoughts instead of pushing them away.
Healthy Eating as a Solution for Anxiety
Maintaining a healthy diet is important not just for overall health, but also as a solution for anxiety. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following:
- Eat some protein at breakfast.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water.
- Include whole grains in your diet.
- Do not drink a lot of alcohol and caffeine.
- Eat well-balanced, healthy meals.
- Be aware of food sensitivity issues.
Make sure to talk to your doctor, therapist, and nutritionist for specific diet recommendations for your particular needs.
Exercising as a Solution for Anxiety
Along with diet, exercise is another solution for anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) doing something as simple as taking a walk for ten minutes every day can have positive health benefits and improve your mood. Other benefits of exercise include:
- The natural release of endorphins in the brain.
- Improving your sleep.
- Relieving your tension.
- Improving your mood and self-esteem.
- Improving your brain’s ability to deal with stress.
Note that it is important to consult with your physician and therapist before beginning an exercise routine. Make sure you stretch before and after working out, stay hydrated, and wear appropriate clothing and safety equipment, depending on the activity.
There is no “magic bullet” for the treatment of anxiety. However, by including diet, exercise, therapy, and other tools, you can not only find solutions for anxiety but also live a healthy life.
Questions, Concerns, Thoughts?
I invite you to call me for a free 15 – minute phone consultation to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about anxiety, treatment and my practice. Please visit my website @ www.theanxietydocseattle.com or call me directly @ (206) 745-4933.