Managing Anxiety Without Medication | Banyan Treatment Center

Expert Tips for Managing Anxiety Without Medication 

tips for anxiety

Everyone struggles with some form of anxiety at one time or another. While for some, the feeling is temporary or situational, for others, it may be completely debilitating. 

It is common for people to feel like they should simply be able to “snap out of it” or “get over it,” when the reality is that an anxiety disorder is a serious mental health issue that must be addressed accordingly. Therapy and medication regimens are some of the ways anxiety can be treated, but there are also things you can do yourself to better cope. Banyan Treatment Center’s former Clinical Director of Mental Health Services, Rob Cole, LMHC, shares some expert tips on managing anxiety without medication. 

How an Anxiety Disorder Works  

Those who are struggling may find their anxiety to be unmanageable, having it greatly impact their everyday lives. This is known as having an anxiety disorder, which involves extreme fear and worry. These feelings persist over great periods of time, and while situational anxiety dissipates rather quickly, an individual suffering from a true mental health disorder will find that the feelings get more and more severe the longer they struggle. In the moments where treatment is not readily available, there are steps we can take in order to calm ourselves and get through the more difficult moments. 

1. Be aware of your anxiety, and learn to better understand it. 

Many people would be surprised to learn how cyclical anxiety really is. Often, we have thought patterns that simultaneously keep us in a state of fear while also acting as some sort of internalized security blanket. Practicing self-awareness can serve to break this anxiety cycle and give more agency to those that are struggling.   

One way to do this is to keep a log of your anxious feelings. Write down the situations that cause you anxiety and what you are feeling in your body at those times. Write down the date, time, location, etc., of when you are feeling anxious to help build a visual and gain a better perspective on your anxiety. It becomes easier to manage anxiety when you have a better understanding of it. 

2. Learn new relaxation techniques - and use them! 

Learning new relaxation techniques can help decrease the intensity of your anxiety. Simple breathing techniques can be helpful, although they also take practice. Sometimes when we are anxious, symptoms can manifest and affect us physically. For instance, we may experience rapid breathing, feelings of restriction in the chest, and other distressing physical sensations that make navigating these moments that much more difficult 

Learning how to practice slow, calm breathing can help reduce this effect. Practice slow, deep breaths through the nose to help ease these unpleasant symptoms. Box breathing is an excellent option. First, exhale to a count of four, hold the empty lungs for a count of four, inhale for a count of four, hold that air in the lungs for a count of four, exhale, and repeat. The counting gives you something to focus on while simultaneously relaxing the body. Other techniques for promoting relaxation include mindful meditation, yoga, deep stretching, or taking a hot bath. These are all activities that can assist with progressive muscle relaxation. 

3. Challenge negative thought patterns. 

Often, individuals who are suffering from an anxiety disorder struggle with negative thinking, either about themselves or in regard to future situations. For example, one might think, “I know I’m going to say something wrong. I must be stupid.” It’s important to remember that feelings are not always facts, and they must be challenged on a regular basis if we are struggling with this sort of negative self-talk. If we believe that a situation is threatening, then we are more likely to feel anxious; however, individuals with an anxiety disorder often overestimate the degree of danger or discomfort in a given situation  

Use your anxiety log to help with this. Writing down your feelings either prior to or immediately following an event that causes anxiety can help you to move on to the next step of challenging those thoughts. Use realistic questions, such as “how many times has such and such actually happened?” to counterpoint your exaggerated fears. By responding to these questions with the recognition of facts, your anxiety will begin to diminish. 

4. Practice behaviors that can help manage your anxiety. 

Anxious thought patterns feed on the unknown. Whether it is the uncertainty of how a situation will pan out, how a person will react, or how we ourselves will be affected, all play a part in the anxiety cycles that have so much control over our lives. By exposing ourselves to this unknown, we are able to better prepare ourselves and sequentially mitigate the fear we have come to rely on. 

For example, if public speaking causes you intense anxiety, practice speaking in front of one person or a small group and receiving feedback. This will help you slowly address the fears you may have in regard to the situation and ultimately help you to better manage it in the future.  

Break the Cycle of Anxiety at One of Our Banyan Locations 

Managing anxiety without medication is absolutely possible, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still take the steps necessary to care for ourselves. Many of those struggling with an anxiety disorder need professional help to overcome the obstacles they are facing. Anxiety disorders are treatable, and with the right help, those who suffer can go on to live happy healthy lives. Our Banyan rehab locations are equipped with a variety of effective mental health programs that give our patients the careful consideration they need in order to break the anxiety cycles they find themselves trapped in.  

Some stand-out options of the unique and effective therapies offered include equine therapy, where patients can interact with horses on an interpersonal level. By bonding and forming relationships with these majestic creatures, people experience a number of physical and mental benefits that they can take with them even after treatment has concluded.  

If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, or any other mental health diagnosis, call one of our Banyan Treatment Center locations today at 888-280-4763 for a free assessment. 


Related Readings 

Top Books on Managing Anxiety 

Breathing Techniques for Anxiety Attacks 

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.