Everyone, including myself, have all experienced anxiety at one point or another. Expecting a make-or-break call from a client? Interviewing for your dream job? The intense and persistent worry associated with anxiety is usually expected in situations such as these.
It becomes a problem when these feeling become excessive, all-consuming, and interfere with your daily life. Once it starts to affect your sleep, productivity at work, you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder. Scientists posit that if left untreated, anxiety can lead to depression, other mental disorders, and eventually even suicide.
Anxiety medications are proven to help some people – but may not be effective to others. Plus, ceasing to take the medication can cause a relapse, and the patient is back to where they started. Despite this salient fact, the first treatment most anxiety disorder patients get is psychiatric medication.
Sometimes people can be at a loss if the medication doesn’t seem to work for them. Luckily, there are plenty of alternative ways to approach easing your anxiety. Here are four surprising ways to treat anxiety disorders without medication.
1. Sweat it Out
Exercise isn’t that much of a secret anymore when discussing alternative methods of treatment. Research has proven that simple routines such as a five-minute workout every morning can do wonders for an anxious mind.
Researchers at Princeton found out that exercise helps the brain cope better with stress (one of the major triggers of anxiety) by strengthening the hippocampus, a brain region implicated in anxiety regulation.
The human body also releases endorphins after exercising. Endorphins are called “feel-good” chemicals and can increase feelings of happiness, improve sleep and reduce stress.
Called the art of mindfulness by some, meditation has become somewhat of a trend these days. Meditation is the practice of training the mind, just as fitness is the practice of training the body. Over time, practising meditation conditions the mind to stay in the present moment.
This is critical to helping you battle anxiety, as anxiety is usually triggered by thinking about the future and what might go wrong.
Additionally, practising meditation can kick-start measurable changes to the body, brain and your everyday attitude or approach to life.
If you have not tried meditation before, start off with 10 minutes a day – most experts say it’s best to meditate in the morning because the mind is quiet and fresh. Sit still, with closed eyes and observe your body, the various sensations, your breath, and the various thoughts wandering through your mind. Do not try to understand anything: the point of meditation is awareness.
3. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy
Also known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, this is a non-invasive procedure for brain stimulation using magnetic fields. Devices used for TMS operate entirely outside the body and it doesn’t require any form of anesthesia before usage.
It is also well-tolerated by most, and unlike medications, has few side effects. The most common negative effect is getting a headache during or after treatment.
During a TMS treatment session, a doctor or nurse applies an electromagnetic coil to your head. The TMS device produces a magnetic field roughly the same strength as an MRI scan.
If you are considering TMS treatment, clinics and spas such as neurowellnessspa.com are some of the places you can visit. During your first treatment, the doctor will spend some time identifying the right place to put the magnets on your head and the appropriate dose of magnetic energy for you.
It’s obvious how dangerous anxiety can be if left untreated. Anxiety is a really hard condition to deal with, and should not be handled alone. Are there any other surprising methods you have come across?