5 More Ways to Manage Anxiety Without Drugs | Chris Kresser

5 More Ways to Manage Anxiety Without Drugs

by Chris Kresser

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This is a guest post by Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health, and staff nutritionist and content manager for ChrisKresser.com.

You can learn more about Laura by checking out her popular blog or visiting her on Facebook.

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to your life?” Christian Verse (Luke 12:25)

Last week, I wrote about my top three ways to manage anxiety without drugs. I really enjoyed reading the comments, especially from those of you who have had success making specific changes in your diet or lifestyle that have made a big difference in your day to day anxiety. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

Since it’s clear that there are many different ways to manage anxiety that can be helpful, I thought this week I’d point out a few more adjustments you can do in your routine to make your anxiety a thing of the past. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but the following strategies are easy to incorporate into your daily life and can make a big difference in your mood and general outlook.

Feeling anxious? Here’s 5 more ways to manage your anxiety without drugs by @AncestralizeMe

1. Move It

Exercise is well known as a stress-relieving activity. (1) Most forms of exercise will provide a benefit, and team sports and activities practiced in the outdoors seem to be particularly beneficial for stress reduction. (1a, 1b) As long as you’re not overtraining, you’ll get a boost in mood from physical activity.

I personally recommend a regular yoga practice to all my clients dealing with anxiety. While any type of exercise will have benefits compared to no exercise at all, I believe yoga is one of the best options because of the research backing its efficacy in reducing stress and anxiety, and because it combines physical movement with attention to the mind-body connection.

Yoga has the potential to reduce both state (i.e. immediate) and long-term anxiety in a wide range of people. (2, 3, 4, 4b)  It is thought that yoga alleviates the “hyperarousal” of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that occurs in anxiety, specifically by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). (5) You may have heard of the SNS referred to as the “fight or flight” system, whereas the PNS is the “rest and digest” system.

By activating the PNS, yoga is able to help soothe the edginess and overly-aroused feelings that come from anxiety. I recommend doing an hour or more of yoga at least once a week, if not more, for the most consistent benefits. (If you don’t have a yoga studio nearby, check out YogaGlo, which offers online classes for a small monthly fee.)

If you hate yoga, though, don’t force yourself. Any activity that addresses the mind-body connection can be helpful in reducing anxiety. This includes targeted treatment methods such as mindfulness based stress reduction, as well as other movement-centered activities such as tai chi. (6, 7) Find an activity that you enjoy that isn’t adding additional stress to your body and you’ll experience the benefits of improved mood, and reduced anxiety.

2. Talk It Out

While my tips here are for avoiding drugs in the treatment of your anxiety, that doesn’t mean I think you should completely eschew all forms of professional help. Seeking out a mental health specialist can be an enormously constructive way to manage your anxiety, and it helps significantly to have someone guiding you through treatment. Much like working with a nutritionist can help you get your diet on the right track, working with a therapist can make a big difference in your recovery from anxiety, especially if you suffer from a more severe form.

There are many different types of therapists that can help you work through your anxiety using a variety of techniques. Here’s a list of your many options. Some of the more common techniques used are psychoanalysis, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and group therapy. Again, these are just a few of the more common styles of therapy, but as you can see from the list, there are hundreds of options to choose from and any number of them may be effective in helping you reduce your anxiety.

If getting a therapist isn’t in the cards for you financially, simply talking to another human being about your worries can be helpful, whether that’s a supportive parent, spouse, friend, or even coworker. (8, 9, 10) Just make sure you’re doing it face-to-face or over the telephone if necessary, as using email or social networks to “talk” about your troubles doesn’t have the same benefits, and may actually make anxiety worse! (11)

3. Pump Up The Jams

Music is one of the most well-studied treatments for situational anxiety, and listening to your favorite tunes during times of stress can make an immediate difference in your mood. Dozens of studies show that music helps relieve stress, reduce pain, and improve mood for those in health care and other settings including those undergoing surgery, women about to give birth, those with Alzheimer’s disease, abused women living in shelters, those in hospice, cancer patients, those with psychiatric illness, and more. (12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21) And there are plenty more studies than those listed proving the benefits of music therapy for mental health. In case you don’t believe me that music is incredibly powerful in its effects on the brain, I recommend you watch this amazing video. (Seriously, it’s jaw-dropping.)

While more evidence exists suggesting benefits for “soothing” styles of music like jazz or classical, I personally believe that any music that you enjoy listening to can be mood-boosting. You can download your favorite songs on iTunes, or sign up for an on-demand radio service like Spotify or Pandora. Use your phone, computer, or MP3 player to turn on your favorite music, and watch your stress melt away. You can even watch a 24-hour online music video for the song “Happy” if that’s the kind of music that gets you going!

4. Get Touchy

Speaking of stress-melting, physical touch is another form of therapy that is well-studied for its benefits in reducing anxiety and promoting mental wellbeing. Massage has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress by reducing cortisol and increasing serotonin and dopamine, all important hormones in the regulation of mood. (x) Massage has also been shown to decrease SNS activity, that good ol’ fight-or-flight response that is elevated during anxiety. (22) One study even showed that massage therapy reduced anxiety for massage therapists! (23)

Acupuncture is another form of treatment that uses physical treatment to address mental wellbeing and reduce stress and anxiety. A recent study in rats showed that acupuncture reduced the stress hormone response in an animal model of chronic stress. (24) There is also evidence that acupuncture’s effect on anxiety is comparable to that of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a type of counseling often used for those with anxiety and depression. (24b)

Like any other form of therapy, massage and acupuncture can get expensive, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover it as a treatment (which many don’t.) Fortunately, you don’t have to spend big bucks to get the benefits of touch. Simply being warmly touched by your partner or spouse can significantly reduce your stress response, and even lowers blood pressure. (25, 26) If you’re single like me, you can use a furry friend to get those same touch benefits: petting an animal has been shown to increase oxytocin production, the “bonding” chemical that boosts your mood. (27, 28) So get snuggling!

5. Just Breathe!

This is the easiest, cheapest (it’s free!), and most immediately accessible way to reduce anxiety in any situation, whether at home, at work, in the car, or any other places that seem to trigger your feelings of anxiety. It’s a strategy that is used in mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation that is an effective tool to have in your arsenal for dealing with stress and anxiety. Deep breathing, also called “pranayamic” breathing by yogis, has been shown to activate the PNS (rest and digest!), decrease blood pressure, reduce cortisol, and slow the heart rate. (29, 30, 31)

Some yoga practitioners recommend 3 Part Breathing as an effective stress-management strategy, but even just simply breathing deeply and slowing the respiratory rate can help improve your response to stressful events. If you need a tutorial on deep breathing exercises, you can check out this helpful video.

Time To Take Action!

So there you have it! Those are my best tips for reducing anxiety. I hope you’ve found them useful and plan to incorporate at least a few of them in your daily life. I’ll say for myself, after writing that first article, I made it a point to switch to decaf coffee and I’ve already noticed a significant difference in my overall anxiety levels. I already practice yoga (though I could stand to do it more often), exercise daily, play team sports, cuddle with my fur baby, listen to music, and call family or friends when I’m feeling extra anxious.

While nothing can completely obliterate stress and anxiety from our lives, especially in our fast paced modern world, we can use these smart, evidence-based strategies to significantly reduce the overall impact that anxiety has on our wellbeing, and improve our general outlook on life and enjoyment of daily activities. Life is too short to be stressed all the time!

Okay, now you share: have you made any of the changes I recommended? Notice any difference in your overall anxiety levels? Share your experience in the comments below!

  1. Great article, I really enjoyed it. In your last point “Breathe,” meditation by far has helped me the most with my stress and anxiety. It calms me down, puts life into perspective, and helps me focus and feel good afterwards. I highly recommend it to anyone who has never tried it! Something else that has helped me has been one motivational video a day. I really like Jaret Grossman’s videos because they really help keep things in perspective. One video actually deals with anxiety, and balancing stress in life. I’ll link it below. Thanks again for the article! Best of luck to all of you reading. Have a great day.
    http://blog.jaretgrossman.com/?s=anxiety

  2. I want to help my 92 yr old mother who seems to be experiencing anxiety. She seemingly can’t get a deep breath, unless she is totally distracted. But, she wakes up having thus trouble at night. When she walks around her senior living home, inside, she feels better. Dr has put her on alprazolam (?) to help calm her.
    She was never like this before. But, thus year she gave up driving, and us having more memory issues. Right now, the corn right outside her apartment, I so high she can’t see her usual sights. I think she may he feeling trapped, since she can’t just take off and go somewhere.
    She has has pulminary function test, and xrays,.. show that her body is getting enough oxygen. But, she dies chest breathing a lot, and begins to panic. I looked up breathing exercises for her, which she will try sometimes.
    I try to visit her more too.
    Is there anything else I can do for her? She will even start pacing at our house, if she thinks she is not getting enough air.

  3. I’m feeling low energy I can’t wake up on the bed because I’m feeling low pressure I have gastric reflux every timeand stomach bain ihave enxeity I’m feeling fear and deep worry so what can I do

    • Hey Faysal, I’m sorry you’re feeling that way. I struggle with chronic anxiety and many times have I felt the same way. The best way I can describe it, atleast for myself, is being trapped mentally without any escape from it, or it just subsiding. I’m happy to say though, there are numerous ways in which you can, not only cope with anxiety, but to also overcome it. I’m not saying that, “there’s a remedy that will COMPLETELY eliminate your anxiety” or anything like that. Anxiety is very real. We all experience anxiety at certain points in our life. Whether it be waiting in line at the grocery store to get to the checkout counter on a busy day, or getting stuck in traffic on your way to work or even a friend/family member that you haven’t seen in quite some time and can’t wait to see them. It just comes down to how OFTEN we feel anxious and how SEVERE it is or in other words, how it affects us. Many of these points that Mr. Kresser has pointed out have helped me tremendously. Admittedly, I had first got introduced to some of these methods from a book a friend recommended, called, “The Mindfulness Solution”. The author’s name: Ronald D. Siegel. If you’re interested, you should be able to pick it up at your local bookstore or via. the internet, (i.e, Amazon). It’s a great read and very helpful with those who struggle with chronic anxiety, depression, etc. Actually, some of the methods listed above are found in the book. So look into it if you’d like and maybe try and bring some of the methods listed above by Chris into your daily routine; you may find them very helpful. I hope you feel better Faysal, honestly. Peace & God Bless!

  4. Great tips! Music helps me a lot, but the best help has been ketogenic diet and abandoning all commercial junk food as well as cereals. I’ve been free from panic attacks and anxiety for almost a decade now. Before that I took Prozac and Valium over a decade, well actually Valium for almost two decades, though occasionally (no help!)

  5. I recently suffering from anxiety after the death of my son. I hand no reason to live anymore the doctor had put me on anxiety pills. And finally one day I woke up in said enough is enough I refuse to live like a prisoner trapped inside my body so I made a change I started talking to people about my problems I also started exercising more in just learned to take it one day at a time. Life isn’t meant to be fair or easy. But while you are still on this earth learn to enjoy life to the fullest don’t let this Thang called anxiety slow u down

  6. I have such severe nervousness to the point of simply wanting to die….
    NO one can find out why.?….I hate drugs they only make me worse….
    I really don’t know where to go from here…..I have to have relief SOON
    CAN ANYONE HELP????
    Blessing….

  7. I dealt with anxiety growing up but didn’t know it was called anxiety. My anxiety worsened once I got to college, and it seems to be triggered by “people.”

    I don’t know what to do. Anxiety sucks, and it takes a mental and physical toll on my body and mind.

    It is tiring and depletes all of my energy.

  8. I have been dealing with anxiety for over a year now. I am 32 and first anxiety attack I got in my 30. I tried everything I mean I read every book , every website , I went to se psychologist and tried herbal medicine and exercise. The only thing I haven’t tried is medicine and I don’t think medicine can really help you but if you really straggling and need quick help then you should try but in a long run can do more harm than good . Taking antidepressant or anty anxiety medicine gives me anxiety just the thought about taking it, I joined the 10 week paleo programme and now on the week 6 and OMG my anxiety went to zero . I know I still have long way to go and sometimes I really enjoy having some ice cream or go out to a restaurant and just need to order non paleo food but in a long way I know that I am getting better. Just a suggestion for people with anxiety try from changing your diet and start exercise and see if you can see any difference ?

  9. I have been dealing with anxiety and stress for a good 6 months I feel I’m losing it I take no meds and I just deal with it myself.thinking I need vitamins:)

    • Hi !! I just wanted to know how you deal with your anxiety without meds ? I really don’t believe in taking anti-depressants .

      • I feel anxiety that i am not in my natural feel . Everytime i feel i am not happy and something gping on my mind. I dont want to take medicines. Last 2 years i had taken medicines thrugh physicist. Pls help.

      • Ashley, hi… I have struggled with depression/anxiety for most of my life & take many different medications for both. Everyone is different… but I decided I wanted to try to beat anxiety without meds a few months ago. Here is what I did- I started going to a spin class (cycling) 5 times a week. It was very hard because I had not been very active for a while, but I stayed with it anyway. It really got my heart rate up and I am now doing a stretching class similar to yoga along with a Pilates class 2 x week. Seems like a lot, but these things really help!!! You have the time if you make the time… exercise is the answer. Oh,.. and I started eating well. Kale has tons of vitamin A & D which are awesome for your mental health. I started having a kale, banana, almond butter & almond milk smoothie every single day just to see what would happen & i feel so much better…. I journal…. write down my feelings & work it out on paper… such as “so and so said this to me … my heart started racing …. etc… what can I do or tell myself next time to calm myself… have a plan… You can do it, but it takes work!!!

    • I am 11 and i have had anxiety my whole life and i hate it so much i am just going to try these things i had it worst when i was smaller but i got a little better

    • Hi…..I know how you feel. Anxiety has not left me for 11.months now…. I have been dealing with it….But I am Mentally Exhausted! I am Terrified of Medicine. … So I am stuck…

  10. i had a friend who was able to get rid of her anxiety by bringing her vitamin D level up. She had to take a large dose (along with vitamin K) to bring it up but then her anxiety totally went away!

  11. I m suffering from anxiety.2005 I feel anxious and scared abt many things,I consult a specialist.he said to my parents after marriage ur daughter will be fine.2010 my mother get stroke.now I really want to marry I force my parents to get me married.I constantly think if I will not marry how this society treat me.I think day and night this thinking.It stuck in my mind.help me.

  12. Mental health is not less important than the physical!
    Do not forget about psychosomatic illnesses and other dangerous effects of depression and anxiety.

    The article gives us good advice, but they will work one-time. In past I was suffering from depression for a year, and tips from these book hepled me: http://style4u.me/depression

  13. Why have a never seen a real person who has detoxed from Copper and cured thier anxiety? Never seen ” omg I detoxed copper i feel so amazing!” No everyone feels like shit and complains all over message boards and facebook following those protocols. I have met many women on those detoxes and have been for a year or more and are still having anxiety And terrible symptoms!

    Where i have seeen so much proof of getting rid of candida,pathogens,viruses healing the gut and supporting the immune system has cured multiple people to live a healthy happy life.

    Why have people on AIP no longer have anxiety when they went to the hospital for anxiety?! I dont think they are detoxing from copper…..

  14. I suffer from lightheadedness also. I have never heard of copper deficiency. Anyone have any info on it? Is it really related to anxiety??

  15. I went through horrible depression and anxiety, I had two children only 19 months apart. I couldn’t sleep, not interested in food, started forgetting things and sticking things in strange places. I was terrified and didn’t talk to anyone about it. I thought t hey would think I’m crazy and take my kids away! I went to several doctors and the last was very smart: He said it wasn’t me! It was my body! He started me off on high doses of Vitamin C, B-Vitamins like Biotin and Folic Acid and B-6, then set me up with Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and .Zinc. He did high levels of these, then dropped me down to a :Maintenance Level. It worked! I was so amazed! I had been convinced that I would be Anxious FOREVER!.I was so scared! Now I’m healed. When ever I do get anxious – I just get on track with those vitamins and minerals! Out the window goes the blues!
    Feel good about yourself! It’s NOT you! If you are low on money, these are cheap at even Walmart. Biotin, Folic Acid and lots of Vitamin C! You can take lots of C. It’s amazing.
    Good luck and have a great life. Yes DO Dance it up! Turn up that music – get I extra oxygen!

  16. I am 5 months pregnant with my 4th and last child. I had a pulmonary embolism in 2012. I have struggled with anxiety since I was 19. Being pregnant there is very little you can take or as most of you know, sometimes taking anxiety meds gives you anxiety. I have also found that reading as I falling asleep helps. Throughout the day I do the breathing exercises talking positive or even just calling someone to change my negative thinking. Some people think its not serious but it is. Just hang in there God is always with you. Pray to him he will pull you out. Just say the only thing to fear is fear itself.

    • Hi I just read your review and I LOVE the fact that you said God is with you and he will pull you through this is so true God bless you!

    • I cry every day from my anxiety and Pray everyday for God to heal me .. I’m going on 1 year with this .. And I tell myself this Shall pass … Reading what you wrote made me feel for certain that God will pull me out …god bless you

      • Yes! JESUS is the anwer. He is the ultimate healer. My anxiety began in 2001 after the birth of my second child @ 25 yrs old. I have surrendered my life to JESUS, and in exchange for my anxiety he gives me peace. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I pray this for all of us. God bless you.

  17. I’ve struggled with severe anxiety for years but haven’t really aggressively dealt with it until recently. I do everything from yoga, to meditation and breathing, to everything listed here. By far the best thing though has been talking it out. I see a therapist to help me work on communicating and expressing my anxiety as I am really bad (but working on getting better) at expressing my thoughts and feelings. I am a firm believer in managing anxiety successfully without the use of drugs!

  18. So glad that you mention the power of touch in managing stress. As a Nurturing Touch Practitioner – or as the media loves to refer to us, Professional Cuddlers – I see how helpful warm, accepting touch is to my clients on a daily basis. Throw in Re-Parenting/Re-Mothering therapy and you have tools you can take with you to help you assess the false beliefs you hold that are the underlying cause of your anxiety.

    Hugs!

  19. One of the 2 biggest PHYSIOLOGICAL drivers to anxiety, and I stress this word because obviously the events and circumstances in one’s life can drive anxiety, are as follows.
    Reacitve Hypoglycemia or chronic recurrance of low blood sugar will cause anxiety in many people. Eating by the guidelines of any Paleo diet will solve this problem. Second, hidden food allergies can drive such a response. When I eliminated Gluten for example my life-long anxiety pretty much disappeared.

    • So true. This exactly what happen to me. I struggle with anxiety and Gerd for almost two years until i stumble in chriskresser website how to beat Gerd naturally. I painstakingly follow it till i found myself recovering slowly until anxiety completely gone! I didnt had a test for gluten allergy but ill never go back eating them ever again. I love leading my life without the horror of having anxiety.

  20. You might want to find out whether you respond to ASMR (auditory sensory meridian response). There are many channels on YouTube. If you respond to it, you will get a delicious and calming physical response, much like getting massage. Different things set it off in different people – things like tapping, soft whispering, or crinkling noises (there are many other triggers). If you don’t respond, the videos will seem extremely strange and boring.

    I’ve only learned recently that ASMR is

    1. a named phenomenon
    2. not experienced by everyone and
    3. possible to elicit intentionally

    I enjoy it because it’s relaxing, but I know many people use it to reduce anxiety and to help with sleep. Worth trying!

  21. Hi Laura,
    when I first saw that there is again an article about anxiety I was like oww no not again. But when I startet the read an get more openly I realised that you hit it again 🙂 The tip with the music and the physical touchs are great and I’m glad to share this article again.

  22. There are at least three things to add – first is pray … meditating is about oneself… praying always involves another.
    #2 is laughter …. life is …. not life is so serious …
    #3 is an aerobic form of exercise called rebounding (or skipping-a-rope) works on the body’s cerebellum which coordinates movement and mood. One can only feel elated when doing such activity – its hard-wired!

  23. Nice post.All tips are so important.This article has some good basics for anxiety management but most people that have anxiety are copper toxic.I am waiting for next post.Thanks.

    • That is not necessarily true. it is important to find a practitioner beyond hair analysis to help with nutritional needs. I was told I was copper toxic and was avoiding high copper foods and pounding the zinc. Well, I was actually copper deficient which resulted in me becoming very high histamine. Copper is needed to make anti-histamine enzymes in the body.

  24. 14 years ago I got anxiety attacks out of the blue,I was pout on paxil,buspar, and tranxene, and zanax also. For three years I lived this way I didn’t worry, but I gained allot of weight and almost felt like a zombie.I found 5-htp and took myself very slowly off the meds. Note I take nothin, unless I start to feel over whelmed. Then I go back to the 5-htp. I do exercise and co allot of self talk.my biggest issue now is I cannot seem to lost weight,I eat a low carb, real food diet,I feel good busy not weight loss.

  25. Apparently yoga is helpful for some people dealing with stress and anxiety but a lot of people with severe anxiety find slow-exercise counterproductive. HIgh intensity exercise and weight training helped me incredibly with my anxiety in the past, some people need to exercise all of their stress out, I believe this works by resolving the fight/flight dilemma of stress.

    I noticed you still haven’t mentioned the gut microbiome either, I think resolving gut dysbiosis is a potential cure for a lot of individuals with anxiety, as opposed to just managing your symptoms.

    • Linda – Magnesium is great, I take it regularly as even though I eat a well balanced diet with lots of organic veggies I find that I need that extra boost. In fact as Chris asserts in various articles, most people are deficient.

      I have recently been struggling with low mood, feeling like I’m getting a cold but not actually getting one! and low energy. I re-started my magnesium regime and within 3 days I’m feeling tip top again.

  26. Thank you for including the inspirational video of the gentlemen, living in the retirement home, who was once again allowed to listen to music from his past. That was amazing and beautiful! Thank goodness for the woman who reintroduced it to him. What a blessing. Loved it!

  27. For any and all anxiety situations EFT is amazing!!! Emotional Freedom Technique is sometimes referred to as tapping. It is something that can be applied any time any where. I am a Certified EFT Coach and I have seen miraculous things happen with it. Try it out!!

    • Unfortunately EFT did nothing for me as I had a zinc:copper imbalance and dysbiosis that were undiagnosed. Since addressing these, anxiety/panic is mostly gone.

  28. I have suffered with depression and anxiety for years, slowly but surely I am understanding it more.
    Your tips are great and they work. I also have changed to decaf coffee and since I have been sleeping more soundly.
    Music is a wonderful mood changer, I avoid sloppy songs and get into some upbeat 80’s stuff that gets me dancing.
    I have a shoulder injury at the moment but yoga is on my list of to do’s.
    Furry friends, I have a lot of them and they cuddle like nothing else matters..lol.
    Trying hard to eat right but am just starting on that journey.
    Evventually, my goal is to get off all medication.
    That would be a dream come true.

    • This is the first time I’m joining in a conversation. Clearly, these thoughts speak to me.
      Thank you for sharing. Nice to know I’m not the only one.

  29. I think you left out a major, that being NeuroFeedback. Anxiety/depression seems to be 2 areas that are at or near the top of the list for getting relief with NeuroFeedback. And, I’m speaking from recent personal experience, as well. It works. Of course, I think like anything else, it works better with an impeccable diet, a bit of regular exercise, and seeing my chiropractor on a regular schedule.

    For me personally, having added the NF on top of those other 3 have made a remarkable difference in the past 2 months as to anxiety/chronic depression and other issues.

  30. I think you left out a major, that being NeuroFeedback. Anxiety/depression seems to be 2 areas that are at or near the top of the list for getting relief with NeuroFeedback. And, I’m speaking from recent personal experience, as well. It works. Of course, I think like anything else, it works better with an impeccable diet, a bit of regular exercise, and seeing my chiropractor regular schedule.

    For me personally, having added the NF on top of those other 3 have made a remarkable difference in the past 2 months as to anxiety/chronic depression and other issues.

    • Gail,
      What specific kind of neurofeedback do you do? Have you heard of Neuroptimal? I guess it’s one you can do at home, and I’ve heard great things about it. I’m thinking about trying it.

      • Specifically, I’ve been using BrainPaint (www.brainpaint.com). I’ve done about 35 sessions though, I have to say. I was in a 60 mph collision, sustained a severe concussion about 15 years ago. Mind-bending divorce about 3 years later. I thought I was doing pretty well. Until I started the NeuroFeedback. I’ve done alot of personal work to address on-going anxiety/depression. Always had about 3-4 days where I thought I could conquer the world, and then about 4-5 days where it felt like the world was going to fall apart. Now…so far…. over 90 % of days seem like everything is fine. Sleeping better, more like we think of usual hours, after about 40 years of being a model night owl.

        Actually, I talked to someone at NeurOptimal just last week. I think it’s an excellent program that I’ll be looking into more in the near future.

  31. Good basic tips and for those of us Type A personalities who have battled anxiety over the years, we do need a reminder now and again to get back to basics. I personally find Yoga great for relieving anxiety and the Yogic breathing also helps.

    Self talk is another great tool – throughout my CBT it became apparent that most of us put that extra pressure on ourselves with negative self talk. Be mindful of what you say to yourself and lay off the constant self-critique!

    • You pointed out two really good things.

      First. The negative self-talk – the reason why CBT is the most evidence-based therapy, when it comes to therapies, is because it works under the framework of cognitive restructuring, it tries to change your thinking patterns (also depending with which subtype of CBT the therapist is working), which works extremely well, especially for anxiety, stress, phobias, and certain(!) symptoms of depression. All of these have an underlying basis of disfunctional thinking patterns.

      While different schools of therapy (existentialist, humanistic, psychodynamic) all have issues for which they can be more convenient, it has been shown that CBT is by far the most evidence-based among these in terms of helping potential.

      Which brings me to mindfulness or (MBSR) therapy.

      It is a ‘newcomer’ in the field of therapies (at least in the western clinical setting and compared to CBT), however, it has been gaining a following in the past years for just reasons. It is another therapy that has been shown to be really effective against stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in particular too.

      The best part about MBSR is the fact that a person can emulate the thinking patterns on his own without the need for actual therapy.

      Being mindful of what we do – staying in the present and staying aware of ourselves, our internal cues (here comes mindful eating too), being non-judgmental of ourselves and just paying attention to our surroundings can work wonders. I really recommend it that people try this out.

      Otherwise, excellent article.

  32. Great tips all around. I suppose I naturally do most of these. Music does indeed soothe the soul. I think I’ll crank up some David Bowie right now! Might as well throw some chinups in there too, and get a hug.

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