When anxiety strikes, you need fast relief. Here are six ways to tame your anxiety, without medication or a doctor’s office visit.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the U.S., affecting about one out of five people at any given time, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Anxiety can take many forms — generalized anxiety disorder (constant worrying about everyday things), obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder.
While medications to treat these anxiety conditions are often an important component in the management of anxiety, there is also many natural, do-it-yourself techniques that can help calm you down, either in place of medications or as a supplement to them.
Next time you’re too tense to cope, consider trying one of these natural options for relief.
1. Laugh it off. Cultivate a good sense of humor and laugh, says Karen Lynn Cassiday, PhD, president-elect of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and a clinical psychologist in Chicago. “Even if you do a fake laugh, you get an instant hit of dopamine,” says Dr. Cassiday. Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls feelings of reward and pleasure.
If you’re too tense to laugh on your own, try using technology, she suggests. For example, find a laugh track phone app. Just google phone apps for laughing.
In a study presented at a medical meeting, Loma Linda University researchers found that even anticipating a mirthful laugh reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which increases when you are anxious.