Anxiety: 15 Ways to Feel Better Without Medication

Anxiety Without Medication: 15 Ways to Feel Better

Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes and there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to managing it. Although medication can be effective, it’s not without potential side effects and is generally preferred as the ‘last resort’ option. Most of us have had some sort of brush with anxiety, but for those whose lives are deeply affected every day, there is hope.  There’s still a lot we need to learn but anxiety has spent quite a bit of time under the research spotlight recently. As a result, we’re becoming wiser about the way anxiety works and ways to manage anxiety without medication. Here are 15 of them:

  1. Decisions … Just because there’s a right one, doesn’t mean there’s a wrong one.

    You’re probably someone who cares a lot – a lot – about doing the right thing. You don’t want to hurt anybody, be misunderstood or say the wrong thing. This makes you a pretty awesome person to be around. It also means that when it comes to making decisions, you might struggle a little.

    Understand that often there isn’t a right or wrong decision, or a better or worse one. They’re just different. Each option will have things for and against. Each will gather momentum when you commit. Whatever happens, you’ll be okay. It’s very likely anyway that by the time you’re ready to make a decision (or perhaps well before then), you will have put so much thought into which way to go that whichever option you choose, it will be a good one. It’s impossible to predict everything that could possibly happen once a decision is made but what you need to remember is that you are strong, intelligent, considerate and you would have been so sensitive to all of the issues. Just take a step in the direction you feel strongest about. If you’re so stuck between two options, neither will be a wrong one.

  2. Omega-3.

    Hearts love omega-3 and so do heads. In one study, 68 medical students who received 2.5 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids each day for 12 weeks showed less exam anxiety than students who were given a placebo for the same duration. Omega-3 can be found in supplements or naturally in flaxseeds, walnuts, edamame, salmon, sardines and grass-fed beef, all of which are excellent sources.

  3. Mindfulness.

    Anxiety is triggered by thinking about the future, and the things that might go wrong. Mindfulness trains the brain to stay in the present moment. It’s been shown to cause measurable physical changes in the body and brain. Research from Harvard has shown that, among other things, it can relieve the symptoms of anxiety. If you haven’t tried mindfulness before, start with 10 minutes a day. Sit comfortably and pay attention to whatever is happening in the present moment. Pay attention to your breathing, the sensations against your skin, what’s happening in your body, what you can hear. Don’t work too hard to make sense of things. The point is to experience without judging or analysing. 

  4. Unfriend. Unfollow. Un-him. Un-her.

    If there’s anyone in your life or in your social media circles who sets you to feeling bad, move them along. You just don’t need it – or him or her. You don’t have to explain (unless you want to) and it doesn’t need to make sense. It’s enough that it happens. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either of you. It’s just the way it is. Just don’t keep putting yourself through it. If you need permission, here it is.

  5. Make time to play.

    Well this is something we could all use … Play is so important for us grown-ups but we tend to squeeze it out of our day. Anything that makes you smile, laugh or takes you away from the pace of the world for a while will be so good for you. If you’re wondering where to start, think about what you liked to do when you were little. Is there a way you can incorporate this into your life now? Otherwise try games, sports (in an organized team or in the backyard), painting, colouring-in or anything that will get you laughing (funny YouTube clips or Instagram accounts are always a winner).

  6. Shhh. Let you speak.

    You’re likely to have incredible insight. The people who know you probably already know this about you (and love it about you!) and you need to know it too. Because of the way you think about things, sometimes overthink about things, and because you are so sensitive to what’s happening to people, between people and generally out there in the world, you are brimming with remarkable clarity and wisdom. The problem is that although you’re the one who should be speaking (because you’re the one that makes them go, ‘hmmmm’), you’re likely to be the one who won’t be. You aren’t the sort of person to say things for the sake of it or to speak before you’ve considered. And considered. And considered. And consid-… Because of this, you’re probably the least likely in the bunch to offend or say something silly or irrelevant, yet you’ll be the one who will hold back from talking … just in case. Often, probably always, whatever you’re thinking (and stopping yourself from saying) is exactly what needs to be said.

  7. Get yourself some blissful zzzz’s. 

    During sleep the brain sorts through any emotional issues that are left over from waking time. This is so important if you struggle with anxiety. Your brain has enough to deal with. Love it up by giving it the opportunity to start each day as fresh as possible. As well as this, the more rested you are, the easier you’ll find it to deal with stressful situations that could trigger your anxiety and ambiguous or neutral situations that could be misread by your super-sensitive (and very protective) brain as negative or harmful to you.

  8. Hug it out. Go on.

    Friends, family, partner, pets – hug and be hugged because it’s lovely and it helps. Hugging releases oxytocin, which is the bonding, ‘feel-good’ chemical. There’s no better way to feel safe, secure and close to the people (or pets) who love you.

  9. Breathe. (Yes. You’ve heard it all before. But maybe not like this.)

    Harvard cardiologist, Dr Herbert Benson, discovered that in the same way the fight or flight response is hardwired into us, so too is what he called the relaxation response.  When triggered, the relaxation response instantly and automatically sends out neurochemicals that neutralise the fight or flight response. One of the ways to elicit the relaxation response is through controlled breathing:

    Breathe in through your nose to the count of three and out to the count of three. Keep doing this until your breathing is under control. Take a short pause between out and in breaths and make sure your breathing is deep and comes from your belly. Your belly should rise when you breathe in.

    Another technique is the 4-7-8 breath. This breathing technique was developed by Dr Raymond Weil. Weil notes that, ‘Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods’. Here’s how it works:

    •   For the duration of the exercise, hold your tongue against the ridge just behind your upper front teeth.

    •   Exhale completely and make a ‘whoosh’ sound as you do it.

    •   With your mouth closed, inhale through your nose to a count of four.

    •   Hold your breath for seven.

    •   Exhale through your mouth with a whoosh sound for a count of 8.

    •   This is one breath. Repeat this three times – a total of four breaths altogether.

  10. Know that you’re stronger than you think you are. 

    There’s that part of you that tells you that you’re not ready enough, not good enough, not strong enough, not clever enough, not whatever enough. It does this to keep you safe. It’s there to hold you back from doing anything that might fall you, embarrass you, humiliate you, or cause you to be misunderstood. But here’s the thing – it’s sensitivity meter is on hyperdrive.

    Give it too much say, and it will work so hard to hold you back from being hurt, that it will hold you back from life. You are so much stronger than you think you are. Having to live with anxiety is not easy, but you’re doing it. If you’re strong enough to do that, you’re strong enough to deal with what might happen if you risk a bit more. You will be fine. You’re a survivor. The worst that could happen is unlikely to happen and even if it does you’ll be okay. Experiment with tiny steps and believe the times that it works well. If it doesn’t, put it down to a learning experience – we’ve all had plenty of those.

  11. Get warm.

    Research has found that feeling warm may alter neural circuits that control mood, including serotonin circuits. Time in the sun (safely of course!), a sauna or spa, a warm bath or a hot shower, sitting in front of the fire, snuggling up with a heat pack in bed, or warming from the inside out with a cup of tea, or anything else that gives you that ‘warm, fuzzy’ feeling – may all work to reduce anxiety. No harm in trying this one!

  12. Lavender.

    Essential oil from lavender has been found to have anti-anxiety effects. A German study found that Silexan, a pill containing an essential oil produced from lavender flowers was as effective as Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug, in reducing anxiety symptoms in people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Lavender oil can be used in a number of different ways. Spray it around the room, put a little oil on your wrist or at night put a little oil on your pillow for happy zzz’s.

  13. Understand your triggers.

    It’s likely you’ll have a pretty good idea of what your triggers are but it’s also likely that you’ll tend to overlook the things you do well – and there will be plenty.

    Try this. At the end of each day, write three things that have stressed you out or frustrated you about the day. After a while, see if there’s a pattern that you haven’t been aware of. A person? A situation? A time of day or night? Next – and this is important – write three things you’ve done well. Stay with them for a couple of minutes and feel what it’s like to celebrate them.

  14. Don’t let yourself get hungry.

    We’re all prone to mood changes when hunger sets in – whether it’s anxious, cranky, lethargic. Keep your blood sugar from dropping by having a quick snack handy for when you need it. 

  15. Exercise.

    Research has found that exercise has incredible benefits for anxiety. It changes the way people view the world, tending them towards seeing the environment in less threatening, more positive way. Princeton researchers found that exercise may have this effect by reorganising the brain so it’s more able to cope with stress, specifically by strengthening the mechanisms that prevent young neurons from firing. (Young brain cells are generally more excitable than older ones). We also know that exercise releases endorphins – the feel-good chemicals which can increase feelings of well-being and happiness, improve sleep and reduce stress.

    Five minutes of exercise can be enough to start the anti-anxiety effects and frequency is more important than intensity or duration. You’re much better off going for a 15-20 walk each day than to do two intense cardio workouts each week. Otherwise, try for 30 minutes three to five times a week. If you’re having trouble getting motivated, just put your shoes on and then decide whether or not you’re going. Once that’s done, just commit to five minutes – you can do that – then after five minutes you can decide on whether or not to keep going for another five. See where this is headed?

There’s no ‘cure’ for anxiety but it can be managed and its intrusion into your life toned right down. You deserve that. Not everything will work for everyone and you might have to experiment and try different combinations of ideas. Anything you can do to take the edge off will make a difference.

Above all else, know what a survivor you are. Anxiety is hard. Really hard. You can’t deal with something like that day in and day out without enormous strength and courage. You’re doing it, which is why you’ll always be more capable, stronger, braver and better than you think you are.



I always get anxious when it is quiet because I feel like my stomach is always making noises. Also I am always afraid to talk because I am afraid that my voice will crack or I will say something stupid. I will try these tips. Thank you.

Get Grit F1t

I think you should also add Gratitude
When you start practicing daily gratitude it also helps, it changes your mode, your perspective and allows you to get in a good mood especially if you do it first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up


My list of things and people making me anxious is VERY long and getting longer every day. This article is the most helpful thing I have read. I’m not sure how well I can implement the tools and tips but at least I’m thinking about it. Health issues, health professionals, family, traffic, music, light, sound, technology, waste, clutter, users, losers, unsympathetic, noise, noise, noise, stomach ache, headache, vision, not being able to socialize, crowds, pain, pharmaceuticals, insurance, house problems, car problems, feet heart, hair thin, nothings funny, rudeness, ownership, advertising, people in the business world that mumble (especially doc office), poor social skills, hot weather, bras, all uncomfortable cloths, UGH! I really could go on and on. However…….. I love children, gardens,art


Hi Karen,
I have terrible anxiety when it comes to anyone having ANY type of medical procedure done. From my kids going to the Drs for shots or a simple mole removed to my husband having knee surgery or most recently a colonoscopy he is having because it is recommended for his age. I have also had two major surgeries that I was extremely worried about not waking up from. My husband thinks I choose to act this way or do it to “get my way”. I dont understand why I get this way except that almost every person close to me has died in a hospital. Any insight or help to work through this would be amazing! It is the worst feeling I have ever felt and I can’t make my husband understand without it starting a fight 🙁


I’ve been stuck since I found out I’m pregnant(17weeks now) I can barely leave the house I was having attacks everyday at 6pm to the point of shaking and dry heaving. I am not getting much sleep 4 hours max. I try to leave the house I get an attack driving and have to pull over to try to calm but trying to focus on something long enough like breathing just never seems to work for me in the moment.


Hi ive had anxiety after a traumatic birth with my son (hes now 6) 6months ago came of medication due to a pregnancy which resulted in a miscarriage which id only ne ln for about 18 months. I tend to get more anxious around my sons birthday and now Christmas time just thinking about things that could go wrong. I have the hot flushes and nausea a d just would like a few tips how to control these and be able to enjoy the festive season. Dont really want to go back on medication as want another child.


Hi karen

So true your article is karen.I was on this anxiety/ panic attack 10 months back,since then i am on anxiety medications.i am taking clobazam 5mg and paradise xr 25.i take the medicines after dinner.but the side effects do linger till the next day medication time.for this reason i feel inactive in doing my household works and i also feel scared going out alone thinking that the what would happen to me.the medicines make me feel lazy,fatigue,mild dizziness and mild headache.i really want to stop the medications and sometimes scared if the withdrawal after weaning off the meds.i am so happy that i got to read ur article.please give me advice so that i can live anxiety free life.thank you

Karen Young

If you are on medication, it’s very important that you don’t go off it without support or advice from a doctor. If you want to wind down your medication, discuss this with your doctor and how this can be done safely and in a way that works for you.


Hi Karen, I’m starting to experience severe anxiety and my doctor thinks its postpartum anxiety and put me on meds but being on that for two days made me extra anxious and in a fog. I felt disconnected from myself. I stopped taking it and instantly felt better. I’m going to try these techniques and therapy and use medicine as a last resort. But I did have a question, how do you control intrusive thoughts? Mine are mostly about being terrified of leaving my boys or not being healthy and something happening.

Karen Young

I can hear how intrusive these thoughts are for you. Mindfulness would be a great thing for you. There is so much research around the benefits of it in easing anxiety. Here is an article that explains how it works and also, Here is another article that will give you ideas for ways to practice mindfulness The more you can do, the better. I know it can be difficult to include a regular practice when you have littles around, but I honestly believe it can make a difference for you. If you can, start with 10 minutes a day and work up to 20 (or more), even if you need to do this in a 2 ten minute blocks. The other thing which is really important for anxiety is exercise. There is research showing it works on the neurochemicals in the part of the brain that controls thoughts, and when the neurochemicals are low, it’s more difficult to stop thinking the thoughts you don’t want to stay stuck on. Exercise increases this particular neurochemical. Even if you can go on a quick 30 minute walk a few times a week – enough to get you a little puffed. I really do understand how difficult it is to take proper care of yourself when you have little ones, but it sounds like it might be especially important for you. I hope this helps and wish you all the best.


i hate anxiety i have it i have pains in my stomach im only 10 its because i went to middle school its BIG


My anxiety brings on this awful queeziness which normally results in my being sick, i am trying to break this cycle and have tried lots of your suggestions, lots make me feel better when i am at home. But I really struggle with this when im stuck in my office, it always seems to be worse, and vomiting in a small office toliet really isnt pleasent. Is there anything else you can recommend?

Karen Young

Alice there is a very good reason for your queeziness, and the good news is that it can be easily and quickly reversed. When your brain triggers an anxious response (and this happens whether or not there is an actual threat – it’s your brain trying to protect you, just in case) your body gets prepared to fight or flee from the danger (which probably doesn’t exist). As part of the fight or flight response, your body shuts down any non-essential processes. One of these is digestion. It’s just a temporary shut-down so your body can concentrate on keeping safe (from the threat it thinks might exist, but probably doesn’t – sometimes you won’t even be aware that there is anything to worry about, but sometimes brains can have a mind of their own). Slow deep breathing will initiate the relaxation response and reverse the surge of neurochemicals that are responsible for the fight or flight response – and your queeziness. Here is an article that explains how that works


I like this article i facilitate an Anxiety group at work and i am always looking for useful information to share with group members. I have anxiety i have been exercising and that has help along with deep breathing and meditation. I am on anxiety medication as well. Thank you i hope you don’t mind if i use this article in group.


Im really sufferig at the moment started on medication butmade me so ill it was unbearable decided to fight it myself cant do no harm i start therapy next week so that may help im 68by the way


I have been dealing with health anxiety for 3 1/2 months. I’ve lost weight and my blood pressure fluctuates. I am starting to get my appetite back now. Do you have any advice for me on putting back on some pounds while still dealing with anxiety. I stay so nervous and don’t like being alone now.

Lisa D

I have been on lorizapam for 4 years now. My new doctor is planning to ween me off it and start another medication. I have been in therapy for the whole time I have been on Ned’s. I just had to take all my teeth out because of infections in the bones and gums. So now I am starting to become depressed. I do not want to take mess anymore. What other natural safe ways can I get off meds and still feel the benifits.

Karen Young

Lisa I completely understand why you want to get off meds, but it’s important that you do this under the guidance of a doctor. Stopping medication suddenly can cause it’s own problems. There are certainly things you can do to strengthen your brain, but it’s important to be consistent. Two of the most important ways are mindfulness and exercise The articles will explain why they are so important. Here are some different ways to practice mindfulness Start with 10 minutes a day and work up from there. Be patient though. If you have been anxious for a while it can take a while to retrain your brain to do things differently – but it can be done. It’s also important to be consistent, so try to get in to a regular routine of mindfulness (at least 10 minutes each day) and exercise (try for 30 minutes, five times a week). The exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous – a brisk walk will do. I hope this helps.

sorokhaibam memmi devi

i love your article. my mom is no more when i am at the age of 20. my father dont understand me. my brother also died due to cancer after one year of my mother,s death. my family member dont understand me although i trying my best to forget my worries time. they make too much noise always quarrel and watching tv at night. i cannt sleep properly. i take medicine but dont want to depend it. i talk to my family members but it does nt work.


Thank you for this hopeful article. I am suffering from acute anxiety and often find myself fighting the dispair that I will never feel normal many I wonder if medication can really help … or will they just mask the feelings. Any thoughts?

Karen Young

You’re very welcome Lauren. Medication can certainly be helpful, but as with any medication, it might not work for everyone and there can also be side effects for some. It would be best to speak with a doctor who can guide you on the best option. What is really important though, is that if you decide to try medication, you also do the things that are known to strengthen and protect the brain against anxiety, such as mindfulness, exercise, and gut health All of these have been proven by extensive research to strengthen the brain against anxiety.


I have severe anxiety/ panic disorder . I am 36 years old and have been on meds for this but made me feel like a zombie just not me . I have been physically and mentally abused over and over and I am finally happy with someone but I still bring all that with me and my anxiety is causing problems because I shut down and get quiet. People just don’t want to u dressing and always say I use anxiety as an excuse for everything but anxiety is everything when have a mental illness. I need help and I have tried so many different methods without meds but nothing seems to help .. I am starting to get depressed I feel like I am alone even though I am not .. any suggestions ?

Karen Young

The medication for anxiety can have side effects for some people that feel awful. It’s understandable that your history would impact on your current relationships, but it doesn’t have to. If you are able to have some sessions with a counsellor, this could really help you work through your old patterns and old ways of responding. It’s very common for people to respond to new situations as though they were old ones. The key is to catch yourself doing this and focus on the differences between the relationship you are in now, and the ones that hurt you.

People repeat old patterns as a way of finding closure. If you have an important need that was never met, you can fall into the trap of being drawn to the same people and the same situations as the person you originally wanted to meet the need, but didn’t. This is often automatic – we are drawn to these people or these situations without really understanding why. The key is become more aware of what you are doing and the need you want to meet, so you can be more deliberate about the way you go about meeting it. A counsellor can really help with this.

In relation to your feelings of depression, there are a lot of things that can help. You can find articles on this link which will explain ways to strengthen and protect your brain against depression here and against anxiety here I hope this helps. Keep fighting for you. There will be a way through this.


My 12 year old daughter has severe anxiety. Mostly happens at school. Usually when another student is negative or combative with her. But it also happens at seemingly insignificant moments such as a teacher calling on her to read aloud. When she feels like this she says it feels like she is having a heart attack. She holds her chest tightly. She has since started gripping her arms with her fingernails so hard that she tears her skin and lets marks. Is this anxiety or maybe something else? I have read your page and am currently trying these techniques with her. I just want to make sure that is what this is. I have never dealt with these feelings so it makes it hard for me to understand how to help!

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Kelly this certainly has the hallmarks of anxiety. Here is an article that might be helpful for you It will explain why your daughter feels as though she’s having a heart attack, as well as other symptoms. I hope it is able to bring her comfort and helps her to make sense of what’s happening for her. Understanding why anxiety feels the way it does is so important to managing anxiety, as it takes away the fear and helps to shift some of the ‘anxiety about the anxiety’. Mindfulness and exercise are also two of the most powerful ways to manage anxiety. Try downloading the free Smiling Mind app for her. It has mindful meditations for specific ages and is a great way to start practicing mindfulness.


Look I loved this article but incurable… say it isnt so! Do you mean that anxiety is a normal part of life and one day I’ll experience it in the “normal” dose and duration that others do? Or that I will forever have to micromanage my internal state… thank you

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Anxiety’s job is to warn us of danger or threat, so we all have to experience it on some level otherwise we’d be dead. It’s what makes us take action when there’s trouble – it’s how we can move quickly, powerfully, or without thinking when we need to. The problem is when it happens too much and too unnecessarily. Anxiety is manageable, and many people are able to manage anxiety back to levels that aren’t intrusive. There is a lot of research showing that things like mindfulness and exercise can hep with this. The idea is to get your anxiety to manageable levels – not non-existent levels (though I completely understand why that would be tempting!) You want the capacity to feel just enough anxiety to be able to stay safe, but not so much that you are help back. Keep working on your anxiety – the things you do make a difference.

Will Beswick

Hi Sigmund first of all I just have to say you seem to be a very genuine and ‘knowledgeable’ counsellor! I run a website about panic and came to the same conclusions after years of being stubborn and proud that I could do this all myself. The conclusion I came to was about deflating at each ‘spike’ or anxious fight/flight ”moment”. This agrees with so much of the perceived ‘threat’ you talk about. It makes me feel normal and less pressured also when I read how anxiety IS damn hard to live with. Of course it is because we care which is a very nice thing but it causes so much unhappiness. Anyway well done – your knowledge from my angle gives this all such credibility as anxiety sufferers are bright folk who need to know that anxiety takes time to come down from – mindfulness maybe very successful but the ‘calming on the go’ I advocate forms the same patient recovery strategy that we need with this. The biggest problem for me and many that I advise is the double whammy – that as you say we feel stressed/anxious and THEN react to that anxiety – why me? What is this happening to me? Am I normal? ith further anxiety and desperation. This reaction causes further panic so patient calming IS essential rather than expecting and self-pressuring to get complete calm. Thanks again and hope this response helps sufferers to see that recovery whilst never perfect, can take place if we patiently calm ourselves through time and through every ‘test’ even if thats constant at first as with severe anxiety. cheers Will


Thank you for this article. I found it at just the right time. I’m currently dealing with the worst anxiety I’ve ever had. I feel like I’m losing my mind sometimes. Just reading this article has made me feel less alone in my anxiety and like it is more manageable.


I can relate to his article a lot, thanks I quickly bookmarked it. Thanks for the ideas I’ll do my best to try them all.


Thanks for this article. I feel i’ve finally found an article that speaks to me and makes sense to what I feel when I’m anxious and panicky. I will try these techniques. 🙂

Liz Crawford

Hi. I love your articles. I work as a counsellor with teenagers and so many have anxiety issues. Your information has helped me to give them some really useful support. Keep up the good work and thank you! ?


Since my husband of 38 years died 2months. Ago i am filled with anxiety over my future. Ive never been this way. Scary. I am on lorazepam helps huge. But i want to not depend on it. I am going to try some of your ideas. Thank u.

Hey Sigmund

This is a difficult time for you and I can completely understand your anxiety. Be kind to yourself – it will take time for you to find your new normal and I hope you are able to find some comfort from the ideas. I wish much love and strength to you.


What if one is so paralyzed by their anxieties that they can’t do a darn thing? I’ve read so much and have so many people trying to help and I shut down even more. Also, does this mean you are NOT a believer in the medications? I’m very afraid and very stuck. I love your blog!!! Very beautiful and very helpful. Xo

Hey Sigmund

I’m so sorry anxiety is doing this to you. I can hear from your comment how awful it is for you. I absolutely think medication has a place but I believe they should always be used in conjunction with other methods. One of the benefits of medication, particularly if your anxiety is severe, is that it can calm things down while you learn other methods that will strengthen you against your anxiety. There’s a lot of research happening around mindfulness at the moment (even though it’s been used for a long time before now) and what they’re finding is that it actually changes the brain. Anxiety happens when your brain is triggered by thoughts of what might happen in the future. This happens automatically which is why it feels like you don’t have any control over it. What mindfulness does is actually train the brain to come back from that and to stay in the present. It’s not a quick fix though. The brain is like a muscle in that you need to train it to strengthen the way you want it to, but scans show that mindfulness does actually strengthen the brain and the connections that help to deal with anxiety. Harvard did a study in which they had people practice mindfulness for 27 minutes a day over 8 weeks. At the end of it they found a decrease in the density of the grey matter of the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that triggers anxiety. You’ve may have read the article about how and what but here it is just in case . If you haven’t tried mindfulness before, please please try it. The effect is very real in the way it changes the brain. When I started practicing mindfulness, I found it really difficult, even for just 10 minutes. It’s my way to keep jumping into the future, but for this reason it’s been awesome for me. It really is that good.

Anxiety is your brain being super-sensitive to threat. The response is a physical one, triggered by the brain. In the same way the fight or flight response is hardwired into our brain, the relaxation response (discovered by a Harvard cardiologist) is also hardwired into us – we just need to train our brain to access it when we need it. This is where mindfulness comes in – but it does take time. In the meantime, medication can help get it under control and help you to get your life back. You deserve that. Here for you x

carolyn rahbari

the one thing is not it makes you feel weak and tired..I am so tired all the time


Just to clarify anxiety is not always triggered by thoughts of what might happen in the future. There are other triggers & sometimes there’s no trigger eg. being woken in the night being unable to breathe, shaking & feeling like you will vomit or pass out is to say the very least confusing not to mention terrifying. There is no trigger in that instance & no warning. It’s as if the body has an anxiety response – a false alarm has gone off. Severe anxiety can take over your body no matter what you do & medication is sometimes the only thing that will control it – I wld literally have attacks at home throughout the day where I would feel like my heart was going to beat out of my chest & I was crouched shaking, yelling on the floor. No thoughts were triggering them – what was going through my head was that I wanted to die to make my body & my mind stop. Sorry if that sounds horrible but it is – what I’m decribing is not normal anxiety but anxiety that needs medical intervention just like if you have high cholesterol. Thank God for medication because I can now sleep & go to work & it’s brought the anxiety to a level where I’m relieved I can function & therefore do all these natural type remedies – walking, yoga, hot baths, breathing I love them all! Still believe there’s still way too much stigma attached to depression anxiety especially if you need medication.

Hey Sigmund

That’s so good to hear! It’s sounds so simple doesn’t it – breathe – but it really does make a difference. For something that’s so automatic, it’s amazing how many times I quite literally have to remind myself to ‘breathe’. Thank you for letting me know.

L. Beekman

Although I have read about these techniques in the past; I found this article to be an excellent reinforcer for controlling my anxiety.
Any advise for the parents of anxiety ridden children who are pressured by state testing and the mountains of homework every night?

Hey Sigmund

I’m so pleased you found the article helpful. Kids can put so much pressure on themselves, can’t they. First of all, you may already be doing this but kids can feel pressure to perform for us as their parents regardless of whether or not we actually give them those messages. One thing that’s really important is that they know that you’re okay with them regardless of the how well they do, as long as they’e done their best. I find for both of my children exercise and mindfulness make an enormous difference to their capacity to deal with stress. Mindfulness isn’t a quick fix but if you can get them to do 10 minutes a day it will really make a difference. Have a look under the tab, ‘Being Human’, then ‘Anxiety’. There are plenty of ideas here for how to deal with anxiety. For kids, this is the post that will explain why their body feels like it does when they are anxious. It will help them stop being ‘anxious about being anxious’ – the article explains it all: . Depending on how old they are, there are also some articles that might help under the tab ‘At School/ College/ Uni’ then ‘Study and Exams’. Hope this helps.


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Thanks so much @maggiedentauthor♥️…
“Karen Young - Hey Sigmund has such a wonderful way with words especially around anxiety. This is her latest beautiful picture book that explains anxiety through the lens of the Polyvagal theory using the metaphor of a house. This shows how sometimes anxiety can be hard to notice. I think this book can help kids and teens better understand stress and anxiety. I loved it! This would be great for homes, schools and in libraries.
Congratulations Karen.💛”
Of course we love them, no matter what - but they need to feel us loving them, no matter what. Especially when they are acting in unlovable ways, or saying unlovable things. Especially then.

This is not ‘rewarding bad behaviour’. To think this assumes that they want to behave badly. They don’t. What they want is to feel calm and safe again, but in that moment they don’t have the skills to do that themselves, so they need us to help them. 

It’s leading with love. It’s showing up, even when it’s hard. The more connected they feel to us, the more capacity we will have to lead them - back to calm, into better choices, towards claiming their space in the world kindly, respectfully, and with strength. 

This is not about dropping the boundary, but about holding it lovingly, ‘I can see you’re doing it tough right now. I’m right here. No, I won’t let you [name the boundary]. I’m right here. You’re not in trouble. We’ll get through this together.’

If you’re not sure what they need, ask them (when they are calm), ‘When you get upset/ angry/ anxious, what could I do that would help you feel loved and cared for in that moment? And this doesn’t mean saying ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ situation. What can I do to make the no easier to handle? What do I do that makes it harder?’♥️
Believe them AND believe in them. 

‘Yes this is hard. I know how much you don’t want to do this. It feels big doesn’t it. And I know you can do big things, even when it feels like you can’t. How can I help?’

They won’t believe in themselves until we show them what they are capable of. For this, we’ll have to believe in their ‘can’ more than they believe in their ‘can’t’.♥️
Sometimes it feels as though how we feel directs what we do, but it also works the other way: What we do will direct how we feel. 

When we avoid, we feel more anxious, and a bigger need to avoid. But when we do brave - and it only needs to be a teeny brave step - we feel brave. The braver we do, the braver we feel, and the braver we do… This is how we build brave - with tiny, tiny uncertain steps. 

So, tell me how you feel. All feelings are okay to be there. Now tell me what you like to do if your brave felt a little bigger. What tiny step can we take towards that. Because that brave is always in you. Always. And when you take the first step, your brave will rise bigger to meet you.♥️
#anxietyinkids #consciousparenting #parentingtips #gentleparent #parentinglife #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #heywarrior
If anxiety has had extra big teeth lately, I know how brutal this feels. I really do. Think of it as the invitation to strengthen your young ones against anxiety. It’s not the disappearance of brave, or the retreat of brave. It’s the invitation to build their brave.

This is because the strengthening against anxiety happens only with experience. When the experience is in front of you, it can feel like bloodshed. I know that. I really do. But this is when we fight for them and with them - to show them they can do this.

The need to support their avoidance can feel relentless. But as long as they are safe, we don’t need to hold them back. We’ll want to, and they’ll want us to, but we don’t need to. 

Handling the distress of anxiety IS the work. Anxiety isn’t the disruption to building brave, it’s the invitation to build brave. As their important adult who knows they are capable, strong, and brave, you are the one to help them do that.

The amygdala only learns from experience - for better or worse. So the more they avoid, the more the amygdala learns that the thing they are avoiding is ‘unsafe’, and it will continue to drive a big fight (anger, distress) or flight (avoidance) response. 

On the other hand, when they stay with the discomfort of anxiety - and they only need to stay with it for a little longer each time (tiny steps count as big steps with anxiety) - the amygdala learns that it’s okay to move forward. It’s safe enough.

This learning won’t happen quickly or easily though. In fact, it will probably get worse before it gets better. This is part of the process of strengthening them against anxiety, not a disruption to it. 

As long as they are safe, their anxiety and the discomfort of that anxiety won’t hurt them. 
What’s important making sure they don’t feel alone in their distress. We can do this with validation, which shows our emotional availability. 

They also need to feel us holding the boundary, by not supporting their avoidance. This sends the message that we trust their capacity to handle this.

‘I know this feels big, and I know you can do this. What would feel brave right now?’♥️

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