Before I begin, I have to tell you that while I don’t suffer from extreme anxiety or panic attacks, I do have strange episodes that come up and scare me from time to time. I never really knew how to deal with anxiety without medication, so I tried a few techniques that I’m going to share with you today.
Let’s face it, anxiety attacks suck. Especially when you have no idea what is happening to you and have no experience dealing with anxiety attacks. My first scared me. I remember it like it was yesterday.
my first anxiety attack
It was probably about 15 years ago or so. He was lining up at Walmart. Everything was normal. I was humming the music and patiently waiting my turn and then whoosh! Walmart started spinning, I couldn’t breathe, the pounding in my chest was beyond ridiculous and I was freaking out.
What is happening to me? What’s going on?
I felt like everyone was looking at me (even though they weren’t) and I was sure I was going to pass out or die. I was alone and terrified.
At the time, I didn’t even know what an anxiety attack was, let alone how to deal with anxiety. It was brutal and scary!
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When I finally got back home and talked to a couple of people about what happened, they told me what it was. I was shocked. Why would I have anxiety attacks? My life is relatively stress free and normal. I did not understand
It hit me without warning.
I knew then that this was probably the beginning and that I should seek some form of anxiety help or at least find out why it happens and what to do the next time it happens. I had no idea standing in line at Walmart and was petrified!
I wanted to make sure that the next time it happened I knew how to deal with anxiety without medication and even though you’re never really ready for it, at least you’ll know how to handle it.
I know some people definitely need anxiety medication and now I can see how scary having an anxiety attack without medication can be. Hears!!
What is anxiety?
First we need to know exactly what it is and what can cause it. Although I thought my life was pretty stress-free, it apparently wasn’t. Stress is a common factor in anxiety. So what exactly is anxiety?
I found this amazing resource on healthline.com that explains it all in great detail.
Everything you need to know about anxiety
Healthline really breaks it down simply and very in depth.
Anxiety comes in many shapes and sizes, so it’s really hard to reduce it and give it a simple solution. It does not work like that. We all have different forms from mild to severe. There are many who have severe anxiety attacks who need medication to control them or help them deal with the anxiety.
Some of the most common symptoms of an anxiety attack are:
- difficulty breathing
- beating in your chest
- Hot flushes
- severe lightheadedness
When I was having my first attack, I had all these symptoms! Hears! What a mess I was Do you recognize any of these symptoms? You also didn’t know what caused them and ignored them like I did?
Remember, I had no idea how to deal with anxiety let alone what an attack was, so I did some reading about it.
I don’t have extreme anxiety, so when I have an attack I can calm it down pretty well with a few simple tricks.
How to deal with anxiety without medication
If you suffer from random anxiety, know that there are easy ways to deal with anxiety. Thanks god! However, there is no quick fix and I’m not saying you’ll never have a seizure again, but these tips will help you the next time you have one.
While these tips may actually sound like common sense, when you’re in the throes of an anxiety attack, there’s no such thing as common sense. Let’s face it, we feel like we’re dying! However, try to follow some of these steps the next time you have an attack.
I’m not an expert on how to deal with anxiety and I’m certainly not going to offer an anxiety treatment, but I think these tips will help you.
They certainly help me!
sit down and breathe
If you can, sit where you are, even if it’s on the side of the road or in the middle of a grocery store. This will prevent you from falling and will help calm your nerves and breathing a bit. Inhale and exhale a few times. Focus on your breathing and not on the fact that your heart is beating out of your chest.
talk to someone
If you’re alone in a store and this happens, grab the first person you see, tell them you’re having an anxiety attack, and ask them to please talk to you. About anything, everything and nothing. Just talk to them and have them respond to you. It will help you take your mind off what is happening to you right now.
Get water or gum
Try to find/drink water and/or get some gum or a light snack. Now I know you probably aren’t thinking about eating anything right now, but it will give your mind another job. Chew chew chew. Try to get some water or juice or something to drink. Making these small and simple gestures will help take your mind off things, if only for a while.
talk to yourself
Yes, it sounds weird, but if you’re alone and have no one to talk to, you have to talk to yourself. Remember it’s just an anxiety attack and you’ll be fine. Tell yourself to breathe, sit down, focus on the fact that it is only temporary and it will be over soon. Repeatedly remind yourself to breathe in and out slowly and smoothly.
Find something to play with
Weird again, I get it, but when you find something to play with, keys, a pen, your bag or wallet or whatever, it also helps to take your mind off what’s going on. You need a distraction. You need to give your mind something else to focus on besides the fact that you feel like you are dying. The key here is to try to distract yourself from this anxiety attack to help calm your mind and heart.
Learn to deal with anxiety without medication
Many people use their anxiety attacks as an excuse not to do something and I fully understand that some have attacks so severe that they simply cannot do some things. I totally get it.
For the rest of us, we can control them and you can learn to deal with anxiety without medication to live a full and happy life.
Here are some things you can do to reduce the frequency of anxiety attacks!
Although there is no quick fix, if you try to implement some new healthy strategies in your life, you may be able to reduce anxiety attacks.
Stress is still in the top 5 triggers for anxiety. Take a look at your life and see where you can reduce stress in your life. Sometimes family or work is the cause of stress. There are ways to deal with it, but that’s another blog post. Eliminate the things in your life that stress you out. Easy to say, hard to do, but not impossible.
Peace and love