Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where feeling stressed and having anxiety is incredibly common.
In fact, anxiety plagues 40 million people in the United States alone. That’s nearly 20% of our population.
In many cases, doctors prescribe pharmaceutical drugs so that anxiousness becomes manageable.
However, we don’t think medication is always necessary. Anxious thoughts and habits can many times be alleviated with simple mindfulness practices—all of which create curiosity and compassion for anxiety instead of fear and avoidance.
Below, we’ve included 4 ways to help reduce anxiety without a pill.
- Focus On Your Breath. Anxious thoughts and feelings pull us out of the present moment and into our minds. When you catch yourself flying down an anxious rabbit hole, pause. Then, inhale, feeling the breath pass through your nostrils. Exhale, feeling the breath leave your mouth. This will not only bring you back to the present moment, but also into your body. We highly recommend this simple breathing technique as a way to completely reset your nervous system and relax your mind and body.
- Become the Witness. When anxious thoughts and feelings start creeping up, we tend to avoid them with food, alcohol, or activity without really experiencing them fully. It’s time to sit with the anxiousness, compassionately. Sit comfortably, do the breathing exercise above, and then simply notice the thoughts that are coming up. Try not to attach yourself to them, but simply allow them to come and go with ease. Breathe into and relax any areas of tightness or discomfort in the body. And easily be the witness of your experience. Doing so will help neutralize anxiety.
- Move Your Body. Oftentimes anxiety and stress are due to a build-up of excess energy in the body. Unexpressed emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, and grief, can make us feel heavy and burdened. Exercise—like yoga, cardio, and weight training—allows your body to release that excess energy while also giving you a dose of endorphins, the feel-good hormone to boost your mood.
- Take Magnesium. Magnesium is nature’s anxiety drug, as Dr. Berzin would say! It’s a calming mineral that nourishes the nervous system helping to prevent nervousness, restlessness, and irritability. We recommend taking regular Epsom salt baths to help your body absorb magnesium more efficiently, as well as eating foods high in magnesium like kale, spinach, and other dark-leafy vegetables. If you’d prefer to use a supplement, we always prescribe Somaplex 7 to our patients here at Parsley; just mix 20 drops with water before bedtime and you’re golden.