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Mailbag! 6 Ways to Quiet Your Anxiety

I have anxiety, but I’m worried about taking medicine for it. Do you have anything you could recommend instead?

–Teresa from St. Paul, MN

Teresa,

I think it’s good to exercise caution when using anti-anxiety medications. As a general rule, these medications do work, but they’re not a long-term solution. Too often, they can lead to more agitation and anxiety (not to mention they come with a ton of side effects).

My favorite method for dealing with anxiety is called exposure therapy.

It works like this…

Often, the things we’re afraid of turn out to be not as bad as we think. Exposure therapy is simply putting yourself in the situation that causes you anxiety… but in small doses. The “dose” is then slowly increased over time.

Exposure therapy works well for fear of snakes, flying, or talking in front of groups… but it doesn’t always work for anxiety that comes from unavoidable things, like having a visit from one of your children who is a problem or dealing with a mountain of debt.

I would suggest working with a therapist to help you manage your anxiety. Often we just need gentle nudges to move in ways that are good for us.

You can easily find a therapist these days, and even work with them from the comfort of your home. Many practitioners offer online sessions.

To find a therapist, visit Psychology Today’s online directory. Here you can narrow your search by insurance plan, gender, and even religion to find the support you’re most comfortable with.

Sometimes you have to try a few before you find one that fits you well, so don’t give up if it’s not a match right away. Keep trying.

In the meantime, here are a few more tips for managing anxiety.

Dr. Scott’s Anxiety-Stomping Program

  • Sleep. Anxiety and sleep go hand in hand. Most of us know we feel more anxious when we don’t sleep, but getting enough sleep can be a tough battle. Natural supplements like L-theanine, melatonin, and chamomile can be very effective to help you get the sleep you need.
  • Calming herbs. Speaking of sleep, I’ve given herbs usually used for sleep to people who have anxiety and found they work pretty well. Try taking a half-dose of a sleeping formula in the morning and see how it works. Chamomile, valerian, kava, and passionflower are all great for relaxation.
  • Exercise. Despite what you might think, exercise reduces anxiety. Find something that works and that you enjoy. The more you can make exercise fun, the better.
  • Focus on gut health. Research has shown that the health of your gut is closely tied to your brain health. Try taking a probiotic and also eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and more to help restore your inner calm.

P.S. Have a health concern that’s worrying you? Click here to submit your questions and get featured in the weekly mailbag!

 

Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Written By Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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