General Question

cak's avatar

Besides taking pills, what helps you with anxiety?

Asked by cak (15819points) January 26th, 2009

I am dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety and would like other techniques, besides the pills I have, to deal with’s truly getting annoying.

I know I am not unique – a lot of people are really coping with a lot; however, I’m dealing with a combination I’m not used to dealing with – I’m even to the point of breaking out in hives, daily.

I do yoga and a few other things – any ideas are appreciated!

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26 Answers

trumi's avatar

The very basic remedies are to drink more water, eat better, sleep well, exercise more, and find ways to relax. Most important is to try to break up your problems and deal with them one at a time.

Personally, I surround myself with friends and get drunk. Though that doesn’t always work, and is certainly not a permanent remedy.

peedub's avatar

Quarts of beer and pastrami. I also have a Disneyland pass.

discover's avatar

I think this might be a cliched advice….but try reading the Bible. Its my sincere request….this will calm you

Maverick's avatar

If you drink tea or coffee, stop. Try to remove any and all caffine from your diet (chocolate, energy drinks, etc). It’s amazing what a huge contributor to anxiety these things are.

skfinkel's avatar

I have been having much anxiety of late too, and the things I think about to do when under stress are not that easy to do. If waking up in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep, what seems to help is writing things down. The “worry people” are good, but I haven’t been using them enough. Also, I am trying deep breathing—to get relaxed. The most effective thing for me, it turns out, is getting the kind of help I need to solve the problem. That helps with all levels of stress and especially lets me sleep through the night. As usual, action in taking care of the problem, i.e. the source of the anxiety, is the best medicine.

Maverick's avatar

@discover Yeah, cause reading about your potential eternal damnation is soothing.

peedub's avatar

I strongly believe that a purchase of the JD Twich album, in addition to various sedatives, will help anyone overcome anxiety problems.

cak's avatar

I see some good advice on here – unfortunately, though, the two main sources, are things that I cannot control – thus the anxiety. Chemo treatment and a recent death – and the worrying about my mother – not going away, anytime soon!

I don’t do caffeine, but I do need to increase my water. Eating has been an issues, more to the fact thdon’t want to eat.

@skfinkel – I think I need to refocus and try the deep breathing exercises, again.

@ trumi – I’d actually love to share a good bottle of wine, but that doesn’t go well with some of my meds, right now. :( Eventually, I’ll open one!

@discover – I have been reading the Bible – to a point, I’ve found some solace; however, I’m a bit angry – right now, so it’s not working out as much as I’d like it to – maybe in a few weeks.

amanderveen's avatar

You can always meet up with a counselor to talk over what specifically is causing your anxiety so you can work on techniques to address the cause rather than the symptoms.

In senior high, I started to slip into a minor depression. At the time, I was lucky enough to have friends who noticed and made a point of dragging me out of the house to go toss a ball or something rather than just let me wallow. They caught me just soon enough that it helped me see what was happening to me. I then made a conscious effort to try changing the way I was thinking. When I would start with a negative though, I would consciously stop myself and think, “no, I should think (positive spin on thought) instead”. At first, it felt ridiculously forced and, quite frankly, cheesy. But after a (long) while, I started catching my negative thoughts sooner, and slowly it started to come more naturally. Gradually, I was able to climb my way back out of that pit. That’s what worked for me in that situation.

As life went on, if I found myself in a really tough spot, I’d get tell myself that at some point, it would just be a memory and I’d have moved past to a better stage in my life. “Someday, this will all be a memory” was my mantra. That way, I was focusing more on getting through it and not getting bogged down in that stage in my life.

When I was getting stressed over dealing with my mom and her demands relating to my wedding (I actually had a full on panic attack before I realized how stressed I was), I had to learn to just step back and not get caught up in her anxiety. Once the key things were arranged (groom, JP/pastor, marriage license, location), I treated the rest as gravy. I had to deal with items that could be dealt with as they came along and be clear with my mom when she was demanding answers or actions that I couldn’t reasonably provide yet. I just had to learn to step back and “not sweat the small stuff”. It was tough to do, but a “perfect” wedding wasn’t worth my health or sanity. Friends said I was the anti-Bridezilla, lol.

Later, when my husband was terminally ill, trying to tell myself it wasn’t a big deal didn’t work, nor did just telling myself it would all be over at some point (that felt too much like wishing it was over and therefore that he would just be gone). Instead, I learned to focus on the things we still had to be thankful for and we made the most of the time we had left. That didn’t mean extravagant vacations, but just appreciating each other and those around us. I had days where I had to just let go and break down for a bit to flush it out of my system, as did my husband, and that was ok, too. In fact, it was important that I allowed myself to. Trying to tell myself I shouldn’t stress over it only made me stress more, but it took talking to a counselor who was used to dealing with people in my situation to realize it. Fortunately, my husband and I were able to not waste what time we had left together mourning.

What techniques work for you will depend largely upon what you’re going through and who you are as a person. I sincerely hope that you hear a suggestion that really clicks for you and does the trick. With any luck, it will also help you learn to cope with new challenges that come up in the future.

cak's avatar

@amanderveen – I’m at that point, I’ve just been waiting for the appointment. I’m dreading it, too. Admitting weakness – in the way that I can’t seem to pull it together, not my strong point. There is no easy answer to what will solve it, right now – but it is normal life stuff. Just not stuff I’m used to handling, all at the same time. I’m a very realistic person, but geez, you know – sometimes, life just kicks you in the butt.

I am meeting with someone this week, my family doc’s answer was a bottle of pills, but I have kids. I need to function and frankly, I’m on enough for cancer – I don’t need to add to the mix.

Thank you – for your post and the time you put into it – I appreciate it!

steve6's avatar

listen to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra

amanderveen's avatar

I’m glad it helped in some way. If there’s ever anything you want to talk about or ask about my and my husband’s experience, feel free to ask. I’m never sure how much or what people are comfortable talking about. :o)

Darwin's avatar

I do deep breathing, meditation, use lavender hand lotion (it is supposed to be calming), exercise with the dogs, turn my problems into jokes, get involved in something creative (right now it is singing), go online to chat with folks who are willing to lend a sympathetic ear, and throw stuff away (2 full bags today).

I did use Xanax during the worst of it (when my husband was suddenly stuck into the hospital for twelve weeks and so I became an instant single mom of a 2 yo and a 6 mo, holding down a more than full-time job). I didn’t use it all the time, just “as needed.”

LostInParadise's avatar

You might want to try meditating, which I find helpful. The basic technique of meditation is very simple – Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Don’t try to breathe deeply, though you can slow down the exhalation. It also helps focusing if you count your breaths. The usual recommendation is to count to 3 or 4, though some people, like me, prefer to count to a higher number. I like to go up to 21.

Though it sounds simple, meditating is actually a bit of work. You will catch your mind wandering. When you do, simply return to concentrating on your breathing. Start out meditating for five minutes and see if you can work your way up to 20.

During the course of the day, if you are feeling anxiety, you may find it useful to simply concentrate for a few moments on your breathing.

SoapChef's avatar

Watch Bob Ross on Joy of Painting on PBS. It’s better than valium.

augustlan's avatar

Cak, here are some of the things that work for me. Note that they do not all work in all situations, and I have to switch them up until I find one that does.
Deep breathing.
Do something, anything, to get your mind off it. Read, watch a movie, do a crossword, solve math problems in your head.
Loud music.
Writing about it.
Invite company over for fun.
A beer.
Xanax. When I need to be in top form and/or drive, I only take 1/2 of one (half of one of mine is only .25 MG). It settles me, but does not alter me in any other way. If I am in full on panic attack mode and don’t need to go anywhere, I take a whole one. I can still take care of the kids, but wouldn’t drive.

steelmarket's avatar

Get more sunshine.
It is a proven anti-depressant.

cak's avatar

@LostInParadise – first, thank you! I am going to work on meditating, again. I tried the same week my Dad died, but that wasn’t happening. I will try again, today – after I get everyone settled. :)

cak's avatar

@augustlan A beer….I’m noticing a theme with some people on Fluther!! :) Good idea – once I’m finished with this cycle, a beer is on tap, for me!

cak's avatar

@everyone – Thank you all, very much for your comments and your time. I appreciate it!

lollipop's avatar

Cak, I have dealt with ‘anxiety attacks’ and just anxiety for years. I have been on meds at different times for it and sometimes it helped an other times it didn’t. Now I am not on anything and when I get the attacks I ‘really focus on my breathing’ take ‘slow deep breaths’ and just ‘block out’ what is going on around me till my ‘panic’ and anxiety lessens. That I think is the only thing that really helps me, I can’t handle loud music and I am not one to exercise other than possibly do walking. Which, I do need to get back in too. That helps relieve stress also.

DandyDear711's avatar

I am watching the answers – I don’t have much advice outside of meds… You have had soo much stress over the last year or more (way more than any one person should have in a life time), I am just amazed at how well you have handled it. I think you should write the book! Take Good Care, CAK!!

90s_kid's avatar

I have AD, ODD, and depression and Fluther takes away my anger, unless someone is bugging me.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

go outside (: as someone mentioned above, sunshine is very good for you, and just being outside is usually pretty uplifting. i also have to second listening to dean martin (and frank sinatra, but dean is my favourite<3)

zookeeny's avatar

Your stresses are high I hope you find the help you need with the person you see. I never ever thought I would go to therapy – my family are very anti psychology etc but once I got over their perceptions of it and used it as I needed to I found that talking stuff out with someone who isnt going to be influencing you to agree with them or argue with you and just listen is actually very useful. All through time people have used some kind of sounding board – wise women, religious leaders etc nowdays its just called a therapist or something. Humans need to work out their anxieties in which ever way they can. For many people going to someone and talking things through is helpful. Just as you would go to the mechanic to sort your car and the dentist to sort your teeth a therapist helps you sort your thoughts. I hope you find it helps. If the first person isnt quite right keep searching there will be someone out there who you can connect with and who makes sense to you. Good luck.

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