overcoming anxiety outside of medication

Welcome back to another Wellness Wednesday, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve talked about mental health but it’s been on my mind quite a bit lately. For once in my life I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my anxiety, but it’s definitely taken a lot of discipline + self-evaluation to get to where I am. I take a mild medication for my mental health issues and I have no shame about that – however, I do think that it takes more than a couple pills a day to truly manage anxiety + depression.

related: the anxious truth | 5 ways to manage anxiety | mental health medication + faith

Whether you struggle with chronic mental health problems or you’re going through a rough patch and can’t shake the negative emotions, we all crave the same thing: peace. How you go about finding that peace is different for everybody, but I wanted to share mine with y’all today!

Physical Activity

The gym has become a part of my daily routine, especially during the work week. I didn’t always love it, but seeing how much better it’s made me feel physically + mentally, it’s hard to not want to incorporate it into a regular part of my schedule. Don’t get me wrong – there are some days I would rather skip it and crawl into bed instead, but on those days I make myself take a step back and remember how much better I feel afterwards. I take a variety of fitness classes throughout the week, but my favorites when it comes to helping my mind are yoga and kickboxing. Yoga is so good for releasing all the pent up tension in my body + spirit, and kickboxing has been amazing for punching + kicking out my stress in a healthy, fun way. As a side note, something else I love about my exercise routine is that since I found a good flow with fitness classes, I’ve had the opportunity to meet more people and form a new community – and community is always a powerful influence over mental health.

If you don’t feel that confident in being able to add regular exercise into your routine, I would start by making an effort to take a few walking breaks throughout the day, especially if work feels like it’s getting stressful. There’s nothing wrong with walking away for a little bit to catch your breath and compose yourself. And when it comes to your relationship with the gym, don’t be afraid to start slow + steady (kind of like you would with a human relationship). Take the time to learn what you like to do!

Counseling

There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of by going to counseling. Communication has always been key for me to get to the bottom of what’s bothering me and what I need to do to fix it, and often times we need a safe place to do it without fear of judgment. As much as I love getting advice from the friends and family that know my heart, sometimes it can be hard to say everything I want to – especially in situations where their advice can be biased. Counseling is perfect for getting an unbiased opinion. Whether something major is going on or I just feel bogged down from a series of events, counseling has always been something that I take advantage of.

Prayer

Last, but certainly not least! During the times when my spirit feels most unsettled, my first instinct is to find peace in the presence of God. Communication with friends, family, or a counselor is important, but there’s something about talking with God that provides so much clarity. The fact that He knows every thought and sees every bit of hurt, confusion, and unrest I feel makes my conversations with Him so raw.

I just finished up a Bible study over the names of God, but one that’s always stood out to me is Abba, Father. How amazing that we have a God that listens to us, supports us, but what feels like the most important during times of unrest, a God that comforts us. I can’t tell you how many times my earthly father has let me yell + rant when I’m upset; but when I’m done, he’s always there to wrap me up in his arms and be shoulder to cry on.

I’ve found that in my walk of faith, it’s important to know that’s exactly how God is, too. Some of my prayer times are anything but quiet. I cry, I rant, I scream (into a pillow) sometimes – but when I’ve let it all out and my mind is quiet, that’s where I can feel the presence of God surround me with overwhelming peace + comfort and hear His still voice of reason.

What are your favorite ways to calm your mind? Let me know in the comments!

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