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    7 Ways to Deal with Anxiety and Stress Without Meds

    Ever have moments where you feel totally panicked, pit-in-your-stomach butterflies that, like just won’t go away?

    Hi, stress and anxiety. To those who know me IRL, I’m extroverted and usually in a good mood. But like many of those in America, I deal with overwhelm – and occasional anxiety.

    With our over-connected world with loads of alerts, messages and constant pings, it’s no wonder we’re stressed as ever. Work creeps into our evenings and weekends, and we’re expected to be continuously available to those around us. Add in climate change and our havoc on the natural environment, and it’s a recipe for (mental) disaster.

    After adopting a more organic lifestyle, I try to avoid taking medications unless it’s necessary. So I manage stress and anxiety through my own will and habits.

    An important note: I’m not a medical professional, so seek professional help if you need it.

    Here’s what’s helped make my stressful days a little more comfortable.

    7 natural Ways to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

    1. Exercise. I try to set a consistent work out routine to schedule some ‘me” time. But if I’m stressed over a project, a run can do wonders to clear my mind and for my mood.

    2. Deep breaths. Before a big speaking engagement or an important meeting, I take a few slow, deep breaths. Going back to my black belt training that began with meditating each class, I return to that for a few minutes – at my desk, on a train, or wherever I need a moment to recollect myself.

    3. Get outdoors. Spending time outdoors has been linked to lower blood pressure, increase creativity and (surprise!) lower anxiety and depression. Philadelphia has over 11,000 acres of parkland and 300+ neighborhood parks, which gives us plenty of opportunities to sit next to nature and decompress from our indoor city lives.

    4. Hang out with animals. Although I grew up as a dog person, FLOOF is my social and goofy cat. Spending a few minutes throwing toys or having an animal cuddle can relieve boost both of your moods. (He’s also an excellent companion as I write these posts…) If you can’t adopt an animal, you can volunteer at local organizations like PAWS or the Monster Milers.

    5. Spend time with a loved one. Cuddling a partner releases oxytocin, which can calm you down. Spending quality time with a close friend or hugging your family member can help release stress and put you in a better mood.

    6. Unplug the damn phone! You’re really not going to miss out if you turn off Facebook and Instagram for a few hours. It’s been proven that our cell phone use is linked to anxiety and depression. So leave your phone across the room, spend quality time with a friend or pet OR just get outside. Or just put your phone on airplane mode.

    7. Challenge yourself. Whether art is your thing, sports or yoga, find something you enjoy where you can schedule a little “me” time. Allow yourself to zone out from everyday stress and instead focus on an outside project.

    Readers, what stress-reducing tactics do you use? Tell us in the comments.


    Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

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    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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