Holistic Horizons: A Comprehensive Guide to 5 Reasons for Choosing Natural Ways to Alleviate AnxietySep 07, 2023
Introduction: The Pharmaceutical Predicament
Let's face it: living with anxiety is exhausting. When you're prescribed medications to treat your symptoms, it can be both a relief and another stressor. There are questions like, "What are the side effects?" "Will I become dependent?" and "What happens to my liver after taking these for years?" These questions multiply as you receive pill bottles with labels featuring a daunting list of potential risks. The apprehension associated with pharmaceuticals can add another layer of anxiety to an already stressful condition. So, let's explore why natural alternatives could be the path worth taking for long-term well-being.
1. Autonomy Over Your Mental Health
The Obscurity of Pharmaceuticals
When you take a pill, you're essentially outsourcing your mental well-being to an unknown entity. The lack of transparency often leads to dependency without understanding how the medication is altering your brain chemistry.
But what is the alternative?
Meditation is well documented to help improve mental wellbeing but many people struggle to use this natural way of reducing anxiety states - why?
The Old Roadblocks
If meditation was a part of your past routine and didn’t seem effective, the reasons could be multifaceted. Was the guidance unclear? Was the routine inconsistent? It’s essential to scrutinize what was lacking.
Take the Wheel
Now, imagine switching gears and choosing a meditation technique that fits you. You get to know your mind, understanding how focusing on your breath or a mantra can dramatically reduce anxiety levels. This time, make it a part of your daily routine, creating a strong habit loop.
2. Minimal to No Side Effects
The Baggage of Pharmaceuticals
Medications are like that friend who helps you move but then eats all your food; they come with baggage—think digestive issues, weight fluctuations, or mood swings and a host of other unwanted side effects.
The alternative is to try natural supplements... And maybe you have. But it wasn't as effective?
Stumbling Blocks of the Past
You tried a herbal supplement, took it for a week, and felt no change. One reason could be that it wasn't clinically backed or that you took a generic dose that wasn't personalised. Medications are regulated and there doses well documented. Unfortunately the herbal supplements available over the counter are less so and higher doses are not recommended without the guidance of a naturopath.
What could you do instead?
Elevate Your Strategy
This time, research or consult with professionals to identify supplements like Valerian root or passionflower that have scientific backing. Take a personalized approach, knowing that your biochemical makeup is unique.
3. Long-term Financial Sustainability
The Cumulative Toll of Pills
Prescription medications are like a subscription service you can't easily cancel. The cost adds up, turning into a financial burden over time. Unless your medications are funded, they can come with a hefty price tag. Alternatively you are left with little choice as to the brand or type of medication that is funded - removing more of your autonomy and freedom of choice.
So what else could we try? Exercise?
But most people will still return to the pill packet because somehow exercise just doesn't quite cut it.
Why Exercise Faltered Before
Perhaps our previous exercise regimen lacked structure. or passion. You tried jogging once, found it exhausting, and quit. A structured, individualized and FUN plan was missing.
When movement is made fun it becomes less of a chore and more of a desire. One that comes with endorphins and dopamine release.
A Tailored Fit
Opt for activities that not only release those endorphins but also fit into your lifestyle and feel more joyful. Maybe you can cycle to work twice a week or engage in a Zumba class every weekend. Utilize fitness trackers to monitor your progress and give you that extra special "I Done It" kick of accomplishment...Oh yes, and keep yourself accountable.
4. Synergistic Benefits for Overall Health
Tunnel Vision of Pharmaceuticals
Medication often focuses on minimizing a single symptom—ignoring the bigger picture of your overall health and well-being. Medications for anxiety often don't take the bigger picture into account. They may be useful to increase Serotonin levels or sedate you when needed but do they actually solve the underlying cause of anxiety?
Instead you may try breath-work or more insight-generating interventions to help address the underlying issues. Breath-work is often used to regulate the nervous system and provide a more holistic approach to overall mental wellbeing.
But most people find breath-work to be less than useful and shy away from a more integrated practice.
Lessons from Failed Breath Work
Were you trying to cram in breath work during commercial breaks or while waiting for your coffee to brew? The sporadic, unfocused attempts could be the culprit behind its inefficacy.
Breath-work is more likely to be effective when you begin to change the pattern of your breath. And you will need to focus on this more frequently than once or twice a week. In fact, practicing breath-work requires a degree of dedication to the art and the rewards are ten-fold when you get it right.
Building a Routine
Set aside time to engage in breath work properly. Begin with five minutes a day, gradually moving to longer sessions. It helps to habit stack by hooking a session of breath-work onto an activity you already do every day. Perhaps while waiting for the kettle to boil and once later while waiting for the oven to preheat. Every time you do these tasks, you latch on a session of breath-work. And then increase the amounts per day as it becomes a better routine.
Couple this with biofeedback mechanisms that can help you understand the physiological changes you are triggering.
5. No Risk of Dependency
The Pandora's Box of Pharmaceuticals
Dependency is a frightening term. The last thing you need is to swap one problem for another—anxiety for dependency. We all know that Benzo's are addictive and most people don't want to think about the longer term effects of taking anti-depressants or other medications for a long period of time.
so natural strategies such as Yoga and herbal remedies can often be very effective. Why aren't they documented as more successful?
Why It Didn't Stick Before
Perhaps you dabbled in yoga for a week or sipped on some herbal teas occasionally. These attempts might have been superficial, without giving any method an honest, extended trial.
The difference is that medication is prescribed on a daily basis. And most people are afraid to veer off the regime. So they stick to it day in and day out. It doesn't seem to be the same with the other natural strategies we try.
Consistency is Key
A piecemeal approach just won't suffice. If you're opting for natural methods, blend them into a daily or weekly regimen. Address them with the same dedication and consistency you would when taking a pill every day. Track your progress and give each method enough time to show results before moving onto the next one.
Conclusion: A Holistic Approach as the Road to Well-Being
Committing to a natural, holistic approach may demand more initial effort than swallowing a pill, but the comprehensive benefits you reap are truly liberating. Natural strategies can offer a transparent, well-rounded, and sustainable method for tackling anxiety. This isn't just about symptom relief—it’s about reclaiming control and living a balanced, harmonious life.
At The Unstuck Initiative we endeavour to shift anxiety the natural way (but accept and condone the use of medications where appropriate).