Body Scanning is a powerful mindfulness technique in the fish against anxiety or panic.

Reclaim Your Calm: Strategies to Reduce Anxiety Without Medication

Anxiety is a natural human response to stress or danger. These feelings of unease show up in so many ways and affect our thoughts, emotions and even physical well-being. However, when it becomes chronic or overwhelming it can have detrimental effects on our mental health and overall ability to just function.

While medication plays an incredibly important part in treating chronic anxiety or panic attacks, there are some alternative ways to help you cope, and best of all, they’re all free and easy to reach.

Mindfulness Techniques

So what is mindfulness?  I mean seriously, my mind is already full of anxious thoughts and now I need it to be fuller?  – I jest.  Basically, mindfulness means paying attention to this very moment (without judgement of you, that bit’s important).

It’s being fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the environment around you.  But without reacting to what is happening.  I know, almost bloody impossible to do – but here are a few ways to make you more used to doing it.

Mindful Breathing

You can practice mindful breathing any time, any where.  It is, in my opinion, the quickest way to get back to now.

At its simplest form it is simply paying attention to your breath as you breathe in and out, taking note of the breath coming in through your nose and then out through your mouth.  When you first start doing it, it does feel a bit weird, but after a few tries you will find it is actually pretty easy to do.

You could also check out the YouTube video which helps you do box breathing (box breathing video).  Box breathing is basically Breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 4 seconds, breathing out for 4 seconds and holding your breath for 4 seconds.  Then repeating the sequence as many times as you like… or 4 times if you’re like me and like doing things the same amount of times.

Mindful Eating

In this video, The Chocolate Guy – Amaury Guichon, combines so many of my favourite things, Planets, Chocolate, Cheesecake and GLUTEN FREE

In our fast-paced lives, it’s all too easy to rush through meals without a second thought. Picture those quick desk lunches or dinners spent in front of the TV, captivated by cooking shows. (Speaking of which, if you’re looking for visual delights, check out Amaury Guichon’s Instagram – his creations are mesmerizing!) But in the midst of this haste, there’s a simple yet transformative practice: mindful eating.

Mindful eating is an invitation to slow down and savor each bite. Imagine truly seeing your plate – a canvas of colors and textures that nature provides. These hues hold the promise of nourishment, each bite carrying a symphony of flavors. By chewing slowly and relishing the experience, you step into a moment of serene awareness, leaving behind the clamor of the world.

Interestingly, this practice aligns harmoniously with mindful cooking. The act of preparing food from scratch becomes an exercise in intention and creativity. It’s not just about culinary skills; it’s about understanding the ingredients and infusing them with your essence. This process empowers you to curate meals that resonate with your well-being, as you’re in control of what goes into your dishes.

From kitchen to table, mindfulness envelops the entire journey. And as you embrace this mindful connection with your food, stay tuned for our upcoming piece on how mindful eating can positively impact anxiety. Until then, may your meals be a celebration of mindfulness, and your moments of culinary joy be savored to the fullest.

Mindful Walking

Navigating the labyrinth of anxiety and panic can feel like an overwhelming journey but Mindful Walking can help you gather yourself towards yourself. Picture this: you’re taking a stroll, not only to get from point A to B, but to embark on a serene expedition within yourself. With each step, a unique universe unfolds, and the practice of mindfulness becomes your guiding star.

eel the solid ground beneath your feet, a steadfast reminder that you’re grounded in this moment. Let the rhythm of your body’s movement take center stage – a dance of muscles and bones, a symphony of balance and coordination. And as you synchronize with the gentle flow of your own existence, open your senses to the world around you.

Breathe in the air, letting it fill your lungs with a calming freshness. Tune in to the soundscape, the chorus of rustling leaves, distant traffic, and the occasional bird’s serenade. As you absorb the auditory tapestry, your surroundings reveal themselves in vivid detail. The colors of nature, the textures of architecture, the play of light – these elements compose the canvas of your mindful expedition. And here’s the magical twist: amidst this sensory feast, you’re invited to observe without getting entangled in the web of your thoughts.

Body Scan

Back when I was a kid,  I think I was about  7 or 8 years old, a memory comes to mind that’s still hanging about. It was during one of those classroom strategies where they aimed to hush up a rowdy bunch of kids. We were all sprawled out in a circle on the floor, and believe it or not, they were teaching us how to do this thing called a body scan. You start things off by finding a comfortable spot to sit or lie down.  Then, starting from your little piggies, you take a leisurely stroll in your minds eye through every inch of your being.

What this does is allow you to focus on all the parts of you.  Do they feel tense?  Do they hurt?  Are you feeling warm or cool.  Being aware of how your body is feeling will also help you if you are hit by an anxiety attack and you know, because you felt it yesterday, that the pain in your hand (for example) is not new, it’s not a sign of impending doom.  But (obviously) if you really do have concerns about a particular ache or pain, please see your doctor.  This isn’t medical advice, just info I have discovered along my journey to dealing with anxious moments.

Bridget is one of the developers of the My Safe Zone - Panic and Anxiety Assistance App. She is a panic attack sufferer, and survivor.