By Dr. Bradly Jacobs
Someone recently asked me whether there are treatments worth considering in addition to medications to help me manage my anxiety?
Fortunately, there are many therapies that can help you manage your anxiety.
For immediate results, I suggest the following:
Healthy Eating: Avoid caffeine, skipping meals, and sweets. Caffeine and fluctuating sugar levels from skipping meals or eating sweets may cause surges in epinephrine which can worsen anxiety.
Active Living: Exercising on a regular basis helps relax muscle tension, elevates mood, and can relieve anxious thinking.
Stress Management and other relaxation techniques:
- Breathing: Try slow diaphragmatic breathing also known as ‘roll breathing’ (belly moves outward as you breath in, and inward as you breath out) to help calm the mind. I recommend the 4-2-6 count breathing technique. Breath in for 4 counts, hold for 2 counts, and breathe out for 6 counts.
- Mindfulness techniques: Try techniques that promote mental relaxation and bring your attention such as meditation. Find a comfortable place to sit, begin the 4-2-6 breathing exercise, and observe your thoughts without judgment. You will notice the technique will bring you into the present moment and help bring objectivity to what otherwise may be anxiety provoking thoughts. Other examples of mindfulness techniques include music therapy, guided imagery, or autogenic training.
Learn How to Meditate
For long-term results consider:
Cognitive behavioral therapy: This can be very effective in providing new approaches to managing anxiety and is definitely worth considering.
Mindfulness and Breathing techniques as described above.
For short-term use, you might consider supplements:
People use Magnesium, Kava, Valerian, and Withania with mixed results.
If your anxiety is interfering with their personal or professional life, I recommend people seek health professional advice.
Bradly Jacobs MD, MPH is recognized as a leader in Integrative Medicine, Health and Wellness.
Dr. Jacobs is a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine and earned his master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. He served as Founding Medical Director for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine Clinical Programs at the University of California-San Francisco where he also taught as Assistant Professor. Dr. Jacobs is the author of peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and was Co-Editor of the textbook: ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Dr. Jacobs is board-certified in internal medicine and has studied acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, and yoga. He has a private medical practice focused on integrative medicine and primary care in San Francisco and Sausalito, California. He was Senior Medical Director at Revolution Health. Dr Jacobs is Medical Director at Cavallo Point Healing Arts Center & Spa.
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