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Managing Anxiety Without Medication

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Anxiety is prevalent in our society, probably stemming from the pandemic and the stressors in the world that we all feel, such as inflation and the divide in our country. Anxiety, feelings of fear or worry, can have both psychological and physical effects, which is why we need to get past the stigma of mental health. It’s important we talk about mental health and how to manage it–especially managing anxiety without medication.

There are times when medication is needed for anxiety, but there are also natural ways to ease anxiety, as well as practices, supplements, and exercises you can do that will help regulate and calm your anxiety naturally without medication. Managing anxiety without medication is an important skillset.

Let me just be clear….I am not anti-medication.

There is absolutely a time and a place for medication. It’s very common that people say they have chronic anxiety but refuse to take anything for it, perhaps because of the stigma we have about mental health. That being said, I also think that we have to do whatever we can naturally for our bodies and mind to help with anxiety. Managing anxiety without medication is possible even if it is a tool combined with medication. Studies show that combining medications with therapy shows the best results for acute cases.

Jillian travel and wellness influencer relaxing and talking about managing anxiety without medication

“There is more to life than increasing its speed”. –Gandhi

Anxiety has us on high alert and while it has its place, it’s not what we want to feel long-term. Anxiety makes us tired, and when we are exhausted we are more susceptible to illness. Chronic stress on the body causes physical problems. Stress can lead to inflammation which leads to disease, weight gain, and it can mess up the body’s ability to regulate insulin. All bad news! This is why we need to manage our anxiety! The threshold of stress that someone can manage varies and it depends on the individual. In our culture we praise people who can handle stress instead of examining if this is really what’s best and celebrating the people who balance life well. 

We have to realize that stress isn’t all bad.

Some stress can be good for us. It can motivate and energize us. It’s normal for the body to experience and regulate stress. What’s bad is being in a constant state of stress and not letting the body recover in between stress cycles. This is when we start to break down both mentally and physically. The body and mind need time to recover from stress because we can’t be constantly stressed without consequences.  

The increasing worldwide sense of anxiety is why managing anxiety without medication is so important. The focus should be on fixing the origin of the problem rather than applying bandage after bandaid. In America we praise the rich and successful. As a culture the people who get the most done and have the most successful careers are considered the winners. Why don’t we praise the people who have mastered self-care? The ones who know what balance is and who stay calm throughout all waves that life brings us. 

The threshold of stress that someone can manage depends on the individual.

It’s interesting that studies show that the higher your IQ is, the more likely you are to experience anxiety.

Some scientists think that if your approach to problems is always “logical,” when in fact many problems have to be confronted with emotion rather than reason, then your anxiety and stress levels tend to increase. Higher levels of self-awareness also contribute to the racing mind associated with anxiety.

During a particularly anxious time in my life (from owning my own small business, a Pilates and yoga studio–oh the irony, sigh), my life coach recommended a book to me that was eye-opening, The Chemistry of Calm by Henry Emmons, M. D. After reading this book, I was inspired to share my takeaway tips and tricks.

“Western medicine is effective at dealing with illness but not as good at helping people achieve and maintain wellness.” –The Chemistry of Calm

What you feed your mind matters:

Be intentional with your thoughts. Thoughts shape our mind. What we consume and watch with our mind matters. Recent brain studies have shown that with intention, we can actually “change our minds.” Even a short period of meditation, for instance, can contribute to calming us and making us more adept at activating the part of our brain that tamps down the stress response and contributes to more positive, calm emotions. 

For me that means limiting my intake of news and social media. 

Want to read more on mindset? Read What is Mindset.

Balance your brain:

For a complete list of supplements to balance your brain check out The Chemistry of Calm, which has a chapter all on balancing your brain chemistry. I found out that I had an excess of norepinephrine, which is basically the brain’s adrenaline. 

When I was under a lot of stress, I started taking omega 3 fatty acids to balance out my norepinephrine.


An excellent way to manage anxiety without medication is physical exercise. Physical exercise creates new brain cells, and mindful movement keeps them thriving. Physical exercise is good for the brain because it creates new brain cells. Mental exercise is what keeps them thriving. Use your body! 

I absolutely am not the same human without exercise. No matter what, I have to move everyday and I have to do an exercise class, routine, or something of the like 5-6 days a week. We also need mindful movement, which is a movement that makes you use your brain–think dancing or tai chi–something where you need to have an awareness of the movement you are doing. It doesn’t have to be a complex movement but requires some thought. This helps your mental focus. 

Want a movement suggestion? Read about why every BODY needs Pilates here.


Another great way to manage stress without medication is to learn something new. Mental exercise keeps your brain cells thriving. Use your brain! That can be anything from learning a new skill like cooking or sewing to learning a language or reading about a new subject. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you do. 

My favorite activity for learning is practicing my Italian skills, primarily with Rosetta Stone or Duolingo.

Eat Well:

We all “know” we should eat well, but like really….we need to eat well. Fruits and vegetables aid in learning and reversing aging and improve memory. The more colors on your plate, the better, and be sure to eat fresh foods that are in season. If your diet is lacking in something it’s important to take supplements. 

For me, I don’t eat fish so I take an omega 3 supplement which helps the brain and aids in preventing cell death. 

Breath work:

Breath work is an important part of staying calm and a great way to naturally relieve anxiety without medication. When we focus on our breath, we aren’t focused on the past or the future, but in the present moment. Breath work is a great tool. 

I love meditations that focus on the breath because it’s a great way to start a meditation practice. When I’m up at night with my to-do list and can’t sleep, I try to focus on my breath and let my thoughts go. Of course, they creep back, but I just keep going back to the breath. This gets easier with practice. Guided meditations are always helpful as well, as they keep you on track and focused, allowing for less monkey-mind wandering. 


People matter. If we want to manage anxiety without medication, we must have connections with people to survive bad and challenging moments in time. 

Wow! I learned this one the hard way. Going through the most stressful time of my life was also the time I lost most of my friends. I was drowning, trying to save my small business during covid and that, combined with restrictions, caused me to lose connection. Besides, most of my friends are moms who want to hang out with other moms, and this resulted in a deep loneliness. I didn’t even realize I had no life or friends until my therapist pointed it out to me. Being in a state of anxiety and stress was difficult enough, then on top of it all I didn’t have anyone to talk to! Ok I had my therapist who I paid, my partner, my mom, but not any friends who texted me and said how ARE you?  

So what have I learned from loneliness and a lack of connection? One, that it matters, and we all need human connection regardless of the advanced introvert we may be. But also, I have to change my mindset. I can’t change that my mom friends want to hang out with mom friends. You know what I can change? How I respond to it. It doesn’t mean I call and beg people to hang out with me; that is exhausting when you’re already in a dark place. It’s about looking for new connections, approaching people whose time and energy you enjoy. It’s about changing your surroundings so that you do have more connection. That is something I now actively am working on.

Mind Body exercise:

Do yoga! Now this is my totally biased opinion and you can replace yoga with any mind body exercise such as tai chi or Pilates. Yoga is a great practice for those of us who aren’t good at sitting still because it is a breath practice where we move. Yoga focuses on being in the moment, calm and present. Through the continuous practice of yoga you will gain the skills to be calm and present in your everyday life and in stressful situations. It’s easy to stay calm in a studio smelling lavender with a calm instructor guiding you. It’s much more challenging in everyday life. In yoga we practice non attachment, just seeing things without reacting, which will benefit you in the face of the stressors of life such as traffic and arguments.

I hope that you will apply some of these tips and tools to your daily life so that you can get the most out of your life and achieve more balance and less anxiety. Let’s spend less time worried, anxious, and in a state of panic and more time in a state of calm, chill, Sunday afternoon enjoying a spritz. 

Jillian travel and wellness influencer relaxing and talking about managing anxiety without medication

Interested in a life coach? Check out my recommendation for a life coach here!  Alex works with clients in person and on zoom.

Want tips on a morning routine that will ease your anxiety? Check out my morning rituals guide. Want to learn more about why you should put your wellness first?

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