3 ways to care for your mental health without medication
Now you’ve read the blog title, it is important to make it clear that, first and foremost, there is no shame in medicating for mental health. Many people find anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication life-changing.
There are lifestyle changes you can make, which should help additionally or completely. However, if they feel too surmountable, short-term medication might give you the help you need to begin a natural journey of recovery. The following ideas will help you sustain already healthy mental health or improve your current state with or without medication.
Anxiety treatment without medication
You experience anxiety when your brain perceives something as a threat to your life. It rapidly switches into the lifesaving fight or flight mode and prepares you to save your life by running from danger or fighting it. The freeze and fawn modes are new additions to the fight or flight mode first researched in the 1920s. Freeze is exactly what it says on the tin and fawn incorporates a more human reaction - when you hide or people please to avoid the danger.
To revert to your default calm state of mind and body, you need your brain to recognise safety. Sometimes there is a vicious circle, as the physical manifestation of anxiety causes anxiety of its own. Typically, the fight or flight response causes similar physical symptoms to a heart attack. Created through evolution, the response should happen quickly, get you out of danger quickly, and return you to your default state quickly. Most stressors in human life are not a threat to your life, so your brain does not get the ‘out of danger’ memo and continues the response long-term. To treat anxiety, you need to help your brain recognise your life as safe.
Curing depression without medication
Depression and anxiety are probably the most common mental health problems in our society today. Therefore, people regularly speak about them together, or incorrectly use them synonymously. If you have depression, you do not necessarily have anxiety too, but a feeling of persistent numbness. Some people describe it as sadness. You might not have the motivation to partake in life, and things you previously enjoyed no longer feel fun. Therapy, including hypnotherapy, will give you the space to talk through your feelings. Your hypnotherapist will help you find the discipline to stick to the things in life that help you feel better.
How to treat mental illness without medication
Some people believe mental illness requires medication. Others like to maintain wellness without it. Each of us experiences illness personally and has different beliefs. When I work with clients, I check you have spoken with your doctor first. Some people want to medicate, but find the doctor cannot help them. Regardless of your personal preference or opinion of your doctor, there are key lifestyle disciplines that help depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. Hypnotherapy sessions will help you maintain these disciplines, so your body is in the healthiest (natural) state possible.
Your work-life balance
As natural animals, we need activity to survive. Maybe you can call this work, I prefer to call it survival. Whatever the label, we are animals that do not naturally sit and relax. However, the survival work we do today is as far away from natural as it’s ever been. Unless you have a job that is in line with the natural way of living, you expect your body to function in an unnatural state most of the time. To do this without offsetting puts huge expectations on yourself. Collapsing onto the sofa with a screen in hand, or watching the TV, is not always the best way to mitigate this. Your body needs a natural environment, an open natural space with access to the sun and elements to reset itself. If you live to work, write some time in your diary to rejoin your natural environment as much as possible.
Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, repairing cells, fighting infections, brain detoxification, and energy restoration. Without it, you suffer. Poor mental health can impede sleep, and sleep can create poor mental health, so what do you do?! Your brain needs a couple of hours of pitch-black darkness to register that it is time to sleep. When this happens, it produces sufficient melatonin to give you a good night’s sleep. When you wake in the morning, it’s important to get into sunlight as soon as possible. Sunrise is ideal. Your brain needs this to reset your body clock, which is not twenty-four hours as you’d believe, but a little over. Without this reset, you can end up with a disordered sleep cycle. Screens, household lights, and street lighting all interfere with your circadian rhythm and hinder melatonin production.
If sleep is a struggle in your life, a hypnotherapist experienced in working with sleep issues will help you find a way to fall asleep and stay asleep, so you wake each morning feeling fresh and reenergised.
The classic saying "you are what you eat" isn’t too far from the truth. Of course, you aren’t what you eat, but your body needs specific nourishment to function optimally. A nutritional therapist will guide you on what to eat, and your hypnotherapist will help you find your discipline, so you stick to the eating plan. Your body needs certain nutrients to work as designed. Just like a car needs its tank filled with a specific fuel, your body needs a specific combination of elements from food to work properly. No one expects their car to run on something other than petrol or diesel (taking electricity out of the equation!) so why expect your body to run on something other than the nutrients it needs?
Finding a professional
A strong focus on your work/life balance, to include natural living, sleep and nutrition, will all improve your mental health. If you need support to make the changes, a therapist will help you do this. Sometimes all we need is a little nudge in the right direction to make huge positive changes.