A couple of weeks ago, my doctor suggested I see a psychiatrist for anxiety. Why? I had to go to urgent care because I was unable to breathe. After a chest x-ray, EKG, and a myriad of blood tests I found out that nothing was wrong with me. I was just anxious and having a panic attack. It seems that life’s little stressors slowly build up until my body screams out in rejection. Since that night I gasped for air for about an hour, I haven’t had any breathing problems. Yet, I have tightness in my chest when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Needless to say, that happens frequently. I have to get this under control because stress can kill me. According to WebMD, 75-90% of doctor visits are due to stress related ailments, as was my $175 doctor visit to urgent care, and I don’t need any more of those.
The only option my doctor gave me to manage the stress (and panic attacks) is to see a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist can do two things really. They can prescribe pills for me to take on a daily basis, or they can prescribe pills to take whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, anxious or panicky. It’s tempting. A legal drug that can calm me down without any conscious effort on my part. No work, no lifestyle change, just a tiny pill that can change how I’m feeling in an instant. But I won’t do it. I hate taking pills everyday for allergies. I would have to take anti-anxiety meds forever. I don’t want to subject myself to a legal addiction. My stress and anxiety won’t go away if I don’t kill it at its source or manage it effectively. Besides, pills aren’t free. Reducing stress however, is.
Clearly, getting rid of junk and clearing my schedule (not that I’m close to being finished) isn’t enough to fix my stress problem. I still get angry at work, at other drivers, and at life in general. I get particularly angry at situations I can’t control, but I’m learning to deal with them. Lately, I’ve been listening to the recordings of Sunday church sermons. They keep me grounded. I very rarely go to church but I like to listen to the podcasts of the sermons at my leisure.
Unity, my church, is an extremely liberal Christian church that, in my opinion, encourages members to find their own way. One of the church’s tenants is to utilize positive affirmations to change your thoughts and to change your life. Some of Unity’s belief system has many parallels to Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret,” but Unity has been around much, much longer. That’s all I’ll say about Unity because I hate when people get preachy. I’m sure you have your own Church, Temple, Mosque, or whatever that lays down life-guidelines for you. My suggestion: follow them if they help you feel better. If you want more information about what I do, you’ll seek it out.
I digress. I wanted to share with you some of the positive affirmations I pulled out of the church sermons; I try to focus on them when things get rough.
Following God’s guidance I move forward with enthusiasm and expectancy.
I appreciate where I am because the idea of where I want to be came to me here and now.
I am centered and poised in the perfect unfolding of all good. I let go and let God reveal my next step.
All is orderly and perfectly revealed; God is at work and in charge of my life.
God and I are a majority.
My emotions reveal the quality of my thinking, not the quality of my life.
If those don’t work for you, that’s fine. Find your own positive affirmations that you can say and believe. But these, especially that first one, has given me a new positive attitude, and I stress, just a little less.
Other site’s to check out:
More information about Positive Affirmations
3 thoughts on “Managing Stress and Anxiety: Pills or Positive Affirmations?”
I’ve totally been there… the stress and hospital-worthy anxiety place. My doctor advised me to go the medication route, and I was adamantly against it for many of the same reasons you are: I felt that my problems could only be solved by a lifestyle and attitude change. I never took the pills, and have recovered nicely in the last few years. According to your bio, you’ve studied psychology, so I probably can’t tell you anything you don’t already know, but I would still advise you to keep in my that for some people, depression and anxiety is a chemical problem that does need to be medicated. Other people can do it without meds. In any case, it’s great that you’re putting such an effort into creating a positive place for yourself, and I’m very interested in this post!
I’m glad you were able to overcome stress without medication… it’s great to know that my efforts aren’t completely futile, that other people have had success reducing stress without medication. It takes a lot of work. By no means am I even close to being where I want to be. I think medication is especially helpful in the severest of cases, but is only a good temporary solution for most people. Eventually, people have to make lifestyle changes if they don’t want to be on medication forever, even for depression. Some doctors/therapists will tell you that dietary changes can help with depression. And medication doesn’t always work; it can have negative side effects and terrible consequences… We live in such a highly medicated society… I decided I don’t want to join the drugged masses.
I was checking out your blog… I’m going to find a place to link to it here. I like your happiness pledge… and your other postings 🙂
I agree, we as a society often over-medicate ourselves. I guess it’s all about knowing your body and yourself, absorbing medical advice, and deciding what’s right for you. I’m glad you like my blog! I’m a fan of yours, too 🙂
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