Managing Stress and Anxiety: Pills or Positive Affirmations?

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

6 Affirmation Secrets to Make You Feel Better