For most of us with an anxiety disorder, anxiety will be a lifelong battle. But there are a few simple rules to follow if you ever hope to beat anxiety long-term and make this battle easier.
These three rules are:
- Avoid the Strong Stuff
- Always use the Minimum Possible Measure
- Expand your Comfort Zone
Rule 1: Avoid the Strong Stuff
Just because a particular anxiety medication or supplement works does not necessarily mean it is the best option for you.
For example, a strong prescription medication will almost certainly eliminate your anxiety.. temporarily. But the stronger anxiety supplements tend to bring consequences of their own; side effects, tolerance, and dependency issues just to name a few.
These consequences are counterproductive to what your goal should be: to beat anxiety long-term.
This is why I rarely recommend the strongest anxiety medications. They are not sustainable. They may mask the problem, but you will likely grow to depend on them and never beat anxiety long-term.
If there is a particular situation coming up in your life that is giving you severe anxiety, a strong option may be justified as a temporary measure.
Ultimately, I recommend avoiding strong/daily-use medications for anxiety.
In my opinion, strong medications just set you back from real progress.
Rule 2: Expand Your Comfort Zone
To beat anxiety long-term, you will have to regularly push the barriers of your comfort zone.
Anxiety runs in my family. Even just looking at my family members a pattern becomes obvious. There are two possible ways in which people handle their anxiety:
- They stay within their comfort zone
- They find opportunities to leave their comfort zone
The first way, often called avoidance, almost always exacerbates the problem. When you hide within the walls of your comfort zone, your comfort zone shrinks over time.
Example: You get social anxiety in public settings, so you avoid leaving the house. Does this eliminate your anxiety? No. Instead, your comfort zone shrinks, until even something like answering the phone gives you anxiety.
The second way, pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, is always better. When we push the barriers of our comfort zone, our comfort zone expands over time. Thus begins the lifelong process of rewiring our brain to fear less and less over time, naturally.
There is already an article on Exposure Therapy which can help you immensely to expand your comfort zone and beat anxiety long-term.
Rule 3: Always Use The Minimum Possible Measure
Anyone looking for help with their anxiety will eventually ask:
Which anxiety supplement is best for me?
This can be a difficult question. As we discussed previously, the best solution is very rarely "the strongest" option.
Instead, I recommend using the minimum possible measure required to treat your anxiety.
What do I mean by this?
Well, as we mentioned earlier, to beat anxiety long-term, you should be pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone whenever possible.
This isn't easy.
If (safely) using an anxiety supplement is the difference between avoidance and action, supplementation may be appropriate.
However, not all anxiety supplements are created equal. You are doing yourself a massive disservice if you use a strong supplement to cope with mild anxiety.
My general rule of thumb here is, always use the minimum possible measure required:
If you think you can handle a situation without anxiety supplements, do not use anxiety supplements.
If your anxiety is mild and you feel you need just a small boost to get you through it, go for as mild an option as you feel you can. Something like an anxiety-reducing tea or passionflower, for example, rather than medication.
When experiencing moderate anxiety, you may feel you need something more powerful. A supplement like phenibut can be a good solution for decreasing nervousness when the alternative is avoidance (which reinforces anxiety). Even here, the "minimum possible measure" rule still applies: You should opt for the lowest dose you need to handle whatever situation is causing your stress.
Only when your anxiety is severe in nature should you even consider touching "strong stuff" like most prescription medications. And even then you should be using as minimal a dose as possible.
With any degree of anxiety, your goal should always be to use the minimum possible measure.
Let anxiety supplements be your crutch, but never your shackle. Always strive to use less and less each time when facing different anxiety-provoking situations. Ideally, you eventually won't need them at all.
Final Note: For Those Already on Medication
One of the major reasons I never recommend heavy anxiety medications is because they are no joke.
Trying to quit your anxiety medication is an admirable goal. But it's something that needs to be done safely.
Please consult with your doctor before making any abrupt changes to your medication routine. Going cold-turkey off of certain anxiety medications can have potentially fatal results; please be smart and go about this properly, weaning off if necessary.
All the best!