How I Deal With Anxiety In Untraditional Ways

By Amanda Paa – Updated January 12, 2021

I feel like there’s an article telling me how to deal with anxiety in my inbox every day. Or a tweet. Or a Facebook post. They usually talk about the usual. You know, using exercise as an outlet, taking a bath, meditate, find things to distract. But as someone who deals with generalized anxiety (which I’ve talked about before), these approaches have never helped me. {Am I the only one? Maybe I should have titled this post untraditional anxiety.} But we all have different stressors, different brains, and different comforts. I liken it to those who think one way of eating is the answer for everyone, yet all of our bodies are different and need to be treated as such. It’s about allowing yourself to explore what works for you, and not judging the pace or the path.

For me, the distraction route (which is not always a bad thing), actually doesn’t address the root of the problem, nor the multiple underlying issues that ignite worry. Those “distractions” actually fuel more uncontrolled thinking, because it’s just me and the racing thoughts.

Untraditional Ways to Deal With Anxiety

Really in just the last year have I figured out what’s helpful for me. I’d be contradicting myself if I said this is what you should do, but maybe you feel like you’re on the same wavelength. Even just the act of thinking about it in a different way can break up old patterns. So in an attempt to share openly, here’s how I’m working through anxiety ridden days.

1. Stop the thoughts in their tracks, physically and mentally. And walk backwards through them.

* I’ve learned that one underlying issue can spiral into many worries, fueling a tumble of anxiety. I can feel it in my breathing, and up through my shoulders/neck. At this point I know it’s time to stop what I’m doing, completely stop. And talk myself through each worry, one at a time, most often because the one that caused me to finally stop and assess isn’t really the main cause. (I’ve also found that this complete stop is hard for me because I tend to use multi-tasking as a way to try and run away from issues.)

2. Write. Even if you think you’re a bad writer.

* I find when I put the words on paper that are going through my mind, some sort of progress seems to flow out of my fingers. Much different than anything typing can do. Or even speaking sometimes. And where I’ve really made strides with writing is the aftermath. Rereading what I was worried about lets me see how irrational the thoughts can be sometime, which is completely normal when anxiety takes over. The problem is they feel real, so real, which is why they’re hard to find my way out of.

3. Talk it out with friends, but also have a therapist.

* Girlfriends are always good sounding boards. I have two that I know I can text at any time of day who will always listen, and help me calm down. They help make sense of what is bothering me, and lift me up. They talk to me in an honest manner, even if that means hearing things I don’t always want to. Yet I’ve learned that I need a therapist, who is completely outside of my life, who can really dig into the tough parts of the issues. Much of my emotional response to situations comes from my childhood, and ways my brain conditioned itself. And it takes a lot, a lot of work to unravel that, and then retrain. Without my therapist, I would never had made the progress I have. And when you think the money isn’t worth it, trust me, it’s worth every penny. But you might have to work to find a therapist that you clique with, so don’t give up if you go through a few. When you find the one, you’ll know.

4. When the tides turn, think of it as a plot twist.

* What makes your favorite books or stories interesting? Many times it’s because they didn’t play out as you had assumed when you started reading. I naturally want to control every aspect because I’m afraid what’s on the other side. BUT there can be really good things on the other side. Maybe you won’t realize them immediately, but time allows things to play themselves out. I think about a lot of the things that have happened in my life that weren’t ideal at the time, but they helped form who I am today. They’re part of my story, they’re part of the experiences that help me navigate life. After sorting things out with the first three points, this is a mantra, I recite.

5. Taking MegaFood Tension Release.

* I’ve talked about this before, but I was never one to take supplements. But MegaFood (one of yearly partners) has a Farm-to-Tablet, herbal philosophy to support a healthy lifestyle that goes hand in hand with my beliefs, and their process is actually quite fascinating. They have a few specialty supplements, like Tension Release which is an herbal way to promote relaxation and clear mind.* It includes Sensoril®†, a clinically studied extract of ashwagandha, helps to inhibit fatigue and physical tension from everyday stress.* Passion flower vine and lemon balm are cooling herbs traditionally used to soothe occasional nervousness.* And eleuthero root supports strength and vitality.* All these natural things I never knew could help to even me out, and ease my busy brain.* Now I take it once a day, which I find helps with my daily maintenance of staying grounded and balance.

6. Once I’m feeling calmer, more grounded, then I do something to let my mind be free.

For me, that’s pinning cute animals on Pinterest (here’s my dedicated board). And that is not a lie. There is something about animals that brings so much happy energy to my brain and body. For 2017 my goal is to take this one step further and actually volunteer at an animal shelter, or humane society.

Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with me below, through email ,or social media. I’m happy to be a sounding board if you need it. I won’t have the answers, but I do have an open and loving heart. Anxiety is a real thing that only harbors itself deeper if it goes untalked about.

All the love, Amanda.

Untraditional Ways to Deal With Anxiety

Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by MegaFood as part of my participation in their Ambassador program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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November 20, 2016


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  1. Mary

    So I came for a graham cracker crust recipe and somehow ended up here. I love what you had to say in this post! I also love megafoods , but didn’t know about this particular product. And gosh, I know the anxiety routine well, too. Cooking, nature, journaling and t a l k i n g are definitely my go to’s. It’s so important to have safe people for a sounding board, I’m so glad you have that! I have found a couple in my lifetime, so far. Love women supporting women. Sharing our burdens and loving each other with all our differences as we navigate this life. All the love, precious one. xo

    • amandapaa

      I hope you found the graham cracker crust recipe! I do have one. :) Thanks so much for your thoughts on the anxiety piece of things. Other women’s support, like yours, is so needed! xo

  2. Sherrie

    Thanks for sharing your vulnerable, loving heart with us. You are brave and strong and beautiful. I love you! xx

  3. Ashley

    Amanda thank you so much for writing such a touching and intimate post. It’s amazing for me reading this as I identify so strongly with the stress and anxiousness and I’ve always just accepted it as a part of my personality as many of the typical management recommendations as you mentioned don’t really work for me. Meditation actually makes me stress more ha! It is so refreshing to read the different ideas and the self care and acknowledgement you have given your anxiety. I could really take that on board. I think the stop everything trick might just be a go as I tend to work up like a tornado into my stress forgetting the trigger in the first place so working backwards is a great idea. I’m also going to look into the aswagandha! It is something that I really only let affect me and have definitely learned to manage over the years especially since having children but that can feel creep in and get to me more than I’d like to at times. Thank you for writing this post and sharing to help others have a new perspective. At least something to give a whirl! Cute kittens and baby Tigers here I come ?? x

  4. Ruby

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Anxiety can be so isolating and internal, I think any and all efforts to get it more out in the open and discussed are crucial, and you have done it so beautifully. I struggle with waves of periodic anxiety, which means every time it happens I tend to freak out even more and think “what is my mind doing to me??” Your first tip is exactly what I have to keep in mind- stop and rewind through the thoughts. Also, I swear by writing everything down as well, it is so good to work through things.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration. Sending lots of love xo

  5. Val

    Thanks so much for sharing and posting this. I can relate and really appreciated your honesty and tips for dealing with anxiety :-)

    • amandapaa

      Thanks for reading Val, sending hugs and more open discussions about this sort of thing! xo

  6. Carly Dirlam

    Hi Amanda – Thanks for sharing your story! It’s this kind of honesty that will take away stigma about such common (and annoying) things like GAD. Hope you are well.


    • amandapaa

      So great to hear from you Carly. It’s interesting how there is a stigma around anxiety, like living in depression’s shadow. But it can be can cause just as much disruption. Thank you for what you do in the medical community to help! xo

  7. Tessa | Salted Plains

    Thank you for sharing this! Everyone really does deal with anxiety differently, but I’m sure so many people will benefit from these great strategies you’ve shared. I think this post comes at such a perfect time. I see in my day to day work the up close and personal ebb and flow of stress – I feel we are in the heart of the ‘stressful season’ right now for many. For me, who also battles this, it’s using strategies like this so that I can do my best work to support others. Beautiful post. Love to you, my friend. xo

  8. Allie

    Thank you so much for your openness and vulnerability, Amanda. I’ve been working a lot on my anxiety this past year too, and a lot of your suggestions have also worked well for me. I’ve learned that most of my anxiety comes from worrying over questions I never take the time to actually stop and answer. All of the “what if’s” start to pile up and then I feel as though I’m buried under a mountain of them. At first, all of my decisions seem so black and white which can make life pretty scary sometimes. But if I take a moment (either by myself or with friends) to stop and think about all of the possibilities, or plot twists like you say, so much of my tension is relieved and my fear subsides. And then there’s time to focus on something that brings you joy. For you, that might be pinning cute photos of animals, but for me, it’s been working through some of your recipes :) So thank you for playing a part in my self care! I’d love the opportunity to thank you in person some day!

    • amandapaa

      Allie, I have tears streaming down my face reading this. First of all, thank YOU for sharing your story, and what you’ve been working on. That black and white cloud is something that I didn’t even think to mention, but is 100% what I deal when the anxiety is there. Other times, I can see in between, but at those points I can’t.

      And to hear you say that working your way through some of my recipes is one of the things that helps you, well, you just clarified that this space has a purpose that goes deeper than sometimes I might know. I would love to meet you someday too, thank you for connecting. xo

  9. Alison @ Foodbymars

    This is great, Amanda! Totally agree about working through the underlying issues- and everyone is so different, figuring out what helps you is invaluable. Love you pin idea… I’ll do that with interior design but then ultimately stress about how I want a home and can’t afford one here and go down a rabbit hole of Zillow alerts LOL- maybe cute animals are better!! Hahaha all the love boo. And Ashwaganda is the best!!! Take it every morning also for my thyroid ?

  10. Jess @Nourished by Nutrition

    I can’t tell you how much I love this post!!! I think it’s so important to recognize that everyone is so different so it becomes imparative that you find what works for you. While the general distraction methods and “stress” relief suggestions typical DO work for me, I know with these methods I’m never addressing what is fully causing my anxiety. But I also know that until I’m fully accepting and willing to knowledge the root problem I will never be able to overcome it. I really enjoyed your methods and I think writing and openly talking about your anxieties are some of the hardest but most effective things you can do. Thank you for this post and your openness. It’s reassuring to know there is a community of support in this blogging world, and an encouraging reminder to open up on my blog. Sending love, Jess

    • amandapaa

      Jess, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Honestly, it was therapeutic for me to read. It’s great to hear you say that the distraction method does work for you, and gives you a sense of relief. And that acceptance piece! So true. Here’s to lifting each other up, xo.

  11. Randall S Paa

    Well done.

    • amandapaa

      love you dad.