There are many other techniques which are proven to help with managing anxiety, insomnia, depression and other conditions for which antidepressants and benzos are prescribed. Below are a few ideas and resources which we hope will help you to find a useful, drug-free way of coping. Those listed here are reported to help with anxiety and stress related issues. The links have been included so you can check them out if interested.

The Linden Method, Autogenics, Transcendental or other forms of meditation, Diaphragmatic Breathing, Alternate Nostril Breathing, Dr Benson’s Relaxation Response.  Also, be sure to check the Relaxation Aids section of the Recovery Road Bookstore.

Feel-Good Resources

This is a ‘Feel-good’ resource list of which I hope at least some will prove useful for anyone experiencing low moods. Maybe you will find something here that will help to positively distract you while your recovery unfolds.There is nothing more therapeutic than sharing your feelings with someone who will listen actively without judgement. If you are isolated at this time and have no one to talk things over with, you could speak to a helpline worker (UK, US, worldwide); you will be anonymous and can express freely.

If at all possible try to do some form of low-impact or gentle exercise. Exercise is recognised as being effective in overcoming depression. I know this can be difficult if experiencing muscle/joint pain and other benzo withdrawal symptoms, but even a short leisurely walk is better than nothing. If you are housebound maybe you could do even 5 minutes of on-the-spot walking or simple stretches. Ideally, 20 or 30 minutes will trigger the release of endorphins and elevate your mood.  If you haven’t been exercising, resist implementing a rigorous exercise programme at this time as the over-stimulation may exacerbate your symptoms.

Some of the following activities should also help, especially after you’ve spoken to someone and are feeling lighter.

Rent a good collection of funny movies and watch them often.

Play a  mentally stimulating game to distract yourself and keep intellectually motivated.

Candlelight isn’t only romantic, it is a useful healing tool. Stock up on some good quality scented candles and enjoy the ambience.

Yoga – Even a simple yoga routine can enhance well-being and increase fitness. Doing yoga is like having an internal massage – it tones the organs and helps to relax you in the process.

Only you will know what makes a good read for you. If you like romance novels, mysteries, gossip magazines, whatever takes your fancy (maybe something light and not too intense at this time), keep a few close to hand for when you’re in the mood.

Soothing and uplifting music can work wonders. Of course this is down to personal taste – keep a compilation of your favourite pick-me-up music handy.

A good gentle massage is bliss - the healing power of touch. If you can’t afford to pay for one and there is no one around to practise on you, you can do a self-massage – you will feel the difference.  Caution: Like rigorous exercise, deep tissue, very stimulating massages can do more harm than good if you are experiencing an intense withdrawal.  If you are having deep-tissue pain or notice that you are sensitive to touch, then it is best to have only gentle massages at this time.

Grounding Tips

For anyone experiencing feelings of anxiety, depersonalisation and/or derealisation, the following are good, effective techniques which may help you to feel grounded and more connected:-

Feel your feet on the floor (take your shoes off if appropriate), and become aware of your bottom on the chair – mentally note the sensation, the weight and the connection and stay with it for a while.

Look around you - notice the colour of the wall, are there any paintings, any plants in the room? If there is a clock, notice the time and then remind yourself of what day of the week it is and the date.

Focus on your breathing and take deep slow breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth.

If you are outside, bring yourself to the present by becoming aware of the feel of the sun on your skin, or the rain if it’s raining. If you can, lean against a tree. Inhale the scents of the grass and other plants. Listen to the sounds around you.

Keep at least 3 items of different textures – something soft like a stuffed toy, something smooth, rubbery, rough etc. As you hold them let the feel register and connect with them through your sense of touch.

Imagine that your feet have roots that sink into the ground/earth.  As you stand or sit really feel your feet making contact with the earth and deeply tune in to the connection.  If appropriate, and you are able to take off your shoes when you do this it is even better.

Stroke your cat or dog and say what you’re doing while you do it… “I am stroking my cat..”  Your pet may think you’re acting a bit ‘odd’ but who else is capable of such unconditional acceptance?

Suicidal Ideation

If you are finding your experience to be too overwhelming and are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself in any way, please reach out to someone you trust and get help as soon as possible. You can also contact a confidential helpline: helpline worker (UK, US, worldwide) where you will be able to speak to someone who will listen without judgement.  This website is also a very useful resource and you may find that it will to make you feel more hopeful and better equipped to handle feelings of despair. Whatever action you take, remember that thinking you are unable to cope doesn’t make it a reality. This is just a thought and nothing more. You do not have to act on it. Be assured that help is available and speaking to someone can make a remarkable difference. Look after yourself well, be gentle with yourself and take good care. This too, shall pass….


Disclaimer: Nothing on this website is a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment from a medical professional. Recovery Road takes no liability for any loss, damage or expense resulting directly or indirectly from action taken as a result of information provided here.
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