Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City If you would like to send a question to Vicki, email us at [email protected]

Q. I am trying really hard to manage my stress better but the medical model troubles me. Are pharmaceutical drugs really the answer? I know so many people who rely on their drugs but are missing out on other alternative therapies that might work. Here is what I have learned. —– Mindy

A. A friend of mine recently tried acupuncture for her anxiety and stress that she held in her neck and shoulders. She felt some relief after the first treatment but even more by the second and third. She now goes once a month. She also experienced the calm and relaxation of the entire experience. While laying on the table, the room was dimly light with soft music playing. It was something that she could recreate at home with some re-training.
I have become a big fan of massage therapy. My sister gave me a gift card, so I thought ok what have I got to lose. As it turned out I had everything to gain. It was wonderful. I was immobile for one hour, I was not multitasking anything. When my brain would think about what I was going to buy at Target, I would push it away and try to re-focus.
My friend Susan is a big fan of yoga. She builds it into her weekly routine going at least 3 times a week. It is a strenuous workout but do not fear, you fit it to your body’s ability to do what it can. If the person next to you is twisted into a pretzel and you can only lift one leg, that’s ok, at least you are moving. The “feel good” after yoga class makes it all worth it. Xanax cannot create that feeling. I know I have tried it.
So I am currently working on MINDFULNESS. Now that takes some practice. BEING IN THE MOMENT!!! How many of us can do that? When I can do it I realize just how great it is and how the benefits are even greater. To not worry about a darn thing. To not think about the past or the future. To hear the sounds around you. To really see what is around you. It is the best medicine ever. To just be in the moment.
Another non-pharmaceutical stress reducer is being in the company of people who share your energy and truly make you feel good. Don’t waste it on people who leave you more stressed. Take inventory of who you enjoy being around and increase the time. Don’t say lets get together sometime. Get your planner and make a date.
Want to save all that drug money?? Try laughter. It is amazingly good for the body. AMAZING!!! There is not enough of it. Seek out funny people, watch funny shows, go to funny movies. Add more laughter.
There are many choices for stress relief, pharmaceutical drugs is only one option, and probably not the best one. Try some of the above suggestions. Be open minded. Namaste