Anxiety creeps up on us and although often thought of as a bad thing, it is really our bodies warning system to let us know we need to make some changes. Staying on high alert is uncomfortable and certainly not healthy. Anxiety happens when we anticipate or worry about something happening, and often times these thoughts and feelings just need a little reality check. Check out these 15 action steps to have in your anti anxiety tool box.
1) Exercise! Stress causes increase in the hormone cortisol and an excellent way to reduce this stress hormone is to exercise. Exercise also has the added benefit of releasing endorphins that provide calm and happy feelings. Even a 10 minute walk every day will reduce anxiety. It offers your body the oxygen it needs and breathing is calming. Nature is also a wonderful anti anxiety resource.
2) Feed your brain: We often crave sugary or high carb foods when anxious. That is your brain trying to reduce anxiety. What it really needs are foods that provide the building blocks for growth such as high quality proteins, fats such as omega 3 fatty acids and slow release carbohydrates for sustained energy and balanced blood sugar. Whole grain carbohydrates help regulate levels of serotonin, the "feel good, calm and serene" neurotransmitter. Sugar and processed foods can increase symptoms of anxiety. Instead try almonds, bananas, oats, spinach, walnuts and fish such as halibut or salmon.
3) Hydrate: dehydration can cause feelings of anxiety and can alter your mood. Aim for 2-3 liters a day. Added benefit of increased energy and less food cravings.
4) Connect with friends: do something fun, laughter is truly wonderful medicine! Social support helps us to cope with stress and releases the hormone oxytocin, which has an anxiety reducing effect.
5) Distraction: engage in a distracting activity such as building a puzzle, coloring or working on a small project such as scrap booking. Other great ideas include starting a vision board or a collage with your goals, interests and positive statements.
6) Mindfulness: connect to the present moment by focusing on your senses. What do you see? smell? hear? feel? Use breathing exercises together will mindfulness. Anxiety comes from our worries about the future, focus on the present moment to reduce anxiety.
7) Sleep: Consistent sleep is key to your physical and mental health. Schedule consistent sleep routines and commit to that important rest for your brain and body.
8) Smile and have fun: did I already mention having fun? Laughter releases endorphins that truly can reduce anxiety. Watch a funny show, comedian or visit with a friend who has a great sense of humor. Play is important! Adults need recess too :)
9) Brain dump: sometimes our brain is not our friend and the thoughts start to spit into a tornado of their own. Getting thoughts out on paper, or into an email you send yourself can really help. 10) Gratitude: studies show that focusing on what you are grateful for reduces anxiety. Every day think about and write two things you are grateful for and two things you are looking forward to in the next day. Positive thinking is a thing..it works!
11) Disconnect: Plan to to disconnect from technology and reconnect to the people around you and activities you enjoy. Our brains are constantly overstimulated by multi tasking and all the gadgets of today's world.
12) Write a list of things that you do know and read that list every day. Assure yourself of the positives in your life.
13) Create a routine, daily habits will improve feeling confident and secure of the day ahead. Increased anticipation and planning will decrease anxiety.
14) Anxiety builds if it is winning. Do not avoid doing things, instead make a plan and seek some help around how to approach your worries. Vision a different outcome. Change the picture of anxiety by seeing yourself calm and happy. Retrain your mind to have calm associations with an event you think of as stressful.
15) Reality check: humans have thousands of thoughts daily. Not all are based in reality. Ask yourself, "what evidence do I have for this thought?" "what are other possible outcomes?" Remind yourself that anxiety is just a feeling, it will come and go, and you do have many things you can do to impact and decrease anxiety.
Interested in taking steps towards reducing your anxiety? Let's work together to decrease anxiety, improve mood, energy and comprehensive wellness with nutrition, activity and cognitive therapeutic support.
I look forward to working with you! For more nutrition, health, fitness, mental health and wellness info contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in an integrative health approach? Check us out at SageMED.co to learn more about our amazing team and schedule today, 425-679-6056.
"The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it." Hippocrates Marrie is a therapist, trainer, and health and wellness coach. She is passionate about preventative care, wellness and living a healthy, active, happy and balanced life.