If you’re one of the many people dealing with moderate to severe anxiety, but don't want to use medication, then try implementing some of these more natural ways to tame your anxiety before turning to prescription drug options. There is a mass market of pharmaceutical drugs today that treat anxiety disorders, but they may not be necessary for everyone dealing with common anxiety. Some of the best ways to treat anxiety don't require anything except a small handful of effective lifestyle changes. With a little daily practice, you can truly turn your anxiety around and never have to even pop a pill at all if you don't want to. I know, because I've done it! Though I'm not a doctor and this advice should not be considered medical advice, I can tell you these 7 tips below changed my life. This is not an exclusive list by any means, but will at least you get you started in the right direction.
Most people dealing with anxiety usually have an unstable diet, or an unhealthy relationship with food, yet one of the best ways to tame your anxiety is through the foods you eat. I know, because I used to deal with this and have since then met many people dealing with the same issue. I was a healthy eater, but I wasn’t eating enough brain-nourishing foods to treat my chronic stress levels. I was extremely low on essential B vitamins, tryptophan-rich foods like fish, chicken, eggs and plant protein. I was also depriving my body of more grounding veggies like root veggies and more cooked veggies, which calm down the body. At the time I was eating a high raw diet, full of fruit and natural sugars, which left me with almost too much stimulation. I was a nervous ball of energy all the time and my anxiety ruled my life, my mood and my relationship with others. I’ve also been on the other end of the spectrum ten years ago, where I ate junk food and dealt with anxiety. Now, I know better. Eating junk food and not eating the right healthy foods, even if you eat healthy, can be a truly detrimental practice to treating anxiety. Be sure you eat enough brain balancing foods, which include plenty of proteins from humane animal sources, plant proteins, lots of cooked vegetables with some raw vegetables, moderate fruit intake and enough healthy fat intake. I also find that organic, grass fed yogurt is wonderful for its magnesium, calcium, B12 and potassium content, which all nourish the brain’s neurotransmitters and lower blood pressure as well.
If you’re dealing with anxiety and you drink, even occasionally, then you’ll need to stop drinking, or keep your intake to only one drink a week. If you do choose to drink, make red wine your only alcoholic beverage. Red wine in moderation is okay for anxiety, and contains many heart healthy benefits, but shouldn’t be depended on to relax you and it certainly isn't necessary to have a healthy diet. Instead, implement herbal teas and decaf coffees and teas more often than you do alcohol. These drinks will calm you down, nourish your body and enlighten your mood. Alcohol deprives the brain of mood stabilizing neurotransmitters, which ends up contributing to a chronic state of anxiety, depression and moodiness.
During the most anxious times in my life, I also found that I wasn’t getting enough quiet time to myself, or taking enough time to escape from the daily requirements in my schedule or in my household. Now, I make it a priority to get up earlier than everyone else so I can enjoy my alone time in the quietest part of the day in my household. I also make sure that I take 30 minutes at night before bed to myself right before I get a shower each night. During this time, I turn off all the lights in my room and stretch out my body and do yoga. This really helps lower stress and I even tend to sleep better and wake up each day feeling more refreshed. Don’t underestimate the power of quiet time. Your body and your mind need it more than you could know.
Exercise is such an amazing tool to treat anxiety! In fact, I credit exercise and a balanced diet with saving me from a lifetime of anxiety. Exercise helps the body cope with stress, and I find that stress-lowering exercises such as power walking instead of running, along with strength training, yoga and pilates, are some of the best exercises to treat chronic anxiety. Try to spend 45 to 60 minutes a day on yourself for exercise. Not only will you get a rockin’ body, but your brain will also get a major mood boost! You'll also be able to deal with daily stresses that come up during your day much more efficiently with an exercise regimen. Trust me, you may not look forward to it, but no one ever regrets exercise. They only regret not doing it!
This is one area of anxiety that I can majorly relate to. I’ve been in three different wonderful careers in my past that were promising, but honestly, they left me miserable and chronically stressed. Eventually I left, and though I made less money when I first made the change, it ended up saving me from a terrible level of stress. Though it took three years, I finally found a job in an area I’m passionate about- writing! Now, instead of living such a daily stressful life, I work two jobs so that I can contribute more to my passion of writing, which is essentially a dream job for me. Consider what your job is doing to your stress levels. Is it making your life miserable? If so, then your job may be what is leading you to drinking, eating poorly, not getting enough rest, or not exercising. Consider all of your options and if your job is the main culprit, and there’s no way for you to deal with the stress without leaving, consider your options if you left. Taking that leap of faith may be the best change you ever make if you decide to leave.
Hun, you can’t manage your stress if you don’t get enough pillow time! Don’t expect to burn both ends of the candle by staying up late and getting up early, and then wonder why you’re stressed! Your precious body needs 7-8 hours, and though that sounds so textbook, there’s a reason for it! I feel better with 9-10 hours myself, but I make sure I at least get 7-8 each night. Go to bed at 10 at the latest, and if you suffer insomnia, consider taking a homeopathic supplement that is 100% natural and won’t cause addictions or side effects, such as Calms Forte, which you can find here: iherb.com.
A social life is extremely important for managing anxiety. Sometimes, we just need to get out and talk to somebody, even if it’s over a measly cup of coffee! Don’t try to manage your anxiety all on your own, or drown your stress in a round of drinks every weekend at a club or bar. Your life is so short, so live it well! We are meant to be around others and interact with others, so be sure your social life reflects a healthy image of your relationships with other people. If you have trouble meeting people, as I find it hard to do sometimes, visit your local bookstore, coffee shop, or park. These can be great places to meet someone if you’re not into the whole club scene thing.
Do you have any tips for managing anxiety? Please share them! I’m always looking for new ways to explore a calmer lifestyle, as well as help others.
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