Millions of people worldwide suffer from anxiety.
In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is “affecting 40 million adults in the United States” alone.
Perhaps you are one of them.
Is there anything you can do when anxiety burdens you down? When your mood and energy plunge to new depths? – There certainly is.
Consider incorporating the following habits into your daily life to lift your spirit and relieve your anxiety.
1. Resting and Relaxing
When sleep becomes a luxury, stress levels often rise. Sufficient, restful sleep isn’t just essential for your physical health, it lifts your mood and decreases anxiety as well.
Though, rest and relaxation can also come in other forms than sleep. A soothing, hot bath in Epsom salt combined with relaxing scents, such as vanilla, lavender, or chamomile, for example, is calming and can help lower blood pressure.
And don’t forget about taking a break from technology on a regular basis. Study after study has shown that overuse of technology causes an increase in stress. Of course, it may not be possible for you to completely disconnect, but you can certainly turn down the electronic devices before you go to sleep at night.
2. Eating Healthy
Food fuels your body and has a big impact on your overall feeling of well-being. It may amaze you how easily you can effect a positive change in your mood simply by watching what you eat.
Help your body by eating whole-grain carbohydrates, foods high in fiber, and vitamin-B, vitamin-C, magnesium, and omega-3-rich foods. Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin-C can help lower levels of stress chemicals, like adrenaline and cortisol. Whole-grain and fiber help regulate serotonin production and control blood sugar levels.
At the same time, though, reduce the consumption of caffeine, refined sugars, alcohol, and processed foods to reap the most benefits. In particular, artificial sweeteners and junk food can have an adverse effect on your anxiety level.
3. Breathing and Meditating
Silence is good for the nerves. That’s because too much noise can raise your stress level. Schedule daily silent time and incorporate deep breathing and meditation or prayer.
Learning how to breathe can help alleviate your anxiety and even prevent panic attacks. There are several techniques, but they all basically involve getting the largest possible volume of air into your lungs, holding it for a short time, and then slowly releasing it.
Meditation has been proven to have positive effects on anxiety, mood, and stress symptoms. It can include observing your thoughts, challenging negative thinking, or visualizing positive and calming images that lift your spirit and bring clarity to your mind.
4. Exercising Regularly
There exists overwhelming research that demonstrates the benefits of exercise. In fact, as little as 20 minutes of regular exercise can help reduce your anxiety and lift your mood significantly.
Consider, for example, taking a daily walk. It’s a simple exercise with a lot of benefits. It reduces anxiety by releasing endorphins in your brain, boosting levels of serotonin, and giving you a feeling of control of your body and mind.
Merge this with spending time outside in green places—such as a walk in the park, a forest, or a tree-lined street—and you can reap even greater benefits. That’s because greenery has a more calming effect than drab city buildings. Plus, walking outdoors will allow you to soak up natural sunlight which helps increase vitamin-D in your body.
5. Spending Time With Friends
It’s no secret that laughter boosts your mood and reduces symptoms of anxiety. While you can certainly have a good time by yourself watching a funny movie or playing with your dog, the beneficial effects of laughter carry even further when you are in the company of friends.
Most likely, that’s because socializing stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that can help reduce anxious feelings. In fact, research has found that people who have a lot of social support deal with stress much better.
But spending time with friends doesn’t have to be limited to just laughing and unwinding. Sharing your troubles with a close friend, having a serious heartfelt one-on-one chat, or expressing gratitude in the company of loved ones are all healthy ways to help reduce your anxiety.
Certainly, in a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to worry about situations or thoughts that cause you anxiety. Lamentably, the world we live in is far from ideal. There exist a lot of reasons for us to worry—some valid, some not.
The least you can do to help your mental and emotional well-being is learn to integrate the above-mentioned five habits into your everyday living. They’re not hard to implement, but sometimes easy to push aside. So make an effort. It’s worth it!
However, if you need a little more help, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional. – Call to schedule an appointment with Rebecca at 469-213-6400.