As one of the Founders of J’Escapes Wellness Events and a Personal Trainer who also lives (thrives) with General Anxiety disorder, I know exactly how it feels to manage and combat my anxiety levels each day.
Here are some common symptoms that someone with anxiety can experience each day:
- brain fog
- clenching teeth
- irritability and mood swings
Here are my 7 tips for inducing calm and decreasing my anxiety levels each day with healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices that anyone can make!
1. Move (exercise) every day
For so many reasons. Exercise helps you feel accomplished and more confident. It helps release the feel-good hormones! Can someone say, “Hello serotonin and endorphins!”
It helps burn off any excess anxious energy and helps you fall asleep at night. It’s also great for making you feel mindful because you need to be “present” when attempting to lift a barbell that is heavier than you off the floor.
2. Limit Caffeine
The last time I had a coffee I had a panic attack while out at breakfast with a friend. It was quite scary, a little embarrassing, and annoying as I really value my leisure time with friends. Caffeine can cause huge swings in your hormones, primarily adrenaline, and can increase heart rate, sweating, and panic.
3. Limit processed foods especially sugar
I always feel more anxious, moody, and tired when I eat processed foods. The combination of food additives, gluten, dairy, sugar, and other poorly digested unnatural “foods” can definitely cause my gut and brain connection to react negatively. As tasty as some of these foods are, the symptoms are not worth the short term enjoyment
4. Limit Alcohol
When I drink alcohol I definitely notice the difference in my peace of mind. I’m tired, anxious, and panic more after a big night out. I’m edgy and worry a lot. I also feel a little down after a big night, and second, guess a lot of my decisions for the few days after a night out. The chaos caused to hormones like serotonin, and the effects of dehydration for me are enough to cause me to not want to drink alcohol. I am currently on an alcohol hiatus for the whole of 2019 with my girlfriend commuting to this and supporting me through it.
Slow, deep breathing, meditation and actually taking time out to slow down always makes me feel better, but it’s something I need to focus on more. I use a great app called Insight Timer which loaded full of guided meditations, meditation music, binaural beats, and nature sounds. You can never meditate too often. The more the better.
The less sleep I have, the worse my anxiety symptoms and headaches are. Plus I get really moody and have a short fuse. Blacking out my room by turning all lights and screens off, meditating before bed, and not checking my phone are all ways I try to improve my sleep each night. I also use the sleeping app Auto Sleep on my Apple Watch to track my sleep pattern each night. It can tell me if I went into a deep sleep and how long I have slept for.
7. Get in Nature
Bush-walking, hiking, swimming, and walking around barefoot always makes me feel better. It relaxes me, makes me more mindful, and can also balance out your hormones when connecting to the earth with bare feet. Fresh air, soothing sounds and minimal stress from the city and regular life are all dissolved when you find yourself playing in nature
Just remember, Anxiety can arise out of nowhere, and the symptoms can be really powerful and unwanted, but it can’t hurt you and it’s a normal bodily function. Millions of people struggle with anxiety for a myriad of reasons from the food we eat, to the stress we feel from a hyper-busy lifestyle. Trust me when I say, you can live with anxiety!!! You just need to be brave, seek professional help if needed, and follow the tips above.