Let’s be honest, anxiety sucks. While you may feel alone, know that an estimated 40 million people in the US live with it. We have our days when just getting out of bed seems impossible, we feel like we can’t live up to the standards at work, walking into Wal-Mart feels like you’re in the center of a monkey race, our children get on our last nerve but we love them so deeply we feel like we just aren’t enough, and also why can’t I just make a cup of coffee right? ……….It’s hard to just breathe.
Anxiety is a ghost. It shows itself to people differently and pops up unexpected, sometimes staying for minutes and other times months pass before we feel like we’re able to breathe again. We fall into a cycle of sweeping it under the rug, lashing out on the ones we love, hurting ourself, or holding it all in while we constantly seeking a way to just feel.
So how do we really handle it?
While sometimes you may feel like you suck at life, we have some news for you….Congratulations! You’re alive and breathing! (maybe you don’t want to be, but you are… so just roll with it). When you feel like you have no control, take control. Much easier said than done, but you’re not going to wake up one morning with rainbows and butterflies. However, you can add a little sunshine into your day by making small choices; choices that may seem so irrelevant to your situation but silently create change.
Being active has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, stabilize our mood, improve sleep, and boost our self-esteem. This doesn’t mean you need to go sign up for a gym membership and become Arnold Schwarzenegger. Start with small changes in your daily routine and FORCE yourself to do these things even when you feel like you have zero energy.
When you’re standing in your kitchen washing dishes, do a few leg raises, turn on some music and move. When you’re driving in the car, be conscious of your posture and while you’re rocking out to your favorite song, work those butt muscles and squeeze to the beat! Get on the floor and wrestle with your kids or play in the yard and get some fresh air. During your lunch break, bring your lunch with you and enjoy it after you go for a walk or run.
Something as simple as stretching as soon as you wake up and before you go to bed forces your body to move and react, releasing tension and bringing the energy you need.
While our diet isn’t necessarily the cause for our anxiety, it is a contributing factor. Simple changes, such as drinking a glass of water instead of that can of soda, lower our caffeine intake by putting less stress on our bodies. Eating processed foods, taking in high amounts of unnatural sugars, fried foods and a high intake of dairy have been linked to an increase in the hormones related to anxiety.
Eating pure foods will not only help your body become healthy but also your mind. Choose whole foods by eating more fruits and vegetables; they naturally hold key nutrition combatting this issue. Let’s take breakfast as an example: oats are rich in tryptophan which are very effective in reducing anxiety. Add in a little dash of flax seeds on top with some fruit and you’ll be starting your day off just right! Being cautious of what you put into your body gives you power.
**Click here to read about an anxiety fighting smoothie recipe
While there is no “cure” for anxiety, there are ways to ease it and help you recharge your power. During those dark days when you feel you have no control, focus on what you can control. Little changes create a big difference. While making these small changes, you’ll soon realize you’re healing your mind and easing your anxiety.