The feeling of excessive worry, negative thoughts, and fear are all common in people. But too much of these kinds of thoughts could be affecting your well-being. Give your mind a break with these stress-busting tips.
Stress is a common, natural response to daily life circumstances. However, when symptoms start reoccurring and get difficult to control, anxiety might be creeping in.
Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry or fear about a situation and/or event that can cause many emotional and physical symptoms to occur. However, if it becomes debilitating and interfering with daily life, therein lies the problem.
The feeling of panic, excessive worrying, negative thoughts, inability to concentrate, catastrophizing, accelerated heart rate, and lightheadedness are just some of the symptoms that could be hijacking your well-being. It’s an evolutionary response to fear, one that can consume your mind and tackle your body, bringing you on a downward spiral.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, women in particular, are twice as likely than men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Many factors such as hormonal changes, genetics, traumatic events or simply the pressure of being the “Jill-of-all-trades,” may contribute to experiencing these mental speed bumps, leaving you feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Though a woman’s work is never done, there are ways to uphold clarity of mind to better deal with anxiety when it rears its ugly head. Harness your worries and tame your nerves with these anxiety-busting habits.
Tips for managing anxiety
Eat “happy” food
Reach for nutrient-dense foods that stimulate the happy and relaxing hormones, dopamine and serotonin. Foods such as seafood, turkey, dairy, whole grains, eggs, nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds may increase brain levels of these neurochemicals, elevating your mood.
Sugar can impact anxiety
Refined sugar products like candy, pop, cakes and cookies, can wreak havoc on your blood-sugar levels. Consuming processed, sugar-dense foods stresses the brain, causing energy levels to rise and fall, creating a montage of mood shifts. However, dark chocolate is a sweet exception. Made with cocoa beans, it’s loaded with flavonoids—the powerful antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, that improve cognitive function and stimulate serotonin.
Practice meditation and/or deep breathing techniques to settle your mind. When you’re feeling anxious, the sympathetic nervous system revs the body into high gear, flooding it with stress hormones, upsetting its balance. However, studies show that regular mediation may boost activity in the area of the brain responsible for feelings of serenity and joy. Being able to recognize stressors and take a break with a few, deep cleansing breaths, may help to soothe tension and anxiety.
Anxious? Get moving!
Exercise is a great release for pent-up negative energy and thoughts that may be festering. Cardiovascular and resistance training will strengthen your body, get your blood pumping and oxygen flowing, while releasing feel-good endorphins. With the inclusion of physical fitness into your daily routine, it will help to reduce stress hormones, thereby elevating your mind, and building confidence.
CBD oil for anxiety
There are growing studies suggesting that CBD (cannabidiol), an active ingredient found in the hemp plant, may be an all-natural way to help ease your mind. CBD oil does not generate that feeling of being “high,” as found in another compound of the marijuana plant, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Studies suggest that it is believed CBD may have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain.
Fly with eagles
The people you choose to surround yourself with can directly affect your emotions. As humans, we are wired for personal connection, so ensure you’re selecting the right type of people who will raise you higher, not pull you down. According to psychological studies, mirroring behaviour is the subconscious replication of another person’s nonverbal signals. Whether we realize it or not, emotions and attitudes are contagious. Choose to fly with eagles, not peck with chickens; opt to surround yourself with happy, optimistic people to turn on positive emotions.
Smell the oils
The sweet aroma of essential plant oils may help improve your emotional well-being. Used as a holistic healing treatment, it’s believed the fragrance stimulates nerves in the nose that activate certain brain receptors, encouraging relaxation. Choose scents like lavender, rose and chamomile, known for its calming and therapeutic properties. Whether used in a diffuser, aromatic spritzer or bath salts, aromatherapy may help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Get your zzz’s
Lack of sleep may impede your cognitive function, decision making, and creativity by the inability for your brain to properly rejuvenate. Moreover, it can increase the body’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone, which could weaken your immune system and heighten anxiety levels. Try to get a good night’s sleep, with a recommended seven to eight hours a night.
Laugh it off
Laughter is indeed the best medicine. It’s essential for producing endorphins that improve mood and self-esteem, and induces feelings of calmness. Having a sense of humour may also aid in remedying ailments of the body by boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure. Ensure you’re taking in a daily dose of laughter, as it’s nourishing for the mind, body and soul.
Time spent outdoors can generate feelings of happiness and boost well-being. Natural spaces offer therapeutic benefits from hearing the peaceful sounds of nature, and breathing in fresh air to adoring the wondrous beauty of Mother Nature. In fact, eco-therapy is thought to positively affect the brain chemicals linked to mood, easing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and even SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Harness the energy of nature—it can have a powerful effect on your mental state.
Life can be a balancing act and myriad of responsibilities and expectations, especially for women. While stressors may never completely be eliminated, practicing some of these habits may help to address and minimize your anxiety. Listen to your mind and body; do what feels good on the inside, so you can feel great on the outside.
Note: If you are feeling overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety and it is greatly affecting your everyday life, please consult a healthcare provider or physician to discuss alternate options.
More Insights: Check out Sonia’s great article on the importance of self-care.
Author: Daniela DeFeo is a certified health coach, freelance writer, lifestyle model and extreme sports enthusiast. She aims to inspire healthful, positive change and writes articles on nutrition, health, fitness and lifestyle. She is a regular contributor to Optimyz Magazine.