By Jessica Sepel
Do you ever wake up with that feeling of unease in your tummy? That used to be me – every single morning. I suffered from intense anxiety that often felt crippling. And I realized that I wasn’t alone. Anxiety is far too common these days. Thankfully, I’ve developed some healthier habits that have helped me manage and reduce my anxiety. Give some of these tips a try – good nutritional and lifestyle habits can make a huge difference in helping to reduce anxiety.
Solid sleep. That means in bed by 9 or 10pm and rise with the sun. Aim for 7-8 hours of rest each night.
Sunshine. Spend 15-30 minutes a day in the sun. Expose skin (arms, chest) for adequate vitamin D and melatonin.
Physical activity. 30 minutes a day of your favorite way to move your body. I love walking, light jogging, yoga and Pilates. Outdoor exercise is optimal.
Mind body medicine. 20 diaphragms breaths morning and night to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Schedule down time. Enjoy restorative poses such as legs up on the wall for 10 minutes every day. Enjoy relaxation music daily. Have a massage. Meditate (in any way- just watching your breathe rise and fall will do!)
Have fun! Joy can be found in the simplest things. Treat yourself to a movie, watch your fav TV show, go to a concert, see family and friends.
Acupuncture. This can be extremely beneficial.
Avoid these triggers. Caffeine, alcohol, smoking, environmental pollutants, and drug use can increase anxiety. That’s why you should make sure to either avoid these or practice moderation. You’ll often hear from therapists that help with anxiety that harmful substances affect your brain in a way that can make managing anxiety more difficult. Being mindful of your intake of these substances can be a great start to reducing anxiety.
Dietary changes. Eat through the rainbow. Aim to have 5 servings of veggies daily. Eat nuts, seeds and sprouts. Increase fish intake. Enjoy good fats such as avocado, nuts and olive oil. Eat dark chocolate. Drink more water. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Reduce dairy intake. Avoid trans fats, salt, fast foods and sugar found in soft drinks, lollies, biscuits, cakes and processed foods (white bread, white pasta).
Consider helpful supplements. Under the guidance of a health practitioner, try fish oil, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D and chamomile tea.
Gratitude. Find something to be grateful for daily. Gratitude relieves stress and anxiety.