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How To Lower Your Anxiety

Should Antioxidants Be Included In Your Anti

How to Lower Your Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety is thought to be correlated with a lowered total antioxidant state. It stands to reason, therefore, that enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders. A 2010 study reviewed the antioxidant content of 3,100 foods, spices, herbs, beverages, and supplements. Foods designated as high in antioxidants by the USDA include:

  • Beans: Dried small red, Pinto, black, red kidney
  • Fruits: Apples , prunes, sweet cherries, plums, black plums
  • Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • Nuts: Walnuts, pecans
  • Vegetables: Artichokes, kale, spinach, beets, broccoli
  • Spices with both antioxidant and anti-anxiety properties include turmeric and ginger.

Why Is Stress Bad For Us

We need the bodys stress response to get us through tough times. When you sense a threat or danger, your body rises to the challenge by releasing stress hormones, tightening your muscles, making your blood pressure rise and your heart and lungs work harder, and releasing a surge of fat and sugar to give you energy. When danger subsides, your body goes back to normal operations.

If you get stressed out frequently, however, the stress response can become constant and cause ongoing harm, including chronic inflammation the persistent activation of the immune system, which sharply raises the risks for many diseases such as dementia, heart disease, and stroke.

Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety

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Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.

Here are 16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.

It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.

The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who dont exercise .

There are a few reasons behind this:

  • Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your bodys stress hormones such as cortisol in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
  • Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
  • Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
  • Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.

Activities such as walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.

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Why Is It So Hard To Stop Worrying

Constant worrying can take a heavy toll. It can keep you up at night and make you tense and edgy during the day. And even though you hate feeling like a nervous wreck, it can still be so difficult to stop. For most chronic worriers, the anxious thoughts are fueled by the beliefsboth negative and positivethat you hold about worrying:

Negative beliefs about worry. You may believe that your constant worrying is harmful, that its going to drive you crazy or affect your physical health. Or you may worry that youre going to lose all control over your worryingthat it will take over and never stop. While negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, adds to your anxiety and keeps worry going, positive beliefs about worrying can be just as damaging.

Positive beliefs about worry. You may believe that your worrying helps you avoid bad things, prevents problems, prepares you for the worst, or leads to solutions. Maybe you tell yourself that if you keep worrying about a problem long enough, youll eventually be able to figure it out? Or perhaps youre convinced that worrying is a responsible thing to do or the only way to ensure you dont overlook something? Its tough to break the worry habit if you believe that your worrying serves a positive purpose. Once you realize that worrying is the problem, not the solution, you can regain control of your worried mind.

Create Obstacles And Rewards

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If you tend to pick up your phone when youre supposed to be working, turn off your phone and put it somewhere out of sight before you get started with the day.

Make sure to reward yourself for your efforts, too. After you get a good chunk of work done, take a break to watch a funny video, catch up with your friends, or swap selfies with your partner.

Thinking in terms of rewards rather than punishments can help you encourage yourself, too.

  • Instead of: If I dont work out tonight, I cant watch the next episode of Lucifer.’
  • Try: Ill go for a jog after work, and then Ill watch an episode of Lucifer before bed.

If youre a long-time procrastinator, breaking the habit may require a little extra support.

Connecting with a therapist may be a good next step when procrastination:

  • affects your performance at school or work
  • creates problems in your personal relationships
  • leads to feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, or makes existing symptoms worse

A therapist can help you identify and explore possible emotional triggers. They can also provide more insight into any underlying mental health concerns contributing to procrastination.

In therapy, you can also learn strategies to challenge negative self-talk and reframe unhelpful thought patterns.

Also Check: What Can I Do To Calm My Anxiety

Nutritional Strategies To Ease Anxiety

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Thats 40 million adults18% of the populationwho struggle with anxiety. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, with about half of those with depression also experiencing anxiety.

Specific therapies and medications can help relieve the burden of anxiety, yet only about a third of people suffering from this condition seek treatment. In my practice, part of what I discuss when explaining treatment options is the important role of diet in helping to manage anxiety.

In addition to healthy guidelines such as eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, there are many other dietary considerations that can help relieve anxiety. For example, complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.

A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option than eating a lot of simple carbohydrates found in processed foods. When you eat is also important. Dont skip meals. Doing so may result in drops in blood sugar that cause you to feel jittery, which may worsen underlying anxiety.

Consider Quitting Smoking Cigarettes

Smokers often reach for a cigarette during stressful times. Yet, like drinking alcohol, taking a drag on a cigarette when youre stressed is a quick fix that may worsen anxiety over time.

has shown that the earlier you start smoking in life, the higher your risk of developing an anxiety disorder later. Research also suggests nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke alter pathways in the brain linked to anxiety.

If youre looking to quit, there are lots of different ways you can get started. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends finding a safe substitute for cigarettes, like toothpicks.

You can also take up habits that may distract you in order to create an environment that works for your smoke-free life. Additionally, you can make a plan with a support system who can provide everything from encouragement to distractions.

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Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day weekends included.

Your routine before going to bed also matters. Consider giving yourself wind-down times. For example, 20 minutes with no devices. Instead, you could read a book or take a bath.

Avoiding potential triggers, like watching TV or scrolling the news on your phone, is key.

Creating a sleep routine will help you fall asleep faster and reduce the chances that youll lie awake, worrying about unfinished tasks or the next morning.

Take A Social Media Break

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Social media has both positive and negative effects on mental health.

While it can help foster a sense of community and acceptance with people online, it can also cause you to engage in detrimental habits like doomscrolling, a word that describes an obsession with scrolling through social media and news sites. This exposure to the 24-hour news cycle can be mentally taxing and damaging to your mental health.

If you think social media is contributing to your anxiety, it can be beneficial to log out, even for a short amount of time.

In fact, a 2022 study found that a one-week break from social media was enough to improve well-being and reduce depression and anxiety.

Read Also: How To Find Out If You Have Anxiety

Listen To Good Mood Music

Music can have a powerful effect on your mood and on anxiety. They key however is to not just choose songs you like. but also make sure that you are listening to music that represents the way you want to feel. Happy or relaxing music can directly impact your mood and the way you feel.

While many people find it soothing to listen to angry music when theyâre angry or sad music when theyâre sad, the truth is that this type of music will only help you get in touch with those negative emotions. That won’t help you feel better. When you’re trying to stop anxiety, you should listen to music that will help you feel the way you want to feel.

Try 6 Meditations To Help Reduce Anxiety

Looking for more meditations to help you feel calm? The Headspace app offers subscribers several courses and single meditations on topics related to anxiety, including:

  • Managing Anxiety 10-day course. Cultivate a new perspective on fear and anxiety.

  • Unemployment Anxiety single meditation. Recognize and release stress about job loss and the future.

  • Letting Go of Stress 10-day course. Enjoy a healthier mind by developing your awareness of stress and learning how to reframe negative emotions.

  • Stressed single meditation. Notice what you’re holding onto and how to drop the preoccupying storyline.

  • Why can’t I sleep? single meditation. This exercise will help you practice calming the mind and body during the day, so you feel more ready for sleep when bedtime comes.

  • Difficult Conversations single meditation. The prospect of a difficult conversation can drive feelings of anxiety and fear, but by lesseing habits of reactivity and developing a calmer, more patient mindset, you can both listen and express yourself more clearly.

Also Check: Can Chiropractor Help With Anxiety

Tip : Practice Mindfulness

Worrying is usually focused on the futureon what might happen and what youll do about itor on the past, rehashing the things youve said or done. The centuries-old practice of mindfulness can help you break free of your worries by bringing your attention back to the present. This strategy is based on observing your worries and then letting them go, helping you identify where your thinking is causing problems and getting in touch with your emotions.

Acknowledge and observe your worries. Dont try to ignore, fight, or control them like you usually would. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsiders perspective, without reacting or judging.

Let your worries go. Notice that when you dont try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. Its only when you engage your worries that you get stuck.

Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.

Basic mindfulness meditation

Click here for a free mindful breathing meditation.

Tips To Manage Stressful Situations

6 Ways to Reduce Stress for Students

It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasnt until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress.

Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. Weve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.

Also Check: What Can Anxiety Attacks Look Like

Tips To Manage Anxiety And Stress

Coping Strategies

Try these when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:

Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress

For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity , or a combination of the two.

  • 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
  • Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
  • Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find its more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
  • Recruit an exercise buddy. It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
  • Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.

Resources

If you are the parent of a college-aged child with an anxiety disorder, here are some tips to help with managing his or her anxiety.

Natural Remedies To Alleviate Anxiety

Some anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel a certain amount of unease or uncertainty when it comes to stressful situations such as taking a test, giving a presentation, or meeting new people. In many cases, a small amount of anxiety every so often can be a good thing. It helps to keep you aware of potential dangers and motivates you to be prepared.

For many people, however, anxiety occurs more frequently. They experience it almost every day. Anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or phobias can interfere with normal daily activities, affecting their work, home, and personal lives. They differ from regular anxiety in that people feel an excessive amount of fear or anxiousness.

Dealing with anxiety can be stressful, but it is treatable. Many people with anxiety find relief with treatment. While some people benefit from taking medication, others find success with natural remedies.

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