We all have moments in life where we feel stressed, tired, and everything can seem out of control to say the least.
With over 15 years of working with clients in the health and fitness industry I have found that one of the most prevalent
mental health conditions that can result from such challenges is anxiety.
Anxiety can be a disabling condition that’s accompanied by long-term stress and a decline in health. In fact according to wellness physician Dr. Josh Axe anxiety can affect people of all ages, with 40-60 percent of those also experiencing signs of depression.
Anxiety is a normal response to stress or a dangerous situation, which is often referred to as ‘fight or flight’ response. However anxiety becomes problematic when it is constant or in reaction to inappropriate circumstances, which overtime can affect your day-to-day life.
Studies have shown that there are many causes of anxiety with some including:
Psychological and physical symptoms can include:
So what can be done to help in reducing levels of anxiety?
These following 10 natural ways are a great start to lowering your stress levels, and calming any anxiety that might come out to play.
1. Deep Breathing
Not only can deep breathing help in detoxifying and releasing toxins due to aiding our lymphatic system. It can reverse your body’s natural reaction to stressful conditions, which can help manage negative emotions.
Relax your body whilst Inhaling a deep breathe into the pit of your belly and hold for the count of 5, then exhale your lungs completely. Do this for 5 minutes when you feel the need to create more calm in your day.
Essential Lavender Oil has many benefits with it’s ability to eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems just to name a few. But one of it’s biggest is aiding a state of calm making it an excellent tonic for nerves and anxiety issues.
Sometimes the most productive thing you can do, is RELAX.
This wonder of a practice is very popular because of the benefits of brain and body function it brings. From relieving stress and anxiety, to renewing energy, improving physical health, and boosting immune function and productivity levels, it’s also proven to change the structure of the brain for the better. So get ‘ommm’ing.
4. Omega 3’s
Due to it’s anti-inflammatory effects, omega 3 fatty acids help protect your brain. Psychological stress can result in cytokine production; a number of substances secreted by certain cells of the immune system including injured or infected cells. Therefore having a healthy intake of omega 3’s can potentially mitigate this effect.
You can find them in food sources such as walnuts, leafy greens, wild salmon, and flaxseeds.
(reference: europepmc.org, stress and cytokine production)
According to the World Health Organization, getting anywhere from 5-15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands, and face at least two to three times a week is enough to enjoy the Vitamin D boosting benefits it can bring. Sunlight triggers the release of the hormone Serotonin that means it can boost your mood and in turn lower levels of stress and anxiety.
6. How’s your gut health?
Probiotics? Yes. The bugs in your gut talk to your brain through the vagus nerve, infact our neurotransmitters ‘happy chemicals’ are made in the gut, and when our gut health is imbalanced this too can impact our mental health according to research undertaken by the neuro-gastroenterologie and nutrition team in France.
Diet is a huge key to reducing anxiety and by eliminating foods that may cause inflammatory effects such as forms of dairy, wheat, and gluten, can be a start. More research on ‘leaky gut’ soon to come, watch this space.
Has been found to lower blood pressure, and calm anxiety.
Try running a hot bath with magnesium bath salts combined with a hint of lavender to regulate your mood and de-stress from a hectic day.
Yep you guessed it, this little beauty is on most lists when it comes to health and wellness, and studies show that 21 minutes is all it takes for exercise to reliably reduce symptoms of anxiety. It alters neural circuits controlling cognitive function and mood, including those that affect the neurotransmitter serotonin.
If I'm ever having a rough day, a short run and I feel like a new person, not only does exercise help to relieve stress but it's mood boosting effects are second to none.
9. Limit caffeine and alcohol
I know I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s amazing how much these 2 things alone play havoc on our mind, body, and soul.
The key is moderation, a glass of red wine with dinner is in fact known to contain great antioxidants and have hidden health benefits, as does a long black to kick start your metabolic rate for the day. Just be sure not to over exceed your daily intake.
10. Eat something, quick
Argh HANGRY, that feeling of frustration and hunger as your sugar levels diminish can leave you feeling agitated, anxious, and impede your focus and productivity levels. By having a quick sustainable snack such as walnuts, or dark chocolate, along with a glass of water or cup of hot tea can help keep the hangry-ness at bay, so listen to your body, and find a balance that fits you and your lifestyle goals.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog, be sure to put at least 3 of these on your action item list today, and if symptoms persist be sure to see your doctor.
It’s your time, make it count,
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