by: Anthony Cocco
Anxiety – oh that dreadful word! For the unfortunate, anxiety is a constant daily battle. With so many stressors being thrown our way each day, it can be easy adopt self-induced, negative narratives, which usually result in feelings of ‘doom and gloom’ instead of appreciating this beautiful life we have been blessed to experience.
When it comes to releasing these negative emotions, it’s important to give yourself the time and dedication it takes – and commit – to following through on whatever healthy remedy works best for you to alleviate these feelings. And keep in mind that simple can be better. Although anxiety can feel extremely overwhelming, understand that sometimes all it takes is a slight deviation from your normal thought process to swap your negative thoughts that hold you prisoner in your own mind, to something more uplifting and positive. Chances are, you will surprise – and likely impress – yourself with the results.
As a former migraine sufferer, I struggled with anxiety for years, but I can say to you with a humble heart that I am now free. I am able to live life with clarity and possess a nimbleness of mind that has allowed me to chase my dreams, which is exciting and rewarding. It has been a wonderful experience, which is why I wanted to share with you the top 4 ways I have been able to get rid of anxiety and take control of my life for good.
When anxiety filled my life, two methods gave me tremendous hope; meditation and breathing exercises. I can honestly say that meditation saved my life. It helped slow me down and allowed me to live in the present moment. It helped get me in-tune with my mind and spirit and helped me sort through the thoughts that were wreaking havoc on my body and my spirit.Meditation allowed me to regain control and re-write my narrative.
Breathing exercises are another fantastic way to decompress. You can perform them anytime, any where and they only take a few minutes a day. The key is to use your abdominal muscles to perform these exercises (breathing from your belly). It also encourages full exchange of oxygen, giving your cells the much deserved air they require. By doing this, you are stabilizing blood pressure and reducing your heartbeat. Harvard Medical School has a great article that you can find here.
By practicing these simple techniques daily, you are able to bring a sense of balance back into your life and it helps to reminds you to be aware of what is going on in your minds and our environment. When anxiety arises, your improved awareness helps you assess whether you should allow yourself to entertain the thoughts that triggered your normal anxiety response. Always remember to relax with a purpose every day, this simple tip will bring dramatic changes to your normal coping mechanisms during stressful moments.
Maintaining a healthy diet not only improves your weight, it also has a dramatic affect on your mood as well. Having a diet high in refined sugar, processed foods and sodium only feeds your anxiety. Consuming too much caffeine also triggers agitation, which in turn leads to anxiety. This is a response that is often physically felt in your body, yet it affects your mind as well. Alcohol and nicotine are also notorious for triggering anxiety.
In order to appropriately battle your chronic anxiety symptoms, you must consume whole foods and slowly cut out the culprits that entertain your state of anxiety. I would suggest limiting your intake of processed foods and incorporating more raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, whole grains and quality proteins that come from free-range poultry and fresh, wild-caught seafood.
Some supplements to keep in mind when balancing a proper diet are magnesium (for enzyme functioning), B vitamins (to ensure proper nerve functioning, especially in the brain), zinc (maintains optimal immune responses) and L-theanine (amino acid to help increase dopamine and GABA). These supplements help keep the body in check and reduce fluctuations in the hormones that induce anxiety.
One of my top remedies for calming my anxiety is exercising. When you combine exercise and the other 3 approaches I mentioned above, you can then reduce your anxiety indefinitely.
One of the best tips I can share is this: after a fairly stressful day, take a light jog outside, or at the gym. Anything to get your blood circulating will do, even a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes helps reduce the piled up stress in your body. A plus side to this is when you exercise, your body release endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel great! I am aware that some days you may feel too tired to muster the energy to exercise, but if you can push through that for even 20 minutes each day, I guarantee that you will not regret it. On top of the release of your endorphins, your body also reduces cortisol and adrenaline, which are the hormones in your body that cause you to feel stressed in the first place.
You can rest assured that if you can incorporate relaxation techniques, maintain a healthy diet, get a boost with supplements and have a consistent exercise routine, you can reduce your anxiety significantly and potentially, rid yourself of it altogether.
If any of these tips work for you, or if you have other tips to share, please comment below. I would love to hear from you!