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Curb Your Anxiety
Daniela DeFeo is a certified health coach, published author, lifestyle/fitness model and wellness brand ambassador. She encourages a holistic approach to wellness by advocating the importance of health, fitness, nutrition, self-care and sustainable living.
Curb Your Anxiety
By: Daniela DeFeo
In a matter of weeks, our normal, everyday routines have been halted, disrupting life as we know it by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s the hot topic - top of the hour, every hour from TV networks, newspapers, social media and conversations among friends and family. The constant and continuous reminder of our reality is enough to generate feelings of hopelessness and unease, causing anxiety to creep 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 wellbeing. It’s an evolutionary response to fear, one that can consume your mind and tackle your body, bringing you on a downward spiral.
What Can You Do?
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.
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.
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.
On the other hand, consuming refined, sugar-dense foods stresses the brain and can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, 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.
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. The inclusion of physical fitness into your daily routine, will help to reduce stress hormones, thereby elevating your mind, and building confidence.
There are growing studies suggesting the 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, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). According to one study, it is believed that cannabidiol (CBD) may have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain.
Time spent outdoors can generate feelings of happiness and boost wellbeing. Natural spaces offer therapeutic benefits from the sights and sounds of nature and breathing in fresh air. In fact, eco-therapy is thought to positively affect the brain chemicals linked to mood, easing symptoms of anxiety, depression, even SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Harness the energy of nature, it can have a powerful effect on your mental state.
The people you choose to surround yourself with can directly affect 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 behavior 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 for happy, optimistic people to turn on positive emotions.
Lack of shut-eye 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 seven to eight hours recommended.
Laughter is indeed the best medicine. It’s essential for producing endorphins that improve mood and self-esteem, and likewise, induce feelings of calmness. Having a sense of humor may also aid in remedying ailments of the body by boosting 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.
While stressors may never be completely eliminated, practicing some of these habits may help to address and minimize anxiety, especially during these unprecedented times. Although it’s important to be informed during our current situation, ensure you’re managing your daily dose of news intake. Listen to your mind and body. Do what feels good on the inside, so you can feel great on the outside.References: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/dd4c/0779f9f2596a736a28cfa3a947b8394063... https://psychology.stackexchange.com/questions/2030/whats-the-difference... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirroring_%28psychology%29 https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/mental-health-conditions/anxi... https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324846.php https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1 https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-...