Seven Ways to Address Anxiety Today
WRITTEN BY Sean Lake4 months ago
Most people experience some form of anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting at least 18% of the population on a regular basis. So if you find that you have to overcome anxiety in your daily life, you are not alone. Many people have also reported heightened anxiety due to the many changes we have experienced because of COVID-19. If you find that anxiety has become debilitating or endangering, the first thing you should do is contact a medical or mental healthcare provider. They will be able to give you the care you need. However, if you are looking for tips and techniques for dealing with anxiety in everyday life, here are seven ways to get started.
1. Exercise for Your Mind
Exercise isn’t always the answer, but it almost always helps! Exercise is not just good for the body, it has a massively positive impact on the mind as well. Exercise helps the brain cope with stress better. Reviews of scientific literature have found that moderate, low-intensity cardio such as walking has a positive impact on people managing anxiety. Studies have found that regular exercise also has a positive impact on the pathways that trigger an anxiety response, both psychological and biological. If you are managing anxiety, be sure to include regular exercise in your routine, as people who exercise frequently experience fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. But exercise can also help stave off short bouts of anxiety. Working out boosts endorphins almost immediately, which can take an edge off anxiousness.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Exercise goes hand in hand with a healthy diet, and both are part of living a low anxiety life. A poor diet, especially one high in inflammatory foods, is linked to a number of symptoms, including anxiety. So while feeling anxious may have you reaching for your favorite comfort food, you may want to pause if you can. Foods high in sugars and refined ingredients such as oils may set off your body’s inflammatory response, leading to anxiety. Instead, opt for foods with anxiety-fighting nutrients such as vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B. You may also consider including wild salmon which is rich in omegas that studies have linked to lowered anxiety as well. You also don’t want to forget your gut: a leaky gut can lead to higher inflammation as well, so take care of your digestive tract by enjoying collagen and avoiding highly processed food.
3. Practice Posture
We could all be reminded to stand up straight, but for more than just looks. Good posture can inspire your mindset as well. This isn’t just in your head! While anxiety may make you want to curl up, it’s actually better to do the opposite. Hunching over, which is a protective posture meant to protect the heart and lungs, can trigger fight or flight responses, triggering anxiety. Instead, sit or stand up straight, pushing your shoulders back. This helps the body take back a sense of control.
4. Take a Deep Breath
One of the first signs of an anxiety attack is a change in breathing--when we feel anxious we tend to take shorter, shallow breaths. This is called thoracic breathing. Unfortunately, this may trigger even more anxiety as the body switches into fight or flight. To counteract that, we need to change the way we breathe. Instead of taking quick, shallow breaths, focus on long, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. There are many exercises to try, so find the one that works best for you here!
5. Change Your Focus
When you start to feel anxious, you may also notice that that feeling itself is all that you can think about. To counteract this, one thing you can do is just something else. Small tasks such as taking out the trash, working on a puzzle or calling a friend can take our mind off the feeling of anxiety and helps reestablish a sense of control and balance. This is another reason why exercise is also so effective. Some people also find it helpful to practice grounding techniques that distract them from the feeling of anxiety and reconnect them with the present moment. Check out these grounding techniques if you ever start to feel anxious!
6. Avoid Sugar and Caffeine
There’s a reason why sugar and caffeine are known to give us a buzz: it’s because they do! Unfortunately, that high isn’t so great for people experiencing anxiety. Refined sugar actually weakens the body’s response to stress by suppressing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) in the brain. Excess amounts of sugar also take your body on a rollercoaster of highs and lows as your blood sugar finds its balance again. This process can feel a lot like anxiety. Meanwhile, caffeine mimics anxiety by raising your heart rate and reducing the happy hormone serotonin. If you notice that you experience anxiety frequently and are also a heavy coffee drinker, it may be time to cut back. While some people notice less anxiety right away, others notice it as they gradually reduce caffeine (and get through those pesky caffeine withdrawals). Similarly, sugar doesn’t need to be cut all at once. Some people experience withdrawal-like symptoms when cutting sugar, so cutting sugar can be a gradual process so as to not upset anxiety further.
7. Catch Some Shut-Eye
Lack of sleep comes with an abundance of side effects, and one of those happens to be anxiety. Researchers have found that sleep deprivation can lead to worse anxiety symptoms, and that anxiety amplifies the negative effects of poor sleep. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true -- anxiety can also lead to poor sleep and insomnia. If you are able to sleep, make sure that you do, especially if you are dealing with symptoms of anxiety. If you are dealing with poor sleep as a symptom of anxiety, there are several ways to mitigate this, including melatonin, bedtime rituals and glycine. Glycine is one of the top amino acids in collagen and has been found to improve sleep quality. It has a calming effect on the brain to help you fall asleep and lowers your body’s core temperature to help you stay asleep.
8. BUBS Naturals Collagen for Your Sleep
Collagen naturally contains the amino acid glycine. While collagen alone might not be enough for treating anxiety, taking collagen will help you maintain your glycine stores to help you get the sleep you need to actively manage symptoms of anxiety. It can be mixed with water or tea, so is easily taken before bed. Check out our BUBS Naturals Collagen or try the Fountain of Youth Formula designed for promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails.