Anxiety is a crushing feeling that manifests mentally and physically. It can be all-consuming and feel extremely isolating. Ironically, as alone as it can make you feel, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says it affects 18.1 percent of Americans each year.
A little bit of anxiety is good and elicits that fight or flight response, but too much, which is something we seem to be accustomed to in our society, is extremely detrimental to our health and wellness. It can also linger in the background, even on the days you feel good, so the best defense is an offense. Our contributor, Jenna Wohlwend, is here with some great tips:
Reading is the closest thing we have to magic. You can literally teleport to another time, world and place, and be absolutely present there. You know what I’m talking about, you start reading and suddenly it’s two hours later and you thought only 10 minutes had passed.
This kind of power is really a gift that can take you out of your own mind and into someone else’s. If you are struggling with some dark feelings though, just be sure to tap into lighter stories. Additionally, relating to a character, or seeing another’s problems, can also adjust those isolating feelings as reading allows you to see various perspectives.
We all have things that trigger our anxiety. It is important to recognize these things and be mindful. Think of your brain as a tool that needs to be readjusted a bit. Do not berate yourself, the process of change takes time, but be thoughtful in observing your feelings and find a way to visually see yourself throwing away your issues and taking the time to assess them in a calm fashion. Observe more, react less and constantly be proactive. Think of it as a workout for your mind. Getting those awesome Madonna arms you’ve always wanted takes some time and dedication, and so does this.
Exercise and Sauna
Exercise is a remarkable, and much-studied, way to manage anxiety. It keeps all the inner workings of your body in motion. It loosens tension, releases endorphins and can take you out of your mind and back in your body, restoring balance (a wonderful way a therapist once worded it to me).
Also, if you can, end your workout with a quick session in an infrared sauna. That extra sweat will really go a long way and cleanse you of any toxins in your body that could be making it worse. And after you shower, a good dry brush is the best way to top off that detox!
Find a Hobby Without a Purpose
Our culture has a bad habit of trying to have an end goal and accomplishment to everything we do, but sometimes it really is about the journey. So, find something you love, are good at or are interested in and do it without an agenda. It could be yoga, painting, rock climbing, joining a soccer team or volunteering. This will give a profound sense of purpose and will be just another thing to help distract you, allowing you more time to rewire your mind. Just make sure not to turn it into an additional stressful element of your life. It is for fun only.
Of course, eating healthy has many benefits and we hear this on practically every “how-to” list when it comes to wellness. But, fortunately, I have a few specifics for you! Fermented foods help keep the bacteria in your gut healthy and since the majority of serotonin in your body is found in your gut, it’s important to keep this mini-ecosystem thriving. Also, try taking a magnesium supplement before bed. This is a natural way to calm your system, and as magnesium is hard to get in food naturally, this might be just the boost you need.
As always, talk to your doctor. It can be an awkward thing to try to explain, but the proof is in the numbers—18.1 percent of Americans is a hefty amount and they’ve seen it all. Never be ashamed. Discuss supplements, therapies, medicines or foods with them. It’s an ongoing experiment to see what works for you, as everyone’s body chemistry is different. Another bit of advice? Don’t discount Eastern medicine! I’ve tried Reiki and acupuncture/acupressure and have experienced wonderful results from all.
You might also want to check out How I’m Taking My Wellness Seriously In 2019 or 9 Motivational Quotes To Inspire You In The New Year!