Anxiety & Depression rates are growing at an exponential rate these days.
Working on your lifestyle habits can help ease the pressures and stress on your body. Through diet, exercise and healthy living - get these ducks in a row, and it will make a significant difference to your life and anxiety levels.
There are some very practical things you can do to reduce feelings anxiety and stress – both on a physical and emotional level. And it doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your life…
Lifestyle Changes that can help manage or reduce Anxiety
- Do something you enjoy every day.
This doesn’t have to be anything expensive or time-consuming. Just plan or give yourself permission to do an activity that you enjoy and that takes your mind off your worries.
- Exercise more.
We’re not saying become a gym-junkie - but clinical studies indicate getting regular exercise improves feelings of anxiety.[i] Releasing stress and producing feel-good endorphins in your bloodstream is a bonus!
- Reduce caffeine intake.
The caffeine in coffee, tea and many soft drinks is a stimulant – which can put your body in the same stirred-up state that you’d feel when you’re anxious. Review of clinical literature shows high amounts of caffeine increases anxieties. [ii]
- Reduce alcohol intake.
You may think alcohol is a great way to unwind, however too much alcohol can actually leave you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression as well as lead to slipping into long term alcohol use, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry.[iii]
- Ask for help to Quit Smoking
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry articles suggest cigarette use induces anxieties and vice versa. [iv] A vicious circle!
- Simplify your eating
- Manage your time.
Being busy all the time can cause you to feel pressured to do too much. Plan some down time, try to be flexible and schedule fewer things in your day.
- Improve your hydration.
Your brain is a thirsty organ and your body’s main fuel is water. With hydrated cells, both the brain and muscles function more efficiently. Clinical Studies in the USA & Morocco conclude that dehydration is related with anxieties in humans and rodents respectively. [vii] So avoid tap water, drink filtered water instead and add a little Himalayan pink salt for maximum hydration. Electrolyte use can also help.
- Use your voice.
Practicing calm, organized, mindful speech patterns (e.g. prayer, meditation, devotional singing, mantras and affirmations) can help to reflect a calm state in the body. [viii]
Likewise, exercising your vocal chords and throat muscles is a great way to relieve some of the tension that builds up with anxiety. [ix]
You might even try signing in the shower, joining a laughter group (yes, they exist!), a choir. Otherwise you should be speaking to a counsellor to get things off your chest.
To speak to our Counsellor, Clinical Hypnotherapist about your anxiety, Call the clinic today on 9938 1090.
If you're experiencing severe anxiety please connect with the following services:
References: [i] (2001) Salmon P., Effects of physical exercise on anxiety, depression, and sensitivity to stress: a unifying theory. (Pub: Clin Psychol Rev.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11148895
(2009) Ströhle A. Physical activity, exercise, depression and anxiety disorders.(Pub: Journal of Neural Transmission) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18726137
(2011) Tordeurs D, Janne P, Appart A, Zdanowicz N, Reynaert C Effectiveness of physical exercise in psychiatry: a therapeutic approach? (Pub: L’Encephale) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22032277
(2000) Kushner MG, Abrams K, Borchardt C. The relationship between anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders: a review of major perspectives and findings. (Pub: Clin Psychol Rev. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10721495
(2007) Cosci F, Schruers KR, Abrams K, Griez EJ.
Alcohol use disorders and panic disorder: a review of the evidence of a direct relationship. (Pub: J Clin Psychiatry. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17592911
(2004) Grant BF, Stinson FS, Dawson DA, Chou SP, Dufour MC, Compton W, Pickering RP, Kaplan K
Prevalence and co-occurrence of substance use disorders and independent mood and anxiety disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. (Pub: Arch Gen Psychiatry. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15289279
[iv] (2010) Cosci F, Knuts IJ, Abrams K, Griez EJ, Schruers KR
Cigarette smoking and panic: a critical review of the literature. (Pub: J Clin Psychiatry.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19961810
(1999) Amering M, Bankier B, Berger P, Griengl H, Windhaber J, Katschnig H.
Panic disorder and cigarette smoking behavior. (Pub: Compr Psychiatry.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9924875
[v] Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford
[vi] (2011) Jacka FN, Mykletun A, Berk M, Bjelland I, Tell GS.
The association between habitual diet quality and the common mental disorders in community-dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health study. (Pub: Psychosom Med.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21715296
(2013) Hodge A, Almeida OP, English DR, Giles GG, Flicker L.
Patterns of dietary intake and psychological distress in older Australians: benefits not just from a Mediterranean diet. (Pub: Int Psychogeriatr.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23199436
[vii] (2011) Ganio MS, Armstrong LE, Casa DJ, McDermott BP, Lee EC, Yamamoto LM, Marzano S, Lopez RM, Jimenez L, Le Bellego L, Chevillotte E, Lieberman HR. Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men. (Pub: Br J Nutr.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21736786
(2012) Elgot A, El hiba O, Gamrani H.
The anxiogenic-like effects of dehydration in a semi-desert rodent Meriones shawi indicating the possible involvement of the serotoninergic system. Acta Histochem. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22172710
[viii] Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford
[ix] (2012) Tamplin J, Baker FA, Grocke D, Brazzale DJ, Pretto JJ, Ruehland WR, Buttifant M, Brown DJ, Berlowitz DJ. Effect of Singing on Respiratory Function, Voice, and Mood After Quadriplegia: A Randomized Controlled Trial. (Pub: Arch Phys Med Rehabil.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23103430