This month we’re talking about how to handle anxiety, especially chronic and/or debilitating anxiety. We’re sharing a portion of one of our Nutritional Coaching sessions as our little gift to you here today, so check out these data regarding stress and anxiety:
- Stress is omnipresent in this life, and we all know a lot of tools to help handle increases in stress, but what happens when stress rolls over us and turns into chronic anxiety?
- 90% of the US population struggles with some level of anxiety.
- Anxiety/fear-related ailments are the second leading comorbidity with mortality from Covid-19.
- Guess what? What you eat absolutely directly affects the level of anxiety you experience and whether or not it’s a chronic issue. Foods that cause spikes in cortisol and adrenaline (sugars, commercial fats and oils, processed foods) directly cause anxiety, depression, and a host of other health issues.
- Good news! What you eat can absolutely directly affect a marked decrease in feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and depression. Foods high in magnesium and essential fatty acids are extremely important for clear-headedness and improved moods. Foods that protect your liver and feed your gut microbiome will imbue you with great energy, mood, and resilience in any situation, including stressful ones. How do you feed your personal Worry Monster to keep it quiet and calm? Here are a few great options:
- Food alone might not bring all your anxiety to heel, but know you must also move your body regularly. It doesn’t have to be an hour long CrossFit workout 4 times a week. Weight training workouts are wonderful, and we highly recommend them, but there are other ways to go from couch potato to happy and fit. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a little further from the store and walk through the parking lot. How about a kitchen dance party? What things can you do to get moving more? Time for a brainstorming session! Any way you can find to work some movement into your day is helpful.
- Mind your mind. When you notice yourself in the throes of some kind of worry, stop for a second and back track – what have you been thinking for the past few minutes? Can you purposely choose some thoughts that feel better, even on the same topic? For example, you’re on a deadline and you have so much work to do, what if you miss your deadline? What if you’re rushing and your work is not good? What if everyone knows you can’t really do this, you’re not qualified? What if you get fired? STOP! What if this tight deadline is the thing that forces you to get extra-organized? What if this is the project that helps you know exactly what you need to do to stay laser focused? What if this goes so well you get a promotion and a raise? See what we did there? We changed the What If game just a little. Need more help with that? Try the next thing:
- Breathwork! Breathwork is helpful because it can reset the nervous system, allowing your parasympathetic nervous system to kick back in when you’ve been in the sympathetic (fight/flight/freeze) for too long. The 4-7-8 is a good one. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 7 and exhale for a count of 8. A few rounds of that can really calm things down. Also helpful is the 2nd sip method. Draw a deep breath in, and then, before you exhale, draw in a shorter sip of breath on top of that. Then exhale it all through the mouth.