Over 40 million people in the United States alone, aged 18 and older, suffer from anxiety (roughly 18% of the total population). That’s nearly one out of every five adults. How ridiculous is that?
At what point do we allow ourselves to recognize that something is slightly off with the system that has raised us?
Chronic anxiety is debilitatingly awful. I know because I have experienced it. I’ve lived through two major anxious/depressive episodes in my life, and I’ve accumulated some tools that have become my go-to symptom killers.
Today, I’m going to give you those seven tools.
I wish that I had known about these 20 years ago, and so I’m passing them on to you, hoping that they will have a noticeable positive effect on your life (regardless of whether or not you are currently suffering with anxiety).
Here we go.
1. Walk more
When anxiety takes over, it’s often because we’ve been spending too much time in our head, and not enough time living in connection with our bodies. Even if this sounds somewhat like hippy-dippy woo-woo stuff, you know that there’s some truth to this.
If you spend all of your days by yourself, staring at screens, with too much time to ruminate on your life and all that you perceive to be wrong with it, it will inevitably make you feel anxious.
Our bodies are made to move, and we were made to connect with others. This is why solitary confinement is one of the highest forms of punishment in prison (don’t move, don’t socialize, zero time spent in nature).
The simplest way to get into your body is to start making daily walks a priority. Go out walking for 15 minutes, or 30, or 60. Do this every day for a week and see how much better you begin to feel.
If you really don’t feel like moving or exercising at all, another good couple of ways to get into your body are taking hot Epsom salt baths, or getting massages done.
Whatever it is that connects you to your body (walking, dancing, lifting weights, exercising, taking long hot baths, etc.), make it a priority. Your mental health depends on it.
2. Spend more time with friends
As touched on above, having too much time to ruminate in isolation isn’t good for anyone. We are a social species and we are literally hardwired to connect with other people.
Spend more time with your close friends or family members.
If you don’t currently have a thriving social life, then combine tips #1 and 2 by getting yourself out to group activities like dance classes, weight training classes, or walking groups.
If you just did these two things (walk for an hour, and spend quality time with other people) every day for a week, you would already feel a noticeable difference in your anxiety.
3. Eat clean, and avoid all stimulants
Do you drink coffee or soda? Do you eat a lot of processed sugar and junk food? You drink alcohol or smoke?
As resilient as we are, if you put junk into your body, you’ll eventually feel like junk.
Eat a balanced diet of whole, nutrient-dense foods with a focus on fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates, and cut out any and all stimulants that give you insulin spikes.
Not sure where to start? Start here.
4. Supplement intelligently
Certain micronutrients are especially helpful to consume when it comes to combating anxiety and/or depression.
I’ve done a ton of research (that I won’t bore you with), but anxiety and depression are largely caused by inflammation in the body (along with other genetic/traumatic factors).
If I were hard pressed, I would say that these three are the highest leverage things you should consume on a daily basis to combat your anxiety.
– Omega 3 + DHA
– Vitamin D3
– Curcumin (aka turmeric)
5. Avoid screens as much as possible
Excessive screen time has been scientifically linked to depression and anxiety.
If you roll over in the morning and immediately check your phone, and are checking your phone/email/computer throughout the day, you could literally be damaging your brain.
Go on a screen diet to chip away at your anxiety. If you need to use your computer, set a timer to make sure that you don’t over indulge in staring at the blue light.
6. Spend more time in nature
Nature sucks out the toxicity of daily life.
Make a point to spend as much time near fresh water, or in a forest as possible. Don’t have access to much clean nature in the place that you live in? Maybe it’s time to go camping, or go on a vacation somewhere beautiful and less inhabited.
7. Talk to someone and realize that you’re not going crazy after all
A lot of the power that anxiety has over us is linked to how much time we allow ourselves to sit alone in rumination, feeling anxious about the fact that we have anxiety.
Externalize your thoughts to a safe, trusted, non-shaming friend, family member, coach, or therapist, and gift yourself with the sense of knowing that you are not alone.
During the most anxious periods of my life I had thoughts like “I’m losing my mind”, “what if I have a panic attack?”, and “will this anxiety ever stop?”.
Just like no weather pattern stays forever, no emotional state stays forever. You can get through what you’re going through, and you can speed up your process by doing some of the things mentioned above.
Anxiety is never fun, but it is surmountable.
Allow yourself to be supported by others, talk to someone about your fears, and prioritize play, time outdoors, and bodily movement.
I wish you the best of luck on your journey.
Dedicated to your success,
Originally published at Goodmenproject.com