Anxiety is common and on the rise. It can be situational or constant, and what is often misunderstood is how physical the experience is. People feel their heart racing, digestive distress, heat flushes, muscle tension, shortness of breath and dizziness to start the short list. We wanted to offer a few quick tips on how to dial some of the intensity down.
- Reduce caffeine – This is a big one as most people have a caffeine habit. One cup of coffee in the morning will impact your sleep that night, and raise your stress hormones. Try to reduce your caffeine by 25-75% to allow your nervous system to come out of a stress response.
- Engage your breath – Practicing slow, long inhales and exhales for even 5 minutes will shift your nervous system from sympathetic into parasympathetic. This brings down blood pressure and heart rate, and changes the part of your brain that is activated. It will help your body lower cortisol levels and the stress cascade. Try using the breathe or headspace apps.
- Reduce sugar and processed foods – This foods put your immune and nervous system on a high speed rollercoaster that is bound to give you energy highs and lows and mood swings. There are many excitotoxins in processed foods that wreak havoc on your body. If you are looking for a treat, find a replacement that doesn’t have all the chemicals.
- Go outside – Nature IS medicine. Spending time in a park or somewhere in nature will shift your entire perspective without much effort on your part. Even if you can’t get to nature, just stepping outside, taking a few breaths and feeling the fresh air will shift your chemistry. While you are standing there, do some progressive muscle relaxation. Scan your body from your toes to head, notice the places you feel tight and restricted, tighten those place even more intentionally, and then release all the tension.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep – There is a direct relationship between the quality of our sleep and our energy, our moods, our weight, our productivity and more. Many of the ways we activate self-esteem and purpose require us to have had a good night’s rest. If sleep is a challenge for you, please read our blog on sleep.