There is no lack of information pertaining to the benefits of various lifestyle changes. Keep in mind that the information supplied here is meant to be only a starting point to help you begin thinking of lifestyle changes, and that only upon discussing the different options for implementing such changes should be discussed with your doctor or healthcare provider.
The Anxiety Path makes no claims of being licensed or certified in the following fields of discussion. However, through the correct direction from an expert in the respective fields, we have seen people benefit greatly from focusing on the following topics;
There are a couple of different ways that diet and nutrition can affect a person’s anxiety level. In a very simple and obvious way, when a person is hungry anxiety levels will be elevated. Hunger is a known source of elevated levels of anxiety. Making sure that we have proper meals and proper nutrition is an easy way to help reduce the occurrence of huger driven spikes in our anxiety.
A little more detailed look at diet & nutrition; different sensations from the types of food you intake may affect anxiety levels. If a particular food causes bloating or excessive gas, these can cause sensations which can trigger anxiety and start the process of worry and obsession. Be aware of the foods you eat and the affects that they have on your body.
In addition, keep in mind that certain foods will keep you satisfied longer than other foods. It is well documented that a meal or snack that is high in carbohydrates will not keep you full for long periods of time. And likewise, meals or snacks that are high in protein content may stay with you longer and keep you feeling satisfied for longer periods of time. Through proper meal and snack planning, you may be able to reduce the amount or frequency you may experience in terms of sensations within your body.
In addition, when we are overwhelmed with anxiety, we often will neglect healthy eating habits. Often turning to fast food or junk food. This will only encourage higher levels of anxiety and allow our suffering to continue. I suggest paying attention to and making an effort to eat at least one healthy meal a day. We should be eating three meals in total; try to make the effort to have one of the meals consist of nutritious foods as much as possible.
Also, by being mindful of your diet, and being proactive in managing your food intake, you are also teaching yourself how to care for yourself physically. And this will translate to caring for yourself mentally and emotionally as well. This is a mindset that can be extremely beneficial in creating recovery from anxiety disorders.
One of the most common areas that people neglect is in simply drinking enough water; staying properly hydrated.
Proper hydration will help the body and mind in many ways. The body’s physical makeup is largely influenced by water. When we dehydrate ourselves even a little, this can have a negative impact on our physical, mental and emotional health.
There are many studies available in terms of all the health benefits associated with proper hydration. I strongly suggest that you explore the topic, figure out your own personal daily requirement for water intake, and make a daily commitment to working on reaching hydration goals set in place.
When it comes to a daily routine to apply effort in someway of improving your emotional state through self-care practices, there is none easier and more effective than paying attention to your water intake.
The benefits of exercise on mental health have been well documented and proven over the years in many studies. Exercise can release certain hormones and helps our bodies function more efficiently, all which helps to stabilize and normalize our mental and emotional health.
Often there is a misconception surrounding exercise regarding the amount that needs to be done in order to benefit from doing it. The truth is, in pertaining to the benefit for anxiety disorder recovery, all that is required is simply to do more than you are currently doing. No one is required to begin an overwhelming exercise regimen, but rather to just simply do more than they are currently doing. Small, manageable steps. The idea is to not hurt yourself, begin with what is right for you (as designated by your doctor or healthcare professional) and just begin to engage exercise as a means of bettering your overall health – physical, mental and emotional.
For many people, this may be as simple as going for a walk. Or utilizing equipment in the house. The idea is to start moving your body and just to start.
Again, being mindful of executing a practice to help better yourself will have a tremendous impact on your anxiety disorder recovery. Being proactive in caring for yourself physically will translate to being better able to help you mentally and emotionally.
Another natural trigger for increased levels of anxiety is being tired. There is a very noticeable and direct correlation to experiencing higher levels of anxiety while being excessively tired.
Studies have shown that many people do not get enough sleep each night. We feel it is a product of overly stressed lives, and the need to find a balance; people justify shortening their sleeping hours to try to stretch their day. People go to bed to late, and wake to early. For the person who does not suffer from anxiety disorders, they can get away with this behavior relatively unscathed (for the short term). However, for people who suffer with anxiety disorders, this behavior can result in increased levels of anxiety.
Many times people complain about suffering from insomnia. And they may. Or it could be that they are experiencing overactive minds, obsessive thoughts caused by anxiety which is preventing them from getting quality sleep. There are certainly many factors that go into explaining why a person does not get the required sleep they need.
My suggestion is to start at the basics. There are specific recommendations for people to follow that help promote a good night’s sleep. These recommendations can easily be found on the internet, and if you have difficulty in getting the proper sleep, we recommend you address the situation.
Quality sleep will have a direct positive effect on your anxiety disorder recovery. And being mindful enough to implement the necessary changes will help teach you to care for yourself.
When it comes to lifestyle changes; these things will not create recovery on their own. However, putting in the effort to care for yourself is very empowering. It teaches you that you value yourself, and that you deserve to be cared for. It’s a subconscious mindset that may have a profound impact on recovery as a whole.
In addition, anxiety tries to keep you helpless & hopeless, this applies to all aspects of your life. By learning to care for yourself physically, you are learning that you are not helpless & hopeless and that you can care for yourself. This will ultimately teach you not to believe what anxiety is trying to make you feel.
Many times in life we kind of drift through the day without much say; without reminding ourselves that we are important. Our days are typically dictated by our schedules, our responsibilities and by other people or situations. When we go through the day like this, it teaches us that everything else is more important than our own sense of self. We lose importance in our own life.
By engaging in lifestyle changes and the recovery program as a whole, what we are doing is carving out a little bit of time each day to take a stand for ourselves. To say that we are important! And regardless what is happening in the world, we are going to take some time and effort and put it on ourselves. This is extremely empowering and will have a tremendous impact on our recovery efforts.