Over the last year or so, I’ve started to be pretty open about my anxiety. And I’ve been surprised with the responses from people who have reached out to me with similar issues. It’s a comforting feeling to know that I’m not alone.
It’s no surprise that anxiety and stress can have some pretty nasty effects on your body. With elevated stress levels, you can impair performance and actually counteract the body composition results that you are looking to achieve. So, to reach your fitness goals, it’s best to try and reduce anxiety before it’s out of your control (easier said than done, I know). So I’ve put together a list of 10 tips that might help you calm down a bit when you start to feel anxiety creep on.
- Eat healthier: Think whole foods that are rich in nutrients and energy boosting snacks. You might surprised about the mood-enhancing benefits that healthy foods can have on your body. On top of this, be sure to drink plenty of water and get sufficient micronutrients in your diet (especially magnesium).
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is soooo important to keep your mind and body at ease. When you are tired, anxiety can be triggered further. And when you are stressed, your body actually needs more rest than you are used to, so keep this in mind.
- Exercise: A regular exercise routine can help maintain health and keep you feeling good. Exercise can actually be more favorable at times when compared to some anti-anxiety medications. In my opinion, it does not hurt to try. Right?
- Journal: Are thoughts worrying you throughout the day? Maybe even keeping you up at night? Write down how you feel. Sometimes, just getting overwhelming feelings on paper can help you work through stress and anxiety. There are many people who find great relief from this helpful practice.
- Find a healthy distraction: Sometimes, it takes a new distraction in life to get your mind off things. Find a new hobby, listen to music, take a class, play an instrument or go buy a puzzle. It may take some experimenting, but find what works for you. It may not fix your problem, but at least it limits the time you are worrying about your problem.
- Breathe: It sounds silly, but controlling your breath can ease your mind and calm down your body quickly and efficiently. I know for me, when I’m anxious I hold my breath. Short, shallow breaths can actually trigger anxiety, so be conscious of your breathing. Count to 10 and take long slow breaths when you feel your anxiety start to elevate. It can work wonders in terms of relaxing.
- Understand that this is temporary: It seems like your issue is urgent, but in reality, this is likely a temporary problem. When you accept that this will pass, your feelings of panic can start to subside. Sit back, and think about the BIG PICTURE first.
- Keep going: As much as you want to, don’t let your anxiety stop you from living your life. If you do this, it will only contribute to the stress you have going on. Keep going, make yourself go through the motions (sleep, eat, work, social life, LIVE), you will thank yourself later.
- Talk to someone: Find someone you trust. Like really trust. This is something I struggled with for a long time. I used to keep my worries all to myself and didn’t start really feeling better until I talked about my issues. Don’t be afraid to talk about it — not only can it help you feel better getting it off your chest, but this person may also shed some light from a completely different perspective. Also, it’s important to mention that surrounding yourself with positive allies can have a HUGE impact on your mental health.
- Unplug: Be silent. Disconnect. Turn off your phone. Turn off your TV. Set aside some quiet YOU time each day where you have zero distractions. Call this meditation or what you will, but having sacred silent time to yourself each day can take away worries coming from the outside world. Maybe even turn off the lights and diffuse some calming oils. Whatever you do, use this time to clear your head and visualize positive worry-free thoughts.
So there you have it. Try one or two out, start relaxing and let me know what you think!
And good luck!