You know that rush you feel when you wake up way past your alarm and realize you’re late for work?
That arises from the rush of hormones, specifically glucocorticoids and catecholamines telling you to get out of bed and get your ass to the office ASAP!
At its core, anxiety is what your body experiences, mentally and physically, when facing fearful circumstances. Many people view anxiety as being a wholly negative form of tension, but it’s important to note that not all anxiety is inherently “bad”.
What’s especially interesting about anxiety is that there is a well-understood chemical basis to it. As such, some anxiety is healthful. In many ways, anxiety is how you know you’re alive and properly perceiving the environment around you.
Just imagine seeing a tornado heading straight for you; it wouldn’t be very prudent for you to just stand in place without any apprehension – this is precisely where anxiety comes into play (telling you to run for your life, literally).
Nevertheless, chronic anxiety, particularly in the absence of immediate threat/danger, is certainly not conducive to health and longevity. Being anxious all the time typically leads to lethargy, decreased cognitive function, suppressed immune function, reduced metabolic rate, irritable mood, etc.
Therefore, this article will provide you with actionable tips that help curb anxiety, naturally.
8 Things You Need To Be Doing Daily For Anxiety Relief
Make no mistake that managing anxiety is imperative for well-being and longevity. For many people, school and work are sources of a highly stressful responsibility and continuous anxiety. Unfortunately, it’s not practical to just stop working or going to school (for most people).
Thankfully, even just a few simple lifestyle habits can greatly reduce anxiety that may arise from daily circumstances.
1. Eat A Balanced Diet
Having a poor diet deprives your body of the important nutrients it needs to function. As a downstream effect, your brain doesn’t have the fuel it needs for optimal cognition and production of various neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
It’s important to have stable levels of serotonin and dopamine as low levels of either or both have been shown to be directly correlated with anxiety and or depression.
Also, to compensate for the lack of fuel, your body will raise the stress-hormone cortisol to be used as energy instead.
Chronic high-stress levels can wreak havoc on your over all health and well-being. So it’s important to eat a healthy balanced diet consisting of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to give your body the fuel it needs.
If you don’t have time to eat a meal because of your schedule, make a homemade smoothie or buy pre-made meal replacement bars that you can eat on-the-go. I recommend RXBARs.They are a whole food protein bar that contain NO added sugar and they are both gluten and dairy free.
2. Keep Physically Active
While going to the gym and keeping on an exercise regimen are great ways to reduce anxiety, even light physical activity, like going for a walk outside or doing some yoga in your living room can work wonders.
Ever heard the term “runner’s high”? Well that’s a real thing and it’s caused by the body releasing endorphin’s during exercise and or physical activity. Endorphin’s promote feelings of euphoria and an increased sense of well-being.
If you don’t do much physical activity at this point, start small by doing something simple like going for a 20-minute walk during the day. From there, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of the exercise you do.
Keeping physically fit is one of the best ways to manage anxiety and lower stress, so get moving!
3. Practice Meditation and Deep Breathing
Most people assume meditating means you have to sit cross-legged and hum with your eyes closed like a Buddhist monk. The truth is people from all walks of life meditate daily in the comfort of their own home. Meditating, at its core, is simply the practice of training your mind to let thoughts come and go without fixating on any thought in particular.
Think of yourself standing on the side of a busy freeway and trying to read the license plate of every car that passed. It would be impossible and would drive you insane! Now think of yourself looking past the cars at the sun setting behind a shimmering ocean. Seems like a much more enjoyable task, right?
By practicing meditation you are training your brain to not fixate on every license plate but to look over the cars with a relaxed and calm mind.
As I’m sure you are aware this ability can come in handy when you have anxiety. When you are anxious your thoughts are racing and you are trying to decipher each worry and issue in your head all at once. Whether it’s in the past, present, or future.
When this becomes the norm, it’s not uncommon that you’ll start to lose and forget things more often. You’ll also start to notice you are not actively engaged in conversations with your partner, friends, or colleagues at work because your mind is elsewhere.
Training your mind to be present is crucial to managing anxiety.
Another important component of meditation is breathing. Breathing either in through your nose and out through your mouth or through your belly and nose, rather than your mouth. These breathing techniques alter your blood oxygen levels and pH which calms your adrenal glands and nervous system.
If you are new to meditation I would recommend trying out the guided meditation app Headspace. It provides a great introduction to meditation by starting you off on a 10-day sequence of 10-minute meditation sessions called Take 10.
4. Get Adequate Rest
Sleep deprivation is a surefire way to wake up in a poor mood and not have much motivation to accomplish the day’s tasks. Moreover, lack of sleep can throw cortisol rhythms out of whack, as cortisol is typically secreted in accordance with the body’s circadian clock.
When your cortisol rhythms aren’t in line with your body’s internal clock, anxiety increases and you will likely have trouble falling asleep at night. Not to mention you won’t have energy during the day when you need it. Aim for at least seven to eight quality hours of rest every night to minimize anxiety.
5. Implement Nootropics Into Your Daily Regimen
Nootropic is now a commonly used term in medicine that refers to chemicals/compounds that have therapeutic effects in the brain. Some popular nootropics we’ve written about include 5-HTP, GABA, and L-Theanine.
Many health enthusiasts make the distinction that nootropics are not the same as prescription anti-anxiety medications, like selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), since those may not necessarily be healthy for the brain and longevity in the long-term.
This is not to say that SSRIs and other prescription medications aren’t therapeutic, but just that nootropics tends to be a term saved for natural compounds that are safe for long-term use as well as being healthy for the brain.
In short, nootropics are compounds that act primarily to help…
- Optimize neurotransmitter function, which can help curb anxiety
- Promote blood and oxygen flow to the brain
- Provide the necessary nutrients to enhance cognition, focus, and mood
- Protect against oxidative stress and brain tissue degeneration
6. Set A Daily Routine and Schedule To Keep Yourself Productive
One of the best ways to avoid anxiety is to develop a daily routine and schedule with a to-do list as well as rest/leisure activities. Starting with your mornings.
Waking up late and rushing to work is the worst way to start your day. Oh and by the way, don’t check your work email first thing in the morning, it will throw off your routine faster than you can hit reply!
Give yourself adequate time to wake up, make some coffee, maybe do a little bit of reading, or some exercise. A calm and productive morning will set up the rest of your day for success.
Many people get anxious because their schedule is rushed or too sporadic and spontaneous; while that may be okay for times away from school/work, it’s a sure path to falling behind.
Once you fall behind, anxiety is inevitable, as you will face extensive hours worrying about catching up. The key is to make sure that when you’re supposed to be productive, you’re studying/working (same goes for rest/leisure hours).
Develop a routine and set reasonable goals for what you want to accomplish each day and make sure you get to the most important things done first. If you fall slightly short and active task hours are over, you can tackle the remaining tasks the next day, but you’ll have the piece of mind knowing you got the important ones out of the way. The main thing is to listen to your body and mind; if you’re really starting to drag, it’s time to rest/take a break and come back to productive tasks later.
7. Use entertainment to occupy your mind
A great way to reduce anxiety is to distract your mind with positive thoughts and distractions. Even something as simple listening to music, your favorite podcast, or reading a good book can be a great way to distract and calm your mind.
If your anxiety still won’t go away, don’t be afraid to call it a day, get comfortable, and binge watch every episode of House of Cards on Netflix or re-runs of Seinfeld.
8. Take in some rays (from the sun, of course)
The sun is nature’s best source of vitamin D, a crucial micro-nutrient for myriad processes in the body. When vitamin D levels are low, depression and lethargy are much more common.
Naturally, exposing yourself to some fresh sunlight each day will boost your mood and sense of well-being (not to mention the skin complexion benefits).
Try being out in the sun for at least 30 minutes each day, if not more. You can also supplement withvitamin D3.
The main points to take home from this article are that anxiety is a natural response to fear and there are plenty of ways to reduce chronic feelings of apprehension. It’s often simple lifestyle factors that you overlook that are contributing to high levels of undue anxiety.
Use the actionable hacks from this article and before you know it you’ll find yourself having calm and focused days more and more often!
Have you had success with any of these or other anxiety hacks? If so we’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!