When I ask my patients if they have anxiety symptoms, many of them deny it, but then they will say they feel “stressed.” It is as though there is a negative stigma about the word anxiety. Why is it that our society thinks it is abnormal to have some level of anxiety when the modern American life is so stressful? This anxiety is a natural response to alert us to the fact that there is something in our life that is causing ongoing stress to our body. It is an adaptive response to protect ourselves so that we can alter the trigger to prevent long-term damage to or drain on our
body and health.
What we do with this physiological signal is what determines whether the anxiety ends up being harmful long-term or being helpful in altering the stressful event so as to maintain health. In short, what we do with anxiety is what’s important.
So, when we feel anxious, how can we overcome it? We need to remove the anxiety provoking cause, and if we can’t, we need to initiate adaptive behaviors so as to lessen the overall negative impact. Use these five tips to ease anxiety:
1) Use all of your senses to help de-stress. If music gives you joy, incorporate it into your relaxation time.
2) Make sure you take a few minutes every hour to stretch, relax, and calm your mind. You can’t run at top speed all day long all day.
3) Eat an anti-inflammatory diet full of vegetables, low-sugar foods, and omega-3’s and plant-based proteins like nuts.
4) Exercise raises endorphins in the body and is a great way to de-stress. Put on your athletic shoes and go for a walk around the block.
5) Sleep is essential for our body to achieve a state of balance and to avoid feeling stressed