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Anxiety and stress are among the most pervasive mental health issues affecting people today, as a staggering 18% of the population, or 1.386 billion people, report being affected by feelings of unease.
But contrary to what most people think, stress and anxiety are very different conditions. Anxiety precedes a potentially undesirable circumstance. Therefore, anxiety produces stress. This makes anxiety anticipatory and means that reducing anxiety can prevent future stress.
While there are many causes for anxiety, general health and wellness may be one of the best ways to counter negative feelings. The following are simple tools and practices that can be used to encourage physical and emotional health in a natural way.
Clean up your diet
A nutrient-rich diet has many benefits. One of these is lowering anxiety and improving mood. While there’s no such thing as a perfect diet, a few simple changes can help you avoid anxiety.
First, avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, as both act as catalysts for anxious thoughts and behaviors.
Next, consider adding natural supplements to your diet. Supplements such as vitamin B12, L-theanine, and cannabidiol, which relieved anxiety in 64% of users, are remarkable additions to a healthy diet.
Finally, abstain from refined sugars, added sodium, and saturated fats, which are damaging to the whole bodily system, and may contribute to negative emotions.
Advance your spiritual health
Spirituality is the very pith of who we choose to be. It’s the connective tissue between our values, beliefs, and faith systems. Many people practice being spiritual daily but aren’t aware of what they’re doing. Every time we question our actions, have faith in something, meditate, or just relax, we’re practicing spirituality.
It’s only through an awareness of this daily practice along with being in-tune with our spirituality that we can move further towards a deeper understanding of who we are. In the process of personal discovery, we find the causes of our anxieties, allowing us to rationalize them and curtain their effects.
Mindfulness is the process whereby we appreciate the current moment; focusing on the positive features in ourselves and our environment. Some superb methods of honing this skill include yoga, meditation, and journaling. The latter of which can be used before bed every night, where you can write down everything you felt gratitude towards during the day. It’s remarkable how much we can appreciate when we pay attention.
Meditation and yoga are practiced by nearly 500 million people worldwide. And, with so many health benefits, it’s no wonder why we’ve seen such a strong upward trend in recent years. Meditation can be done anytime, anywhere and is the most common way to practice mindfulness. By ceasing all activity, relaxing your body, and focusing on what’s around you an immediate anxiolytic effect can be felt.
Move your body
A sedentary lifestyle does more than just damage your body—it also takes a toll on the mind. With work, family, pets, hobbies, and other daily obligations it may seem overwhelming to fit exercise into our schedules. But studies suggest that a walk as short as 10 minutes can significantly lower anxiety. So, in just a few short walks a day we can get in all the recommended daily exercise we need.
Location permitting, walks in nature have an enhanced effect, and also present an opportunity to practice mindfulness. If this still seems too much of a bother then remember, if you cannot find time to be healthy you will have to make time to be sick.
Get into a routine
Following a routine, especially in relation to eating and sleeping are vital towards improving stress and anxiety. Through consistency we can begin to root the sources of our anxieties. Very often just getting enough sleep every night is sufficient to improve mood and overall wellness.
In respect to foods, the 19th century German proverb comes to mind. “He who drinks and has no thirst, or who eats and has no hunger, unlike him whose health is first, suffers illness and dies younger.” The crux of the proverb discouraging overconsumption, which precedes conditions like obesity and heart disease, the leading causes of death in the United States.