Anxiety affects most of us on a daily basis. The fact that you’re reading this probably means it affects you or someone you know as well. 20% of adults report suffering from anxiety while 33% of teenagers report dealing with anxiety.
Anxiety disorders, which affect 40 million adults, are the most common psychiatric illnesses in the U.S. How we treat our body has a direct impact on our mental health.
Anxiety can come in many different forms. It can come in the form of sudden on-set panic, a constant feeling of drowning or as overwhelming irrational fears. Personally, I’ve dealt with all of these facets of anxiety.
The feeling of too little time in the day and too many things to do often leads us to forgetting to take care of some of our most basic needs. Try to incorporate these 6 keys to help reduce the feeling of being a clown on a unicycle and feeling more like the Super Hero you’re meant to be.
Yes, you have heard it before and I’ll say it again! Physical activity is one of the best and most effective ways to decrease stress levels. It’s scientifically proven that our bodies release endorphins and serotonin when we exercise. Recently research has discovered new evidence that a “Runner’s High” is exactly that. During exercise, our brain creates a chemical compound called Anandamide. Anandamide, also known as the “bliss molecule” is a naturally occurring Endocannabinoid responsible for that euphoric feeling that we get after running or tough work out. It interacts with our Endocannabinoid System much like CBD, THC and the 100’s of other phytocannabinoids found within the cannabis plant.
Today's typical lifestyle has most of us sitting behind a desk all day, and then we go home and sit around even more. We must find ways to get our bodies moving again! Whether you prefer going to the gym, long walks on the beach, or throwing a dance party in your living room, there are many ways to get in some daily movement and exercise.
If you work from home make a plan to take breaks throughout the day and move your body. Here are a few examples of how you can make exercise part of your daily habits throughout the day.
Try adding it into your calendar so that you visually see it and remember to make it a priority.
- 5 minutes of sun salutations when you wake up
- 15 minute walk- break up the work day with a quick walk around the block
- How about a quick tabata style movement over your lunch break? 10 standing squats 10 push ups 10 jumping jacks
2. Cut the Digital Cords
The study between the amount of time spent on our smartphones, tablets, TV and our mental has been a hot topic studied by social scientists. The more time we spend glued to screens and devices the more strain it puts on our ability to shut down our sensory overload.
Scrolling social media sites almost unconsciously like robots has rapidly developed as one of the most prevalent addictions that we face in our society today. Overcoming any addiction is always an uphill battle, throw in how easy and accessible our phones are coupled with push notifications and it's no surprise this is one of the biggest problems we face today.
Consider using a social media blocker app like #blockit to set specific hours in the day to either block and allow the use of social media sites or even unwanted e-mail and text message alerts that tend to derail our focus and attention.
Did you know that different breathing patterns actually affect our brains network as related to our mood, attention, and energy? Getting into a routine of daily focused breathwork can be the single best change a person can make to eradicate their chronic anxiety.
The best part about adding breathwork to your daily routine? It's absolutely free!! With as little as 60-90 seconds a day you can start to see a big impact.
The ‘4-7-8’ breathing method is a popular one and easy to do with no guidance. Simply sit up straight or lie down, begin breathing in through your nose while counting in your head to four. Then hold your breath while counting to 7 followed by letting go of the breath through the mouth while counting to 8. By focusing on the counting we can begin to rid ourselves of the racing thoughts that create our anxiety to begin with. All the while relaxing our body and mind by giving it a boost of oxygen.
Consider trying a guided meditation like this one from Whim Hoff a world renowned breathing expert or if you’re a Netflix subscriber check out their original series called Headspace.
4. Drink Clean Water
When was the last time you changed the filter in your fridge water dispenser? Most city water supply travels through miles of corroded and rusty pipes before it ever reaches our drinking glass. This means you might be drinking water that is actually causing your anxiety. When our body absorbs heavy metals, chemicals, and other foreign matter that can be present in our tap water it puts stress on our neurological systems. Bad water correlates with bad health.
Consider investing in a home water filtration system, OR a quicker less expensive option can be found at most grocery stores selling drinking water that uses reverse osmosis and charcoal filters that help provide cleaner safer drinking water. BYOJ (Bring your own jug) and fill it up. Cleaning up your water can mean burning your brain fog, anxiety, and even boost your immune system.
5. Get Sleep
Getting a sound night of sleep is critical in allowing your body to repair itself. Lack of sleep can leave us susceptible to long term mental health problems. If you’re like me, you might be a night owl by necessity as a means to work uninterrupted when the days are busy! When nights get late and the next day starts early, we can tend to deprive our bodies of the rest it requires. This slippery slope then turns most of us into reaching for the nearest coffee or energy drink. Caffeine itself is bad for anxiety, often causing jitters and leaving you with a racing mind. It stays in our system for up to 12 hours meaning if you drink coffee in the afternoon, you will most likely struggle with being able to fall asleep.
Consider switching from regular coffee to a mushroom based “coffee”. Mushrooms are known to be neuroregenerative and do not carry the lasting effects of caffeine but also provide a boost of energy and “brain power” There are all sorts of alternative coffees on the market today consider trying this one from MUD WTR.
6. Take your CBD
A daily dose of CBD has been shown to help with many different factors surrounding mental health. The gist of CBD and how it works in our bodies, is by reducing the amount of inflammation in our bodies from head-to-toe. CBD has shown to help reduce levels of anxiety, and boost mental wellbeing in most people.
Getting into a routine of taking a daily or even twice daily dose of a CBD tincture is a great place to start when attempting to lower stress and anxiety levels. CBD Gummies are a tasty way to give your Endocannabinoid System a boost. When you uptake cannabis in an edible form, it will take longer for your body to absorb the cannabinoids; however, it typically has a more lasting effect in our systems. No matter how you choose to take your CBD it’s a great way to help ease anxiety along with other health benefits.
Your mental health is important….like really important. If you’re struggling and feel you're not getting anywhere, consider starting with a few small changes and being consistent everyday. Life is not full of quick fixes. When it comes to our health conditions this is especially true. Consider the theory of getting 1% better everyday, versus expecting to be 100% better after one day. Take the long haul approach to improving your mental health conditions and do so by giving yourself grace, and self love.