I was going to quote some statistics on the prevalence of anxiety cases, and then I thought you know what, I feel anxious sometimes, and I know other people do too, so that’s enough of a reason to share this blog.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to look too long at any kind of news to feel anxious these days. Indeed, there is a lot to be anxious about, not that feeling anxious is going to actually solve anything, but anesthetizing ourselves from reality, or turning a blind eye, isn’t going to cut it either.
To be responsible citizens of the human race we need to be ‘response able’, and so, my 7 tips are those that I find help me to remain ‘able to respond’ whilst being strong of heart to acknowledge the injustices that are happening. In our personal lives, there may not be tyranny, yet the ability to respond, rather than react, is definitely setting us on a healing trajectory, instead of perpetuating even more to be anxious about.
I’ve found the more I recognize when I’m feeling anxious, and then listen to my body to feel how I can better support myself, the more comfortable I am, the more balanced I become and the more I empower myself. Here are my 7 tips…
I love to remind my clients, and myself, that the question isn’t – what’s wrong with my body? Rather – what is my body trying to tell me? Anxiety is a direct message that more support is needed to process ‘stress’ in a way that’s more comfortable. That a greater sense of balance and groundedness is needed so that emotions don’t overwhelm and cause anxiety. This is so important as thinking ‘something is wrong with us for feeling anxious’ is disempowering and creates even more anxiety. We tend to beat ourselves up rather than treat ourselves with kindness. Nurturing an awareness of this is an essential step to soothing anxiety, and most importantly, paving the way for supportive next steps.
One of my favourite plants for restoring a sense of balance, reducing both stress and anxiety, is the adaptogen Ashwagandha. Studies have shown that it reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, by 28%. Ashwagandha has also been proven to reduce anxiety, depression and insomnia. It can take up to 3-4 weeks for the benefits to be felt, so I love to take Ashwagandha daily, 1 tsp of the powder warmed in almond milk with a little honey first thing in the morning, is a nourishing way to incorporate this adaptogen into your self-care routine.
3. Grounding Foods
For a greater sense of groundedness, which is so important when we’re experiencing anxiety, eating comforting foods that are easy to digest, warm and grounding are extremely supportive. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin for example, are excellent for restoring calm whilst helping you to feel comforted and grounded. Oats, quinoa and brown rice are full of B vitamins that soothe anxiety and are also very comforting and grounding to eat.
4. Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals disturbs your digestion, and when your digestion is disturbed your mood is disturbed. Roller coaster blood sugar and energy levels are fertile ground for anxiety, so these need to be minimized. Also, if you skip meals then your body will be operating in a state of stress, this will also exacerbate anxiety. The worst meal to skip is lunch, so many people skip lunch because they’re too busy at work. Your digestion is at its strongest between 12 noon and 2pm and if you don’t eat during this window it greatly disturbs your systems balance, causing all sorts of negative consequences, including bloating, digestive discomfort, energy slumps, mood swings and anxiety. Always make time for lunch, ideally including some of the grounding foods mentioned above.
5. Switch Coffee for Tulsi Tea
Caffeine is a stimulant, if you and your body are not feeling grounded and balanced then caffeine will only inflame stress and anxiety. It’s like adding more fuel to the anxiety fire. Caffeine is best avoided whilst your body finds its way to a more balanced state. Tulsi tea, however, also known as Holy Basil, is an amazing plant, an adaptogen like Ashwagandha, that has been proven to regulate stress hormones and reduce anxiety. Drinking this a couple of times a day instead of coffee will be a significant support for your mental and emotional wellbeing, helping to cultivate the internal environment that is conducive to feeling calmer and more centered.
It sounds so simple and yet your breath informs your system whether to operate under a state of stress or a state of peace. Anxiety can only exist in a state of stress, so one of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to help your body operate in a state of peace by having a daily practice of conscious breathing. Slow, deep and rhythmic breathing tells the brain to release hormones and chemicals that reflect a calm, peaceful state. Prevention is so much easier than cure, so developing a daily practice of 10-15 minutes of conscious breathing is a powerful tonic for anxiety. Also, whilst feeling anxious, deep breathing can be incredibly helpful to dissolve anxiety.
This should be at the top of every anxiety self-care list because it is so much more powerful than all the other tips put together, when practiced daily and consistently. Studies have shown remarkable changes that happen in the brain and with stress hormones when meditation is regularly practiced. Over time our regular thought pathways change, in favour of more positive and supportive brain wiring, helping us to experience greater emotional wellbeing and calmness. The research is quite remarkable, especially by Dr. Joe Dispenza, whether you are suffering with anxiety or not, meditation is one of the most powerful healing tools at our disposal. There are so many ways to meditate, spend time finding a way that feels good and authentic for you and then gift yourself the time daily to take care of your Self.
With love xxx