We all have our fears and phobias. And often instead of battling them we hide from inconveniences and do our best to avoid unpleasant things.
However, fighting anxiety isn’t about staying in a comfort zone. Anxiety can twist and turn your way of life and you need to change your lifestyle to put a stop to it. Here are 5 quick fixes that will help you overcome anxiety disorder.
Begin a jogging routine:
Exercising is the first and foremost lifestyle change you need to introduce to your routine. Try a simple kind of sports that won’t ask for much effort from you, like jogging. It’s easy to take up jogging because it does not ask for specific attire and comes with minimal prior knowledge. As simple as it seems, jogging is an effective anxiety treatment.
According to this study, a brain of a person who works out on a regular basis is more resistant to anxiety. There is a section in our brain called hippocampus liable for emotional response and thinking. Because of the body’s response to aerobic exercises such as jogging, the brain is more likely to build fresh neurons in the hippocampus. And strong neuron connections help a person to cope with stress.
On top of that, exercising has a direct influence on your mood. This research suggests that a daily jog session will make you a happier person. Exercising stimulates beta-endorphin circulation – the hormone substance that makes you feel better. It helps to lower the levels of adrenaline and cortisol, resulting in a stress relief.
And most importantly, jogging will boost your self-esteem. Physically moving from point A to point B according to the route you choose while you’re jogging has a positive effect on your sense of achievement. And having a sense of control over your achievements is proven to be an effective aid in treating anxiety, too.
Social factor: anxiety relief through communication
Anxiety can cause you to avoid people or become socially isolated. Which, as a matter of fact, is contrary to what is helpful as a treatment for anxiety. Spending time with family and friends will give you the necessary support and reduce the levels of anxiety. Research done by Spanish and American scientists proved that getting social support during a stress period of life, anxiety or depression is crucial. Such support received by a person will make coping with aggressive behavior, isolation and anxiety symptoms easier. It could be friends, family, a beloved one, mentors or any social community that a person is associated with.
There are some tips for you on how to escape isolation such as:
- Staying in regular contact with your family and friends. Having even a 5-minute daily chat with your beloved or a friend will trigger a gradual improvement.
- Taking part in volunteer activities. You will feel better once you are doing something on behalf of a larger social group. Participating in volunteer work is also a way to validate yourself, and there are many groups you can join in any neighbourhood.
- Get a pet or visit a shelter where you can spend some time with pets. You will not only communicate with a responsive agent but also a person becomes happier by petting an animal.
Oh, and social media should be avoided or kept to a minimum.
Diet: nutrition as a key to stress reduction
Food is much more than just an energy source for our body. The brain uses it as material for vital processes. When some nutrients are lacking, the neurotransmitters do not get formed and it can cause anxiety and depression. Recent studies came to a conclusion that certain foods can help prevent anxiety:
- Fermented food that contains probiotics. You can choose between pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir
- Magnesium-rich vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and etc.
- For containing zinc, like oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks
- Asparagus appears to have an anti-anxiety effect. It has been revealed by Chinese scientists that aqueous extract of sparrow-grass has an anxiolytic-like activity that lowers cortisol level and calms down stress and anxiety.
- Antioxidant-rich food such as beans, nuts, vegetables, berries will help you fight the blues. It was proven by a research that shows low antioxidant levels in organism cause anxiety.
What you drink matters, too. High doses of sweetened beverages can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Alcohol deserves a special mentioning. Consuming alcohol may cause a short antidepressant effect but in a long run, it will lead you to an even worse condition. Intoxication with alcohol will slowly ruin your organism and frequent drinking could result in alcoholism – a permanently depressed state.
Recreation and relaxation. Shaking the stress away
Stress is one of the major reasons for anxiety. Thus, it is essential to change your routine to get a better quality of rest. And it’s not only about a decent amount of sleep. It is a good starting point, though. Sleep disturbance appears to be a major adjoint condition to the anxiety disorder. Daytime productivity fades and the stress levels persist. In that case, aerobic exercises such as running or jogging will come in handy for you. Research done by the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University in Chicago shows improvement in sleep latency, duration, and quality as a result of integrating aerobic exercise into your routine.
The next step is stress control. From the very beginning, you need to understand what causes you the stress and try to get rid of the stressors. Learn some relaxation techniques. For most of us, breathing techniques or adding more exercises, like jogging, should work. Try meditation. There is some evidence that meditation can be used as a treatment. The key is regularity and controlled practice. Also, take more walks in the fresh air as it’s crucial for lowering anxiety. You can also go for a picnic or spend some time gardening. Last but not least, it necessary to cultivate resilience so you could handle more stress in the future.
Get a hobby
Getting a hobby will help you to distract your attention and reduce the stress levels, science suggests. As a matter of fact, it could be harder for an anxious person to focus on some sort of activity that demands a certain result. Especially when the outcome may not match the expectations. However, a step-by-step approach to an activity and shooting for smaller goals will give its fruit. Here is a list of essential hobbies that match battling with anxiety well:
There exist many more ways to shush your anxiety. For instance, classes where you would work with other people as a group, such as dancing, singing, language or craft lessons. In addition, you can use your hobbies to develop mindfulness.
We are so busy these days that often we do not notice the harmful effects of stress and anxiety on our well-being. However, it is important that when the realisation of our vulnerability hits us, we are ready to fight back. We are much stronger than we can imagine, and using however little resources we have, we will be able to change our lives.
Bio: Sadi Khan is a sports writer and researcher at RunRepeat. When not writing or reading about the latest research, he can be found running or hiking through the beautiful mountains in Pakistan.