How to relieve anxiety when our lifestyle goes like this: Morning muffin, Starbucks coffee, rushing in, meeting, telephone, rushing out, chips for lunch, running behind, Facebook, WhatsApp, working late, social drinks, short night, wake up groggy, morning muffin, Starbucks coffee…  We feel STRESSED, tense and out of touch with ourselves because we’re constantly RUNNING… towards what… most of us don’t even know.

No wonder chronic anxiety and depression are the rising stars amongst civilisational ‘dis-orders’. What a word! More than 300 million people worldwide aren’t happy with the order they’re made believe they have to fit in… Something to think about!

But before we change the world order, let’s begin with ourselves. Here’s some lifestyle changes you can make to lastingly improve your emotional wellbeing:

Eat less processed foods and more fresh produce. 

Most of the packaged, canned, and pre-cooked frozen products we buy in supermarkets are full of chemicals such as stabilisers and artificial colouring. Even worse: Much of the meat we eat is mass-produced and bursting with hormones and antibiotics. It’s depleted of natural nutrients.

Our body isn’t biologically made to process chemicals, extra hormones and antibiotics on a daily basis. So it rebels against it by becoming overweight, chronically sick, emotionally imbalanced and eventually mentally ill. The best you can do is go back to the roots: Eat a variety of natural foods such as greens, beans, fruit, fish, seeds & nuts to nourish your nerves.

Reduce refined sugar in your diet. It causes sugar crashes and may lead to anxiety.

Refined sugar is the simple, white sugar we all know for example as sugar cubes. It’s a major ingredient in most chocolate bars, cakes and candy. Eating it on an empty stomach, the sugar goes straight into your blood and gives you a sugar high.

But it won’t last long until you crash into a sugar low. Hello anxiety! To avoid the roller coaster of sugar emotions, make sure you avoid super sugary products. That means avoid chocolate bars, cakes and candy. Have fruit instead, for example with yoghurt and nuts. This will keep your blood sugar balanced and nourish your nerves nicely.

Cut down on alcohol or avoid it all together. 

You see, our moods are created by the neurochemistry in our body. It needs to be in balance for us to feel our best. Alcohol disturbs this balance which is why we feel so bad when we have a hangover. It physically hurts and leaves a bad aftertaste in your emotional world. If you’re prone to experience anxiety easily, alcohol will sure trigger it for you. So better avoid it.

Quit caffeine and nicotine. They are stimulants that trigger anxiety.

Nicotine in cigarettes and caffeine in coffee, black tea and green tea are all stimulants that throw your body chemistry off balance. I suggest you wean yourself off over time and I guarantee you’ll experience an improved quality of life. You’ll get your endurance and balance back.

Exercise in an aerobic way 3-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes.

Brisk walking, jogging, dancing, bike-riding or swimming are good for you. Or find an aerobics class: 80s style! Because it’s scientifically proven that exercise lowers the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol in your blood, and it pumps fresh oxygen through your veins. You’ll instantly feel refreshed and energised. Your mood is naturally lifting because you’re shaking out all the tension stored in your body. So shake it baby!

Get enough sleep every night to rest your nerves.

Sleep is so important for your body and nervous system to recover and rebuild. A lack of sleep over an extended period of time is proven to affect your immune system and can cause depression. And anxiety is a sure by-product. So make sure you give your body the 7 to 9 hours it needs every night.

NOW PLEASE DON’T FREAK OUT!

All of these are suggestions and not the new world order. Take one at a time and experiment with it. See what works and what doesn’t work so well for you. Every body is different and needs to be treated thus.

For example, you may want to leave everything as is for now, but begin exercising. You may start with  twice a week brisk walking, then add a 3rd, 4th and eventually 5th day to see how that feels. If then 3 or 4 actually suits better, you go back to that. And once you’ve established a firm routine of regular exercise, you can begin tackling the next point.

Take a year to work on these different points and see what works for you. I can guarantee you: By just making adjustments in 2 or 3 of these areas you’ll begin to feel increasingly better and more balanced in life.

Enjoy the ride, enjoy the journey. It’s YOUR life, why not make most of it?