Anxiety is increasingly prevalent in our modern world. I suffer from it, and according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, I’m one of 40 million anxiety-stricken adults in the US. A wide range of factors can contribute to anxiety. Many believe that the influx of instances is caused by societal factors, like trauma, over-stimulation, and the toxicity experienced in our day-to-day lives. It can feel difficult or even impossible to manage anxiety, but there are ways.
If you have anxiety, it’s up to you whether or not to take medication for it. I choose not to, and I believe that is the right choice for me. Instead, I manage my symptoms through nutrition, yoga, meditation, and energy work. These methods are very effective for me and others, and have zero side effects.
The best way to eat well for anxiety is to avoid processed foods. Eating a wide range of nutrient-rich foods, which are not high in refined sugars, goes a long way toward keeping your brain chemicals calm. Overly processed foods can overwhelm your digestive system, which effects your entire body, including your brain. Keeping your gut healthy is important.
Another way to keep your gut healthy is by eating probiotic foods. Keeping your gut flora healthy has been shown to decrease anxiety, and the best way to do that is to eat foods that contain beneficial bacteria, such as yogurt, kombucha, raw sauerkraut, and fermented pickles.
Another factor is to make sure you’re eating a wide range of foods, because there are many nutrients that can particularly help with anxiety. Magnesium is a big one, so make sure you’re getting plenty of leafy greans, and using an unrefined salt, such as pink Himalayan to season. Magnesium is also absorbed easily through the skin, so taking weekly salt baths can help. Ensuring you’re getting plenty of magnesium, omega-3s, and B vitamins will absolutely help you to manage anxiety.
Actually, any kind of exercise can help! Many people find that jogging, working out at the gym, or hiking are effective anxiety treatments. When you exercise, you’re releasing that nervous energy, while also filling your body with healthy hormones. I use yoga in particular, because it requires focus. I find that when I am doing yoga, I cannot think about anything else, whereas when I’m on the elliptical, my mind is going a million miles an hour. So, for me, yoga is the best way to ensure that anxiety isn’t kicking in.
Meditation is the ultimate anti-anxiety activity. It is, by definition, the quieting of your mind. Meditating is about deliberately taking time to move away from an anxious state, and into a calm one. If you are not great at quieting your mind on your own, try guided meditations. You may find that after using guided meditations for a while, you will be better able to do it on your own. Or you might not, and that’s okay! Either way, for that time, whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, your mind is quiet, and you will absolutely find that calm expanding into more and more of your day.
Without a doubt, receiving energy work on a regular basis is the best thing you can do for anxiety. Your energy body affects your mind immensely, and I cannot stress enough that if you have any kind of mental illness – anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc – you should be receiving regular energy work. And you should be using energy medicine in your daily life as well.
One highly effective thing you can do daily is Donna Eden’s Daily Energy Routine. This is something I was taught in massage school, and have been doing ever since. Every once in a while, I’ll get out of the habit, and I always notice that when I start back up again, my mental state improves like crazy! You can find a video of it here.
Alongside this daily routine, I urge you to seek out a practitioner of energy work, whether it’s Reiki, Pranic Healing, acupuncture, crystal healing, qi gong, or any other modality. The modality that works best for you will depend on your temperament.