If anxiety is something you live with on a daily basis, and you’re looking for ways to experience times of relief throughout your day, I’ve got 3 ways you can escape anxious feelings.
It’s important to remember that anxiety affects people differently. There are many symptoms for generalised anxiety disorder, but to what extent and severity these affect people is a very individualised experience.
So these are 3 things I do that I know I am guaranteed to feel relief from anxiety.
1 – Walk in nature
Walking my dog every day is a great respite for me. Sometimes I like to walk on my own, sometimes I like company. We live in a semi-rural area so getting into broadleaf trees, paddocks and up into some pine woodlands is pretty easy. However, just getting out and doing a 20-minute walk in a park, or nature reserve is helpful. If you can make a bit of nature part of your daily routine, then even better!
There’s a growing field in science called ecotherapy. In the health and wellness space, you may have even heard of Forest Bathing. According to Harvard Medical School, there was a study done in 2015 comparing the brain activity of healthy people; one group walking in nature, the other group in an urban setting. It showed that those who walked in nature had a reduction in repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions.
2 – Staying well-nourished
For some people, not eating can really affect their mood. You may have even heard a friend refer to getting ‘hangry’, so hungry they become irritable. Often when I’m stressed and anxious, food is the last thing on my mind. However, eating the right types of food can actually make you feel better.
One of my ‘go to’ meals when I’m feeling really anxious is a fresh salad with lots of colour.
Ingredients I use are:
- Romaine Lettuce
- Basil infused olive oil (and sometimes fresh basil itself)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red onion/ shallots/ spring onions
- Mixed Seeds
- Sweet peppers
- Vegan cheese (usually Sheese German Style Smoked)
- Yeast flakes with added vitamin B12
Now it also happens that I like to eat this type of salad a few times per week (or include the ingredients in other meals) so often have these ingredients in the fridge. But as I said, when I get a bad case of anxiety, I don’t want to touch food at all. Yet I know every time I make myself eat even a small amount of the above, I begin to feel much better.
Part of the reason for this is the increased level of vitamins such as B6 in avocado and the B12 in the yeast flakes (both of which are said to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression). Plus the avocado and pumpkin seeds (in my mixed seed addition) are also said to help sleep. Olive Oil has Vitamin E and K in it, plus a lot of antioxidants has anti-inflammatory qualities as well as anti-bacterial properties.
While there are other elements to the above dish, I’m no nutritionist and just suggest you find something that is going to lift your mood plus also be healthy for you. Do a bit of research and find out what’s right for you.
At the end of the day, whether stress and anxiety makes you nauseous and want to avoid food, or food is what you crave, it’s important to put something in your body that is going to leave you feeling well-nourished (I’m afraid doughnuts, coffee and alcohol are off the menu, as they can make anxiety worse!)
3. Regain Your Energy
Anxiety puts a huge strain on your nervous system. It genuinely thinks you’re under attack (fight or flight). And if it’s a prolonged experience, it can leave you feeling lethargic and worn out; mentally and physically.
Getting plenty of rest and getting re-energised is important. But this doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping in bed all day or binging on Netflix. How you approach increasing your energy levels comes down to you as an individual.
It’s all about getting that right balance between exercise, socialising and time to yourself.
For me, it’s a yoga practice, a little bit of time with my friends, and then a lot of time on my own in my own space reading, listening to music or a podcast, writing or watching a bit of Netflix. The biggest way I gain my energy back (other than eating well and getting plenty of sleep) is spending time on my own. It is part of my personality trait. But, I need to socialise as well, otherwise, I end up feeling worse.
For you, it might be hanging out with friends is what energizes you.
If you’re interested in finding out your personality type head to 16 Personalities.
Of course, humans are complex beings and can’t be pigeon-holed into a ‘category of individual’ but it will at least help you to make sense of what works for you and what doesn’t.
What helps you escape anxiety?
I’d love to hear about the approaches you take that help to give you mini-moments of freedom from anxious feelings throughout your day.
Sharing helps us all to learn and grow.
Peace & Punk