Posts

Fall Back into Routine to Reduce Anxiety

It’s that time of year when we get back into our routines, whether it be work, exercise, eating or school, after enjoying a couple months sabbatical. Even if you don’t have children returning to school, September symbolizes a fresh start. For many people, work and school are sources of high stress and continuous anxiety. And, since ignoring them is not a practical solution, why not implement some simple and effective lifestyle habits that can greatly reduce the anxiety that may arise from daily circumstances.

In this newsletter edition, you will receive 5 effective anxiety-reducing strategies that you can start implementing right away.

Strategy 1: Make Sure Your Diet is Balanced

A poor diet deprives your body of the important nutrients it needs to function optimally. Maintaining a poor diet for an extended period of time forces the body to compensate by raising the stress-hormone cortisol. Chronic high-stress levels can wreak havoc on overall health and wellbeing. So it’s important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of protein, fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Drinking enough water daily in order to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine will also help relieve anxiety. Complex carbohydrates metabolize slowly, and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, creating a calmer feeling.

If you cannot commit to eating a balanced meal every day, have a supply of meal replacement bars or shakes available as an alternative.

Strategy 2: Get Physical

There are two amazing benefits from being physically active. First, it releases endorphins immediately into the body. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones that long distance runners enjoy and promote.  Any level of physical activity can start the release of endorphins meaning you do not need to be a marathon runner to get the benefits. Consider what you can commit to daily to get our body moving. Maybe it’s a walk, or a bike ride, or a short visit to the local gym. Whatever you can do to get moving will make you feel better and less stressed.

Secondly, exercise takes your focus off of whatever is stressing you out. Switching your attention to something else gives your brain a chance to take a break. You may be surprised at the perspective that comes from not thinking about your problem!

Strategy 3: Sleep Baby!

There is not enough good to say about the powerful effects of sleep. We live in a sleep-deprived society, due to our fast-paced and demanding lifestyles. And sleep deprivation is a sure fire way to generate a bad mood and feed our anxious feelings. Moreover, a lack of sleep can throw off cortisol rhythms and mix up the body’s circadian clock. Anyone who has flown internationally can relate to how difficult it is to feel good when your internal time clock is out of whack.

Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night to minimize anxiety. If you are having trouble getting to or staying asleep try taking some of the natural sleep aids available at your local drug store.

Strategy 4: Set a Daily Routine

One of the best ways to avoid feeling anxious is to develop a daily routine and a to-do list. Start with a morning routine which ensures that you wake up early enough to get everything done that you need to before heading off to work or school. Waking up late is a guaranteed way to start your day with anxiety.

Many people get anxious because their schedule is either too rushed or sporadic, and there is no time for themselves within their daily activities. There should be enough time within your morning routine to either read a bit, do some exercise and/or enjoy a nutritious breakfast. Starting your day in a calm, relaxed way will set it up for success.

Strategy 5: Meditation

Meditation is more than just sitting with your eyes closed. It is the practice of training your mind to let thoughts come and go without fixating on any thought in particular. It takes practice and as with all good habits, it takes some time to develop. Be patient with yourself and encourage yourself to keep at it.

Picture yourself watching cars on a busy highway rushing past, and you have to take notice of every license plate. That would be exhausting and impossible. Now, what if you could stand there, ignore the cars, and instead focus on something in the distance. Maybe a sunset or a beautiful, magnificent tree. That would be much more calming, wouldn’t it? Meditation is an amazing skill to use when you have anxiety. As your anxious thoughts about yesterday, tomorrow, five years from now race in and out of your mind, being able to slow down your thoughts and focus on a calming image greatly reduces the level of anxiousness. Training your mind to be in the present is vital to managing anxiety.

For more discussion on anxiety, what it is, why we feel anxiousness and how it can be managed, please click on the links to either of my blogs below.

Log onto my website at www.itcanbedifferent.ca and download a free tool called Focus and Peace. This audio file will teach you how to overcome anxiousness instantly.

Come and see me at the Empowering Women to Succeed Conference on September 25th. Go to http://empoweringwomentosucceed.com/conference2018 and book your complimentary 30-minute session.

How to Shake Off a Bad Mood

Do you ever feel your bad mood is just impossible to shake off?  That it seems as if it has a grip on you and is out of your control?  Positive thinking and affirmations are just not working to move past this bad mood?

Why is this?  Why is it that sometime our moods are resistant to our positive thinking?

Well, there are two components to a mood.  Firstly, there is your thinking, which includes your mental images and self-talk. Secondly, there is your physiology.  By physiology, I do not just mean your posture, but your entire body.  These two components feed each other, and each strengthens the other.  It is like a back and forth relationship.This means that you have to change both your thinking and your physiology to get out of a bad mood

Why Does Positive Thinking Alone Sometimes Just Not Work?

I bet you have heard the saying that you just need to think positive thoughts to get out of a bad mood.  Many of us who want to have a positive outlook and truly believe in the benefits of being positive are spending a lot of time and energy attempting to think positive thoughts as a way to manage our moods.  So, we make sure that we imagine happy encounters, scenarios, outcomes and interactions.  And then we say to ourselves: “cheer up, look on the bright side, there is always a lesson in everything”.

Now if a fairly strong negative mood has a grip on us and it has lasted days or even just hours, then this positive thinking and self-talk is just not going to have much of an impact.  The reason is that the physiology of the mood is too powerful.

That is why, once we recognize that our positive thinking is not working, we often just give up. This allows the negative mood to just keep going.

However, when positive thinking alone is not working, it simply means that we are not going about it in the right way.

Get Physical

The quickest and easiest way to shake off a bad mood is to start with changing your physical body.  This opens up the pathway to have clearer and more positive thinking.   Once you have physically loosened things up, you can more easily deal with your thoughts.

Here is a checklist of things to check and change:

1. Posture:

Scan your body and check for tension.  Stretch out wherever you feel tension, whether it is in your back, shoulders, neck.  Make sure you are standing and sitting straight with shoulders back and head up.

2. Facial Tension:

Your face can hold a lot of tension, especially in the brow and jaw area.  Check on these places and see if you are holding tension there and if so, stretch it out.

3. Physical Movement:

Begin by sitting less and walking more.  So many of us spend considerable time sitting in our cars or in front of screens.  Our bodies are meant to be physically active however, our modern-day lifestyles do not support this.  Get up and move for a couple of minutes each hour.  Check your posture every hour or so to make sure you are not slumping or slouching.  If you use a computer every day, try standing more while you are on it and also take time to look away and stretch your eye muscles.  Sitting less will affect your mood.  Try it for a week or two and see the results for yourself.

4. Singing:

Wherever and whenever you feel comfortable, like when you are alone driving, or you are home alone, use the opportunity to sing.  Sing happy songs that have a lively rhythm and notice how your mood changes.  Songs that are associated with happy memories are the best to sing and will give you the extra boost of a positive memory to associate with.  The other benefit of singing aloud is that it blocks internal self-talk, and it is the inner self talk that is maintaining the negative mood.

5. Smile:

This is really a no-brainer.  Smiling is just a powerful outward and inward expression of positivity.  If you smile, chances are someone is going to smile back at you and that adds the benefit of you receiving the good feelings of the other person’s positivity.  Smiling also internally turns on so many positive brain receptors that it floods your body with positive chemicals.

Move Yourself into a Better Mood

These physical techniques for feeling good are useful tools and can be easily integrated into your daily life.  By changing your physicality you will soon notice that you feel better.  And when you feel better you will start to think more positively and the bad mood will disappear… and then things can start to be different.

I invite you to share your experience with worrying in the comments. You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen