If you’ve ever experienced anxiety, you know it can overtake everything in your life. I went through several years of intense emotional anxiety, when I felt completely out of control of my life, my future, and my own happiness. I didn’t know how to help myself. I didn’t know how to reduce my anxiety alone and I was too embarrassed to ask for help.
That is no way to live.
There came a point when I knew it was time to choose myself. Unless I made some serious life changes, removed the toxicity from my environment, and started making choices that drove me toward what I needed and wanted for myself, I was going to face many more years of the same exhaustion, stress, and negative repetition.
I knew that anxiety was spiraling quickly into actual depression. More than half of those who suffer from anxiety also have depression and the reverse is also true. The two are linked for reasons that are so obvious to me now.
My story is not a unique one. In the United States alone, more than 40 million adults suffer from anxiety and (like me) most do not seek out help to treat it. It is the mental condition diagnosed more than any other in America and affects people from all walks of life.
Just like so many of my fellow anxiety sufferers, my condition manifested in physical symptoms that often sidelined me for days at a time. I understood that the mental and emotional stress was taking a toll on my physical wellbeing in ways that could and would kill me over time.
Do you recognize these anxiety symptoms that affect your body?
- Severe headaches
- Constant colds or other minor sicknesses
- Obsessive-compulsive (OCD) behavior
- Panic attacks
- Dizzy spells
- Racing heart
- Constant skin irritation
- Thinning hair and weaker nails
- Feeling unable to catch your breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Inability to sleep well and resulting fatigue
Many factors may contribute to anxiety but sometimes, you might not even understand why you feel like you’re going to shake apart from the inside out. Genetics, personality, traumatic events, life changes, toxic environment, and chemical imbalance can slowly drag you to a dark and frightening place that you never imagined finding yourself.
You can leave that place. You can learn how to reduce anxiety naturally and give your body the tools to keep it from returning. If natural methods don’t work for you, you need to know that it is also okay to ask for help…something I didn’t realize at the time.
First things first, at Daily Superfood Love, we enjoy the positive effect that food can play on our lives. Years after leaving my own place of darkness, I can attest that my diet and environment played a huge role in my own condition.
I was bitterly unhappy, filled with self-loathing, and eating foods that ramped up my system inflammation, caused repeated sugar crashes that worsened my emotional state, and didn’t give me the fuel I needed to think clearly and calmly.
Choose a few of these foods and get them into your eating plan this week! Many of them are featured in our Superfood Encyclopedia so you can learn more about them.
Top 20 Superfoods to Lower Anxiety Naturally
- Turkey and chicken
- Grass-fed beef
- Chamomile or rooibos tea
- Peanut butter
- Leafy greens
- Greek yogurt or kefir (avoid low fat)
- Dark chocolate
- Coconut oil
- Seaweed or microalgae
- Acai berries
- Maca root
I will be honest that removing the foods I was eating that made my anxiety worse was not easy. I was carbohydrate and sugar addicted, eating more and more to maintain my sugar “upper” and hold off the horrible fatigue I felt every day. For several weeks, I was forced to detoxify my body from the foods that made me feel even crappier. It was sometimes painful and there were even a few tears (detoxing from sugar is no joke) but I made it and you can, too.
Reduce Anxiety by Reducing These 5 Foods in Your Diet
- All fast food, pre-packaged food, or processed meats
- All soda (which was easy) and coffee (which was not)
- All refined flour – bread, baked goods, pasta, and cereal
- All refined sugar – candy, desserts, or anything containing high fructose corn syrup
- Alcohol limited to a glass of wine twice a week
These foods might be fine in moderation for people who do not suffer from anxiety but they were incredibly toxic to a body that was already under attack that I started feeling physically better within three days. That’s what gave me the strength to stick to it.
Once you get your diet under control, it is important to learn how to reduce anxiety in every area of your life. This is a journey and it takes constant attention in the beginning until you form the habits that will protect your mind, body, and spirit.
Personally, it was a weekly yoga class, daily meditation, and a new daily exercise regimen that started showing me how different my life could be when I made myself a priority. I started seeing my friends and family again. When I was with them, I wasn’t focused on hiding how stressed I was and it made it easier to talk and laugh again.
Some other excellent anxiety helpers…
- Writing or journaling
- Soaking in the tub
- Arts and crafts
- Listening to music
- Enjoying nature
- Starting a new hobby
You are not alone. Not today, not ever…not really (even when it feels as if you are). You are emotionally and mentally “under attack” and it is okay to say, “Hey, I could really use some help or someone to talk to. I’m overwhelmed.”
Realizing that I wasn’t as trapped as I originally thought that I was ended up being the first step to a life well lived, a life I’m proud of, a life that gets better every day.
I want you to have that experience. Don’t neglect yourself for one more day.