Right now, during this time of “social distancing” and waiting for it “all to be over,” we all need good, healthy ways to take control of the stress in our lives and to control how we react to the information and emotions that seem to be everywhere.
The first thing you need to do to control your anxiety is by looking at your diet. A body that isn’t fed well that is always sleep-deprived, and that doesn’t get enough exercise deprives you of the power to sift through those anxious thoughts when they come and to deal them constructively.
It’s more important than ever in times like this to take care of your body. It is imperative to keep it healthy so that you feel strong enough to find healthy ways of dealing with your stress and anxiety.
This will probably sound like the same advice you’ve heard before, but diet and exercise are your two best defenses against being overwhelmed by stress and anxiety.
Here are several foods, amino acids, vitamins, and herbs that will also help keep stress and anxiety under control:
- Lavender or chamomile tea
- Dark chocolate (antioxidants)
- Avocados and salmon (omega 3s)
- Citrus fruits (vitamin C)
- Yogurt (probiotics)
- Turmeric (reduces inflammation)
- Pumpkin seeds and bananas (potassium)
- Brazil nuts (selenium to reduce inflammation)
- Ashwagandha (counteracts the effects of stress)
- Cortisol Soothe (lowers cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone)
- Vitamin B12
- GABA (Promotes positive mood, supports relaxation and moderates stress)
- SAM-e (Relieves anxiety and depression)
- 5-HTP (An amino acid that raises serotonin, the feel-good hormone)
- L-Theanine (An amino acid used for stress management, relaxation and reducing irritability)
- KAVA (An herb that supports a sense of emotional well-being and relaxation in times of mild stress without creating sleepiness)
- Vitamin D (Reduces fatigue, depression, and anxiety)
Getting enough good quality sleep is crucial now. Try and stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup time. Your body thrives on routine, and right now, it can be especially helpful in terms of helping you feel in control of things. If you are having difficulty sleeping, try some natural sleep aids like melatonin.
How To Release Your Body’s Natural Opioids
Did you know that your brain produces its own natural opioids and that you can harness their power to control your anxiety?
Enkephalins and endorphins are natural opioid chemicals that the body produces to lower stress and control pain in the body. They bind to receptors in the spinal cord to suppress the transmission of pain signals to the brain, thus controlling pain and lowering stress in the body without the numerous side effects of pharmaceutical opioids.
Proven ways to release your natural opioids include:
- Aromatherapy – try lavender or vanilla essential oils in your diffuser
- Exercise – Ever hear of “runner’s high”? That’s the production of endorphins at work. Even a brisk walk can release them and relieve the tension in your body.
- Laugh! Nothing raises endorphins like laughing.
- Sit in the sun. It boosts the production of serotonin and melatonin, which can help improve your mood, increase your energy, and help you get better sleep.
Make Use Of Technology To Stay Connected
“Social distancing does not mean isolation!”
Don’t isolate yourself now, especially if you’re feeling anxious, sad, or fearful. This is one time when you can be sure you are not alone. Use technology to reach out.
Besides communicating via phone calls, texting, or keeping up with everyone on Facebook, consider chatting face to face with friends and family. You can do that using several apps, including Skype, FaceTime, Snapchat, and Google Hangouts. You’ll see them, they’ll see you, and you’ll both feel better.
Remember that you are the master of your thoughts. Understand that your emotions grow out of the way you think about things. If you can find ways to re-direct your thoughts, you can feel differently, at least at that moment.