Hacks I use to Manage Anxiety

I promise I am not psychic!  This is another topic that is a hot-button issue.  Although we have been recommended to stay at home by all the governing agencies it is easier said than done.  There are issues of making our bills, paid leave, and what in the world will we do with all these kids out of school.  Just going to the grocery store and seeing the empty shelves can trigger doomsday feelings these days. I have been dealing with anxiety for years with varying degrees of success.  Here are my simple ways of managing my anxiety.

**Disclaimer:   I am not a doctor or mental health professional.  Do not take my word as diagnosis or the best course for you.  Please consult the advice of an expert instead.  

Hacks to Manage Anixety
Anxiety can creep into daily life. A few deep breaths can help.

Get Some Rest:  Actual and Physical 

These two are linked so much they cannot be separated.  Lack of consistent sleep has been attributed to obesity, over-production of the hormone cortisol, and even chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease.  In the short term, it causes a faster heart beat and our bodies to release more adrenaline. In short, it exacerbates anxiety that is already there. Also, not allowing ourselves time to decompress or pause our minds from stressful situations keeps us in a fight or flight state of mind constantly.

It isn’t easy to get rest on both counts.  Especially when you work a job with weird hours.  However, it has helped for me to make a point to take an extra 30 minutes to sleep by going to bed earlier or allow myself 45 minutes to rest on the couch.  Find ways to get more rest, and it can certainly approve the way you start your day.  

Cut Caffeine and Sugar

Anyone who gets heart palpitations from a big cup of coffee can agree with this.  I actually am not too badly affected by a normal 8 ounce cup of coffee. However, even I feel on the verge after a venti iced coffee from Starbucks.  (Even though it is so good!) For various health concerns, including my anxiety, I have made a point to give up coffee over several periods of my life.  Since I have decreased my caffeine intake to one cup every few days, I can say it does make things more mellow. The same goes for sugar.  

A word of caution though.  When getting off both coffee and sugar you will feel worse before you feel better.  There are several Youtubers that chronicle this experience well. Caffeine withdrawals can cause some rip-roaring headaches.  So I recommend replacing your coffee with some green tea first that has a quarter of the caffeine before going off completely.  Kind of the same with sugar, by finding a lower sugar item like a few pieces of dark chocolate instead of a piece of cake, 

Hacks to Manage Anxiety
Focus on gut health in order to help with feelings of anxiety.

Make Lists and Organize 

Everyone knows that I am an avid traveler.  I am always planning or fantasizing about my next adventure.  From my freshman to senior year in college when I first started flying, I was petrified to fly.  I would count the minutes until we landed safely on the ground. This past trip to China, I let the time move naturally without counting it.  I slept, watched movies, and finished two books on the way back. Instead of worrying about not having control, I decided to take control of my time on the flight.  This helped me a lot.

Therefore, when I feel overwhelmed with something that I could control, I make a list or a plan.  Take out a notebook and write a to do list in stages prioritizing the most important tasks first. This will help put the problems in perspective and give you some control back.  

Hacks to Manage Anxiety
Check lists are a great use of brain space instead of worrying.

Focus on Eating Things with Magnesium 

Studies have shown a reduction in anxiety with more magnesium.  It is possible to have magnesium from supplements, but definitely consult a physician first! I do not take magnesium supplements, but I make sure my snacks are foods known for the mineral.  Some examples are raw almonds, spinach, avocados, and others. Here is a list of other magnesium rich food.  These have other health benefits and they improve my overall mood as a whole.  Find a food and add it in!

Focus on Gut Health with Good Bacteria 

Another possible anxiety trigger is poor stomach health.  Our stomach is a microcosm of bacteria that aid in the digestive process.  When these are out of whack or overtaken by bad bacteria digestive all kinds of discomfort ensues.  But the issues go beyond indigestion and heartburn. The stomach is also important to the health of our brain as well. Some professionals even call the stomach the second brain!  Therefore, take some time to analyze your gut health. I did not have issues until I was put on medication to deal with my issues in 2015. 

However, since then I have to be careful and make sure I am allowing good bacteria to enter my system.  I do this through refrigerated probiotic capsules and no sugar added plain greek yogurt. Note: Probiotics are a popular label now on many grocery store items. Most products that are not refrigerated are just gimmicky not offering what you need in terms of probiotics.  I recommend finding a health food store to consult when looking for helpful bacteria strains. It may sound gross to try bacteria, but it can really assist with curbing anxiety.  

Exercise Someway Somehow 

Exercise can help in multiple ways.  Getting your mind off of the worries, improves overall health, and releases feel good endorphins. Not to mention the calming and relaxing benefits of yoga.  I mentioned in my last post, that there are plenty of exercise tutorials on YouTube.  Try some different things until you find the right combination for your personality, interests, ability, and schedule.  

Try a Focused Task

When my mind is running like a stampede of horses, I try a very detailed task in order to calm it.  I prefer tasks with my hands where I have to concentrate on the details. My top three tasks are adult coloring sheets, crochet, or playing my ukulele.  There are plenty of other things you can do from home like embroidery, painting, crossword puzzles, and the list goes on and on. If it is healthy, and offers a good distraction, use it to help calm a bout of anxiety.  

Hacks to Manage Anxiety
Give detailed tasks a chance when feeling anxious.

Talk with a Friend 

Some nights having a beer under the stars with my friends at a campfire have been as calming as meditating.  There isn’t anything better than knowing you are not alone and have wonderful people to support you. I found my time with encouraging instagram friends to help me feel the same way.  Find people that honestly want to help you, and care about you. 

The Bottom Line 

Do not keep it all in.  If you feel like you do not have someone to talk to, find a therapist.  They are even online now! 

Do you have anxiety?  How do you manage anxiety?

Managing Anxiety
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2 thoughts on “Hacks I use to Manage Anxiety

  1. Leah says:

    I love doing yoga nidra and meditation exercises to reduce anxiety and when it’s time to back off the caffeine I first switch to earl gray then green to ween myself off of it

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