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Dramatically Reduce Your Anxiety 8

The things you know but, maybe, you don’t do...

So these are things that we all know, but for whatever reason we might not actually do.

My central point you actually, in reality,

follow the advice you know to be true? Perhaps score yourself out of 10, at top, 0 at bottom. Be honest. No-one is checkingand if your want to cheat you just know who you are really cheating...

1. Exercise.

We know that exercise produces those feel good chemicals, endorphins being the

most well-known. They can physically change the way you feel. They exorcise stress

and combat the propensity for the mind to worry. What greater example of

mindfulness is there than sport – you are fully absorbed in that moment. No time to

ruminate or the ball will hit you on the head.

I am not going to repeat all the scientific studies that again and again tell us that

exercise has huge benefits. We know this is true.

So, how do you score?

2. Eat Well.

A healthy diet leads to healthy body. Roman poet Juvenal stated “mens sana in

corpore sano” – a healthy mind in a healthy body. If our body is properly nourished

we are going to be, literally, feeding our mind with the right chemicals and we are far,

far more likely to have good mental health and consequently less Anxiety.

Key tips from the NHS include

1. Base your meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates. ...

2. Eat lots of fruit and veg. ...

3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish. ...

4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar. ...

5. Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults. ...

6. Get active and be a healthy weight. ...

7. Do not get thirsty. ...

8. Do not skip breakfast.

So. No surprises here then again. We all know this. But how well do you do out of 10

for healthy diet?

3. Sleep Well

Ah, here’s the rub...A more complex one perhaps relating to Anxiety. When our sleep is

poor our Anxiety levels will naturally go up. We find it difficult to control and regulate our

emotions, we make poor food and health choices and we start to enter a spiral

downwards. As our levels of Anxiety rise up they too impact on our sleep – we can start

to suffer from insomnia and enter vicious circle.

Adults need 7-9 hours sleep a night. It is more than likely that Anxiety will have affected

your sleep at some point either difficulty getting to sleep or bouts of prolonged waking

up during the night. It’s at this point it is worth going back to exercise, the previous entry.

Sleep will often come easier and more naturally to a body that has exercised. Those

chemicals that are released combat Anxiety and mean the body feels naturally “tired”.

The really important thing here is that as you improve any one of these factorsit will knock

on to one of the others – they all improve together.

Calming audio can help. You will find free audio on my website that you can download.

The NHS has some great sleep tips – where do you rate in these? Any changes, however

seemingly small, can have a big long term impact on your Anxiety.

1. Go to bed at the same time and get up from bed at the same time every day. Regular

waking times leads to regular sleep onset and helps “set” the body clock.

2.Reduce or avoid sleeping during the day. Staying awake during the day helps you fall

asleep at night. Any naps longer than 30 minutes will increase the chances of having

a disturbed night’s sleep.

3.Take regular exercise during the day. Exercise promotes more restful sleep, but

vigorous exercise should not be carried out within 3 hours of going to bed. Relaxing

exercise such as yoga can be done before bed to aid sleep.

4. Limit or avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bedtime. Caffeine and nicotine

are stimulants and so can cause difficulty in falling asleep, awakenings during the night

and shallow sleep. Although alcohol may help people fall asleep more easily, it causes

disturbances later in the night.

5. Avoid going to bed hungry or too full. Food can be disruptive right before bed so

avoid heavy meals before bedtime. Hunger can also disturb sleep.

6. Only use the bed for sleeping and sex. Avoid watching television, listening to the

radio, or reading in bed. This will help your brain to see bed as a place for sleeping.

7. Don’t take your problems to bed. Worrying may interfere with sleep or cause

shallow sleep. Try and plan some time earlier in the evening to work on problems or

plan for the next day.

8. Try to have a relaxing bedtime routine. Try muscle relaxation, a warm bath, or a

milky drink to help you unwind before bed.

9. Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and a comfortable temperature. This will reduce the

likelihood of you waking up during the night. Carpets, earplugs and thicker curtains

may help.

10. Don’t force yourself to try to go to sleep. This will only make your mind and body

more alert. Remove/hide any clocks from view so you are not constantly checking the

time. If you are unable to sleep within 30 minutes then get up, go to a different room,

and carry out a peaceful activity, then return to bed when you feel sleepy. Avoid

exposure to bright light during this time.

11.Get regular exposure to natural light. This is important for older people who may

not venture out as frequently as children and adults. Light exposure helps maintain a

healthy sleep-wake cycle.

4. Connect Socially

We are social animals, even us introverts! We are programmed to be with other

people – our tribe, to protect ourselves from predation. When we are with other

people our brains reward us with a release of those feel good chemicals, the

neurotransmitters. We talk most about dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and

endorphins. These are part of a powerful antidote package to Anxiety. When we are

with other people we are often simply distracted from the stream of anxious thoughts

and they get turned off.

I worked with a client who at the start of our session I asked to score where she was

out of ten. 0 the bottom., the worst,10 the top, Anxiety non existent. She proceeded

to describe how badly she felt, just awful and said 2. As we talked and talked ten

minutes later I noticed how she was smiling. Her tone had changed. She seemed

completely different. I asked her to scale herself again and she was taken aback and

said that she had “No Anxiety.” Caught up in conversation there was simply no room

for the negative anxious state.

Find ways to engage with other people on your terms that you will enjoy.

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