Stress is everywhere at the moment. When you are feeling anxious, suffering from panic attacks, stress or depression there are relatively simple changes you can make to your life in order to improve your situation. I am not talking about specific cures or solutions for complex anxiety and depression disorders, I am talking about ways to get your body, physically speaking, to optimum efficiency and peek performance.
A healthy mind equals a healthy body and vice versa. You are likely to feel better physically after relaxing your mind and you are likely to feel better mentally and emotionally after spending some time looking after your body. There are several easy steps you can take to improve your physical well-being.
Below, we shall examine some of those methods. Of course you should always check with your doctor before making major lifestyle changes.
Your body needs more than fifty essential nutrients in order to function well under stress,. They mainly come from these four categories:
Vitamins A (retinol), B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K (this is not an exhaustive list).
Essential Fatty Acids (Specifically Linolenic acid omega-3 and Linoleic acid omega-6 )
Essential Amino Acids (E.g. Tryptophan, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine)
Minerals, E.g. Chromium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Calcium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Sulphur (This is not an exhaustive list).
And, as if that weren’t a daunting enough list already, your body also needs sufficient antioxidants (which may help prevent cancer and promote longevity), plant sterols (to help block cholesterol and other functions) and bioflavonoids (which are thought to aid blood flow and increase vitamin c inter cellular absorption).
You could spend a lot of time trying to work out a diet that included all of the above, and by the end you would probably be more stressed, anxious and depressed than you were when you started (and much poorer!). But luckily there is an easy way to ensure that your diet gets the lions share of what you need.
Eat some fresh fruit (especially citrus) and veg everyday, separate from eating sugary foods or foods high in simple carbohydrates. Drink a splash of red wine and try and develop a taste for green tea. And if you want a sweet treat go for dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids.
Take a Cod Liver Oil supplement every day. Or use flax seed oil if you are vegetarian. (Does the same job but is a bit more expensive!)
Take a multivitamin and mineral supplement everyday.
Eat as much whole wheat, whole grain fresh non-processed food as possible
When we get stressed or feel anxious or low our quality food intake tends to reduce. Sugar rich food and simple carbohydrates like pizza and pasta seem extra tempting. We also look to foods which give us short term pleasure such as salty foods. We tend to eat faster, clogging up our digestive system and making us feel worse later. And of course we can’t be bothered with the preparation of all that healthy food, so low-nutrient junk and convenience foods seem much more appealing.
It is at exactly this time that you need to make the effort to eat better. Eating better will not instantly make us feel better. By and large, a good diet does not eliminate anxiety or depression, or solve stress related issues. But eating better can do one vital thing: it can ensure that we don’t make ourselves even worse by going for the junk food options. Also, long term, a good diet will build us up so we can deal with life in a relaxed and controlled fashion.
Alcohol, coffee, sugar, and simple carbohydrates are the main villains in terms of diet. It is also important to chew food and eat at a more relaxed, slow pace. Eating quickly causes indigestion and all sorts of unpleasant Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.
Apart from diet there are other steps you can take to improve overall well-being. We can take steps to reduce our exposure to toxins by filtering water, taking time in the countryside away from air-pollution, using natural soap products and organic foods. Think about the number of chemicals around you and the emissions from electronic devices like mobile phones and computer screens.
Get into the habit of using herbal bath oils, indulging yourself with a massage and taking regular exercise. Reflexology may or may not help with anxiety and depression, it certainly does reduce stress and promote restful sleep.
A new hair cut and a clothes shopping trip may go some way to improving your self worth and making you feel more able to tackle life’s trickier questions.
One last word of advice. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to change your whole life in one go.
Take gradual steps and allow yourself time to make them habit.