Updated: May 3
If you have anxiety, don’t stress. Easier said than done, right? Here are a few tips to keep you zen.
You survived the holidays but now the new year is here, and there’s new pressures to face. A new job, a new resolution, whatever it may be, I’m here to tell you that you can manage and treat your anxiety with these 12 simple steps.
Realistically Assess Your Diet
1. Eliminate food dyes and artificial colors (i.e. Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2)
If you’re consuming conventionally processed snacks and drinks (like chips, crackers, and sports drinks) you are likely consuming artificial food colors (AFCs). AFCs are derived from petroleum and petrochemicals which is terrifying enough, but it gets worse. AFCs have been directly linked to causing and exacerbating anxiety, ADD, and ADHD. To make matters worse, they’re also linked to chronic diseases and other neurological issues. So, best to cut these out altogether!
2. Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, candy, energy drinks)
Caffeine is a stimulant and can be the direct cause of an anxiety attack by increasing your adrenaline and putting your body in a state of fight or flight. Be mindful and eliminate caffeine as much as possible, as it can be hidden in places we don’t think about.
3. Take high-quality probiotics
Our health is regulated by our guts. Disease manifests from an imbalanced gut microbiome, so it’s important to repair your gut first and foremost. Adding probiotics is one very effective way to do this. Keep in mind, not all probiotics are created equal. You want the highest quality probiotic possible or else you’re wasting your money. I only use Glorious Gut by Truvani.
4. Experiment with ashwaganda
Instead of defaulting to Prozac or another drug packed with side-effects, try an elixir that nature has provided to us! Ashwaganda is an ancient herbal root that's been used for thousands of years with restorative properties for the body and mind. It's commonly referred to as "The Prince of Herbs". I like Ashwaganda because it's dynamic. It works in your body uniquely and provides the response your body needs. While some people immediately feel calm and peaceful, others may not notice it until they're in the heat of the moment when something used to stress them out doesn't.
5. Consume only pasture-raised meats with no antibiotics/hormones as opposed to conventionally raised meat (if you’re a carnivore)
Conventionally raised meat is toxic. Aside from the animal rights issues of being crammed into closed quarters, these animals are fed genetically modified (GM) grains that is not their natural diet (used because it’s cheap and it fattens up the animals quickly), the animals then get sick and are treated with antibiotics and then slaughtered. You’ve then consumed meat from a sick, diseased animal, and if it was treated with antibiotics (which kills your gut’s microbiome- see above probiotics section) then you’re also getting residual pharmaceuticals. Animals that are pasture-raised eat their natural diets, get sunshine, roam freely as nature intended, and you are then consuming meat from a healthy animal.
Incorporate Calming Lifestyle Practices
Another factor that contributes to anxiety is lifestyle. Are you eating too fast? Are you moving too fast? Working too hard? Slow down, chew your food, and be conscious about what you’re doing while you’re doing it.
6. Eliminate exposure to Round Up (Glyphosate) and other toxic chemicals
Glyphosate (commonly in Round Up) has been proven to induce behavioral impairments (such as anxiety and depression) along with cancer such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and destroys gut health. It’s also extremely toxic to wildlife and the environment, so you’ll be doing a greater good. Avoid using Round Up or Glyphosate-based chemicals around your home and especially avoid eating them (eating organic is the best way to avoid this, since conventional foods are heavily sprayed with it).
7. Take a mindful time-out (AKA meditation)
Meditation has to be practiced. Start by spending 5-10 minutes in the morning in a quiet private place and practice letting go of thoughts, regulating your breath, and surrendering to the moment. Meditation grounds restless energy and calms the chaotic mind. Try to work your way up to doing this every day for 20 minutes before the day begins or when you need a timeout. For more information on learning meditation best practices Deepak Chopra’s and Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Program.
8. Get an acupuncture treatment
Either from a private practice who can give you an in-depth analysis or search for a community acupuncturist who can still treat anxiety in a less personal environment but at a more frugal price. Studies show significant results for using acupuncture to treat anxiety.
9. Create a scheduled routine (as much as possible)
Routine helps create structure and stabilization which ultimately helps keep you grounded. Do the best you can to keep your morning, lunch, and evening routine in place so you know what to expect and you can better manage it.
10. Practice yoga, pilates, or go for a walk
These are all mind-body connected activities that slow your body and mind down and still produce endorphins which make the mind feel amazing.
11. Take an epsom salt bath in the evening
Epsom salt is essentially magnesium, which has an amazing calming effect on the body (also great for healing sore muscles, aches, pains, and improving sleep). Take an epsom salt bath on a stressful night or to help with sleep and you will be amazed at how calming it can be.
12. Utilize lavender and chamomile
Whether you drink it, inhale it, or mix it with a carrier oil and rub it on your skin, lavender and chamomile are both very calming and often recommended to reduce and deter anxiety.
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1. Goyata, S.L., Avelino, C.C., Santos, S.V., Souza, J.D., Gurgel, M.D., & Terra, F.S. (2016). Effects from acupuncture in treating anxiety: integrative review. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagen (69)3, 602-609. doi: 10.1590/0034-7167.2016690325i.
2. Aitbali, Y., Ba-M’hamed, S., Elhidar, N., Nafis, A., Soraa, N., & Bennis, M. (2018). Glyphosate based- herbicide exposure affects gut microbiota, anxiety and depression-like behaviors in mice. Neurotoxicology and Teratology (67) 44-49. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2018.04.002.