So, you know who I am and you know that I’m an anxiety sufferer from my first 2 blog posts – have a read if you haven’t already. I also said, i think in both of my previous posts, that enough is enough. It’s time for me to end the suffering and live the life I really want to. But how do I go about doing this? It is a good question and I do feel the answer is perhaps slightly different for different people, meaning that different things work in different ways for different people, after all we’re all unique. Having said that there are certain strategies than can benefit us all.
What am I doing and is it working?
Firdtly, I’ve started to change my diet. Now I have to say I haven’t yet completely irradicated all processed food from my diet but I am working towards that stage. It will take some time as I think I have, what is bordering on, an addiction for biscuits! (Cookies for friends in the US). I find comfort in earing biscuits dipped in my cup of tea, it’s like an emotional crutch I use to feel safe and secure. I read a really good book called The Anti-Anxiety Diet which is excellent. Not only does it give easy to understand explanations about why certain foods are beneficial in our diets but it also gives a helpful guide about how to get started with diet changes, such as creating shopping lists and meal plans. I have been using this book as a guide to get me started. There are certain foods such as spinach, avocado, certain nuts and seeds and oily fish which are great for increasing the feel good chemical being released from the brain and these should be included in your diet, especially if you have mental health issues. I’m planning to create content in the future which goes into detail about specific foods and why they benefit the anxious mind.
The next thing I’ve already started doing is taking a herbal supplement called Ashwagandha. It comes from ancient Indian medicine and is derived from a plant so is entirely natural. If you search the Internet there are a few studies on its benefits and lots of people who have had very positive experiences taking it. The small amount of evidence there is does suggest positive effects on anxiety levels. There is caution about taking it long term however, as there is not enough scientific evidence yet to rule out side effects from long term use, so taking for only 3 months continuously is recommended.
I have also started to drink a cup of green tea every morning. It has an anti oxidant in it called L-theamene which aids brain function and improves mood.
I have started to regularly meditate and listen to positive affirmations in an attempt to irradicate negitive thoughts and improve my own self esteem and self confidence, which are very low. After listening for 20-30 minutes I feel physically and mentally calmer every time I use this strategy, I want to build this into my daily routine in a more structured way. I also want to include yoga into my daily routine. I have done some yoga but it has been very intermittent and I believe the most benefit can be reaped from these activities if they are practeice daily.
I have read a lot of books lately about building self-confidence and self-esteem and conquering anxiety. It has all helped me build a plan for changing my mindset and improving my mental health. I have (only yesterday) started reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Nnow (I was delighted to discover it was on Audible). Im not even half way through and I already think it ‘s going to be utterly life changing! I would highly recommend it.
Lastly, I’m drinking more water. Very simple and something that most people know they shoild probably do but actually making sure it happens isn’t as simple as it sounds. I now try to take a water bottle with me everywhere and drink to through the day. Thus way it doesnt feel like such a pressure and I get it down no problem.
The reason I can’t really say if things are working well for me or not is because of the current pandemic. Most of the time my anxiety is triggered by going out places or thinking about having to go out places. Obviously, in recent time this hasn’t really happened, I’ve hardly been anywhere. All appointments have been over the phone and there’s been no school, no clubs or activities, no outings with the kids and so on. This means my anxiety has been hugely decreased anyway. The test will come next time I do need to go anywhere out of my comfort zone. I will have to keep you posted about how this goes when the opportunity arises.
My next step, as well as the ones mentioned above, is to start an 8 week mindfulness training course in MBSR (mindfulness based stress reliefe). It starts this Monday and I’m very excited to get going with it. I will keep you posted with what that is like too. I am also looking at the idea of teaching mindfulness to others as I really feel it can bring great benefit to everyone. I would like to link this into a life coaching practice that specifically aims to help those who face mental health challenges. But that’s all for the future and something I will need to build over time.
Please let me know in the comments if there are strategies you find work well for reducing your anxiety.
Thank you for reading.