Anxiety is extremely common, and can be quite debilitating.  Most of us have a fast paced life, with several responsibilities and not enough time to get them done.  It is normal to feel anxious when you are over worked or when life requires you to step outside of your comfort zone.  However, some people suffer with chronic anxiety.  Feeling anxious is their natural state and they have forgotten how it feels to be truly relaxed. This can adversely affect your health, your relationships, career and family life.

We see many patients suffering with anxiety at our clinics, and we are able to help the vast majority of them achieve a calmer state of mind.  Feeling anxious isn’t just about the thoughts in your head.  What you eat each day has a profound effect on your state of mind and this is very underappreciated.

10 tips for a calmer day

  1. Pay attention to how much caffeine you consume. Caffeine is in a lot of foods and drinks; not just coffee.  There is caffeine in tea, chocolate, some soda, some sports drinks and some diet pills.  Caffeine raises the level of stress hormones in your bloodstream.  Even if you find stopping to have a cup of coffee relaxing, it will raise your level of stress hormones and long term this will leave you feeling more anxious or stressed.  If you are prone to anxiety, don’t have more than one caffeine containing drink per day and have it before lunchtime.  Green tea is much lower in caffeine and full of antioxidants, so you can have several cups a day if you wish.
  2. Pay attention to your breathing and your shoulders. When you are anxious, rushed or stressed, your shoulders tend to creep up towards your ears.  If you are like that all day, you will develop a great deal of muscle tension in your shoulders and that can adversely affect the quality of your sleep or promote headaches.  Try to consciously relax your shoulders throughout the day.  Also, stressed and anxious people tend to either hold their breath or shallow breathe.  Try to slow down your breathing and remember to take full and deep breaths.
  3. Support your brain in its production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that enable your brain to function, and determine your mood and state of mind. Most neurotransmitters are made of amino acids; that’s why consuming sufficient protein is so important. I call tyrosine mood food because your brain requires it in order to manufacture the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin. They help to keep you feeling calm, focused and motivated.
  4. Get some exercise each day.  The human body is designed to move.  We were not designed to sit in one spot all day.  Gentle walking, yoga and stretching will help to rid the body of stored tension, however exercise that makes you huff and puff and sweat releases a whole lot of endorphins into your bloodstream.  The endorphins act as powerful tranquilizers and can keep you calm all day if you exercise vigorously in the morning.
  5. Take a magnesium supplement. Magnesium relaxes the nerves and muscles of your body.  Magnesium is found in foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.  If you are in great health, you can probably get adequate magnesium from these foods.  However, feeling stressed makes you lose magnesium from your body.  When you feel stressed, your adrenal glands release adrenalin into your bloodstream.  Adrenalin promotes the loss of magnesium from your bones, into your urine and out of your body.  Therefore people who have experienced long term stress inevitably become magnesium deficient.  Being magnesium deficient worsens anxiety and is likely to make you feel edgy, tense and prone to insomnia.  Magnesium is then required in supplement form to correct the deficiency.
  6. Avoid sugar. People don’t realize how much sugar can destroy their mood.  If you eat a lot of sugar or foods that get digested into sugar (such as bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and foods made of flour), your blood sugar level will rise after eating them.  If you eat foods like this regularly, your blood sugar level will go up and down all day.  This is a major trigger of anxiety, depression and mood swings.  Try to base your diet on vegetables and protein (fish, poultry, eggs, meat), fruit, nuts, seeds and good fats such as olive oil, macadamia nut oil and organic coconut oil.
  7. Look after your adrenal glands. When you feel stressed or anxious, your adrenal glands release a burst of stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol) into your bloodstream to help you cope with the current situation.  Unfortunately many people lead chronically stressful lives, and this really forces their adrenal glands to pump out high levels of hormones all day.  If this continues, some degree of adrenal gland exhaustion is inevitable.  Unfortunately caffeine, sugar and nicotine also stress the adrenals, and stressed people commonly rely on these substances. You can support the production of cortisol and adrenalin by your adrenal glands with my supplement Adrenal Natural Glandular capsules.
  8. Do one thing at a time. You may think you are being more productive by multitasking, but really you are more likely to feel overwhelmed and rushed and you are more likely to make errors or have an accident.  Try to focus on what you are doing while you are doing it.  Complete one task fully before starting the next.  It usually means you will complete each task in a shorter amount of time.
  9. Have a massage. We hold so much tension in our muscles and you will be surprised how much is released and how good you’ll feel after a massage.  We spend so much time living in our heads; it’s good to spend some time focusing on your body and addressing the stress you have stored in it.  Ideally you’d get a massage from a professional massage therapist, but you may have a talented partner who is willing to give you a proper massage.
  10. Try lavender essential oil. Lavender is immensely relaxing and calming.  If you put some pure lavender oil on your pillow or night shirt before going to bed, you should experience a much deeper and better quality sleep.  If you can get a great sleep and feel well rested each morning, you will find it so much easier to deal with stressful annoyances during the day.

Hopefully these tips will help you to feel calmer and more relaxed each day.  It is also important to rest when you need to rest, and make time during the week for fun activities.  Try to look after yourself physically and emotionally as this will have a very positive effect on your state of mind.  There is a great deal more information in my book Help for Depression and Anxiety.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.