What Foods and Beverages Trigger Anxiety?

As you can imagine, the things we put into our bodies affect our anxiety levels tremendously.  As a matter of fact, there are some anxiety-inducing foods and beverages that we regularly consume that we should limit or halt the intake of.

Alcohol, caffeine, and processed sugar are the top culprits.  If you’ve been feeling more anxious than usual lately, take a look at your consumption levels of these three items.  Try lowering them (best of all, cut them out completely) for a week and see what difference it makes.

Do you find some foods or beverages trigger anxiety for you?

How Your Mood Influences Food

Have you ever considered how much your attitude dictates your food choices?

Like when you’re feeling upset, overwhelmed, or sad, you generally turn towards junk/comfort food.  But when you’re feeling on top of your game, happy and content, you are more likely to choose foods that will continue to make you feel great.

There are a lot of things we cannot control in life, but our mood is one thing we can work on daily to improve.  Choosing a cheery disposition laced with positivity will have more of a positive influence on your life than just feeling happy.

What are some things that instantly improve your mood when you’re feeling low?

How Eating When Stressed-Out Can Actually Cause Weight Gain

Wouldn’t it be easier if we craved a large veggie-filled salad when we’re stressed? Unfortunately, it seems to be the opposite — we tend to look for comfort in food when we’re stressed out or anxious. Not only do our choices seem to change when we’re stressed, but our body actually processes food differently when we’re under stress.

This is called the fight or flight mode. Your hormones are naturally programmed to release chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol when you feel stressed. Elevated amounts of these hormones regularly give us feelings of hunger, putting us on an endless cycle of reaching for comfort foods and eating more than we need.

Another side effect is a slower metabolism. Those stress hormones being released regularly slows down the metabolism. Because stress messes with our brain’s wiring for rewards and our cortisol levels trick us into wanting more fat and sugar, we automatically head toward those comfort foods during times of stress.

And finally, one of the most significant factors for making poor eating choices when you’re stressed out is lack of sleep. Lack of sleep affects the chemicals that control your appetite, which can begin another seemingly endless cycle of the hamster wheel. Make sleep a priority. Aim for 7-8 hours a night, even if you have to rearrange the schedule you’re accustomed to.

But now that you know where your stress is taking you, you can do something about it. First of all — name your stressors. What are the top things that cause you to stress? Comment below.

It’s important to fit exercise into your schedule, even if all you have time for is a brisk 10-minute walk. When you do sit down for a meal, practice mindfulness instead of zoning out in front of your phone or the television.

Stress is something that we can’t eradicate completely, but we cause a lot of the stress we undergo. For example, we feel stressed because we’re unorganized, unprepared, and our home is in disarray. These are all very common reasons for being under stress, and they’re so fixable! Make a plan to tackle the things that are causing you stress, and start chipping away at them.

You’ll be amazed at how much your digestion improves, your sleep quality improves, and you’ll feel lighter.

Natural Ways to Calm Your Anxious Mind

If you’re one of the millions of people that struggle with anxiety, you know how it controls your every moment. Experiencing an episode of anxiety can feel like being imprisoned by your thoughts, weighed down in your own body, and feeling frantic for “no apparent reason.” Whether you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety or experience anxious thoughts from time to time, I want to share some of my favorite ways to soothe my worried mind when I’m feeling over-the-top anxious.

Note: This does not replace the opinion of your medical professional — please seek help from your licensed medical professional if you’re experiencing anxiety that you cannot control.

1. Use a simple task to gain mindfulness
When you feel like you have no control, take control of something small. It could be merely cooking dinner or tending to your garden. Anything that you can have absolute control over is good because it forces your mind to let go of the anxiety.

2. Take a minute to lie down
Grab a blanket and go outside — lie down on the blanket and look up at the sky. Let the clouds wafting by help you clear your mind. Use each cloud as a symbol — assign each cloud a worry and as it drifts by and out of sight, release your worry and use the ease of nature to clear your mind.

3. Make time to relax
If you have 30 minutes you typically spend scrolling endlessly through social media newsfeeds, then you have time to schedule relaxation into your day. Find it in the form of meditation, yoga, or even massage. You’ll release the tension and feel wellness in mental and physical forms. Journaling is another wonderful way to de-stress and relax your mind as you get all of your thoughts out on paper.

4. Use lavender
Lavender is a very calming and soothing scent. Using a diffuser to let the aroma penetrate your space is one way to get the benefits from it. You can also dab a little on your collarbone or temples so that the scent is with you wherever you go. Sprinkle a drop on your pillow at night before you tuck yourself in bed, and drift off to sleep with the calming scent soothing you to sleep.

5. Breathe deep
Deep breathing exercises can help you take control of anxiety, especially when you’re starting to feel out of control. Through your nose, breathe in for a count of 3. Hold it for a count of 1, and then release it through your nose again for a count of 3. This regulates your systems and naturally coaxes your body into a state of calmness.

6. Face it head on
Sometimes, the best course of action is to fight fire with fire. If there is something that makes you anxious, you might find it therapeutic to face it instead of avoiding it. Often times, the thoughts we’re mulling over are worse than the actual thing we’re trying to avoid. If you’ve been stressing over cleaning out your closet, make a plan to do so this weekend. You’ll see it’s not as bad as you imagined it to be, and you’ll feel ten times better when you’ve completed the task. Turn your anxiety into fuel, whenever possible, and see how lightening the mental load helps you feel on a day-to-day basis.

What do you typically find yourself feeling most anxious about?

Pick one or two of these tips to start implementing this week and see what difference it makes. Be sure to come back and tell me how it goes for you – I can’t wait to hear!

What self-help books have been on your bookshelf lately?

I’m a big fan of reading, especially inspirational, motivational, and self-help books. I’m always looking for new recommendations, so let’s create a great resource here in the comments below.

Let me know what your favorite inspirational/motivational/self-help book(s) are!

I want you to try something new this Winter, and I think you’ll love it.

Try implementing a wind-down routine at bedtime that includes a hot beverage.  You could also use this time to read or journal, as either of those are fabulous complements to a warm, cozy drink.

Brew up some sleepytime tea, a fresh homemade turmeric latte, or even a simple hot water with a squeeze of lemon.

Each of these warm beverages packs substantial health benefits, and I know you’ll see a difference in how you feel.  I even bet you’ll sleep better with your new wind-down routine.  Give it a try!

Do you get travel anxiety?

This time of year often comes with a lot of traveling.  Traveling to see friends or family for the holidays, or even traveling for big New Year’s Eve plans.

What toll does traveling take on you — does it fill you with anxiety or leave you feeling excited?

For example, it’s said that 25% of people suffer from fear of flying.  This leaves those year-end travel plans anxiety-inducing for a large number of people.

Do you struggle with travel anxiety?

How to Get Control of Your Busy Mind

Do you ever have those times when your mind is racing, and you can’t seem to catch up? Maybe your schedule is jam-packed, and you haven’t had a quiet minute to yourself in what seems like forever, or you tend to worry about every little detail on a daily basis — either way, your brain is on the go constantly. Sound about right?

Nevertheless, don’t worry. It’s not an issue exclusive to you, an active mind is
something we all deal with. A busy brain isn’t a bad thing, but when it overtakes us
and controls us instead of the other way around, that’s when trouble can creep in.
Being mindful of this and practicing some tricks daily to maintain control of your
busy mind is as easy as this…

1. Meditation
Meditation is a great way to calm yourself down after a stressful episode or a busy day. All you have to do is sit still and clear your mind, take some deep breaths, and keep practicing until it works. It might take awhile to implement fully, but once you are able to utilize it, you will be able to finally enjoy some peace.

2. Exercise
Working out is a great way to reduce stress and even get in some beneficial exercise in the process. Whether it is dance, yoga, or simply taking a walk, mindful movement has been known to reduce stress and even help to increase productivity and strengthen your attention span. And who doesn’t need that?!

3. Avoid overstimulation
Whether it is watching TV, reading articles on your phone, or even just chatting with people, we live in an era where we are stimulated all the time. This can make us stressed out more often. Be mindful of cutting down on technology or screen time that causes this stimulation, especially when you are feeling stressed. What are some activities you can do that don’t involve technology or screen time?

4. Make art
No matter how good you are at painting, drawing, or even crafting, having a creative hobby is a great way for you to do more mindless work. Knitting is a good hobby for many, and you can make scarves and hats to keep yourself warm or to provide for family and friends during the holiday season.

Regardless of where you are in life, finding a great way to relax is vital for pretty much all of us. Being pressured and stressed can feel like an everyday occurrence, but with a little relaxation, we can start to retake control of our lives.

Vitamin C Isn’t Just For Fighting Off a Cold

We all know to reach for an extra dose of Vitamin C when we fill the scratchy throat coming on — it’s a well-known immune booster and a great one at that. But did you know it’s also fantastic for calming anxiety?

Vitamin C helps produce the hormone progesterone, which is helpful in reducing anxiety and giving a calming effect. Besides the distinct sources of Vitamin C we are so well accustomed to, like that freshly squeezed OJ, there are many other places to get your Vitamin C daily.

Five fantastic sources of Vitamin C include:
• Kiwi
• Strawberries
• Kale
• Guava
• and Papaya

Aside from boosting the immune system and helping with anxiety, Vitamin C is also beneficial in other ways. A massive benefit of Vitamin C is its ability to fight free radicals invading the body. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps to combat the damage to your body the free radicals are creating, keeping you healthy and your immune system in tip-top shape.

Vitamin C is also fantastic for making sure your bones stay healthy and strong. This is a risk we all face as we age, so staying on top of this throughout your life will give you a higher chance of not dealing with brittle bones as you age into your later years.

Making sure you get healthy amounts of Vitamin C is helpful in increasing your absorption of iron, as well. Lower iron levels can lead to anemia and cause you to bruise easily. So while you need to be consuming the recommended iron levels, keeping up with your Vitamin C will allow them to work hand-in-hand to pack a more powerful punch.

Lastly, being deficient in Vitamin C can also tinker with your cravings and food habits. If you’ve been craving sweets regularly, upping your Vitamin C could help balance out your cravings so you can finally get rid of that late night cookie stash.

So be sure to load up your grocery cart with citrus, dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, bell peppers, cantaloupe, and eat your Vitamin C packed foods as raw as possible for maximum nutrient intake.

Vitamin C is in abundant supply with hundreds of ways to consume it in different foods, so make sure you are getting your Vitamin C daily to reap the numerous benefits.

What’s your favorite source of Vitamin C?

Do you trust yourself?

Have you ever found yourself falling into the trap of trusting someone else’s advice over your intuition?  I’ve done it myself, countless times.

All of these education channels are great, and I’m in no way discounting their effectiveness.  But, it’s important to watch yourself in these instances.  Make sure you are seeking your answers using your intuition and personal experience.  You know what you need, you know what you will thrive with, and you know what step to take next.  It’s inside of you.