Five for Fighting Anxiety

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

“Anxiety – got me on the run
Anxiety – yeah, I just need someone
Anxiety – can’t get nothin’ done
Anxiety – spoils all the fun”

— Lyrics from the song ‘Anxiety’ by Pat Benatar

Practices for a less stressful and more glorious day.

We all have anxiety. How could we not? Anxiety has become the commonality in the fabric of our 21st century lives. Reading news headlines, raising our families, our work schedules and participation in a rapidly technologically advancing society  — has saturated our minds, making it difficult, or seemingly impossible, to relax and recharge.

We call it different things. Worry, stress, overwhelm, nerves, unease, uncertainty, tension — Anxiety has become an epidemic.

In December 2016, NBC News reported “One in six Americans take some kind of psychiatric drugs — mostly antidepressants,” That is more than 16% of Americans — a staggering number, alarming to adults and increasingly dangerous to our children.

This is a call to action, for the world, for America and especially for our children.

An anxiety disorder when medically diagnosed by a qualified medical doctor disorder should not be ignored, or downplayed, in the arena I’m addressing here. If you are experiencing or have experienced trauma or feelings of suicidal or harmful thoughts, please seek professional help or go to your local emergency room.

What I attempt to address in this article is our basic need to take better care of ourselves, our families — including our elders and our children.

We’ve become a society that doesn’t stop. We have an onslaught of medical and non medical people that try to manage our anxiety for us. They may even create, intentionally or unintentionally, additional anxiety for you — why? Well, because, it makes them feel a bit better themselves.

We can learn more effective ways to deal with anxiety, reduce our stress and increase our well-being. We frequently just don’t know how or practice to be resilient from an event or series of events that exceeded our immediate resources to effectively cope with them.

Everyone has moments of overwhelm, and situations where we need to ask for help — after all, this is part of living. And, I’m all for prescribing appropriate medications for clinical diagnosis of depression and other medical disorders —but I’m a huge advocate of using the knowledge we’ve had for thousands of years that is proven to be effective in lowering our heart rate, regulating blood pressure, increasing serotonin levels and increasing general wellbeing.

I can only speak from my experience on how I was able to overcome debilitating anxiety, high blood pressure and pre-diabetes — but I stand firm that these 5 for fighting anxiety hacks are always in my toolbox.

Five for fighting Anxiety.

  1. Meditation — I love to meditate in the morning when I first get up. This helps to set the tone for the day. I’m also very fond of meditation by a stream or at the beach. There are many forms of meditation — eyes closed, eyes open, singing, praying, walking meditations, writing and so on. Find the one that works best for you first, then try to work toward a more formal practice to achieve the most benefits.
  2. Exercise —  I belong to a gym and when I first get there I get on a bike or treadmill to warm up. Within the first 5-7 minutes I notice a distinct shift in my breathing and overall feeling of well-being. Begin small. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as that you do.
  3. Diet — By diet, I intend to bring attention to what we are eating and to eating effectively. Several small meals throughout the day assist in stabilizing our blood sugar levels and give us energy throughout the day. Increase fruits and veggies — reduce meats and white flour, eliminate most white sugars, and refined or prepared foods.
  4. Breathing — I can’t stress enough that breathing regulates our entire body. I’ve learned to reduce my heart rate and anxiety through simple breathing exercises. Take a long deep breath in for the count of five, then release it for the count of five. This is what I do and it works for me. A lot of training models have a different approach, usually longer inhales and holds. Explore breath work — you will totally be amazed.
  5. Visual and Sound Therapy — Our environments are important and have a tremendous impact on how we feel. I make sure my bedroom is clean and simple. Low lighting and a few books and odd items that make me feel peaceful are placed next to my bed. I enjoy white noise or nature sounds both for meditating or when I just want to bring the energy down a little bit in the house. Pandora Radio and Amazon Alexa are great for that! Also remember that outdoor in nature is the BEST therapy. Hike a mountain, stroll a beach, sit by a stream.

My wish for you today is a less stressful and more glorious day! Namaste. 🙂

You’re a Peach

fruit snackFruit is a great snack to replace chips, candy or other processed foods. Some days I cut up an apple with peanut butter for a afternoon pick-me-up or have some berries, nuts and yogurt for a night-time snack. Here is one of my favorites this time of year – fresh peaches from the local farmers market. Slice some up and drizzle with local organic honey. YUM! If you are watching your sugar, omit the honey – they are sweet enough. Enjoy!

Chicken Coconut Pumpkin Soup

soupWith the pumpkin leftover from making the dog treats – I made this soup with shredded chicken, coconut milk, cilantro and the canned pumpkin. It just took a couple minutes to heat up on the stove. A simple and nutritious soup that can be eaten as is or poured over brown rice. Yum.

Food Prep: Roasting Everything

roast veggiesRoasting vegetables is a good way to prepare for the week or a dinner party. You can roast just about anything and in this photo you will see carrots, celery, and onion and yes, GRAPES! I love roasted grapes! By adding some type of fruit to the pan, you will create something unique and fun!

Preparing is easy. After cutting everything into bite-size pieces, drizzle a little olive oil, salt and pepper and toss in the oven at 350-400 until your desired doneness. Make sure you prepare enough to add to your rice dish during the week! 🙂

Yogurt, Honey-Bear Style

snacksThis is a favorite of mine. Greek yogurt with raw almonds, raw organic Neem honey and mango. A great snack, full of protein! 🙂

Veggie Chop

saladThis is a pretty good salad. Certainly good for you! In this one I put some greens, tomato, celery, radicchio, currants, pumpkin seeds with some olive oil and good balsamic vinegar. The crunch from the seeds and celery make it satisfying. Sometimes I will add chicken or tofu. Enjoy 🙂

Fuel for the Gods

Gym FoodSo, I got home from the gym tonight, looked in the fridge and this happened: Brown herbed rice with steamed shitake, steamed asparagus, smoked mozzarella, and cilantro…few drops of olive oil, Braggs Aminos and I had myself a really satisfying quick meal. Yum, I tell ya… 🙂