Try to Live More Healthily

Try to live more healthily

Getting sufficient exercise and eating healthily both have a positive effect on the mind as well as the body.

When you are in a continual state of anxiety, your body is doing the equivalent of getting all dressed up with nowhere to go. The energy the stress hormones create doesn't get properly discharged.

Giving your body some kind of work out (sufficient to induce a bit of puff and sweat) will help to get those trapped stress hormones out of your system. Make sure it is something you find enjoyable. You don't want exercising to become yet another 'should' that brings guilt when you don't do it. If it is fun, you will want to do it. A brisk walk with a friend might suit you. Or a regular game of badminton or squash. Or maybe a morning swim with someone you know and bagels for a breakfast treat together afterwards. It's almost impossible to feel anxious after a good swim.

Whatever appeals, those are the things to go for. We have suggested, if you notice, activities you might do with someone else. Paying attention to what someone else is doing as well as yourself is more likely to keep you from any habitual negative introspection. However, if you really love to walk or run or jog alone, by all means do it; just try to stay' in the moment' or to use the time to problem solve productively.

You also want to be sure to have a good, healthy diet, with regular meals, not snatched sugar- and fat-laden snacks. If you have a busy, stressful lifestyle, proper meals, for yourself at least, can often be the first essential that falls by the wayside. You don't have to be a cordon-bleu cook but you do need to eat what your body and mind require to function at their best.

Wholegrain cereals, bread, pasta, rice and other whole foods such as lentils, beans and nuts, should be on the menu, if possible. And aim for the now famous five or more daily servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Protein is important: it can be found in eggs, preferably free range and organic, and/ or lean meats; and fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon or sardines, which contain the omega-3 oils highly important for brain function. (Because some fish may be polluted, pregnant women are often advised to take omega-3 supplements instead.)

It is also a good idea to monitor your sugar intake: too much can itself cause anxiety reactions. And be aware that coffee, tea, alcohol and cigarettes can all trigger production of stress hormones.

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