+ 10 Things you can do Right Now!
As a kid/teenager, I was anxious and nervous what seemed like 80% of the time. I've had my fair share of severe panic attacks. The heart-racing, faint-breathing, sitting in a state of sheer panic for what seems like hours was beginning to be a regular occurrence for me. It could be the smallest thing that sets it off, or nothing in particular at all, and it can completely derail your plans and mood for the day. Being in a state of panic, one negative or fear-driven thought piling onto the next, snowballing into inevitable exhaustion and defeat. If this is happening to you, or you can't seem to get ahead of these anxious feelings, know that you are not alone, and you are worthy and capable of healing.
Looking back to when my anxiety was severe and I was regularly experiencing these panic attacks, I realize a few things about my unhealthy lifestyle that were a direct cause of how I was feeling. My diet was high in wheat, dairy, processed foods, sugar, and I was not drinking enough water. I wasn't taking care of myself, and that includes providing my body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.
Let's rewind a couple of years. At about 18 years old, I started following and learning from all sorts of self development books, psychology articles, life coaches, etc. While this definitely improved my mindset and helped me realize the true power of thought and belief, I still wasn't fully at peace and I was still experiencing a boat load of physical symptoms.
One reason I am so passionate about helping others, holistic nutrition, and natural healing, is that I saw the true power of these things through my own healing. I started caring about what I put in my body and started learning about what effect these crappy foods were having on me.
I was absolutely stunned to learn about the symptoms that go along with each nutrient deficiency and dehydration, and wondered why the f#@& people who are suffering don't know anything about this stuff. How could something SO important to our well-being be swept over?!
After completely overhauling my diet and focusing on healing specific areas of the body, my anxiety completely sub-sided. I noticed so many mental and physical changes. My digestion was better, my moods were more stable, I wasn't a walking ball of anxiety anymore, my skin started clearing up, I felt happier, I was getting a full night's sleep, and I woke up with energy instead of waking up feeling exhausted before the day even started. And with that, comes confidence.
Being in a true state of well-being, I decided I AM NEVER GOING BACK - to that lifestyle, to that way of thinking, to treating my body poorly, to not listening to my body's needs, to not meeting my body's nutritional needs in order to function properly.
Talk about reclaiming your FREEDOM. That was a powerful and life changing commitment I made to myself and I hope to inspire others to begin their healing journeys.
I think more emphasis needs to be put on the body's ability to heal and return to balance when talking about mental health.
It's often taken as a signal that something is fundamentally wrong with the person and always will be, BUT what we seem to forget is that everything you put into your body effects your state of mind and hormones, the habits of your thinking have a direct effect on hormones and neural pathways, our digestive system is responsible for about 70% of serotonin production and the nervous system, when the intestinal lining is irritated or inflamed it is unable to fully absorb nutrients needed for brain health and full body health.
WHY isn't this being brought up when we're speaking about mental illness and how to help the individual get better?! Healthy eating, proper nutrition, exercise, and healing the body NEED to be the main focus to make sustainable improvements in one's mental health. These states of imbalance are simply symptoms - our bodies' crying for help and telling you that it is not getting something that it needs.
Photo by the lovely: @the.holistic.psychologist
10 Things You Can Do Right NOW:
1. Drink at least 2.5L of filtered water per day. Tap water can contain chlorine, fluoride, pharmaceuticals, parasites, and harmful bacteria that are all very harmful to the brain, nervous system, endocrine system, and more.
2. Eliminate or avoid processed foods, artificial food colouring, refined sugar and artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame), hydrogenated fats, dairy, and wheat. Decrease the amount of grains you eat and replace them with vegetables.
3. Add healthy fats into the diet from olive oil, avocados, fresh fish, nuts, seeds, coconut milk/oil, and bone broth.
4. Consume whole foods high in B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D. This could include leafy greens (in a salad or smoothie), chia seeds, hemp hearts, mangoes, coconut water, avocados, squash, almonds, chard, and beans.
5. Develop a morning and nightly routine that serves your health. A walk, running, cup of chamomile tea, no eating past 8pm, having a healthy breakfast, take a multi-vitamin in the morning and mineral supplements at night (as they have a more relaxing effect).
6. Practice deep breathing and meditation. This can take the nervous system out of fight or flight mode.
7. Take an Epsom salt bath regularly. This supplies the body with magnesium by absorbing it through the water and is a very calming mineral that can be extremely helpful with anxiety.
8. Drink chamomile or lavendar tea, as these herbs have a relaxing effect.
9. Diffuse calming essential oils or an oil that comforts you. Lavender mixed with orange is my favourite relaxation blend.
10. Get OUTDOORS! Nature works wonders for the mind, body, and soul. Walking barefoot in the grass releases positive ions from the body (this is a good thing) and signals our nervous system to turn off fight or flight mode, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to take over.
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