If we are the ones creating our own stress and anxiety, and even though we know that it is definitely harmful to us, why do we have such a hard time changing our state? I would actually really love to hear your answer.
We all have very different perspectives to life which can be shaped by our environment, our family life, and our lifestyle choices and I am sure many of us will have very different answers to this question. I think that generally we do believe that we have created out own situation, and yet we often don’t think that we can change it. We think this is our nature and completely normal. Especially when we are seeing other people around us going through the same issues, we see that as proof that we are right.
But is this the truth? I don’t know. However, I do know that we can definitely do something about it. Our life, the way that it is right now, is not the finished result not something that we just need to accept.
So let’s talk about what we can do to make some permanent positive changes.
First, do you know how your food choices can affect your stress and anxiety levels, and how certain foods can even cause anxiety and sleep disorders? Examples of what can damage the body include
• Eating or drinking a high amount of added sugar,
• Consuming too much food and not giving the body time to digest,
• Not consuming enough water and minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium,
• Not staying in touch with nature on a daily basis,
• Not giving the body physical stress (or rather, eustress) with exercise, and
• Not being grateful and reminding ourself that we are living only now.
You may wonder how the foods that we eat can cause stress? Whatever you put in your body becomes you… Your physical body is simply an accumulation of the foods that you have eaten. So if you give your body healthy, nutrient dense, single ingredient food that will always be the best choice. Think, for example, if you were to grow your own food or purchase it freshly directly from the farmer then you know that you will feel good and grateful when you eat it — because you know that this food is giving you the nutrients that you need to nourish your body and mind.
Another important factor is when you have high blood sugar levels during the day, or when your blood sugar levels fluctuate with many ups and downs. This can have a negative effect on your mood and can cause stress as well.
If you have sleep problems, mood swings or any mood disorders then can you try this:
• Do not consume anything for the last three hours of the day before bed.
• At dinner time try to consume less carbohydrates and food that is as easily digestible as possible. Our digestion system takes so much energy from us, and yet when we sleep our body wants to use this time to repair itself and that needs energy too. If you are still digesting your food when you go to bed you may not get quality sleep.
• Reduce your added sugar intake. And especially if you don’t know how much you are eating be sure to read every ingredient. For example, eating an apple has no added sugar, but drinking most varieties of apple juice definitely does.
• Give enough time between your meals. Nobody needs more three meals a day, and yet most people consume 10 to 12 meals a day. Yes, everything that you put in your mouth counts as a meal by effecting on your blood sugar, even if you think it’s just a small snack.
• Do not leave your any electronics in your bedroom, especially your phone. If you are using your phone as an alarm then buy yourself a cheap alarm clock, and until you get it leave your phone outside your bedroom.
• Don’t put your TV in your bedroom.
• Use your bed for sleeping. If you’re relaxing, reading, or watching something, do it somewhere else and not in the bed.
• If it’s your bedtime but you don’t feel sleepy then go and do something different, such as reading or listening to music. Only go to bed when you feel sleepy.
• Before sleep you need to release all of your thoughts and worries. I found that the best way is often writing. Write down everything that you think of and don’t read it. You can even destroy it afterwards if you like. This helps, just like it you had talked through things with someone who you really trust, who in this case is yourself.
• Try herbal tea before going to bed. My favorite is sage tea, which is so easy to make and so tasty too.
• Ashwagandha is a plant with so many health benefits, and is especially beneficial for sleep and anxiety disorders. You can find it in powder or tablet form too. I use powder and add it to foods such as yogurt and smoothies. My favorite way to drink it is to take a cup of milk (almond milk, or any other kind that you like), add a teaspoon of cinnamon and ashwagandha powder and sweeten with just a little honey. You can drink this warm before going to sleep, it is so relaxing too.
• Educate yourself, for example Matthew Walker’s book “Why we sleep” is a great read, as is “Why we get sick” by Dr. Benjamin Bikman which explains how the hormone insulin (our blood sugar regulating hormone) affects our stress levels and eventually all aspect of our life.
In part three of this “How do you handle stress and anxiety?” series I will go a little bit deeper with more scientific evidence.
Remember, each day and each moment is beautiful until we close our perceptions to see what is around us.
• “ASHWAGANDHA”; https://www.rxlist.com/ashwagandha/supplements.htm
• “12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha”; https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-ashwagandha-benefits#8
• “Why we sleep”; https://www.sleepdiplomat.com/author
Ayda Ersoy is anutritionist (Dip.C.N., Dip.S.N.), master trainer (CPT ACE, NCSF, CanfitPro), registered yoga teacher, founder, Health Angel Nutrition, Fitness and Wellness, and founder, SMS (Stability, Mobility Strength) Intuitive Training System.