One of the most common ailments we face in modern times is anxiety. That constant worry and anguish that prevent us from enjoying life and, in extreme cases, even interfere with our proper performance at work, in the social and family sphere.
There are multiple techniques to reduce anxiety such as playing sports or meditation. Likewise, it has been shown that avoiding certain foods and eating others helps to counteract anxiety; Since although our state of mind influences the foods we crave, food also has an effect on our emotions, particularly on the anxiety levels that we perceive. These five lifestyle changes will help you manage anxiety:
1. Include healthy fats in your diet
Multiple studies show the effects of high-fat foods on the nervous system. However, we are not talking about any type of fat, but about omega 3 fatty acids, which you know well for their benefits for cardiovascular health. Food rich in these essential fatty acids help reduce anxiety. So as of today, it is worth it that, for both physical and mental health, you include salmon, sardines, cod, tuna, herring, walnuts, flaxseed and chia in your diet, among other foods rich in these types of fats.
2. Eat foods that promote serotonin secretion
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter related to the sensation of pleasure and tranquility; its decrease leads to conditions such as depression and anxiety episodes. Certain foods help maintain serotonin levels naturally. This is the case of those that are rich in the amino acid tryptophan such as dairy, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, eggs and soy derivatives, mainly. Include at least one of these foods in your daily diet.
3. Do aerobic exercises
It is scientifically proven that aerobic exercise regulates the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, responsible for our reactions to stress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ideally recommends five hours a week of moderate aerobic activity or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise for people in good health. In this way you will improve not only your mood, but your cardiovascular health and your figure. Aim for at least half an hour of aerobic exercise a day at a heart rate of 180 minus your age. For example, if you are 50 or older, I suggest you walk, jog, bike, swim, or dance making sure that your heart beats between 125 and 135 times per minute for a minimum of half an hour. eye! If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Your medications or condition may affect the type of aerobic exercise you can do.
4. Set sleep schedules
The lack of sleep and insomnia contribute to the development of anxiety. Try, as far as possible, to fall asleep at the same time every day. Turn off all electronic devices (cell phone, electronic tablet and computer) half an hour before bed and establish a relaxation technique as part of your daily routine before going to bed. I suggest that before bedtime you have a linden or valerian tea, without sugar. If you are taking medication, always check with your doctor before drinking any new or herbal teas. After brushing your teeth, lie down on your bed to meditate for a few minutes, feel your breath and relax each part of your body, one by one, from the toes to the head. Don’t allow any thoughts to occupy your mind, just focus on your breathing. Avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon and a light dinner at least two hours before going to bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night, put your relaxation technique into practice again and if you have a pending, write it down without turning on the light and return to your nighttime calm.
5. Respect your meal times
Eating irregularly contributes to anxiety by impacting hormonal secretion and circadian rhythm. Try to eat five times a day, divided into three main foods and two snacks. Include the foods rich in tryptophan that I mentioned in statement number 2 every day. Avoid getting to the point of being voraciously hungry, listen to your body and eat as soon as you start to feel hungry and stop eating when you are slightly satisfied. In this way, you will always have the necessary energy to face the physical and emotional demands that day-to-day life requires, reducing anxiety levels. Ah! And if you feel like eating without an appetite, just to “calm” your anxiety, instead of putting something in your mouth, go for a walk. Walk or do three sets of squats or four 20-second sets of push-ups.