How To Eliminate Anxiety - Body, Mind, and Spirit
A fluttering stomach when you step out on the street. Racing thoughts. Sweaty palms, quick breaths, a buzzing feeling in your chest. We've all been there at some point in time, but some people suffer from anxiety every single day. It can be a real struggle to go to work or school when in the grip of this constant panic.
Anxiety has biological, psychological and spiritual causes and therefore, cures. Body, mind and spirit are all involved in feelings of anxiety, and as such we can use a three-pronged approach to calming our anxiety and reclaiming our lives.
Cut out... refined sugar.
Studies have found that prolonged use of refined sugar leads to a decreased ability to fight depression. Other studies showed that after a sugar high, our dopamine levels become imbalanced and cause anxiety.
Replace with... a small amount of fruit and home-made chocolate.
Eat small amounts of fruit between meals for a healthy source of natural sugar. Blueberries and peaches are excellent as they contain nutrients with calming effects. Chocolate reduces the stress hormone cortisol. It is best to buy a plain unsweetened chocolate bar from the baking section of your local store, melt it over the stove and mix with coconut milk/alternative health milk and honey. When it is cool, spoon into a container and store in the fridge. Eat a small amount every morning.
Cut out... wheat.
Anxiety can be a symptom of celiac disease. The full truth about how wheat affects us is not yet known, but many studies have indicated a link between wheat consumption and decreased mental health.
Replace with... rice, gluten-free oats or plant-based carbohydrates.
Cut out... coffee, cigarettes and alcohol.
Coffee and cigarettes are stimulants that aggravate anxiety. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neutrotransmitters in the brain that can make anxiety worse.
Replace with... exercise!
A morning walk will help to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Both the exercise in itself and the fresh air will both help. Other options you might try are cycling, swimming, jogging or dancing.
Anxiety can often be connected to how we feel others perceive us. Our worries can stem from the way we think others judge our looks, skills, abilities or character. We approach life from an objective and reflective standpoint, whereby our focus is not on what we are experiencing, but how others are experiencing us.
To be able to rid ourselves of this anxiety, we have to become an active agent in our environment. We have to allow ourselves to experience reality in a subjective way. This means that we must begin to focus on what we can actively do in our lives rather than how we are observed. That way we free our thought patterns for constructive thought that advances our lives.
But how can we do this?
We can build active purpose by turning our wishes into our duties.
Everyone wishes to have a fulfilling life, but not all of us manage it. Anxiety looms large in front of our dreams and holds us back, preventing us from our wish. But if we turn living a fulfilling life from our wish into our absolute duty, we can ride through the anxiety and out to the other side.
It sounds too simplistic to be true, but if we continually strengthen our dreams into duties by investing in them emotionally and improving our characters to their demands, eventually they become stronger than the anxiety.
Not only do we have to set goals for our own lives, but for the interactions we have with others. This was my biggest problem when I was suffering from anxiety. If someone would talk to me in the street I was so embarrassed I would want to cry. I would walk away and not speak to them. But when I realized I could be really hurting or offending people with my behavior, I decided to turn it around. I wished that I could be friendly and make people feel good about themselves, but I found it so difficult. One day I decided that I would turn my wish into my duty. From then on my duty was to be friendly, even when I didn't feel like it.
When I had anxiety to the point where it was very difficult for me to leave the house, I had to spend a half hour every morning reaffirming my purpose and dreams to myself. I told myself I deserved to have a fulfilling life, so it was my duty to live one. I told myself I deserved to have good relationships, so it was my duty to be friendly and uplift people. I knew that I wanted to do good things in the world, but I was so scared. It was only the continual reaffirmation that I wanted to do these things that enabled me to step out of the house and keep going. As the months went by, my anxiety and intense shyness decreased until one day I noticed it just wasn't there anymore! My relationships improved and I was finally living a fulfilling life.
Whether you believe in God, or a Universal Power, or even if you are an atheist, talking to a power greater than yourself can give you a boost to get through challenges you never knew you could face. Praying for peace and a relief to anxiety is effective, but thanking God or the Universe, or even the concept of 'Peace' itself, for the peace you haven't yet received, is extremely effective!
When I prayed, 'Please give me peace,' sometimes it seemed to work, others it didn't.
When I prayed, 'Thank you for the peace I have been given,' I became much more peaceful much more quickly. Even if there was just one calm point in a day full of anxiety, I tried to focus on it and be grateful for it. As I did prayed this prayer every morning, the anxiety decreased until I was having whole days with no anxiety at all.
Anxiety can be the most difficult thing to live with. When I experienced it for myself I cried myself to sleep most nights out of sheer exhaustion. The stress of going outside with all those people watching me was taking over my life. But using a physical, psychological and spiritual approach, anxiety is no longer a part of how I live. All the changes I made to my diet, exercise regime, thought patterns and spiritual life are still in place, not because I am scared of anxiety returning, but because they have enriched my life more than I ever thought possible.
- Iman Mohiki
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