While you may not immediately think of anxiety as a desirable feeling, it is, in fact, a critical response mechanism that serves as a vital tool in your ability to function as a human being.
What is Anxiety?
Without the natural response that anxiety provides, you would be unable to deal with the dangerous or difficult circumstances that you will inevitably encounter throughout your life. Anxiety is also useful in motivating you to perform better in your life and in your relationships. And for most people, it is a normal emotion that helps you to cope with the typical pressures associated with modern day life.
For example, it is not uncommon to feel nerves before a big exam or maybe experience some butterflies in your belly before a 1st date. It is also common to have fears or apprehensions about things like injections, heights or creepy-crawlies. These types of anxieties are both typical and relatable.
However, there are also many other people that are unable to manage their responses effectively and, as a consequence, become susceptible to a multitude of clinically diagnosable anxiety disorders.
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An array of anxiety disorders currently affect a huge portion of the American population with an estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults diagnosed with a disorder in the past year. It is also estimated that up to 40% of US adults will suffer from an anxiety disorder at one point (or more) in their lifetime. With numbers like this, the topic of treating anxiety is more important than ever.
Actually, there are many different types anxiety-related disorders and while generalised anxiety is the most common, others include panic disorders, social anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While some of the symptoms do overlap in many of these disorders, others are more specific to a single disorder. However, all anxiety-related disorders will usually encompass feelings of worry, nervousness or fear that is both continuous and excessive. As a consequence, this has a tremendously negative effect on a person’s ability to function and can cause a huge impact on an individuals life.
Dealing with Anxiety
The problem of anxiety in American society does not seem to be going away, but luckily there are so many things that you can do on a daily basis to improve your health and thereby better manage your anxiety.
- Eat a clean and well-balanced diet
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
- Avoid processed and excessively sugary foods
With so many people now choosing to eat on-the-go, those home-cooked meals are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. But can you really be certain of what is actually ins the food being prepared for you at your favorite local restaurant or fast-food joint?
Unfortunately, so much of the food that we are served is processed and contains needlessly high levels of sugar, but if you instead choose to prepare your own meals with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, you can be sure of what is actually going inside your food, thus ensuring you take back control of your diet and as a result, your health.
It is absolutely essential that to live well, we must eat well. And to ensure that, we really must cook our own meals. If you don’t know how to cook, then learn! It’s actually really simple once you get a hang of it.
Given our access to information, there can be few excuses for those who adopt a “can’t cook, won’t cook” approach to life with all types of recipes, cooking tips and healthy eating strategies available on sites like YouTube and Pinterest amongst others.
There’s no doubt that the old saying “we are what we eat” has never been more relevant. Without a healthy and well-balanced diet, we become far more susceptible to a variety of mental and physical health issues.
- Move your body!
- Get enough sleep
Exercise has been proven to be one of the best treatments for anxiety and depression and is absolutely essential in achieving a healthy lifestyle. Official guidelines recommend that an adult gets a minimum of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of activity a week, but advise 300 minutes (5 hours) per week to achieve optimal health.
However, a 2014 report revealed that up to 1 in 4 Americans admitted they NEVER exercise and if such figures continue to grow, it is likely that so too will the numbers rise for those suffering from anxiety related disorders.
Sleep is also absolutely essential to a person’s health, but as much as a third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of 7-8 hours sleep per night. It has been proven that a lack of quality sleep can actually induce an anxiety related disorder.
It seems so obvious, but having a healthy diet combined with the right amount of exercise and sleep are absolutely vital in fighting the battle against anxiety disorders. But as so many of us will acknowledge, finding that balance can prove to be challenging.