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7 Foods Habits You Don’t Know Are Increasing Anxiety

7 Foods Habits You Don’t Know Are Increasing Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety, the last thing you want is to eat any food that will aggravate the situation. If you are crazy busy and a bit exhausted, here is a fast guide to make sure that you are avoiding several foods which can increase anxiety and make things a lot worse. By doing that, you will be on the fast track to a calmer and more relaxed existence. Here are 7 food habits to avoid—or at least eat in moderation.

1. Don’t fall into the coffee trap

Coffee is great for a short-term energy boost. However, it also has an effect on the brain whereby it suppresses serotonin, which is a key hormone in keeping you feeling relaxed and calm. As it is a stimulant, you might find that a coffee in the afternoon or evening is going to keep you awake. It is also a diuretic, meaning more trips to the bathroom. Drinking less coffee helps you to save time and stay positive.

2. Avoid the sugar rollercoaster

Sugar is everywhere and the body needs the glucose as fuel. What is the problem, then, you may ask? The spikes in the blood sugar causes the stress hormone cortisol to become the leading actor. This means anxiety can surface far too quickly. We get lots of sugar from milk and fruit. Americans are overdoing it by adding about 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day. The USDA recommendation is half that amount!

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3. Beware alcohol’s downside

It would be too good to be true if alcohol could lift your mood and keep anxiety locked up. The bad news is that the good mood, loss of inhibitions, and newfound confidence are all part of a passing phase. In the long term, alcohol tends to block off the serotonin in the brain that helps to regulate your mood and prevent you from getting caught up in anxious thoughts.

“If you’re feeling anxious, don’t drink to calm down because it will aggravate anxiety symptoms. Booze can also disrupt your sleep.” — Desiree Nielsen, dietitian and author of Un-junk Your Diet

4. Don’t fry your brain

All those fried and highly processed foods, plus dairy and sweet desserts, just increase depression and anxiety. This was the result of one study which found that people addicted to this sort of diet had a 58% higher chance of depression. All the chemicals in these foods are giving your blood sugar levels a really rough ride. Ease off and eat some whole foods such as fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables for a change.

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5. Forget the refined grains

A lot of refined breads and other white foods contain preservatives, sugar, and unhealthy fats. In addition, all the natural vitamins and minerals have been stripped out of the flour in the processing and baking. It is incredible to think that not much has changed in 100 years—in 1911, this poor quality bread was the staple diet of 40% of people in the UK! Today, it accounts for 50% of the American diet. Not much progress here!

The fact is that these refined breads and cookies are mostly sugars and starches which will send your blood sugar levels on another rollercoaster. When you are plunging down into the depths of that ride, do not be surprised to find you are cranky and even more anxious than before.

6. Remember that salt will pile on the pressure

When you suffer from anxiety, you want to reduce all that pressure. When you have a nice, salty snack, you are doing the exact opposite. The surplus salt is increasing your blood pressure levels and your heart has to work even harder. This releases even more adrenaline and tension skyrockets.

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7. Don’t skip breakfast (or any other meals!)

Time is of the essence, but if you are skipping breakfast or other meals, then you are asking for trouble on the anxiety front. Skipping meals during the day can cause your blood sugar levels to plunge, bringing on anxiety and irritability.

Another problem is consuming too many carbs and too little protein at breakfast time. You normally need about 25 grams of protein at breakfast to prevent those blood sugar levels from going crazy. Just add in an egg, Greek yogurt, or some cheese to prevent another awful day.

Researchers are now focusing on the possible link between stomach disorders and mood. It may all come down to making sure that we eat the right kinds of food. This will produce the best bacterial environment in our gut, which will in turn benefit our mood.

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Some food you should eat to prevent anxiety include spinach, oatmeal, salmon, dark chocolate, asparagus, avocado, oranges, almonds, and whole grains. Eat your way to a calmer and happier you.

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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