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6 Eating Habits That Make You Anxious And Depressed

6 Eating Habits That Make You Anxious And Depressed

People often think that a healthy diet means you’ll have a healthy body as a result. Although that is true, did you also know that a healthy diet means a healthy mind? We all have days where we feel really great. We feel energetic, positive, content, and well-balanced. Other days we feel sluggish, tired, sad, and unmotivated for seemingly no reason. In this post, we will talk about the relationship between our diets, and anxiety and depression.

1. Reliance on caffeine

Coffee is sometimes the only thing that can keep us moving throughout the day. As we’re going to work, we stop for coffee to give us that pep in our step. By the afternoon we get that mid-day crash, and reach for yet another cup of coffee to get us through the rest of our day. Unfortunately, caffeine doesn’t really do what we think it does but can pose very harmful effects on our brains.

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When drinking caffeine becomes something we need every day, you no longer drink it for that occasional boost. You’re drinking it because your body now depends on it to function. According to The Journal of Young Investigators, when caffeine is absent, there is a reduction of serotonin which will cause anxiety, irritability, and an inability to concentrate.

2. Diets with too much sugar

Today, an average American consumes about 32 teaspoons of sugar per day. We all know that consuming foods with too much sugar is bad for us. Serotonin is critical to regulate a number of bodily functions, including sleep cycles, pain control, carbohydrate cravings, and digestion. Low levels of serotonin have also been associated with depressed immune function.

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With an increase in blood pressure, there is also an increase in cortisol production. With the increase of cortisol, it can increase the production of thyroid hormones, causing problems with digestion. It can even cause problems with the reproductive system. Finally, when cortisol levels are too high it can cause infertility and even miscarriage.

3. Alcohol consumption

Most of us know that alcohol is a depressant. We drink without ever really thinking about the repercussions, far past the hangover that we all know follows. Not only is alcohol a depressant, it is also a stimulant. “It suppresses the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and increases the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. What this means for you, is that your thoughts, speech, and movements are slowed down, and the more you drink the more of these effects you’ll feel.” Alcohol abuse does indeed raise the levels of serotonin in the brain temporarily, however it also has many other effects on the specific serotonin receptors that cause its levels to decrease in time.

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4. Eating too many fried foods

We’ve all had a bad day before. Okay, maybe a few bad days. When these bad days hit, we usually turn to the things that make us “feel better”. You know what I mean: cookies, ice cream, chips– you get the picture. How many times have you eaten those foods and actually felt better? I mean, really felt better? We feel good in the moment and then later on we regret what we ate. You have no idea what those foods are actually doing to your mental health. Not only do fried foods cause weight gain, they’re also linked to depression. “Anything that is cooked with hydrogenated oils and contain trans fats could potentially contribute to depression.”

5. High salt intake

I love salt so much that I would carry a salt shaker in my purse if it wasn’t completely frowned upon. I always knew that too much salt was bad for you, and I knew I had a problem when my roommate started buying salt-free butter. I didn’t even know that was a thing. You may or may not know that salt raises your blood pressure. In turn, this requires your heart to work harder.

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Try to remember that when cooking at home, use herbs and spices to add flavor to your dishes in place of salt. Also, try to avoid eating foods with a lot of salt at nighttime, because at this time your body is supposed to be unwinding from the day. That’s why you’ll want to avoid making it work harder to process anything difficult.

6. Skipping breakfast

I get it, some of you just aren’t breakfast people. Or you have that “I don’t have time for breakfast” excuse. Well, did you know that breakfast happens to be the most important meal of the day, and skipping it can actually lead to low blood sugar. This will then cause your brain to run on low energy, and if you’re a person suffering from depression you know that you need your brain working full force to help you out.

Sometimes we skip breakfast, and then by lunch we still aren’t feeling hungry, so we just go with it. The real reason you’re not feeling hungry, is because your body has habituated to not eating at this time. This habit could quite possibly result into a binge problem later on. Do yourself a favor and get some eggs and veggies in your system the first thing in the morning. Your body– and most importantly your mind– will thank you.

Foods you should eat for a better mood

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Walnuts
  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Apples
  • Fatty fish

Of course we aren’t going to blame your anxiety and depression solely on the fact that your diet needs a little bit of work. But after doing some research, I think it’s safe to say that there is definitely a link between them. We only have one body and mind, and it’s important that we learn how the foods we are eating can affect them.

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Erica Wagner

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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