7 Lifestyle Changes To Ease Anxiety

Posted by on October 2, 2017 in Hazards, Issues & Diseases, Health with 0 Comments

By Quentin Vennie | Thrive Global

Growing up in Baltimore, I’ve personally battled trauma and mental health issues since I was a child. Acting out became one of my greatest defense mechanisms. My father was a heroin addict who spent the majority of my life in and out of the prison system, forcing my mother to raise me alone.

I saw things that children shouldn’t; experienced things that most adults hadn’t. By the time I was 14, I was said to have acute anxiety and mild depression. Then at 26 I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder and mild-severe major depressive disorder.

After my diagnosis I was immediately placed on medication, told by my doctor that my disorder was so severe that medication was the only option effective enough to treat it.

I was tagged — just another guy fighting to fit into a world that rejected anyone with a label.

I didn’t know about CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or any other complementary management approaches. I had never heard of GAD or panic disorders, and as a result, I accepted the medication that was prescribed to me.

I spent the next 2 years of my life battling an addiction that I never saw coming. The pills my doctor promised would cure my anxiety created an entirely new, more fatal disease. I was no longer afraid of my anxiety, I was afraid of what my life would look like without my medication.

Dependent on pills, my fear culminated into a deep pit of depression, monophobia, and two failed suicide attempts. I went back to my doctor hoping he’d help me get off the medication, but soon realized that he was no longer my doctor, he had become my dealer.

I set out on my own, challenging and questioning everything I thought to be true. To save my life, I had to change the way I lived. Here are 7 lifestyle changes that have personally helped me on my road to recovery.

1. I Get 7–8 Hours of Sleep.

I’ve struggled with bouts of insomnia since being diagnosed with anxiety a little over 7 years ago. A lack of sleep can be a precursor for anxiety, or a direct reflection of it. Either way, an adequate amount of sleep every night can greatly reduce your anxiety symptoms. About two hours before I plan on going to sleep, I shut off my electronic devices (tv, laptop, ipad). I put my phone on Do Not Disturb and Night Shift, take a magnesium supplement, drink a hot cup of Chamomile tea, and settle in with a good book. Occasionally when I need it, I’ll find time to get a quick power nap in during my lunch break. A good night sleep has been one of the most effective changes in managing my anxiety.

2. I Leave Work at Work

It’s important to set boundaries for yourself. For many people, their biggest stressor is their job. Therefore, when my work day is over, I make sure it’s over! I turn off my work phone and don’t check emails again until morning. Sometimes this is a bit challenging because I run my own business, but it has proven to be very beneficial. I give myself permission to have a personal life outside of my career.

3. I Check My Diet

When I decided to embark on this journey to save myself, the first thing I did was take a serious look at my diet and my behaviors. At the time I was a heavy smoker, a caramel latte-a-day kind of guy, and could easily lose myself in a few bottles of wine in the evening. What I learned was that I was keeping my body in a toxic state, which was stimulating my anxiety, not eliminating it. Slowly I started cutting out red meat, pork, alcohol, processed foods, caffeine, and artificial/ refined sugars. Today the majority of my diet consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.

4. I Limit My Social Media Intake

Social media can sometimes be a huge energy suck. It’s typically filled with people’s opinions about politics, current events, or personal issues — most of which I have no desire to be a part of. As someone with a severe anxiety disorder, I already have way too many irrational thoughts running through my mind on a daily basis, therefore I have to be very protective about what I allow to permeate.

5. I Go Green

I drink about 32oz. of green juice every morning. For me, it’s the best way to start my day. I’ve never been a huge fan of eating lots of vegetables — so I drink them instead! I like to stick to the 80/20 rule of juicing (80% vegetables, 20% fruit). I have more energy throughout the day, and I don’t have to worry about a mid-afternoon crash like what happens with sugary or caffeinated drinks.


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