How to keep anxiety in check


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
How to keep anxiety in check

Control your anxiety before it gets out of hand with these minor tweaks to your life

Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time — from tension before an exam or interview to feeling butterflies in our stomachs on a first date. And a little anxiety can actually be useful. Feeling nervous can get the adrenalin pumping and make you more alert. But it's when short-term anxiety becomes a more long-term condition that problems start.

Chronic anxiety can be crippling and may lead to an inability to concentrate, constant nausea, palpitations and insomnia. It can also cause other conditions such as depression and even agoraphobia. The important thing to remember about controlling anxiety is quickly conquering it before it gets out of hand — which means managing your stress well.

Choose low GI foods
Your brain needs a steady supply of glucose to enable it to function properly. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can affect the brain, leading to mood swings, anxiety and even panic attacks. So try to eat foods that have a low GI (glycaemic index) such as multigrain bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes, carrots and bananas.

Increase vitamin B intake
An adequate intake of this vitamin is essential for a healthy nervous system. All B vitamins are involved in the control of tryptophan, an amino acid used to make the chemical serotonin, that helps regulate mood.

A balanced diet containing meat, fish, eggs, dairy and green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds should supply enough Vitamin B. But if you are not getting enough, take Vitamin B supplements.

Limit your alcohol intake
If you are stressed, anxious or depressed, it may be tempting to drown your sorrows with a stiff drink as alcohol can initially make you feel calmer. A recent study suggested people suffering from anxiety were likely to drink heavily. But if you suffer from anxietyrelated disorders, including depression, you should consider limiting your alcohol intake as it affects anxiety-reducing neurotransmitters. Also, once the alcohol wears off, you may be left feeling more anxious because alcohol has a depressant effect.

Keep a stress diary
Over the next few weeks, note which situations, times, places and people make you stressed. Once you have identified these, think about each one and ask yourself 'Can I avoid it?'.

For example, if you find that driving to work is stressful, perhaps you can avoid it by finishing work a bit earlier or later, or by car-sharing with a colleague.

Slow down
Many of us are living our lives at a faster pace, perhaps juggling a fulltime job with a relationship, family commitments and a social life. As a result, we feel a constant sense of urgency in our daily lives.

This endless feeling of pressure fuels our impatience when we have to wait in a queue or traffic jam, or when the bus or train is late. Instead of stressing about delays, see them as opportunities for welcome thinking or reading.

Drink plenty of water
Your brain needs sufficient water to function properly. Even mild dehydration can affect mental well-being. Symptoms of dehydration include restlessness and irritability. Experts recommend drinking 1.5 to 2.5 litres of water daily.
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