One of the most important factors in fighting anxiety is the different methods of self-help out there and the different things to try. Anxiety will sit and stay for as long as we allow it to and there are a few things we can do to reduce and manage it until it can be eradicated completely. Here we offer some diffrent ways of dealing with it and allowing you to start the fight from within.
Be consistent, learn from anxiety: Anxiety was very powerful at one stage. We agree on that. Now let’s look at one of the key traits it had which made it all-empowering and so very powerful in life. It never gave up and it was constant everyday; it gave a 100% to hurting, beating, and keeping you down. So, let’s learn something from it: let’s adopt the same approach to being different and living life. Let’s use the same tactics anxiety used to hold us back and keep us down. Consistently push, drive and move forward with life, and don’t let up. Consistency is the key to making the change long-lasting and having power over it. You can’t have one wobble then throw your hands in the air and say, ‘aw well, that’s me back to square one’. Be consistent in the fight, you will be suprised at just how strong you really are.
Increase your own levels of serotonin: So what exactly is serotonin? Well, low serotonin levels have been linked to depression. Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body. It is believed to help regulate mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. There may be a link between serotonin and depression and anxiety levels. That’s what the majority of antidepressant pills and SSRI medications do (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors): they increase the levels of serotonin in our system. However, they do take around 6-8 weeks to take effect, and some people are adverse to taking medication of this sort, so what we can do is add to our own serotonin levels by doing the following things in life:
1, Get physical: One of the most powerful methods to release serotonin is physical exercise at any level. If you can join a gym or fitness class then by all means do so, if you can’t, then try ditching the car for walking. If that’s not possible try and do something every day, no matter how small, to release as much serotonin as possible. The recommended amount of steps per day for the average person is 10,000. This equates to 5 miles, and even if you can hit half of that then it is a good starting point to work your way up to the recommended amount. Pilates, yoga, any form of wellness and keep fit activity is a really good place to start, not only do we exercise but we get to increase our social circle and meet new people. We make friends who don’t know about our past, so we start on an even footing
2, Less sugar: Now if you have low serotonin, you may have intense cravings for sugar. This is your body’s way of trying to increase serotonin because eating sugar produces insulin, which helps tryptophan enter your brain. However, too much sugar can eventually cause an addiction, insulin resistance, hypoglycaemia and type 2 diabetes. Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way with fruit and natural sweet treats such as honey. We are behaving differently, so why not go all in? Let’s try cooking from scratch, preparing our own meals and foods and ditching processed foods and high-sugar foods.
Have you ever made a fresh pasta sauce from scratch? It tastes so much fresher, cleaner and fulfilling that the processed ones from the supermarket. If the family haven’t made anything with you in the past, then let’s get them involved and do things together; that alone releases that feel good factor and you get to enjoy everything even more because it’s made by your own hand. Let’s clean out the pantry and ditch the high-sugar, high-salt food groups and go clean and fresh – it does so much more for you than just change your eating habits.
3, Laughter: One of the last things we find ourselves doing when we have anxiety is laughing, and if we do it’s false and to please those around us. We do it to make sure they stop asking questions like, ‘What’s wrong?’ or ‘Are you ok?’ for the 10 millionth time. This makes it all the worse, because then you are forced into that circle of falseness and lies we have spoken about when we lead this double life. There are so many options here, and one of the best is a comedy club with different acts every night. It’s cheap, and you’re guaranteed to laugh at one of the acts – if not more – so it’s a good bet for a cheap, fun night out. Also satellite TV has a comedy channel on all packages, so put it on and leave it running in the background. I am not saying this is enforced laughter, but every now and then you will pick up on something and you will smile, then you catch yourself and it gets even bigger; because for the first time in a long time the smile and laughter is genuine. Box set comedy has so many options – there is someone out there for all tastes. You’ll be surprised how very powerful laughter can be.
4, Wellness: Wellness is also another amazing method. The benefits of yoga and meditation are immense and this offers us an inner calmness and tranquillity; it’s second to none so practice it. Even in the comfort of your own home, turn down the lights, put on the gentle track, sit down breath and simply relax. Sink down into that whole inner awareness . Again, so very powerful internally at releasing serotonin and calmness. After all, you deserve calmness in life now, you have worked extremely hard to battle through the anxiety, and if nothing else you deserve peace in your inner-self.
5, Get natural day light: For some people with anxiety leaving the home environment hasn’t been high on the agenda; well, that needs to change. Studies have shown that receiving 15-20 minutes of natural sunlight on your body every day can boost your energy level and mood. This is because high intensity light serves as a signal, telling the body to stop producing melatonin and start producing serotonin. Lack of exposure to sunlight is a reason for some forms of depression caused by perpetually low serotonin levels. Therefore, spending some time outside can help reverse this. In fact, spending time in natural light has been shown to provide the same benefits as antidepressant medications in improving serotonin levels in the brain.
6, Sleep at night, rise in the morning: Again, part of being anxious doesn’t really allow us to switch off and often leads to very late nights and irregular sleeping patterns. Try to remember why today is called the present, because it’s a gift if we go at it right, so sleep at night and be active in the day. Set new patterns. Of course, this may take some adjustment and a few late nights, getting used to going to bed and switching off and not lying awake for a while. But hit the hay at around 10 or 11 at night if possible, and when you lie down, I simply want you to breathe, relax, and go into the meditative mode we spoke about – releasing and relaxing every muscle in the body. Prepare properly; avoid coffee or eating before heading to bed, and don’t have the TV on in your bedroom. Relax and, if needed, read a few chapters of a book – no, not social media – a book which has your focus and attention. Keep learning and keep focusing.
7, Goodbye Social media: Social media is good for what it was intended for, keeping in touch with friends or family who aren’t on the phone or too far away to check up on. Social media has turned into a place for sales, bullying and falseness for the majority of it. Of course we get to see some inspiring posts and articles but they can also be found elsewhere on the net just as easily. Remember, we are living a new life and until we get used to it, and are as strong as we need to be, why don’t we simply suspend our social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchap, vine, whatever it may be?
We need to focus on our issues and development, and not the world around us. You don’t need to see the crazy comments of someone who never had anxiety talking nonsense about it; or the person who sees it as a weakness, or any of the other problems social media bring us. So, just for now, suspend them and focus on you, your journey, your healing and your strength. You will know when it’s time to re-activate them, and trust me 100%, you will not die without social media, not even close. In fact you will be surprised at how good you feel without it for a while. Remember we are doing things to help ourself and right now this stage is all about setting new patterns, behaviours and emotional stability. What is more important to you – that very thing, or a post on social media?
8, Massage: Now this may seem strange but Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of massage in boosting serotonin. Massages are effective in reducing cortisol, the stress hormone that actively blocks the production of serotonin. When cortisol is inhibited, the brain is in an optimal state to produce serotonin. Massage therapy can also increase the production of the “reward pleasure” brain chemical known as dopamine.
9, Familiarity is your friend: So, we already know that doing things repeatedly sets up habits and patterns. We already know that we are changing and doing things differently, now. So let’s get familiar with our new patterns and habitual behaviours. Make yourself a schedule; you don’t even need to write it down, you can have it in your head if you know it off by heart, but keep to the same routine every morning: wake at the same time every day, and go from there. I will give you an example of a typical day for me when I first made the change, and without evening knowing or thinking, I still do the same every day now without even questioning it, because I know it works for me.
Please feel free to share this with anyone who may just need that gentle push in the right direction and here at Serenity NLP we are all about the right direction. Love always Serenity NLP X