Throughout April, we celebrate stress awareness. This is a special time since many public figures are now opening up and sharing their mental health struggles. Doing so has helped lift the stigma and shame that were once associated with mental health issues. There are still many things that people need to understand regarding how far we’ve come and what’s changed along the way.
The Biggest Misunderstanding People Have Regarding Anxiety
In the past, people thought that anxiety was nothing more than a genetic chemical imbalance. However, studies have shown that it’s an issue with your physical body – something that can be corrected. This is an empowering message for the many people who suffer from anxiety today.
Understanding the Mind-Body Connection
With this new understanding of stress, people still need to understand that it’s more than feeling anxious and getting an upset stomach because of something that’s happening tomorrow. There’s a delicate interconnection between the way your body and mind communicate. It’s caused by the bacteria in our digestive system. When our stress causes it to become inflamed, it triggers a message to our brain saying our body is out of balance and the brain reacts to this by becoming anxious.
How Our New Understanding of Anxiety Changes Our Perspective on Depression
There are a lot of patients who’ve been diagnosed with both depression and anxiety. They tend to switch between the two stages frequently. Of course, there are also times when the two conditions co-exist. These are both ways that your brain tells your body that everything isn’t okay. They’re also both responsible for depleting you, leaving you feeling hollow.
What Coping Strategies Help
When your body gets tripped up by a stress response you may feel as though you’re panicking. There are a few things you can do here that’ll help, including:
- Give your body the good nutrition it requires. This means doing away with caffeine, alcohol, and refined carbs. Fill your diet up with more protein and healthy fat instead.
- Make sure you get the restorative sleep your body requires. Put your technology devices away at least an hour before you go to bed at night.
- Take time to stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t feel anxiety. Get rid of the refined carbs in your diet. The roller coaster of blood sugar spikes is followed by insulin and blood sugar crashes that make you feel like you’re anxious. Stabilizing your blood sugar can keep you off of this roller coaster ride and make you feel better throughout the day.
You don’t have to make all these changes at once though. Instead, try eating some healthy fat every few hours so you can prevent any blood sugar crashes. Many people have discovered that this small change prevented them from having panic attacks.
How Breath Practice Helps Calm Anxiety
When you’re coping with anxiety your breath becomes rapid and shallow because we tend to inhale stronger than we exhale. There are many breathwork techniques that you can use to help calm your body down. These are important because they help you feel more relaxed. Once you’re feeling this way a message is transmitted along our vagus nerve up to our brain. This message tells our brain that we’re calm which results in a neuro-hormonal cascade so that our entire body can relax. Regardless of where you are, you can make this happen in 30 seconds.
How Long Breath Practice’s Impact Lasts
Unfortunately, this effect only lasts until you’re faced with reality again. However, engaging in relaxation techniques throughout the day will lengthen the amount of time it takes your body to feel stress again. This is why you should engage in breathwork throughout the day until eventually your body becomes so used to it that it feels natural. Eventually, you’ll be so familiar with this state you’ll easily return to it whenever you’re thrown off-kilter.
Dealing with Your Stress
Now that you have a better understanding of stress and anxiety it’s time to remove any stigma you may have and take a look at your mental health. If you find that you have some issues you need help working through we to invite you to contact us at TMS Advantage in St Petersburg, FL. We look forward to working with you today.
Picture Credit: Crello