The Anxiety Diet - The Living Well

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The Anxiety Diet

bowl of butternut squash soup

It’s time to shift your view of anxiety. Because it’s not what you think or what you’ve been taught. Learn the truth about anxiety and how to use it for good using my anxiety diet plan found inside this post.

I’m no stranger to anxiety. I’ve spent many years either pretending that I didn’t struggle with the beast I called anxiety or being so overwhelmed with it I thought I was anxiety itself. 

It sounds extreme, but I knew through my inner daily battle that the beast was terrifying. Always there threatening to overtake me, consuming me without an ounce of remorse. So I stayed as far away from the topic as possible, choosing to blame my inner pain, my inner beast, on outward things.

My best mode of protection was either distraction or blame.

The problem was, these things only worked part of the time. And the times it did work, it exhausted me, forcing me to sit in a place where I couldn’t stay busy in distraction, so I’d fall back to blame. Blaming everything for the pain, I was feeling. Fearing that if I looked inside to the real problem, I would give the beast credit I didn’t want it to get.

The problem was the blame, and the distraction only fed the beast. Allowing it to grow stronger until it started to control more areas. Until it started to control more of me. Pushing me to a place I hated. A place void of any joy, of any dreams, of any feeling. A place where I lived so scared I became numb, completely disassociating myself from the person I was.

But I’ve learned that while anxiety is a beast, one with great strength, there are many ways to tame the beast, and I can even see some beauty in it. I don’t want to say you make friends with the beast, but I think that changing how you view anxiety changes what you do with it and how much power you give it.

Inside this podcast, I work to change your view of anxiety. Not to get rid. of it, which is an impossible feat and honestly not one we want to do, but help you see the role of anxiety, making friends with it, so you no longer live co-dependent on it. And below, I share the anxiety diet that has allowed me to maintain a healthy relationship with it.

The Anxiety Diet Plan

What if you saw anxiety differently? What if it wasn’t a power to control you but a metric of communication?

Anxiety is like a compass, similar to hunger, that is, communicating what your body needs.

I think when you shift your view of anxiety from a problem to a helper, you can start to use it for you rather than letting it get the best of you—allowing you to regain balance in your life, moving from a state of surviving to thriving. 

The key with anxiety is understanding what it is communicating to you. Generally speaking, anxiety is a low mental energy state but a high physical energy state. Creating an out-of-balance internally that leaves you with a lack of emotional and mental focus but endless jitters and restlessness.

To lessen the anxiety, you have to balance the mental energy and physical, which is the foundation of the anxiety diet. 

Use these eight tips in my anxiety diet to support your body when you feel the pull of anxiety. The big idea is that you do something with your anxiety rather than letting it do something to you.

The Anxiety Diet Prescription Plan

01. Ground Yourself

Anxiety often occurs when life feels out of balance or out of control. When you feel like life is living you more than you are living it. The only way to live life is to stay firmly planted in the present. To see where you are and choose to live here rather than floating away into a future land you fear.

Take daily action to ground yourself, both physically and spiritually. Spiritually speaking, our anxiety needs to be reminded of what we stand for. Go back to what you believe and lean on the word of God to keep you grounded. Fix your eyes more on him rather than this world.

Physically, grounding means recognizing your physical presence right now. I like to take my shoes off and walk around outside, letting the soles of my feet feel the physical earth. You can also practice yoga, try foam rolling or ground yourself with deep breathing techniques.

02. Skip caffeine (and sugar)

Anxiety is a high-energy state. You may feel mentally drained, but you have an abundance of physical energy. Caffeine only enhances this physical energy, pushing it further out of balance, fueling the anxiety, making you more emotionally exhausted. It is a vicious cycle. When you’re feeling overly anxious, avoid anything that stimulates physical energy in the short term, including sugar.

03. Lower Inflammatory Foods

Anxiety induces a stress response that releases inflammation, and this inflammation leads to brain fog and pain. Try to avoid enhancing inflammation by limiting high-inflammatory causing foods. Some foods you may want to avoid or eliminate include gluten and highly processed foods and drinks. Including alcohol, which may numb the anxiety but it also prolongs it.

04. Eat warmer foods

Anxiety can leave your body feeling like it’s floating without anything to ground it. But eating warm foods and staying well hydrated can help normalize and balance your energy levels, easing digestion and increasing the flow of nutrients throughout the body. Skip the cold foods like smoothies and salads and opt for warmer and heartier meals like roasted root vegetables, soups, and oatmeal. If you do have something cool, make sure you add a warm element or a hearty whole grain to ground that out.

05. Hydrate well

The key with anxiety is to keep the energy moving. The last thing you want is for the energy to get stuck, creating a build-up that can lead to an anxiety attack. Remember, energy must be moved out of the body. Instead of letting this happen in natural and yet unhealthy ways, help your body create a flow to move stuck energy. One of the easiest and fastest ways to create flow is good hydration—the vehicle of movement inside the body. Keep a water bottle on hand to sip on water all day long. Even warm tea can do the trick if water feels too light to be enough. 

06. Engage in physical activity

There is a good reason why physical activity is one of the best antidotes to anxiety. It helps to rebalance the mind and the body back to an even energy flow. Enhancing your mental energy while decreasing your physical energy, creating the balance the body is looking for. It doesn’t matter what type of movement, but I will say pushing your body to a state of stress only adds to the anxiety. So make sure you are moving your body but in a way to support it, not change it. Make daily physical activity a priority.

07. Do something to fill yourself up

If your anxiety is like mine, it likes you to sit in it, maybe even google supporting claims that enhance it. But that’s not doing something, not in the way your body needs. Your body was designed to work. It thrives in work. Call it what you want but distracting your mind from the anxiety, shifting your focus to something different can shift your focus. And when you shift your focus, you stop giving energy to the anxiety. Pick up a book, call a friend, head to a coffee shop, complete one small task, turn up your playlist and start singing. Do something other than sitting in the anxiety.

08. Carry security with you

Maybe for you, this is medication. I’m not opposed to medication. For some people, anxiety medication is the best thing for them. We can’t get so lost in the ins and outs of what is healthy but recognize what is healthy for you. To you, that may be having your prescription with you on hand just in case. For others, that may be an essential oil that helps calm your nerves, CBD oil, or having a supportive friend that you can send an SOS text to knowing they’ll help you move out of it rather than enabling you to stay in it.

Providing a sense of safety helps you to create room for you to heal. And sometimes the safest thing to your body is knowing you have a plan to help yourself through it rather than convincing yourself you can avoid it or, worse, shoving it down, preventing you from feeling it.

Use the Anxiety Diet to Stop running from anxiety and use it for good.

The truth is, we’ll all feel anxious from time to time. The degree of that can change, but the anxiety doesn’t magically disappear because it’s a communication channel more than a character trait. But we have to learn how to control our anxiety or at least provide a baseline of walking ourselves through it rather than living life believing we can avoid it.

These pains, these troubles, these thorns don’t just go away. But if you spend less time trying to run from them and more time understanding and learning from them, they’ll have less power over you. I’d even argue they have the power to change you for the better.

Will you see it in a new way?

Will you choose to stop letting what you hate take you to places where you’re not? Grow those deep roots, and may you have the strength to stay.

I’m fighting for you – let’s change the narrative. One moment at a time. Your entire life is waiting to be lived, don’t miss it but let yourself stay in it.


Things that May Help

Here are a few more things that can help you shift your view of health and your mind. I think you’ll love them.


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