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How to manage your anxiety

Anxiety is more common than you think. Figures from the NHS suggest that 5% of the UK population suffer from anxiety [1] but at Boil and Broth we believe that figure without a doubt is much lower than the truth. Over the past 12 months, so many people have lived with anxiety and very few people have been able to find support. That’s why it’s really important that you find ways on how to manage your anxiety.

Anxiety can trigger attacks that can be debilitating and extremely stressful. The body’s response to anxiety is “fight or flight” mode. This produces the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands and is a direct response when you are suffering from anxiety or fear. When you exercise, endorphins are released, which are the hormones that help to reduce cortisol levels. Too much cortisol in your body can cause you to become fatigued and sluggish. Many people have a condition called adrenal fatigue and this can have a direct response on your mood and your ability to function. It is also very common to be overweight, this is because when your body is constantly stressed metabolism slows down and therefore food is stored as fat, rather than being broken down.

Adrenal fatigue can also cause stress upon your liver. With the added toxins racing around your body from too many unwanted hormones, a stressed liver can struggle to release toxins which is another reason people begin to feel strained and sluggish.

There are lots of great ways that you can help manage your anxiety. It can take time to find what works for you, but it’s important to make a start and it is a great start to acknowledge that you have anxiety and anxiety attacks. Then you have something to work with and can find ways that help.

Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Meditation for people can seem a little daunting, but it’s not about sitting on a mountain in peace for hours on end, it’s about learning to calm your mind and to remind yourself that you are okay. Meditation is an exercise to bring you back to your body. So many people live in their minds and over-think the little things. Often, there is no need to worry about the things that you do, because many of those things either haven’t happened yet or don’t even exist. Meditation can help you become aware of your thoughts and what you are actually thinking. Slowing yourself down and becoming calm is the best way to manage anxiety. This is particularly important if you are having an anxiety attack. See below for tips on how to manage an anxiety attack.
  • Prepare healthy foods to reach for on your down days. When you are anxious it can be easy to eat the wrong foods or avoid food altogether. Either way you are contributing to your anxiety problem. Therefore, it’s best to be prepared. Being prepared can help you manage your diet and prevent you from eating the wrong foods. Have healthy snacks in the fridge or cupboard, anything from nuts to dried fruit. Fruit will help with sugar cravings but watch you don’t eat fruit as a way to help battle your sugar addiction. You are better off choosing fermented yoghurts, avocado dips, raw vegetables such as carrot and hummus, homemade healthy cakes, cold boiled eggs and more. Make up a batch of go to snacks when you feel okay, to help prepare for those days when you are not feeling so great.
  • Include bone broth in your diet. Bone broth is a great digestive aid that can help to reduce inflammation in your gut. As a result, your gut will start to breakdown food properly again and instantly improve your mood. It’s also great for weight loss which can improve your mood in general.

Ways to manage your anxiety

If you are finding your anxiety attacks are more frequent than before, then here are a few steps to help you manage your attacks.

  • Remove yourself from the immediate situation. This might be leaving the room, the house, the shop, wherever you are, take yourself away from the environment.
  • When you are on your own, sit quietly (this could be in your car, your bedroom – wherever) breathe deeply from your stomach. Allow your stomach to expand as you bring in and release when you breathe out. Concentrate on repeating these breathes for 2 minutes. Keep your eyes closed if necessary.
  • Repeat to yourself. “I am safe, I am protected. I am” This mantra can be said whilst breathing or afterwards.
  • Send love to yourself. Tell yourself that you love yourself and that you are protecting yourself.

To move forwards with anxiety, it’s a really good idea to keep an anxiety journal, so that you can monitor your triggers. What is the trigger of anxiety for you? Is it something someone says, is it what they say? Why is that a trigger for you? Is it something from your past that is causing you to hang on to a trauma? Once you know the cause of the trauma, then you need to move on to the next stage of letting go of trauma.

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