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Employee Wellness: Away with Anxiety

Silhouette of person with anxious thoughts represented as crumbled pieces of paper

How often do you feel anxious or stressed? In today’s day and age, more and more people are experiencing everyday anxiety and stress.

Anxiety is a feeling you can get as a reaction to stress; you can be worried or afraid. Stress is a demand placed on your brain or physical body, for example, moving, having a baby or a dealing with an issue at work.

Short term anxiety and stress can actually be good for you. It can serve as incentive and motivation to help you overcome a challenge or accomplish a task. However, once anxiety or stress interfere with your everyday life, this may be indicative of a more serious issue, and you may need to seek professional help.

How do you know if you are experiencing everyday anxiety and stress?

Physical and mental symptoms associated with everyday anxiety and stress include headaches, stomachaches, sweating, jitteriness, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, and restlessness.

Luckily for us, there are many natural ways to decrease our everyday anxiety and stress!

Here are some tips to help reduce your everyday anxiety and stress:

1. Include brain and mood friendly foods in your diet.

  • Add salmon to your diet 2-3 times a week. Salmon contains nutrients that may have calming and relaxing properties. It may also support your brain’s ability to adapt to changes and therefore help you to better handle stressors that trigger your anxiety symptoms.

  • Eat dark chocolate (in moderation!). Dark chocolate contains nutrients that may increase blood flow to the brain and may therefore help you adjust better to stressful situations that can cause you to have anxiety.

  • Eat yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotics which may promote mental health and brain function by reducing inflammation and increasing mood-boosting chemical messengers in the body.

  • Drink green tea. Green tea contains a nutrient that has been shown to have positive effects on brain health and reducing your anxiety.

  • Incorporate chia seeds. Chia seeds are a good source of brain-boosting fatty acids which have been shown to help with anxiety.

  • Eat more citrus fruits and bell peppers. Citrus fruits and bell peppers are high in vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to cells that may increase your anxiety. Blueberries are also high in vitamin C and other antioxidants which improve brain health and can help you with anxiety relief.

  • Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine may cause nervousness and jitters, which may cause or worsen your anxiety.

  • Drink less alcohol. Alcohol can create an imbalance with your body’s chemical messengers that may lead to symptoms of anxiety.

  • Decrease your intake of artificial flavorings. This also includes artificial coloring and preservatives, which may cause you to have mood changes.

2. Be physically active.

  • Incorporate aerobic activity. Brisk aerobic exercises like jogging and biking help release brain chemicals that cut stress and improve your mood.

  • Try yoga. A regular yoga practice may reduce your symptoms related to your anxiety.

3. Incorporate anxiety-reducing lifestyle practices.

  • Prioritize getting a good nights sleep. Sleep problems and anxiety often go hand in hand.

  • Keep a journal. Journaling your thoughts may help you relax and can also help to prevent you from tossing and turning with anxious thoughts all night.

  • Try to think more positively. This one is easier said than done, but shifting from negative, worrisome thoughts to more positive thinking can help reduce anxiety.

  • Get together with friends more often. Social connections can help you thrive and stay healthy.

  • Quit smoking. Chemicals in cigarette smoke alter pathways in your brain linked to anxiety.

The bottom line is that there can be many causes of everyday anxiety and stress, but there are also many ways we can help to naturally decrease them. However, keep in mind, when anxiety and stress go from being unpleasant to deal with, to unmanageable, it may be time to seek professional help.

Learn more about anxiety and stress and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.

Written by: Michal Abish, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern



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