Unfortunately in today’s age, generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD) is often pushed aside and even used as a fad for young people. Those who deal with the day-to-day burden of anxiety understand that it takes more than just “calming down” or “breathing” to cope with what feels like an all-consuming power. While these tips and habits are not the ultimate cure to GAD, they definitely do help in giving temporary peace of mind as well as an overall mood-booster.
First and foremost is a change in diet. Now don’t be intimidated by this tip, by no means do I eat completely clean. A healthy diet is all about everything in moderation and knowing what kinds of foods are going to make you more energetic and lift your mood. Every day you should be including foods in your diet that are referred to as “prebiotics.” These are the foods that you want to pair with your probiotics (yogurt, sourdough, kombucha, etc.). Some examples of prebiotics include chia seeds, avocado (uh, yum), garlic, bananas, asparagus, and many more. It is also important to watch your saturated fat levels. When looking at nutrition facts, eat foods in which the saturated fat is only about 30% of the total fat (unsaturated, monosaturated, and poly-saturated fats are good fats!). Ultimately, moderation is key; a serving or two of Hot Cheetos is fine, an entire bag in one sitting… not so much (and no I have never done this…).
Another key tip in lowering anxiety levels is reversing negative or worried thoughts about upcoming situations. For example, I am a brand-new student teacher… the pressure is on. Before teaching a lesson my nerves are so high on top of naturally existing anxiety (love that for me.) Although I don’t always remember to do this, it has helped me out a lot to change at minimum the view I have towards teaching the lesson. Instead of thinking “oh my god what if I forget to say this” I change it to “what if everything goes well?” Another thing I ponder that keeps me calmer as well as motivated is thinking, “remember when you dreamed of this opportunity last year and the year before that and so on?” The first part of performing well and eliminating some anxieties starts with the right attitude, and that means even if you have to fake it!
GAD is a sickness, and one that in some cases can never be defeated. But it is possible to cope with, it is possible to lessen, and you can lead a joyful life with it.