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Stay Calm Despite Anxiety with 4 Brain-Body Health Tips

September 17, 2020 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Physical health and mental health aren't separate concepts. Body, brain (the physical organ), and mind (our thoughts, feelings, sense of self, and much more) are deeply interconnected. To care for one requires us to care for the others, and by tending to all of them, we can function well despite any obstacle in our path--including anxiety. Use these four simple health tips to keep your whole self healthy so you can stay calm despite anxiety. 

4 Health Tips to Help You Stay Calm Despite Anxiety

Tending to our physical health is one way to boost our long-term mental health. When we nurture our brain and body, we give them what they need to operate optimally. When the body is healthy, we are better able to deal with anxious thoughts and emotions. These four health tips, when followed consistently over time, can keep your system running smoothly and evenly so you can stay calm despite anxiety.

  1. Stay hydrated -- Even mild dehydration can negatively impact your mental health. The brain needs water to function. An easy way to ensure you're drinking enough is to carry a water bottle with you and sip water throughout the day. Refill it as you go to ensure you're drinking about 64 ounces of water each day (the amount you personally need depends on your size and how physically active you are). 
  2. Stay nutritious --  What we eat matters because foods affect anxiety, either exacerbating it or calming it. Eat a diet rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to boost your mood and keep your brain functioning properly. 
  3. Stay oxygenated -- Breathe. Taking slow, deep breathes bathes the brain in much-needed oxygen, calms the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response), and activates the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest-and-digest response). When you catch yourself feeling stressed and anxious, pause for some mindful breathing. Also, develop the habit of breathing slowly and deeply on a regular basis to keep the brain balanced and calm. 
  4. Stay in motion -- Exercise offers numerous physical and mental health benefits, including reducing anxiety.  Exercise involves a wide variety of physical activities, and it doesn't have to involve doing things you hate. Choose something you enjoy doing, and do it regularly to stay mentally and physically healthy. Know, though, that it's important to balance exercise and rest, and it's also healthy to relax and unwind quietly. "Stay in motion" simply means to be active on a regular basis. 

The more you tend to your whole health--physical and mental--the better able you are to thrive despite anxiety. When healthy living becomes a lifestyle, you'll empower yourself to go even further than living well in spite of anxiety. You're body and mind will run smoothly, and you just might find that anxiety is no longer a part of your daily life. 

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2020, September 17). Stay Calm Despite Anxiety with 4 Brain-Body Health Tips, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2020/9/stay-calm-despite-anxiety-with-4-brain-body-health-tips



Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson delivers online and in-person mental health education for students in elementary and middle school. She is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She also speaks nationally about mental health. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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