Growing up, I was always on the shy side. I tended to let my actions speak louder than my words. Sometimes it was a good thing, although strong communication with others is important trait in our society today.
By the time I reached college, that shyness transformed into social anxiety. Even though I have a great network of friends and enjoy spending time with them, I would have intense panic attacks and get extremely nervous in certain situations.
This anxiety has sent me down the path of testing to options to reduce my anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve tried nearly everything under the sun to gain control of my mental state. While most approaches didn’t work for me, there are a handful of habits that have made a meaningful impact on my life.
Meditation is now a critical part of my daily routine. It’s the first thing I do in the morning. Even before checking email or scrolling through Instagram. This helps me start the day with a clear mind.
Meditation is like going to the gym for your brain. While it may feel like a waste of time at first, it’s important for training your brain to improve concentration, focus, and have greater control of your thought patterns.
This can be a controversial subject and it’s important to discuss any changes with a trained medical health professional. With that in mind, I’ve had great success taking ashwagandha and a multivitamin in the morning, and magnesium glycinate in the evening,
While this combo may not work for everyone, I had positive results after taking these supplements within the first few weeks. It’s also important to note that supplements are not all created equal. Do your research on the products you purchase before opting to put them in your body.
You’ve likely heard how beneficial exercise can be for your mental health. This approach is an easy one to skip because it takes some serious will-power to get your butt off the couch! But I’m telling you, it’s worth it!
Consistently going to the gym has done wonders for my mental health. My anxiety kicks in the most in the mornings which is when I try to get my exercising in (2-3 times per week).
Take a Bath
Taking a bath is an easy way to trigger instant relaxation. I use this a ritual when I’m feeling extra anxious or in prep for stressful events.
Add in some epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate) to take your bath-time to the next level. This is another great way to get your magnesium levels up if you aren’t getting enough magnesium in your diet and are not a big fan of supplements.
My body is sensitive to caffeine. If I have more than one cup of regular coffee in a day, it leads to some nasty anxiety symptoms. Since I love the act of drinking coffee, I often mix regular coffee with decaf so I can enjoy a few cups of coffee with lower caffeine content.
With these habits, I’ve been able to shift my anxiety to levels that I am comfortable with and the panic attacks are less frequent. Also, when they do occur they are less pronounced and pass faster.
I hope some of these tips work as well for you as they did for me. Remember it’s all about testing to see what works best for your body and your particular state.
Marc Kraft is the creator of Mindful Searching, a site dedicated to providing accurate information around mental health and wellness. Marc has improved his brain health through self-experimentation over the last 9 years. Curiosity is his driving force.