Your physical health can be slightly complicated…but also entirely simple.
Let me explain:
It’s complicated because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to “attaining good physical health”. We’re all completely different! There are SO many external factors that play a role in determining our physical health – genetics, hormones, environment, gender, age, etc etc.
But I’d like to put the confusing world of genetics and hormones aside for a minute. Because no matter what the external factors may be, there are still some totally universal and totally effective ways of making sure your physical health is in the BEST condition possible.
Now this is where it gets nice and simple! In fact, it’s so simple that a lot of people tend to overlook it. This is such a shame too, because your physical health is what’s really going to make or break your mental health.
So in this post, I’ll be exploring the four universal, effective, and super crucial ways to take care of your physical body in order to strengthen your mind and heal your anxiety.
So let’s get physical!
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1) Exercise (even a little bit!) every single day
Exercise is such a quick way of boosting your mood and alleviating anxiety. I mean, know they say “quick-fix” solutions never work, but honestly, this one does.
One study even found that exercise may be just as effective as taking anti-anxiety medication! It’s all thanks to those magic little hormones we call endorphins. The best part? It doesn’t matter what exercise you do – it’s allll good, and it allll helps.
PLUS, because exercise makes you feel so good, it also has the added benefit of giving you a clearer and more positive outlook on life. This is especially helpful when you’re dealing with a particularly stressful situation (which let’s be honest, we all are every now and then!).
So if you feel like you’re in a rut, get moving!
It can be as simple as doing 5 minutes of running per day, or squeezing in a 15 minute yoga session in the morning. And hey, if that’s not for you, try jamming out to some music in your room (I’ve found this one to be particularly effective!).
2) Eat foods that are good for your body and your brain
There always seems to be a heated debate online about what the “proper” diet is (is it paleo, keto, or the south beach diet? Who knows!). But when it comes to your mental health, it’s really not that complicated.
In reality, all you have to do is eat a diet high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Foods like these are jam-packed with all the essential nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy, happy, and anxiety-free.
Seriously, it’s that simple!
The connection between nutrients in foods and anxiety has only recently been studied by scientists, but it’s gaining more and more popularity as new discoveries emerge.
If you’d like to learn about specific vitamins and minerals that are making waves in the mental health community, I suggest heading over and checking out my Anxiety Course. I’ve dedicated an entire section to discussing how your diet can help lower anxiety and keep you feeling motivated!
Plus, when you download my course, you’ll also get a copy of my Self-Care Guide. I designed this guide to help you monitor and track your meals throughout the week to make sure you’re getting enough of the nutrients you need.
3) Avoid certain foods most of the time
Every yin comes with its yang. Just like there are foods that decrease anxiety, there are also foods that increase anxiety – and these are the ones that you’re going to want to look out for.
Here are the top offenders:
Sugar, refined grains, and other processed foods: they may be downright scrumptious, but these foods also have a nasty little habit of causing energy spikes and crashes. This can then lead you to feel more anxious, irritable, jittery, fatigued, and just downright not great in general.
Alcohol: when you drink alcohol, you’re actually slowing down the activity of your brain and nervous system. While this can feel nice at the time, it often leaves you feeling quite sluggish afterwards (hence the “hangover blues”).
Caffeine: caffeine is the opposite of alcohol – it doesn’t slow you down, it speeds you up! In fact, it actually mimics the physical symptoms of anxiety. Yikes! If you have anxiety, I suggest switching your morning coffee for a decaf.
Remember: moderation is key
You are always allowed – and encouraged – to treat yourself every once and awhile. It’s totally up to you to gauge how much is too much and how much is juuuuust right.
Related Article: 8 Best Nutrients for Improving Your Mental Health
4) Take a minute to really relax
Taking a break and allowing you body and mind to unwind is another key in combatting anxiety.
I know, I know – saying that we have to “relax” in order to reduce anxiety may sound a bit on the obvious side, but I’m only saying it because it’s WAY too often forgotten about. In the ultra hectic, uber fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle mentality and forget to just take a breather (literally!).
There are a lot of different techniques that can help you relax – whether it’s doing yoga, meditating, going for a walk, reading a book, having a tea – the list goes on and on.
In my Anxiety Course, I’ll be going over two specific techniques that will help you feel calmer immediately. If you want to learn about what these two techniques are, head on over and download my Anxiety Course!
So if you’re unsure where to START your journey on overcoming your anxiety, taking care of your physical body should be at the TOP of your list.
Final thoughts and reminders
Your physical health is the most important element of your mental health – you cannot have a healthy mind without first having a healthy body
Taking proper care of your body is much simpler than most people think – you just have to do 4 things: exercise, eat healthy foods, avoid certain foods, and reduce stress
For more help and guidance (+ your very own healthy habit tracking worksheets), head on over to my website and check out my Anxiety Course!
Sagesse ("Say Jess")
Owner of Mindaya