I got serious about sleep hygiene.
For years, sleep was just not a priority for me. I would stay up to midnight (sometimes later) every night and hit snooze 2 or 3 times before waking up.
I could go on and on about the role sleep plays in the repair of the body. The main magic that happens during sleep is something called autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s version of spring cleaning. It’s when all of the damaged cells and toxins are cleaned up and new healthy cells and connections are made.
I highly suggest reading “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker. It’s a fascinating read that will make you motivated to prioritize sleep (link). I am now in bed by 9:30 pm every night. It feels weird at first, but the energy payoff is worth it. With time I realized I wasn’t accomplishing much during those hours anyway.
4. Intermittent Fasting
Fasting is popular right now for many reasons. It has healing benefits for both the mind and the body. I don’t like to get particular with fasting windows because everyone is different. Fasting can stress some women’s bodies so it’s important to experiment on your own with this one.
I started with not eating before 12 pm and after 6 pm. I stuck with that for months and was amazed at how much energy I had and how much my mood changed. In about 6 months I had zero sugar cravings (huge for a sugar addict like myself) and also completely stopped snacking. My meals were high-fat meals that satiated me.
I’m no longer strict with exact times of eating, but I only eat twice a day and have no desire to snack. Since my blood sugar is regulated, I have food freedom. If I’m flying or find myself in a place where the food isn’t what I would normally eat I can pass. No more shakiness or angry sensations. This one is a major game-changer.
I spent years afraid of the sun. I’d wear sunblock, hats, sunglasses, and run for cover if I thought I was getting too much sun.
It’s obvious to me that the sun isn’t a villain. Our ancestors spent all day outside, and as we’re spending more and more time in offices avoiding the sun, skin cancer rates are going up. I believe this has more to do with blue light exposure and nutritional deficiencies.
The data on Vitamin D is eye-opening. I aim for at least 1 hour a day and use the app D minder to track how much I’m getting.
6. Subconscious Programming
Childhood experiences can wire pathways that cause anxious responses.
It’s important to understand that the brain is a very literal organ. It does not understand the difference between perception and reality. Our brain is neuroplastic meaning it can change throughout life. Using affirmations and visualizations, we can create experiences in the mind that change the pathways of the brain.
I used affirmations every day for months before I noticed a change. I still use affirmations daily. They’re a major part of re-programming thoughts, behaviors, and patterns.
I like to do affirmations first thing in the morning when my mind is sharpest, but everyone is different. It’s important to understand that you cannot just mindlessly say these affirmations. In order for the brain to have a new experience, the body must be involved.
This means as you are concentrating on the affirmations you need to imagine how it would feel if the affirmation were true. You’ll feel this in your body and at this moment the mind and body connect. Only through this connection can new pathways being formed.
Here is an affirmation to heal anxiety:
Take a few short breaths and consciously tell your body it’s going to completely relax. As your visualization techniques get stronger it will be easier and easier to get into this state. Do not get frustrated if you find this difficult at first. Affirmations are a practice that requires repetition.
- I am calmness
- I am calm in all situations
- I choose my reaction
- I do not react, I respond
- My nature is peace
- I am peace
- In moments where I am out of alignment, I can always choose to go back to peace
- I am safe, I am protected, I am awareness
- My body is healing
- My mind is clear
- I release anxiety as a part of my identity
- I am peace
I hope this guide and my own story helps you on your own journey of healing. You are powerful, capable, and whole. Suffering from anxiety does not have to be a lifetime battle.
Written by Nicole LePera Originally Appeared In The Holistic Psychologist