Losing a few pounds, they say, is always best done through a calorie controlled diet and exercise. Cut down on fatty foods with lots of sugar, eat more fruit and vegetables and hit the treadmill, go jogging or take up yoga. It’s fairly simple in theory, harder in reality, but basically achievable for most of us.
But how about putting your brain on health kick? If you recognise you’ve got bad habits when it comes to checking, worrying, mulling it over until your brain is fried, perhaps some of these anxiety loss tips will help:
- Initiate careful portion control: Once is enough. Like the odd biscuit or piece of cake won’t do any harm, neither does checking the oven is off. But only once. And only when it’s been on in the first place.Less carbs = less calories. Less checking = less long-term anxiety.
- Resist temptations: Every time your brain is tempted to misbehave, to convince you to check, question or go back, kindly but firmly resist. You know you don’t need to or have to. You definitely don’t want to. Like a short-term sugar rush, the relief is temporary compared to the long-term benefits of not giving in to that sweet tooth or that nagging doubt.
- Take regular exercise: The physical kind has long-proven benefits for physical and mental health, but it’s not the only kind of exercise you need. Keep your mind fit and healthy with a good book, a hobby, mindful activity, whatever, as long as it’s using your brain for what it was meant.
- Break old habits/swap them for new ones: Just because you’ve always tapped the fridge door three times to check it’s closed, doesn’t mean you always have to. Just as you might swap that greasy Friday night takeaway pizza for a homemade, reduced cheese version, small changes can lead to big results without too much disruption. Just cutting down to one tap is a good step forward.(And less cheese means more chocolate, right?!)
- Everything in moderation: worrying and anxiety aren’t evil things per se. They keep us alert when we need to be. Protect us even. Being completely worry free is about as realistic an expectation as looking like an airbrushed model in a glossy mag. We’re aiming for realistic, not superhuman.
- Accept the odd slip: A glass of wine won’t derail the diet, neither will be a bit of worry every now and again. Don’t beat yourself up. Accept it and move on.
- No pain, no gain: People will always try and sell you a quick fix, a cheat, a trick or a get out of jail free card. Sometimes though, hard work and perseverance are required. You will have to be incredibly strict with yourself. (Yes I know I’ve not finished that project for work, but it can wait until tomorrow.) It will be hard, stressful and feel futile sometimes. You’ll work hard for a week, maybe two and not see any measurable results. The jeans will still be a just a bit too tight. But keep going. Because your hard work will be rewarded.
- Get support: when people know you’re trying hard to diet, they’re more likely to hide the cake tin, buy the slim line tonic and offer to head out jogging with you. Get a little encouragement from your family, friends, doctor even. Moral support can be half the battle won
There you have it, a little list of suggestions for a healthier mind. Good Luck!
[Upon reflection, I realise I’ve left the most important tip until last. Reading and experience tell me that mild anxiety can be dealt with using some of the thinking changes above, but for more severe cases, it’s not so straight forward, I know. Get talking and get support first if you need to. It’s a first step, but a very big one]