If you suffer from anxiety you have to allow yourself to do what is necessary to make yourself feel good throughout the day. You’ve got to be deliberate about how you wake up. You’ve got to be deliberate about how you go to sleep and how you structure your life in between. And this kind of self care has to be okay for you. ~ Teal Scott
Anxiety and Depression go together like peanut butter and jelly. Depression robs us of our energy, vitality, creativity, and capacity to feel almost any positive emotion, leaving behind either apathy or fear which causes anxiety. Once these two forces are in play we wind up in a sticky situation, either unable to move forward because we lack the energy to do so, or unable to move forward because we are caught up in fear like a deer in the headlights. In this video by Teal Scott – The Spiritual Catalyst Teal explains what anxiety is, what causes it, and what we can do to rid ourselves of it.
If you are experiencing a full blown panic attack right now I recommend going straight to Teal’s video How to Stop a Attack and then come back to this page when you are feeling calm.
One Caveat: If you are currently on an anti-anxiety medication, especially those in the Benzodiazipan class often referred as the Benzos, do not stop taking them. Talk to your doctor and come up with a plan for titrating (weaning) off of your medication slowly as you add more of the positive natural stress reduction and anxiety prevention practices into your life. To just stop taking an anti-anxiety medication “cold turkey” can be dangerous on many levels and may also dissuade you from ever trying to get off of them again in the future because you did not do it in the proper manner now. Please do not ignore this statement. Getting off of these medications incorrectly can have dire consequences. Anti-anxiety medication does have its place in the treatment of severe anxiety, but it is something that really should be used only when all other efforts have been exhausted, and then only in the smallest doses possible so that the patient can get to a point of functioning where they are able to use more long lasting, beneficial, and benign tools to eliminate their anxiety such as those that Teal talks about in this video.
I have taken the liberty of summarizing what I feel are the bullet points of Teal’s video at the bottom of this page so you don’t have to worry about remembering them. Just enjoy the video and then check out the notes afterwards.
Video Summary and Some Additional Thoughts
- Engage in aerobic exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes per day.
- Keep your blood sugar levels stabilized by eliminating fried foods, caffeine, high glycemic carbohydrates, sugar, and alcoholic beverages. Some foods to include in your diet that have been known to reduce anxiety are: Seaweed (nori); kimchi; whole grains such as brown rice, farro, and quinoa; blueberries; dark chocolate; maca root; vitamin B12 as found in bananas; Omega 3 fatty acid as found in flaxseed oil; chamomile tea; ulam tea, and oat straw tea; nuts; pumpkin seeds, and edamame. If you really want to develop a great eating lifestyle, as opposed to a “diet” then check out Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition. This is an excellent book that explains which foods are good for your and which foods are not, as well as providing sample diets for those who wish to continue to eat meat, those who wish to drop meat but keep fish, those who wish to go vegetarian, and those who wish to go vegan. The eating styles from this book will stabilize blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, reduce anxiety, reduce depression, increase energy and vitality, increase memory and other cognitive functions, eliminate most chronic diseases by fixing the underlying diet related health issue, and reduce the chances of getting cancer. I will blog about this book in more detail at another time but the general rules are: Reduce or eliminate consumption of meat and/or fish; reduce or eliminate consumption of dairy; reduce consumption of sugar, sugary drinks, and sugary snacks; reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcoholic beverages; reduce consumption of processed foods like those made with white flower or even “whole wheat flour”. Eat lots of uncooked vegetables, uncooked fruits, nuts, and legumes (various types of beans). Eat lightly cooked vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Eat breads made from whole grains.
- Engaging any type of stress reduction methods that have cumulative effects as opposed to palliative ones (like massage therapy), is necessary and affordable (often free). While massage can be a source of calming, relaxing, releasing tension, and pampering yourself, it is costly, requires some else to do it and usually lasts for a short period of time. It will serve yourself better to do some of the more self-directed, and self-sustaining relaxation methods such as yogic meditation, transcendental meditation, guided imagery meditation, kriya yoga, yogic meditation, yogic breathing, pranayama, hatha yoga, chi gong, and tai chi.
- Stay social with a group of close knit friends
- Hold hands and give and get hugs – Human touch has healing power on all levels including physiological, psychological, biochemical. This reaction that Teal experiences comes from a scientifically proven fact that humans are a social species and we require contact with others for our emotional wellbeing. One of the oldest developed parts of our brain, the lymbic system is responsible for generating our emotions. We are hardwired for communion with others. When we touch one another in a loving way our lymbic system releases endorphins which are chemicals that make us feel calm, grounded, safe, and loved. If you don’t have a bed partner then massaging yourself or using massagers can also be helpful to make you feel calm and relaxed.
- Laugh – I have a huge selection of video playlists of funny videos to watch on YouTube, as well as funny comedians’ routines on my iPod.
- Seek any kind of fun you can find. You need activity to transmute the negative energy of anxiety into positive healing energy.
- Group sports are another excellent source of anxiety reduction especially if you keep it fun as opposed to highly competitive. Your goal in this case is to have fun and not to win. If you win consider it icing on the cake and enjoy it all the more.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep — listen to Teal for more details.
- Release emotion by talking, writing, or typing them without judging them. – Do you recall Teal’s truthful example of one of her journal entries. I found it hilarious because I didn’t expect her to still struggle like I do, and I certainly didn’t expect her to sound exactly like myself. We humans are a lot more alike then we perceive ourselves to be. Teal might as well have been reading one of my rants. I certainly couldn’t tell the difference. 🙂
- Listen to the type of music that relaxes you. I suggest that you go to an online music service like Rhapsody/Napster, Spodify, Pandora, dbeats, etc. and set up stress reduction playlists. I will make an attempt to put some suggestions together and post them in the near future.
You need to really commit to self care if you suffer from anxiety attacks. Take the time to structure your life to give yourself this TLC (tender loving care).
Teal’s Morning Routine
- Keep eyes closed upon awakening
- Take eight deep breaths from the belly and hold each one eight counts before releasing
- Immediately eat to get blood sugar up but not spike it. She usually has any of the following: a handful of almonds and berries; raw formula meal replacer or powder mixed with almond milk or coconut milk; a banana with mixed nuts and water.
- Write in her expression journal – See video for details
- Writes in her gratitude journal
- Exercise with a group
- Drink 16 oz of water (not tap water or chemically treated water)
Teal also remarks:
- “I let myself be a diva” – She allows herself to do unconventional things that make her feel good and be authentic to herself. You must watch the video for details on this because it is important.
- “I make sure that before I go to bed I am in a good vibrational space. – Again please watch the video for Teal’s words about this. She makes sure that she does not go to bed worried.
- She asks someone to tickle her feet or tickle her skin softly. She says that it makes her feel safe. See the discussion above about the importance of human touch.
- Teal says she’s very deliberate about the food that she eats. See her points on diet that she made earlier on. She also eats smaller meals through the day instead of three large meals because it keeps her blood sugar on a more balanced and regulated level.
If you suffer from anxiety then you have a highly sensitive system. That doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. Potentially it means that something’s right with you, and that everyone else is just shut down. ~ Teal Scott