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wellness wednesday -THE MIND

ANXIETY

The main symptom of anxiety disorders is excessive fear or worry. Anxiety disorders can also make it hard to breathe, sleep, stay still, and concentrate. Your specific symptoms depend on the type of anxiety disorder you have. Common symptoms are: Panic, fear, and uneasiness

How to Stop Feeling Anxious Right Now

1. Stay in your time zone.

Anxiety is a future-oriented state of mind. So instead of worrying about what’s going to happen, “reel yourself back to the present,” says Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. Ask yourself: What’s happening right now? Am I safe? Is there something I need to do right now? If not, make an “appointment” to check in with yourself later in the day to revisit your worries so those distant scenarios don’t throw you off track, she says.

2. Relabel what’s happening.

Panic attacks can often make you feel like you’re dying or having a heart attack. Remind yourself: “I’m having a panic attack, but it’s harmless, it’s temporary, and there’s nothing I need to do,” Chansky says. Plus, keep in mind it really is the opposite of a sign of impending death — your body is activating its fight-or-flight response, the system that’s going to keep you alive, she says. 

3. Fact-check your thoughts.

People with anxiety often fixate on worst-case scenarios, Chansky says. To combat these worries, think about how realistic they are. Say you’re nervous about a big presentation at work. Rather than think, “I’m going to bomb,” for example, say, “I’m nervous, but I’m prepared. Some things will go well, and some may not,” she suggests. Getting into a pattern of rethinking your fears helps train your brain to come up with a rational way to deal with your anxious thoughts.

4. Breathe in and out.

Deep breathing helps you calm down. While you may have heard about specific breathing exercises, you don’t need to worry about counting out a certain number of breaths, Chansky says. Instead just focus on evenly inhaling and exhaling. This will help slow down and re-center your mind, she says.

5. Follow the 3-3-3 rule.

Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Finally, move three parts of your body — your ankle, fingers, or arm. Whenever you feel your brain going 100 miles per hour, this mental trick can help center your mind, bringing you back to the present moment, Chansky says.

6. Just do something.

Stand up, take a walk, throw away a piece of trash from your desk — any action that interrupts your train of thought helps you regain a sense of control, Chansky suggests. 

7. Stand up straight.

“When we are anxious, we protect our upper body — where our heart and lungs are located — by hunching over,” Chansky says. For an immediate physical antidote to this natural reaction, pull your shoulders back, stand or sit with your feet apart, and open your chest. This helps your body start to sense that it’s back in control, she says. 

8. Stay away from sugar.

It may be tempting to reach for something sweet when you’re stressed, but that chocolate bar can do more harm than good, as research shows that eating too much sugar can worsen anxious feelings. Instead of reaching into the candy bowl, drink a glass of water or eat protein, Chansky says, which will provide a slow energy your body can use to recover. 

9. Ask for a second opinion.

Call or text a friend or family member and run through your worries with them, Chansky says. “Saying them aloud to someone else can help you see them clearly for what they are.” It can also help to write your fears on paper. 

10. Watch a funny video.

This final tactic may be the easiest one yet: Cue up clips of your favorite comedian or funny TV show. Laughing is a good prescription for an anxious mind, Chansky says. Research shows that laughter has lots of benefits for our mental health and well-being; one study found that humor could help lower anxiety as much as (or even more than) exercise can. 

wellness wednesday-health

The juice fast

WHAT IS IT?

Exactly what it says on the carton. Ingest nothing but liquefied fruits, roots and vegetables for a set period – anything from 24 hours up to an entire week

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The concept has been buoyed by numerous high-profile Hollywood endorsements as well as the widespread assumption that anything green is good for you. As for what you’re meant to get out of it? Juice-fast advocates evangelise about the method’s ability to reverse digestive damage and flush ‘toxins’ from the body. There are a

few drops of truth to those claims: a UCLA study observed an increase in participants’ general wellbeing after a three-day ‘cleanse’, along with a rise in healthy gut bacteria. Meanwhile, kale juice has been associated with a rise in HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and both citrus fruits and carrot have been linked to a lower risk of developing heart disease.

But – and it’s a big but – Harvard Medical School experts have critiqued the lack of scientific evidence for most of juicing’s benefits, especially the vague claims that

it can ‘detoxify’ the body (that’s what your liver and kidneys do). Sure, kale and other healthy foods will support your body’s natural healing processes, but the science suggests that they work just as well when sautéed – maybe along with those morning eggs – as sunk from a plastic bottle. Plus, by stripping the fibre out of fresh produce, you concentrate the sugar. ‘Even if you’ve got plenty of vitamins and minerals, all of that sugar means you’re raising your insulin levels very high,’ says Miller. ‘Most juices don’t include any protein, either, so you’re not getting the nutrients needed to support muscle recovery.’

Lacklustre workouts and cartwheeling energy levels? You’re alright, thanks. Just as, with the best will in the world, you’re no Spartan warrior queen, neither are you a yogini going deeper into your practice on a Balinese beach.

If you must give it a go, fast for just one or two days, ideally when you don’t have much on, and supplement your juice with a blended bean broth for satiating fibre and a touch of protein.

You’re salivating too, right? so will you be giving it a try?