Up Lift

Whether you have sea­sonal fraz­zles or are man­ag­ing an anx­i­ety dis­or­der with your doc­tor, here are strate­gies that can help you feel some peace on Earth.

EatingWell - - FRESH | FIX - By Julia West­brook

Out-climb Your Worry

Rock climb­ing helped peo­ple re­duce anx­i­ety re­lated to pho­bias and lower their de­pres­sion scores, Ger­man re­searchers found. Wall-scal­ing pro­motes skills use­ful for bol­ster­ing men­tal health, like trust­ing your­self and oth­ers and be­ing present in the mo­ment. But any phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity can be ben­e­fi­cial. Re­search pub­lished in Psy­chi­a­try

Re­search found that ex­er­cise in gen­eral has ben­e­fits on par with com­mon anti-anx­i­ety med­i­ca­tions—per­haps be­cause phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in­creases a pro­tein in the brain (called BDNF) that helps you learn that some­thing you ini­tially thought was dan­ger­ous re­ally isn’t. Aim for at least 2½ hours a week of mod­er­atein­ten­sity ex­er­cise, like brisk walk­ing.

Put Worry to Bed

Ru­mi­na­tion, a hall­mark of anx­i­ety, may stem from in­suf­fi­cient sleep. Bing­ham­ton Univer­sity re­searchers asked peo­ple prone to this type of think­ing to look at pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive im­ages and fol­lowed their at­ten­tion us­ing eye-move­ment track­ing. Sleep habits were also recorded. Those who got fewer zzz’s fo­cused on, and had a harder time dis­en­gag­ing from, neg­a­tive im­ages. Sleep-de­prived brains are more likely to per­ceive some­thing that’s no big deal as a threat. Plus, tired peo­ple lack the men­tal re­sources needed to break away from neg­a­tive think­ing. Most adults need about 7 to 9 hours of snooze time nightly.

Go Mediter­ranean

Head­lines like “I Gave Up Su­gar and It Cured My Anx­i­ety” make us cringe be­cause de­mo­niz­ing one food is overly sim­plis­tic. Aus­tralian re­searchers found that im­prov­ing your over­all diet may be a bet­ter tac­tic. Af­ter go­ing on a Mediter­ranean-in­spired diet, par­tic­i­pants saw their anx­i­ety scores im­prove by about 30 per­cent. Yes, they ate fewer sweets, re­fined carbs and fried food, but none of these were to­tally for­bid­den. A healthy diet may im­pact anx­i­ety through the gut-brain con­nec­tion. What we eat im­pacts the ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria in our mi­cro­biome that, in turn, pro­duce mood-mod­er­at­ing chem­i­cals in the brain, like sero­tonin and tryp­to­phan.

Get Your Mag­ne­sium Up

Spinach, cashews and black beans: think of these mag­ne­sium pow­er­houses as your new com­fort foods. Univer­sity of Ver­mont re­searchers found that tak­ing a 500 mg mag­ne­sium chlo­ride sup­ple­ment low­ered peo­ple’s anx­i­ety scores (based on a ques­tion­naire) by 4.5 points, mov­ing many par­tic­i­pants from the mod­er­ate-to-se­vere anx­i­ety range to one con­sid­ered mild. Mag­ne­sium plays many im­por­tant roles in the brain, in­clud­ing reg­u­lat­ing hor­mones and neu­ro­trans­mit­ters that in­flu­ence mood.

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