Fear, worry, and stress ruled my life for a long time; nearly a decade, but I've now conquered them long-term.
In the past, I didn't even know this was possible, so I want to share some of what helped me, in hopes it will help you too!
I believe dietary factors have the biggest effect on both physical and mental health, but emotions are a VERY close 2nd, and are intertwined with health in every way.
They have the ability to either be our worst enemy, or our greatest ally, depending on how we use them.
One of the biggest shifts for me was when I realized both faith, and fear are simply choices I make.
No one can make you, or force you to be fearful.
And only YOU have the power to decide which one you will choose; faith, or fear.
There are people we can learn from, whom even in the face of certain doom; have shown it's possible to choose how you exist, how you feel, and how you live.
Victor Frankl, a holocost surviror is one of those people. I highly suggest reading his book, "Man's search for meaning"
I'm not a fan of animal studies, but there's an incredibly helpful lesson to be learned from a particular one done on rats and survival.
In the study, the term "learned helplessness" was developed after watching the effect hope (faith), or fear had on different rat's survival rates.
The rats were put into barrels of water and made to swim.
Some were allowed to escape and climb out; while others drowned.
The rats who saw others drown often quickly gave up in a matter of minutes (feeling it was hopeless).
The rats who saw other rats climb out of the barrel would continue to swim for days, determined to get out, knowing what was possible.
Some rats swam so long the scientists got tired of waiting and simply pulled them out, ending the study.
So, what the rats "believed" was a matter of life and death.
Believing escape was possible resulted in survival, while hopelessness resulted in death.
I despise animal studies; but love the lesson we can learn from this, which is:
What you believe is up to you, not your circumstances!
And the right belief can either save you, or kill you!
This is not to blame anyone for their situation; but to empower them.
You are NOT helpless, and not beyond help, or out of control.
The next time worry, stress or anxiety get to you; remember that you ARE in complete control of your thoughts.
What you focus on grows.
You can't be fearful and hopeful at the same time.......so decide to be hopeful, and grateful.
There is so much you don't have control over, but you do have control over YOU.
At the end of your life, will you think to yourself "gosh.....I wish I worried and stressed more"
Of course not.
You're much more likely to think "I wish I'd worried less, and smiled a little more".
Your true moment of power is now, so focus on being present, and not living the future, or the past.
Do something TODAY that your future self will thank you for....
What I've found helpful:
Fixing gut health and balancing hormones will literally give you different thoughts and renew your mind.
Did you know your gut is often referred to as your 2nd brain for this reason? Many of your hormones are generated there and it can either be your "rest and relax" hormones, or stress hormones depending on your diet and digestion.
Any food you can't digest will raise your stress hormones and likely contribute to endotoxin poisoning which severely effects mood, and thought life, not to mention energy, focus and motivation.
Things that improve gut health include:
- Supplementing with coconut oil (up to several spoons a day)
- Eating plenty of salt to taste (improves digestion and lowers bacterial load)
- 400 IU's of vitamin E
- Eating enough calories to keep the stress response down (especially sugar in the from of fresh ripe fruits)
- Eating enough protein for the liver to detoxify and eliminate excess stress hormones, such as estrogen
- Eating easy to digest foods (no nuts, seeds or grains)
- Activated charcoal which is an amazingly helpful remedy for bad mood, fatigue, bloating, etc. because it reduces endotoxin load and bacterial excess. Some people will take several spoonfuls at a time to cleanse their system.
- Slowing down breathing (breathing too many breaths per minute lowers your co2 which raises stress)
- Anything that boosts the metabolic rate without raising stress will help lower inflammation
I found the classic book by Dale Carnegie, "How to stop worrying and start living" also very helpful. You can find the entire audio version of it for free on you tube, and it's also in print on Amazon.
And learning in general, can lower stress, expand the mind and inspire.
Don't spend too much time alone OR with toxic people, if possible. Spend lots of time DOING things; not analyzing. Even if you're bedridden, you can be learning online, or through audiobooks.
Guard your mind from negativity.
Life is short; so choose and prioritize what you focus on, and give your energy and attention to.
Is it draining you, or uplifting you?
*Hint - obsessing/stressing about world politics which you have no control over, or the future, or any type of "what if's" is very draining.
Focusing on that which you DO have control over, and can affect for the better, such as: your health, your creativity, personal relationships, your work, your household, etc.
This can be very energizing by giving you "small wins" which will lower stress and build faith, instead of fear.