Fear, worry, and stress ruled my life for a long time (nearly a decade), but I've now conquered them long-term.
I didn't even know it was possible to be where I am today, 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 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 to be made.
No one can make you, or force you to be fearful.
Only YOU have the power to decide which one you will choose; faith, or fear.
Take it from Victor Frankl, a holocost survivor. If he can do it, we all can.
After reading his book, "Man's search for meaning" I had a brand new understanding about mind over matter and the true power of thought choice.
There are people like hime, whom we can learn from.....people who even in the face of certain doom; have shown it's possible to choose how one feels.
And once you can do that; you're in control of your whole existence, and life.
I also found the classic book by Dale Carnegie, "How to stop worrying and start living" very helpful.
You can find the entire audio version of it for free on youtube, and it's also on Amazon.
Another great turning point in my life was learning the concept of "learned helplessness" and becoming aware of it.
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 learned 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
Also, any type of creativity, progress, and learning in general, can lower stress, expand the mind and inspire and generate hope.
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.
Always ask yourself, is what I'm doing right now draining, or uplifting?
*Hint - obsessing/stressing about world politics which you have no control over, or any type of future "what if's" is very draining and not helpful.
Focusing on that which you DO have control over, such as; your health, your creativity, personal relationships, your work, your household, etc.
These can be very energizing by giving you "small wins" which will build faith, instead of fear, hope instead of hopelessness.