Reduce anxiety and depression with these 5 simple lifestyle changes

Happiness, reduce anxiety and depression

When life gets hectic and a bit out of control, it just takes a few bad things to happen to spiral into the deep dark holes of our minds. When you spiral out of control, it’s hard to get out of the spin. Taking control of your lifestyle habits could be the answer to surviving tough circumstances.

If you make just a few lifestyle changes, you could help reduce anxiety and depression or simply diminish it all together.

For some it may take just a tweak to existing habits, for other it may require a bit more work. All the items below can be done by many of us, so you should be considering these if your commonly in the dumps.

Get rid of the crap food

We all must eat and it’s mostly our choice what we put in our mouth. If we make the right choices, it can benefit our mental state.  Science has now proven that our guts contain 100 million neurons which is why they call it the second brain.

Cut or reduce refined sugar from your diet is the most effective away to reduce inflammation in our body, get hormones running the way they should and improve gut microbial system. This correlates directly to our mood and brain function.

So, remove candy, ice cream and sodas from the menu!

Anti Anxiety DieatIncrease foods with omega-3s and omega-6s are fatty acids. This includes olive oil, nuts, seeds and some fish like Salmon.  A few studies have indicated that depressed people have lower omega-3 fatty acid levels than people who are not depressed.

A study at Haukeland University Hospital 2007 found that cod liver oil reduced depressive symptoms in 30% of patients.

Reduce processed grains like bread or pasta and replace them with safe starch vegetables like sweet potato and other fibrous vegetables like broccoli and spinach. In Dr Prerlmutter’s best seller, Grain Brain, he deeply explains how grains are effecting our brain through certain toxicities.

Staying hydrated helps flush toxins out of our body but as the mass of the brain is made up of water, it insures that the brain is firing on all cylinders.

Another great resource is the Anti-Anxiety Food Solution by Trudy Scott where she details which food are best for managing anxiety.



Body Moving

Our body makes natural anti-depressants when we exercise by stimulating the body to produce endorphins and serotonin.  These chemicals in our brains, when naturally occurring, boost mood, reduce stress hormones like cortisol and help improve restful sleep.

The Mayo Clinic suggest 30 minutes a day of regular exercise. I have had amazing results with 10-15 minutes of very high intensity exercise about 3-4 days per week.

If you’re not into lifting weights or high intensity body weight exercises, try long walks in nature, body stretches and yoga like exercises. For some excellent yoga resources, head over to mylifewithyoga.com.

Meditation and stress reduction

Of course, at meditsounds.com we highly praise the benefits of meditation, not just to improve mental health but as a general stress reduction exercise that effects the whole body.

A Havard study 2011 had participants perform 8 weeks of meditation with an MRI done before and after the 8-week period. These scans found that participants physically reduced density of the grey matter in the Amygdale area of the brain, which directly correlates to reducing stress levels and anxiety.

Other techniques to reduce negative stress is to incorporate mindfulness practices into everyday life activities. This can be done while walking, eating or breathing. Check out this information on mindfulness practices.

Also visit the free meditation resources available here at meditsounds such as free guided meditations and other tips to improve your life performance.

Just get more sleep

Yep…. put down the device and turn off the damn lights! Some sleep specialist say, if we all just got a full night deep sleep, we could probably cure most of our ailments.

Lying awake in bed with our minds pumped up and unable to calm down is a common and complicated symptom of depression. The less you sleep, the more fatigued you feel.

Using the 3 tips above are a sure way to improve your sleep. Check out this guide to ensuring you get quality sleep.

If you’ve tried all these tips and are still stuck, try some of these natural supplements to help push along body into relaxation mode.

Start being grateful

When you’re feeling depressed, down and stressed, it’s hard to be grateful for anything. But, employing a regular gratitude practice, will help you to naturally be thankful for even the smallest gratitude Journalthings in life we might take for granted.

I use a gratitude journal each morning and sometimes in the evening (if I remember to) to write something I’m grateful for. This could be as simple as I’m grateful for my coffee in the morning, or I slept all night as the kids didn’t wake me up, to important things like, I’m grateful that I can walk or see and do so many great things in life. I grateful for my family, friends, that I have job, it could be anything.

It’s the feeling of appreciation that one has, which helps cultivate a natural state of mind in gratitude. Always looking for the best part of what to many would believe is a bad situation is an amazing talent and will ensure you will always have extraordinary experiences.

I have been using this state of mind for a while now, it has profoundly transformed my life to rid of stress and anxiety. I’ve have never felt happier and healthier.

The close

I hope all of you benefit from these simple lifestyle changes (if you not already). I can vouch that incorporating these aspects into your daily life is not difficult once they become habits.

Reduce depression and anxiety

Do you have any tips or success stories how you have reduced depression or anxiety? Please add your comments.

 

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48 Comments on Reduce anxiety and depression with these 5 simple lifestyle changes

  1. 5 simple ways to reduce anxiety! Thanks for this article Vince.
    I strongly agree with “eating well”…when I relax my diet and over indulge on the crap my anxiety tends to flare up. So I certainly believe that food can be medicine…

    The gratitude point is a good one. It’s often so difficult to remember to be grateful…I used to have a gratatude journal too. (Perhaps it’s time for me to dig that out and start again!!)

    On a different note, I recently read an article recently that suggested that they may be a link with low vitamin D levels and high anxiety. I remember when being pregnant I was put on a high level high of vitamin D supplements, the dr at the time said that vitamin D can also affect cortisol levels which I found rather interesting.

    Thanks again for some great reminders here!

    • Thanks Vee for your comments. I recall listening to a podcast with Dr Rhonda Patrick about Vitamin D levels and anxiety. She has an awesome podcast call Found my Fitness.

  2. hi Vince, fantastic article. It is very inspiring to read it as it is a refreshing reminder on how to deal with the chaos of everyday life. In my work as a media practitioner, it almost always comes to a point that I feel the stress of the daily grind, hence making me feel anxious and depressed. Your advice inspires me on how to manage it. Thanks for this Vince. Very helpful. =)

  3. Hi Vince, Anxiety, and depression are two black nightmares and they really make life like hell
    Thanks a lot for the tips especially the one ‘ being grateful 5 minutes a day’ I will start implementing that one as well I’m pretty sure it will make a difference!

    Thanks for the article and wish you a great weekend!
    Anis

  4. Hi Vince,
    Great article. I did have to deal with mild anxiety & depression during one stage of my life, and I’m glad I have them under control. I do still get anxious often, and I use these 5 reminders that I learned from a youtube video to calm myself down:
    1) stop creating bad outcomes in your mind
    2) think about things you are grateful for
    3) face the fear
    4) care less about what people may think of you
    5) Stop, and be aware of your thoughts

    • Great tips Alex.
      Creating bad outcomes in our mind is normally the start of a snowball effect. It’s best to deal with it head on.

  5. Wow ! I hadn’t really thought about ways to manage depression other than take a pill. But what you say makes sense. I’ve bookmarked your site to share with my autistic son. Thanks for the information.

  6. Dear Friends,

    I do have a tip or two. This is what I have done to improve my severe depression. (I would guess that I am now no more or less likely to feel unhappy than any average person.)

    I went cold turkey on aspartame. This immediately put an end to the severe migraine headaches I had been having. That’s right. I gave up aspartame 3 years ago and NEVER had another headache. Further, giving up aspartame altered my perception of sweetness,

    so I was able to reduce the amount of sugar I consumed to practically none. Everything tasted to sweet to me, so it was easy. I didn’t particularly miss it. The only thing that tempts me is baklava. I cannot resist baklava. I live in the UAE. The baklava is to die for. I NEVER let the stuff in the house!

    I dropped MSG from my diet. No change occurred. Apparently MSG isn’t all that hard on my body.

    I dropped wheat. Big changes right away. Started dropping pounds, felt wonderful, no more swollen joints or puffy face. No more runny nose. I could think clearly all day long, perhaps for the first time in my life. Previously I had delayed meals as long as possible each day so that I could get things done. After dropping wheat I found I could perform mentally demanding tasks whenever I wanted to. Apparently wheat was a big problem for me.

    I began exercising for an hour a day. It really felt good. More pounds dropped off.

    I began eating a tremendous quantity and variety of vegetables and fruit. I also ate a variety of nuts, coconut oil, butter an a single modest serving of meat each day. I continued to eat cheese and yogurt, which I have always loved. Cheese is my favorite treat. I also consume a teaspoon of turmeric with a quarter teaspoon of ground pepper. I mix this with whole buttermilk, which I love almost as much as cheese. This diet made my digestion and energy levels nearly perfect.

    I started supplementing magnesium. After about a week I stopped jumping at every little sound and I didn’t feel anxious any more. I slept better.

    I began supplementing vitamin D. I began sleeping seven hours a night, sometimes a little more. What was even better was that it was restful sleep. I no longer tossed and turned.

    Lately life has been pretty stressful. I find that it’s easier to cope than ever before. Life has been stressful, but I remain calm and cheerful. I sleep and I enjoy my work and relationships. I’m better able to focus on the positive.

    I encourage everyone to experiment and see what works. What worked for me may not work for you. I tried a few other things that didn’t make much of a difference. Just keep chipping away at your depression, and eventually it will subside.

    • What amazing story Elizabeth. We are grateful that you can share this with us.
      It shows that persistence and changing some lifestyle factors such as food can be profound to improve quality of life.

      It can be tough to know what to do when your in the thick of it, but reading stories like yours is an inspiration that will help many others.
      Thanks again

  7. This is a great post, simple and effective. I have started a gratitude journal, every morning I try to put down 3 things i’m grateful for but some days it’s only 1. I’ve started doing squats at work to pick things up or when someone makes me mad. I feel better exercising. Meditation is great even if you have 10 minutes a day. I would sit outside on a break and meditate before returning to work to help me get through the day.

    • Gratitude is the most effective way to improve happiness. Thanks for sharing the way you have improved your life Candice.

  8. I think this is really helpful, just shows how your body and mind are synced. I think article’s like this show that there are holistic way to deal with the pressure and stress of life that sometimes builds into anxiety and depression.

    • Yes Lola. We should try to incorporate lifestyle changes and not just medicines to heal.
      As Elizabeth has shared below, food can be medicine as well.

  9. Some excellent advice Vince. In today’s world it is just too easy to get caught up and run yourself into the ground. We all need to take a step back and have time out for ourselves.

    I really need to take this advice and just take it easy. Also, I know that more sleep would be much appreciated.

    I’ll advice to bookmark this page and remind myself what I need to do live a stress-free life.

    Thanks.

  10. Thank you so much for writing this article. I found it extremely useful. Anxiety and depression have plagued my life for too long now. I personally found mediation and the grateful journal to be most useful for me. Thank you once more for this 🙂

  11. Hey Vince!

    Man…EXERCISE is KING!….I can personally attest to it.

    When my dog suddenly passed away this year (this just wasn’t a dog to me…he was my soulmate..) it was exercise that helped me.

    One of my friend’s wife cheated on him…he was depressed and suicidal…again exercise was key!!!!

    The diet is so easy to implement yet many people feed themselves fattening donuts and pizza all day!

    Great post man!

    Ravi

    • Sorry to hear about your dog Ravi, but happy to see that you were able to get through the rough patch with exercise.

  12. Hi Vince, great article mate. I always find that my mood and the amount of control I let life have over me are inversely correlated. So the more I let life control me or ‘happen’ to me, the worse my mood.

    For me it’s really just about taking control of life, and that can be through something as minor as what you have mentioned, going for a walk, or eating the healthier and less processed of two food options.

    Personally I have found that by practising a mindset of abundance, I am taking much less for granted, and small things bring greater joy to everyday life.

    Practicing setting goals is also an excellent way to improve mindset, even if they’re only small. The simple act of setting and achieving goals is a huge mood booster.

    Thanks for posting mate,
    Adam.

  13. Hi Vince

    Awesome article. Clear, concise and to the point. People might think that it requires deeply scientific articles to reduce depression and stress it is not true. If people follow your guidelines they will definitely see results in their mood and life in general. They just have to keep at it for 40 days to make sure they reinforce the habit so it can be part of their life.

  14. Love this article! It really points out some great suggestions on how to reduce anxiety and stress! It is so important to eat right, stay away from sugar and processed foods, and find time to de-stress and relax. A big problem for me is getting enough sleep, but I see that will make a big difference as well! Great suggestions.

    • Hi Amy,
      Sleep is a difficult one for me too with 2x 3 Year old toddlers. In fact can’t remember the last time I got a full night!
      Whats worked for me is keeping diet, exercise and meditation at top notch priority, helps when my sleep isn’t the best.

  15. Great article! I strongly feel that more and more people have increased depression and it could be caused by the foods they eat. A clean and healthy diet is not only excellent for your health but also your mind.
    I agree that taking the time daily to be grateful for even the simplest things in life, is good advice. Today’s society is always on the go, so most people don’t take the time to stop to smell the roses. It’s so easy to get so caught up in the daily stresses. We all need to slow down and enjoy the even the simplest things in our lives, that make us smile and focus on those moments longer.
    I enjoyed your post. Great job!

  16. Hey Vince,

    Great article! We are on the same wavelength I think. Meditation has saved me many a time and now it is part of my lifestyle, morning and night. Eating well is a must and really common sense dictates that you put junk into your body you will suffer long term.

    I have actually just started a 3 day juice fast and feeling good after a long run. We only have one body so incorporating the lifestyle changes you suggest makes absolute sense. Thanks for a great website 🙂

    Kev

    • Thanks Kev. Keen to know more about your juice fast. I too have been experimented with a bit of fasting and have found great results.

  17. If people incorporated just half of your tips, we would be a healthier country and need fewer prescription medications! I incorporate omegas and I love HIIT exercises. I think it really helps keep my mind healthy and my body within my ideal weight. That’s another great thing about your article, incorporating your tips not only helps your mental state, they can help keep you healthy, your weight down and your skin clear. Thanks for the great reminders, I’m going to break out my journal and start a gratitude post every day.

  18. I love the idea of a gratitude journal, I do think that it is very important to be grateful for what I have. Most of the times it puts me in a good mood, but when it doesn’t help I know that there is something else that I have to do and your list of 5 things is correct. Sometimes the thing that will solve my mood is a simple walk outdoors.
    Paulina

  19. I think it is very interesting that crappy foods made the list. It makes so much sense though. Years ago, I made it my business to only eat fruits, veggies, and sushi when I am on a lunch break at work. Those were the only foods that didn’t leave me feeling like I wanted to end my day. As a matter of fact, eating those food made me feel like my day was just starting. To think I could take it a step further and intentionally use good foods to keep anxiety at bay.

    As I get older, I’ve noticed that my nerves are getting worse and worse and worse. I’ve managed to stay away from depression because my mom taught me at a very young age that things get worse before they get better and it has been proven to me so many times that I can’t help but live my life in this fashion. However, this rule that I live by excites my nerves because when things get really really bad, I get really anxious waiting and wondering what the turn around is going to look like or when it is going to come.

    Thanks to this article, I can be mindful of my diet and deal with foods that will give me the nutrients I need to feel calm and settled.

    What a great article!!!!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with us all Shonna. I’m amazed how many of us are affected directly by the foods we eat yet, a lot of conventional medicine pays little attention to nutrition.

  20. Hi, Vince!
    I agree with you. These 5 things you mentioned are very important for our well-being. I know that from personal experience.
    Actually, meditation was the thing that helped me a lot with anxiety and stress relief. You can read about it here: https://howtoreducestressnaturally.com/2017/05/22/does-meditation-reduce-stress/
    Because of meditation, I healed myself, and I am here today because of it.
    I am eating healthy (more or less), going for long walks. Now I am more relaxed because of my lifestyle and everyday choices. I am writing a diary. I always write what I love about my day and what I am grateful for. It is amazing and powerful feeling when you know that you have everything you need and more.
    Wonderful article and an amazing reminder how to live a life that is free of anxiety and depression.
    Thank you!
    Linda

  21. I love your article, just a few simple things can make such a difference in our lives. I’m going to start doing Yoga soon. I think stretching and releasing all those toxins out of your body makes a huge difference how we feel on the inside. Being grateful is also really important. Sometimes when I find myself in a crabby mood about something I remind myself why i should be grateful and imagine life without those things. It makes what I was crabby out soon fade.
    Thanks for another good read.

    • Appreciate your feedback Rose.
      My favorite way to remove my crabbiness is to sit outdoors in the sun and do some deep breathing exercises. It normally brings back to Earth.

  22. Hi Vince! I love these tips, especially the ones about gratitude and moving your body. You are right than any downward dip can create a downward spiral in anxiety and depression. But these easy tips can get positive action in motion again. Thanks for the great website and I’ll be back to visit again!

  23. Hi, I cannot agree more on eating well and having enough sleep. The processed food and additives in the food really messed up with one’s brain/hormones. As for sleep, I myself gets all grouchy and have mood swings if I persistently do not have enough sleep.

  24. Hi and thanks for sharing your article it’s great. I like your reference to being grateful! I started a thankfulness journal a couple of years ago and it certainly helped me change my perspective and outlook on life… And it only takes a few minutes each day to fill in. Who knew that something so simple could have such a big impact? 🙂

    • So great to hear you also are getting the benefits of a gratitude practice. Thanks for sharing your experience Karen.

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