Tuesday 12 September 2017

Stressed? Here are Three Ways to Help Tackle Anxiety

Life seems pretty stressful at the moment. So, these suggestions for ways to help tackle anxiety from health and fitness expert, and former schoolteacher, Brian Keane couldn't have come at a better time.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues. According to a three-year study by the Office of National Statistics (http://bit.ly/2pZiaGS), women are more likely to feel anxious compared to men and those who registered as the most anxious were aged between 50 and 54. (The ONS is unable to collect information on clinically diagnosed cases of anxiety and depression.)

Brian Keane said he suffered from anxiety while working as a teacher. He found himself having sleepless nights and consistently worried about his performance at work. For four years Brian worried about his sleep pattern and his working life, which resulted in him consuming sugary foods and drinks to maintain his energy.

Brian said: “I always thought anxiety meant that you didn’t have your life together - regardless of what you may see, nobody has every area of their life together - and my only experience with anxiety was when colleagues would get signed off work due to stress.

“I didn’t have enough self-awareness to realise that it’s something that all of us face at some time or another and for some people, it’s chronic and affects them every single day. For others, it can be chemically induced - too much caffeine, alcohol and drugs. Regardless, the more people I meet, the more I realise that everyone experiences anxiety in some way, shape or form

“There are some serious cases of anxiety, and if you have suffered any major physical or mental trauma or have a hormonal imbalance, it would be probably best to consult your physician. However, I hope by sharing my own experiences and strategies, I will ultimately support you in managing any kind of day-to-day anxiety or worry that may be limiting you in any aspect of your own life.”

Brian Keane’s new book The Fitness Mindset, which achieved eight weeks at the top of the Amazon bestseller’s chart, has tips on improving fitness and how to achieve a mindset to overcome obstacles such as anxiety and stress. It addresses tactics Brian has discovered when working to overcome his own anxiety, below are some of the top tips he has discovered.

Recognise the source of your anxiety. ‘Find the source, fix the problem’. For some of us, it is as simple as cutting off the source of anxiety. In my case, there were certain people in my life who just made me feel ‘off’. I felt more insecure around them, and even though I called them friends, in truth, they weren’t.

If there are people in your life that make you feel this way, Brian recommends minimising the amount of time you spend with them, or cut them off completely. Sometimes, it’s as simple as finding the people who make you feel happy and spending more time with them.

Train, exercise or meditate. Brian said: "For years, I used the gym and my training as an outlet, so they always acted as plasters that temporarily healed the problem. If I felt I was on the edge, I never dealt with it or asked myself who or what was making me feel this way. I just went to the gym. I was effectively ‘self-medicating’ with exercise.

"In my opinion, it’s actually the best way to reduce short, as well as long- term anxiety, but it’s imperative to follow step one and then use training, exercise and meditation as ways to support you and not just put a lid over the real problem."

Don’t eat foods that make your anxiety worse. Brian said: "Knowing how certain foods can send my body into a spiral of ‘fight or flight’ has helped support me massively over the past few years. If your body is intolerant or allergic to certain foods, or if you react to certain additives, flavourings and preservatives that can be found in heavily processed food, then it’s worth keeping note of how you feel if these ingredients feature heavily in your diet.

"For example, I know if I eat too much dairy, sugar or gluten, my brain will feel foggy the next day and I won’t have the same steady energy and mood that I normally have. Everyone reacts differently to certain foods and ingredients, so experiment with it yourself.

"I’ve largely eliminated these ingredients and foods and very rarely get any physiological
anxiety issues anymore. If you still find yourself getting edgy and anxious for no apparent reason – it’s not about money, a relationship or a job and you just feel ‘off’ – then I highly recommend having a look at your nutrition and checking if certain foods you consume are causing you to feel this way."

You can view The Fitness Mindset on Amazon. It is published by Rethink Pres.

Brian Keane Fitness Website: https://briankeanefitness.com/
ONS Study: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing

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