Anxiety and health are related. I want to share my own experience because I believe it can be helpful to show how various things in our life affect our health and our anxiety.
Prior to coming down with anxiety and panic attacks and agoraphobia, I did not take care of myself. And additionally, I was in a job that I did not like. I didn’t have patience or have any interest in all the natural stress reduction exercises that were out there and I had no immediate interest in exercise. I always told myself that I would exercise and watch my diet at a later time in my life.
When I started having panic attacks, I became quite concerned about what was wrong with me. Despite being checked out several times by different doctors I still felt that there must really be something wrong with me physically.
Right there and then I made the decision to give up my bad habits, face my anxiety and start taking care of my health (though I did not see the connection bewtanxiety health).
Now it was very hard for me to give up these thing on the one hand…but on the other, I felt it was necessary to address my health in order to lessen my anxiety. As it turned out, this was one of the things that turned the corner for me – taking up a healthier lifestyle.
I became interested in various forms of wellness and how these things could be pleasurable but still healthy – such as healthy recipes and relaxation exercises such as hypnosis, etc.
The point I’m making is that just taking care of myself made me feel better about myself (i.e., anxiety health)
Now I know what you’re probably thinking: This advice is so basic and obvious. Can you say that you are doing everything you probably should be in regards to your own health and wellness? Now I don’t know you – so maybe you are – but the point is, many people are not doing enough.
Now I haven’t told my story to make you more anxious but rather to encourage you to really become proactive in your overall health and wellness, and not JUST focus on your panic attacks.
You really can feel better by making small changes. For instance, beginning to look at a healthier diet, starting to so some regular exercise such as walking, swimming, etc. can yield very positive results.
Bu making healthy changes, I began losing weight, feeling more energetic, generally more positive, and feeling overall more confident.
Additionally, the other day when I was reading about vitamins and their benefits, it brought to mind an example of what I’ve come to call anxiety health. I’ll explain what I mean. Let’s say that a particular supplement is marketed for certain, specific conditions. However it might also yield other health benefits in addition to the one specific condition it is said to target. There is much ongoing research and studies which focus on how certain drugs – that are intended for one condition – at times, yield benefits for another condition.
Now my point is not about vitamins and medications but really about the broader phenomenon. I’m talking about the phenomenon of multiple benefits. Anxiety and health are related. Many things that benefit one area of your life benefit another.
Dr. Colin Ross, psychiatrist discusses how things as simple as pushups, healthy eating, etc. can not only benefit your health but your mental health.
I found it interesting to view the following article from PsychCentral: The Connection Between Mental & Physical Health
Two central messages (regarding anxiety health) here:
1. All of the tips I have stressed throughout this website and my free newsletter often have a wider range of benefits, in addition to being part of an holistic remedy for anxiety. For example, being able to take a “time-out”, doing proper breathing, and learning how to handle stress can yield many of additional benefits. The same is true for hypnosis, restructuring your thinking, and so on.
2. It’s also true that many of these things that are beneficial for your physical health, (i.e. exercise, healthy eating, etc) can also benefit your anxiety and panic attacks.
You may be thinking that it is simply too hard to worry about wellness because you are so preoccupied by your panic attacks and anxiety. But the truth is: taking these types of steps for your overall health is exactly what can be helpful.
Additionally, by focusing some of your time on overall wellness (beyond anxiety health) you can start to take back the time that belongs to you – time not taken by panic attacks – and this shift in focus, however brief, can begin to grow more and more every day whereby you keep edging out more and more anxiety which is currently dominating your life.
Reference (Anxiety Health)
Colin Ross. Corinna Rachel (host). Mental Health: Safe Alternatives to Psych Drugs & Shock by Psychiatrist | The Truth Talks. psychetruth. 2013-06-11.