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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety affects 40 million adults in the U.S., or nearly 20 percent of the population. If we had to judge based solely on our inner circle, however, we’d estimate that number to be much higher. Since experiencing a constant sense of stress and agitation is no way to live, it’s important to form habits that help reduce symptoms on a daily basis. Here, seven things all carefree girls do every morning.
Columbia University psychiatrist and author of The Happiness Diet, Drew Ramsey, MD, swears by a morning meal of scrambled eggs mixed with kale and topped with pumpkin seeds. The eggs provide vitamin B and protein; the greens provide vitamins A, K and potassium; and the pumpkin seeds are a source of magnesium, which is said to alleviate stress. Also good to include in your morning meal? Omega-3s, which can be found in chia and flaxseeds, if salmon isn't your thing first thing in the morning.
Researchers from John Hopkins University sifted through nearly 20,000 meditation studies and concluded that mindfulness meditation can alleviate anxiety. What exactly is mindfulness meditation, then? According to Psychology Today, it's a practice that trains the brain to focus on the present as opposed to the past and future. It makes sense, then, that becoming adept at it could alleviate anxiety, which is caused mainly by unproductive thoughts about the past or the future. If you're not sure how to get started, we suggest downloading Headspace, Stop, Breathe & Think or Welzen, all great meditation apps.
The 4-7-8 breathing method is based on an ancient Indian practice. The idea is to breathe in for four counts, hold your breath for seven and then breathe out for eight. For best results, repeat this four times. Though research is sparse, there is some evidence the technique can reduce stress and, over time, train you to breathe more deeply on a regular basis.
Moving your body has been proven to change your brain in ways that make it more effective at neutralizing stress. You can read more about the science behind this here. Recent studies have also specifically shown that exercising in the morning improves mood throughout the day.
This practice is thought to reduce stress by helping you clear out some of the questions or fears plaguing you. One study even found that it's beneficial to write down the things causing you anxiety, and then throw away the piece of paper onto which you've journaled them.
Sometimes, to-do lists can foster anxiety by making us feel overwhelmed, which is why it's important to make sure yours is achievable, prioritized and aesthetically organized. Heading into your day with a blueprint can help alleviate anxiety over the unexpected or fear of poor performance.