Woman with dog at beach

Go Outside To Relieve Anxiety

Technology seems to be determined to deliver everything to us at the push of a button. We can shop, watch movies, eat, date, and even go on roller coasters all within the comfort of our own home. However, if life has become so easy, why do one in five women claim they suffer from anxiety all or most of the time, a figure almost double what it was two years ago? Perhaps it is because they don’t get outside often enough. Coinciding with the advent of Mental Health Awareness Week, ending on May 16, British Military Fitness has released research findings showing a direct link between outdoor exercise and the prevention of anxiety and depression. Could it be that the very technologies designed to lessen stress are really exacerbating it?

The Stats
Not only has the number of women suffering from anxiety been on the rise in the last five years, 22 percent admit being caught up in money worries and concern over the welfare of those close to them. This number has soared since 2009 when a survey by the Mental Health Foundation reported only 12 percent admitting to feelings of stress. In addition to the ladies, the charity Living with Anxiety found that over 50% of all people say they get more anxious now than they did in the past., and in a poll of 2,300 people by YouGov, almost a fifth reported feelings of anxiety about money, debt, and finance.

Anxiety
While anxiety can be a positive and even motivating emotion, constant unease can lead to panic, obsessive behaviors, and social phobias. Some sufferers resort to self-medication, including drugs, alcohol, and overeating, however, there are more healthful ways of coping.

Friends cycling

Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Research by British Military Fitness shows a direct correlation between outdoor exercise and decreased stress levels. Of 1,000 people surveyed, 53.3 anxiety sufferers reported feeling better after spending time outdoors. Thirty-five percent said exercise boosted their moods, eased nervous feelings and lowered built up angst. According to Rob Love, managing director of BMF, “Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their lives, whether it’s preparing for a job interview or managing a household. The research is encouraging, as it shows there is a recognition that being outdoors and participating in physical activity does help with both anxiety and depression.”

Get Moving
If you’re finding life becoming overwhelming, exercise may be a good way to help you unwind. Exercise releases invigorating chemicals in the body that can have a positive effect on your mood and leave you feeling more relaxed. Added bonuses include a more toned body, higher levels of energy and better sleep. Exercising to reduce stress does not have to be stressful! You don’t have to commit to hours at the gym or high impact activities. A quick stroll or just walk upstairs instead of taking the elevator are both easy ways of sneaking a little movement into your day. Leisure activities can also be a fun way to get your heart rate up. Consider taking a dance class, or playing some golf or tennis.

Are you exercising to stave off depression? Let us know how you lighten up when things get heavy. We love to hear from you!

Your Diet May Help Regulate Your Mood

Normally, eating when stressed is ill advised. The term usually brings to mind the image of someone who has just had some shocking news running frantically to their freezer in search of the curative pint of ice cream. He/she gorges greedily, only to awaken the next day not only to find their troubles still very much present, but an additional five pounds added to their body weight.

However, what if you learned that eating actually can relieve stress? You just need to make sure that when you open that freezer, you reach for the frozen grapes instead of the vanilla swirl.

The Anti-Stress Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
You may know that fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients, but did you know that they might also help to ease stress, anxiety, and depression. A recent study examined diet of 60,000 Australians aged 45 and up, only to reveal that those who had 3-4 servings of fruits and begins a day had 12% less psychological stress than those who had just one. Those who got five to seven servings had an even bigger reduction in stress, showing a 14% reduction as compared to the single serving percentage.

Ladies Only?
However, the researchers found that in a study based on a 10 question comparative survey focusing on anxiety and depression between the years of 2006 -2008 and 2010, males subjects did not show the same results. Says study co-author and University of Sidney PhD student, Binh Nguyen, “We found the fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables.” The questionnaire revealed that women who consumed 5 to 7 portions of vegetables and fruits experienced a 23% reaction in stress levels in comparison to ladies who only ate 0-1 portion. Two portions produced a reduction in stress of 16%.

Happy woman

More Work To Be Done
While you may not want to wait to start consuming more fruits and veggies, the authors of the studies do stipulate that there is more work to be done before any definite conclusions can be reached. They state that while the intake of fruits and vegetables may reduce the stress levels in middle-aged and older adults, the link between the diet and psychological distress requires further investigation.

Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
But while we wait for the final verdict, keep eating those veggies and fruits. The mental health charity “Mind” says, “Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy. Eating a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients-several portions of the same type of food won’t be so good for you.”

As for choosing the best fruits and veggies: tomatoes, bananas and mushrooms top the list for their high potassium levels which are “essential for your whole nervous system, including your brain. they also advise keeping fruits and veggies raw for the highest number of nutrients.

What do you think? Do fruits and veggies make you feel a little less stressed? Let us know the results of your private research.

Woman jogging

Will A Healthy Attitude Help You Lose Weight?

If you’ve ever tried losing weight before, you already know how difficult it can be to make the necessary lifestyle changes. What you may not realize, though, is that your attitude toward your weight loss journey could be what’s hindering your efforts. Most weight-loss programs fail to consider the psychological aspect of weight loss and therefore fail. We’re told it’s simple, just eat less and move more, yet we all know it’s seldom so easy to reach our goals. Perhaps the missing piece of the puzzle isn’t in the form of a pill or the latest workout video but in our attitude.

There are several schools of thought on the power of positive thinking and its relation to weight loss. From ancient Ayurveda to modern psychology, the consensus is clear: our thoughts have real power and those thoughts can become actions. If you think to yourself that you are always going to be overweight and that you’re not strong enough for exercise, you’re likely to become depressed and sabotage your own efforts for weight loss. On the contrary, if you tell yourself you are strong, capable, and that you will reach your goals, you will be motivated to take the necessary action to indeed make it happen.

It may sound overly simple, just change your attitude, but the truth is, this does require some effort. Some of us have spent years, maybe even our whole lives thinking negatively about ourselves. Our society treats this negative self-talk as normal. Men and women are expected to dislike their bodies and to always be striving for something more. In order to change our attitude, it’s going to take practice. In the beginning, it may seem silly or strange to compliment yourself after a workout, but changing your inner voice to one of love and support is just what you need in order to succeed.

If you struggle with where to start, it can be helpful to think of something not related to weight-loss to get you started. Think of an area of your life that you excel in. Perhaps you’re wonderful at your job or you are an excellent parent. Congratulate yourself for that! Next time you receive a compliment from someone, accept it without making excuses for why you don’t deserve it. Eventually, this new healthy attitude will become second nature and along with helping you in your weight loss endeavors, it will trickle into all areas of your life, making you healthier all around.

The weight loss industry is full of gimmicks and diets that don’t work and you can easily spend hundreds of dollars seeking advice from so-called experts who only want to sell you something. But you have the power to change your attitude and change your life. Be your own weight-loss coach and get started on your new lifestyle today. By focusing your energies toward the positive, you can create the healthy attitude that will lead to healthy and lasting weight loss.