The Best Long-term Habits for Anxiety

Old man stretching

The Best Long-term Habits for Anxiety

At Thrive Naturopathic, we specialize in helping people manage and overcome their anxiety. We take a root-cause approach to nerves, stress, and depression. In most cases, people are experiencing a biological imbalance, which then causes feelings of anxiety. From gut issues to hormone conditions, you’d be surprised at what can cause anxiety.

When it comes to improving your mental health, there are many approaches. But one of the best things you can do is establish long-term habits to manage anxiety. Our routines and choices often have the greatest impact on how we feel. If you take anxiety medication but don’t embrace a healthy lifestyle, you might not experience the results you want. But if you establish long-term habits for anxiety, you might be able to get off prescriptions for good. 

At Thrive Naturopathic, we want to help you craft a lifestyle that minimizes your anxiety. Our team provides natural solutions to anxiety in Alexandria (in-office) and throughout the Washington DC area (virtually). Through health coaching and personalized wellness, you can find freedom from worry, racing thoughts, and depression. 

Here are seven of the most effective long-term habits to reduce anxiety.


1. Eat Healthy

Whole foods can make an incredible impact on physical and mental health. At Thrive Naturopathic, we look at diet and nutrition regardless of symptoms and condition. It’s not a stretch to say that food is medicine.

A diet abundant in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, ensures a rich intake of essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. These compounds have been linked to improved brain function and decreased inflammation. Furthermore, the gut-brain axis underscores the bidirectional communication between our gut and our brain. A balanced gut microbiome, influenced by diet, can have profound positive effects on mental health, potentially decreasing the risk of anxiety disorders. So developing this long-term habit for reducing anxiety is a must.


2. Stretch Regularly

Stretching is often sidelined as a mere precursor to the main workout. But we shouldn’t overlook the part it plays in overall health. 

Regular stretching helps elongate muscle fibers, reduce tension, and increase flexibility. Enhanced blood circulation from stretching delivers more oxygen to various parts of the body, including the brain, promoting better cognitive function. Moreover, the act of stretching stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and digest” system – encouraging relaxation and stress reduction. When you feel better physically, you often see improvements in mental health as well.


3. Begin Talk Therapy

Verbalizing our innermost fears, traumas, and anxieties can be a liberating experience, more so with a professional who can provide unbiased guidance.

Therapy sessions help individuals confront their sources of distress, providing cognitive tools to reframe and challenge these stressors. Over time, this can lead to altered neural pathways, fostering positive thinking. Additionally, journaling complements therapy by offering an introspective space, enabling individuals to identify, label, and understand their emotions better, aiding in self-regulation and emotional resilience. To combat anxiety, build a long-term habit of expressing your emotions one way or another.


4. Engage in Cardio and Strength Training

While an occasional walk and movement break is always recommended, the body sometimes needs more intense exercise to truly thrive. Make running, swimming, or strength training part of your weekly routine – anything that gets your heart rate elevated for a prolonged period of time. 

Engaging in cardiovascular exercises or strength training prompts the body to release endorphins. These natural painkillers are neurochemicals that alleviate pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. Their release reduces perceptions of pain and can act as natural anti-anxiety remedies, instilling a sense of well-being.


5. Prioritize Sleep

Sleep is the body’s natural reset button, imperative for not just physical recovery but mental rejuvenation.

Deep sleep phases are crucial for memory consolidation and cognitive functions. A consistent sleep-wake cycle, in harmony with our circadian rhythm, ensures hormonal balance, including stress hormones such as cortisol. Disruptions in this pattern can lead to hormonal imbalances, heightening anxiety. Adopting good long-term sleep habits for reducing anxiety can cue the body for rest, enhance sleep quality, reduce insomnia, and limit anxiety.


6. Limit Addictive Activities

You’d be surprised at how many modern activities can become addictive over time. We’re not just talking about alcoholism and hard drug use. Digital screens and ultra-processed foods can develop dependencies in the brain. When you go for long periods of time without these stimuli, you’ll feel more anxious than you normally would.

Dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter, is released during activities we find enjoyable. While this is natural, overstimulation from addictive behaviors can lead to dopamine insensitivity over time, making everyday pleasures less rewarding and increasing dependency on the addictive source, thereby escalating anxiety levels. It will take time, but reducing your intake of these addictive sources will help you in the long run.


7. Establish Structure and Routine

In the midst of chaos, the human mind craves order and predictability. Structure and routine minimize the cognitive load of decision-making daily. When there’s predictability, the brain can conserve energy for other essential functions. Organized surroundings and a set schedule provide a sense of control, negating feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. However, this organization doesn’t always come naturally to most people. You’ll need to develop this habit for reducing anxiety long-term. 


Struggling with Anxiety? Thrive Naturopathic Has Natural Solutions

Incorporating these long-term habits for managing anxiety can be transformative, but remember, every journey is personal. For tailored guidance, consider seeking support from the team at Thrive Naturopathic. We develop a wellness plan personalized to you and your needs.

Whether you want to come into the office for natural anxiety treatments in Alexandria or work with us virtually anywhere in the Washington DC area and beyond, we can help you get the support and encouragement you need to achieve your health goals. 

Ready to begin your wellness journey? Schedule a discovery call today.

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