Simple Mindfulness Practices for Children

 

Mindfulness has been shown to improve the quality of our adult lives in many ways, but children too can join in on the amazing benefits. Specifically, mindfulness has been shown to: improve a child’s social skills, boost focus, lower attention problems, and even limit the negative effects of bullying.

Here are 6 ways you can practice mindfulness with children and start their journey to a mindful life at an early age:

 

1. Body Scans

Identifying with the body is one of the oldest forms of mindfulness, and easy for children of all ages to grasp. Start with your children lying on their back on a cozy surface and close their eyes. Have them tighten their muscles throughout their entire body (making fists, closing toes, etc.) and hold them like that for 5 seconds. Then tell them to “release” the hold – ask them to tell you to explain that feeling to you.

 

2. Heartbeat Tracking

Have your kids engage in a physical activity (like jumping jacks, push ups, run) – once they have finished have them gently place their hand over their heart and tell them to only focus on their heartbeat. This will help them improve focus and also become more aware of their own body.

 

3. Emotion Validation

Kids are full of a wide range of emotions. Though often adults will try and downplay them when a child expresses themselves (saying “it’s fine” when they are expressing pain). When trying to instill mindfulness it’s important to let them feel their feelings without us judging them. This will help them as they grow and learn how to deal, not suppress feelings and emotions – something many adults do on a daily basis.

 

4. Taste Tests

This is a fun one that your kids are sure to love. Pick out 5 foods that you know your kids will enjoy. Cover your child’s eyes and give them a bite of each one and tell them to first guess what it is, then have them try to describe to you what it tastes like.

 
 

5. Guided Meditation

It’s never too early to start teaching meditation to a child – I wish I would have learned earlier (it’s hard!). Most of the meditation apps out there offer meditations for kids, but it could be as simple as sitting with them, playing soft music in the background, and having them close their eyes and counting each breath. Meditation is something that works better as it compounds over time – so try and create a routine of daily meditation.

 

6. Follow the Leader

This one is actually more on you as the adult then on the child. We’ve all heard (and likely seen) that kids pick up on everything adults do – from how we speak to act. That said, it’s important to act in a mindful way yourself and practice what you preach.

 

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10 Signs You Have High Emotional Intelligence



Emotional intelligence is often thought of as a “super power” that helps us recognize, understand, and manage our emotions. People with a high emotional intelligence (EQ) have learned how to manage their emotions to drive positivity in their life.

Here are 10 signs that you have a high emotional intelligence:

 

1. You are aware of your strengths and weaknesses

Knowing how to leverage your strengths, and work on your weaknesses is something that high EQ people are great at.



 

2. You don’t get offended easily

When you know who you are, it doesn’t bother you when others project their thoughts about you.



 

3. You don’t hold grudges

Holding grudges does no good and brings stress into your life. High EQ people know that adding stress is always a bad idea.




 

4. You don’t interact with negative people

Those that don’t reflect a positive outlook on life deserve none of your time. Instead those with a high EQ surround themselves with only the best.



 

5. You enjoy the journey

Reaching goals don’t happen overnight, and it’s often the journey of obtaining those goals that drive positive change in life. Those with a high EQ enjoy the ups and downs as they pursue their goals, knowing that each hurdle makes them stronger.



 

6. You block out negative self talk

The mind has a funny way of reverting to negativity when it has time to itself. High EQ individuals are able to take a step back and replace those thoughts with positive ones. Over time their brain realizes that there is no place for negativity, and those thoughts begin to slow.




 

7. You know how to say no

Whether it’s an invitation to an event, meet up with friends, or a coffee meeting – high EQ people know that their time is valuable and should try and do nothing out of obligation. A “hell yes” or a “no” is how they respond to opportunities.



 

8. You enjoy time alone

High EQ people don’t need external stimulation to enjoy themselves. Whether it’s getting lost in thought, or reading a book, they enjoy and value their time alone.



 

9. You understand people are different

Not everyone has the same life circumstances and those with a high EQ can see how their own life perspective may differ from others. This allows them to better see the world through someone else’s eyes.



 

10. You don’t seek perfection

Those with a high EQ know that perfection is impossible and trying to reach it is a fools game. Instead they focus on reaching their goals and enjoy the journey as it comes.


 

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7 Habits of Happy Children

 

We are a big fan of Stephen R. Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” as a guide to living our own best life – so of course when we had our first born we wanted to check out his book focused on kids, “The 7 Habits of Happy Children“. Here are the 7 principles he discusses in the book:

 

1. Be Proactive

I am a responsible person. I take initiative. I choose my actions, attitudes, and moods. I do not blame others for my actions. I make good, responsible choices without being asked, even when no one is looking.

 

2. Begin With the End in Mind

I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s mission and vision. I look for ways to be a good citizen.

 

 

3. Put First Things First

I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organized.

 

 

4. Think Win-Win

I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. I make deposits in others’ Emotional Bank Accounts. When conflicts arise, I look for third alternatives.

 

 

5. Seek First to Understand

I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoints. I listen to others without interrupting. I am confident in voicing my ideas. I look people in the eyes when talking.

 

 

6. Synergize

I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even people who are different than me. I work well in groups. I seek out other people’s ideas to solve problems because I know that by teaming with others we can create better solutions than anyone of us can alone. I am humble.

 

 

7. Sharpen the Saw

I take care of my body by eating right, exercising and getting sleep. I spend time with family and friends. I learn in lots of ways and lots of places, not just at school. I find meaningful ways to help others.

 

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How to Bring Out Your Positive Emotions





We all have positivity inside of us, it just takes cultivating certain daily approaches to life to bring it out. Our brains are wired to default to the emotions that are most often demonstrated – so instead of focusing on fear, grief, and other negative emotions – focus on love, passion, and other positive emotions. Here are 7 emotional “seeds” to try and plant daily.





 

1. Confidence

The world moves out of the way for the confident person that knows where they are going. With your sense of confidence flowing through your veins, you’ll be primed for success and positivity.




 

2. Curiosity

Great things weren’t created by those doing the same thing day after day. Instead, being curious and exploring all kinds of different pursuits keeps you happy and not feeling stuck – something we can all relate to.




 

3. Gratitude

Taking a step back from life, and realizing all of the amazing things you have in it, is the single greatest way to return to a state of positivity. When you are grateful, all of the worry about what you don’t have breaks away.




 

4. Love

The feeling of love seems to just melt away any negative emotions we are feeling. Love is inherently a positive feeling, embrace it daily!



 

5. Flexibility

When we are set in our ways and something comes in and changes our direction, we inherently – get frustrated (a negative emotion). Instead of being frustrated with changes, embrace and adapt to them. As long as you are continuing on a path to your goals, the route doesn’t matter.




 

6. Optimism

Living in a state of optimism immediately puts you ahead of all of those people looking out for the negativity in the world (sadly, that’s a lot of people – just turn on the news). By looking for the positive in life, you’ll find yourself in a happier state and primed to achieve great things in life.




 

7. Passion

Have you ever been around someone who is so excited about what they are talking about that you can’t help but be excited? It’s incredible to be around and not only are you in a state of positivity, but all of those around you will be too.

“Be the change that you want to see in the world”

 



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Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young




Cognitive decline is one of the most feared aspects of aging. Yes your brain will change over time, but there are definitely ways to keep your brain young and to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia.

Read below to learn some of the best ways to keep your brain young:

1. Get physical

Exercise is good for literally everything, and it is especially good for your brain. Exercise boosts blood flow and oxygen directly to your brain and also releases neurotransmitters that keep you alert, focused, and make you feel good – all of which are important for brain health.

Put it into action: Aim to get at least 10,000 steps everyday and limit sitting time as much as possible.



2. Limit sugar

Consumption of sugar is highly inflammatory for the body and for the brain, and inflammation in the brain is associated with cognitive decline.

Put it into action: Limit added sugar to less than 25 grams per day. Also stick to low sugar fruits such as berries and limit consumption of high sugar fruits such as mangos.




3. Limit processed foods

Processed foods are also highly inflammatory for the body and are strongly linked to cognitive decline. Processed foods include anything packaged or anything that has more than one or two ingredients.

Put it into action: Stick to one-ingredient foods such as beans, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and eggs. Cut back on packaged foods, such as cookies, frozen dinners, and granola bars.



4. Maintain social ties

Strong ties to friends and/or family is associated with a healthier brain and decreased risk of mental decline.

Put it into action: Make a point to keep in contact with loved ones.




5. Do puzzles

Games that make you think such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles are all great for helping to prevent cognitive decline.

Put it into action: Download an app on your phone or grab the newspaper and put your brain to work.



6. Limit alcohol

Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption is a must for brain health. Drinking too much on the regular is highly linked to cognitive decline and dementia.

Put it into action: Limit your alcohol consumption to 0-2 drinks per day and avoid binge drinking.




7. Don’t smoke

Smoking is one of the very worst things you can do to your body, most notably the brain. Smoking is highly linked to cognitive decline and dementia.

Put it into action: Just say no to cigarettes, and quit now if you do smoke.



8. Mental health

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health because chronic stress and depression are linked to dementia and cognitive decline.

Put it into action: Check in with yourself from time to time and take note how you are feeling. Two of the best ways to help prevent depression and stress include exercising daily and eating healthy.




9. Adequate sleep

Sleep deprivation causes immediate decline in memory, attention, and focus – if you’ve ever had a bad sleep then you know the feeling is not good! Overtime chronic sleep deprivation can lead to cognitive decline.

Put it into action: Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Count backwards from when you need to get up to know when you need to go to bed.



10. Healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for many reasons, one of them being brain health. Obesity is linked with a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

Put it into action: All of the above tips will help to keep you at a healthy weight. Start making steps to a healthier weight today!

Main takeaways…




It’s never too late or too early to start taking care of your brain. Use the above tips to keep your brain young – your future self will thank you 🙂

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4015335/



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16 Stoic Quotes to Improve Your Perspective





Let these timeless quotes from three of the most popular Stoic philosophers guide you on improving your outlook and facing the challenges life presents head on. 




 

1. We should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?” – Epictetus




2. Whatever happens to you has been waiting to happen since the beginning of time. The twining strands of fate wove both of them together. – Marcus Aurelius

3. We suffer more in imagination than in reality. – Seneca





 

4. It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. – Epictetus

 

5. If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it. – Marcus Aurelius





6. The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. – Marcus Aurelius

 

7. Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one. – Marcus Aurelius





 

8. It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable. – Seneca

 

9. Seek not for events to happen as you wish but rather wish for events to happen as they do and your life will go smoothly. – Epictetus




 

10. The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are. – Marcus Aurelius

 

11. Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly.  – Epictetus





 

12. While we are postponing, life speeds by. – Seneca

 

13. How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it. – Marcus Aurelius





 

14. Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else. – Epictetus

 

15. A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials. – Seneca





 

16. It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live. – Marcus Aurelius




 

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11 Ways to Spice Up Your Life with Mindful Eating





Enjoy these 11 Ways to bring more mindfulness (and happiness) into your daily life.

1. Eat Slightly Slower

With the speed at which we do most things today, eating can easily become just another thing to cross off your to-do list. The next time you eat, try slowing down—you’ll pull more enjoyment out of your food, feel more satisfied, and your digestive system will thank you.




 

2. Honor the Elements

Every piece of food we eat has its own rich origin story, which we usually don’t think about. Next time you sit down for a meal, take a moment to acknowledge everything that went into the food on your plate. Consider the people who made it, bought the ingredients, stocked the store shelves, delivered it, harvested it, and all the natural elements of sun, rain, soil, and wind that allowed it to grow.




3. Cook with Love

Even if you’re just making a sandwich, food tastes a lot better when we put a little love into it. Pay attention to the preparation of your food, think about who’s going to eat it, and say in your mind, “May this food help you be strong, healthy, and happy.”




 

4. Take a Trip

Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder.” Break from routine, try ethnic foods from different regions of the world and imagine, even if just for a moment, that the food is transporting you there for a mini vacation in your mind.




 

5. Try Something New

Novelty is the spice of life (and a source of healthy neuroplasticity), so be adventurous and reach outside of your comfort zone. Be bold. Push yourself to try something you never thought you’d like—you never know, you just might be pleasantly surprised!




6. Start from Scratch

Most of us eat the same foods week to week for convenience and taste. And that’s okay. See if you can approach a familiar food with a sense of curiosity: Imagine it’s the first time you’ve ever eaten this food; what new sensations or flavors do you notice?




 

7. Eat Local, Be Respectful

Fruits and vegetables don’t grow at the grocery store. Get to know where your food comes from by visiting a local farm (or at least a farmers market)—not only will you feel more connected to what you eat, but as a rule food tastes better when it’s fresher. For those of us who eat meat, it can be tricky to figure out where the meat came from and how the animal was treated. Whenever possible, buy from companies you know treat animals respectfully.




 

8. Use Your Nose (and any other senses that apply)

Our sense of smell has a lot to do with how food tastes. Before eating, pause for a moment to take in the aroma of the food. What scents can you pick up? Does a memory emerge? Take a second look, what colors do you see? Then take a bite and see how much richer the experience can be.




 

9. Just Eat

When we eat we are often “doing” something else at the same time (working, looking at a device, talking with someone, reading, etc.), which takes away from tasting and fully enjoying the food. See if you can, for at least one meal or snack this week, just eat.




 

10. Have a Communal Meal




Since the dawn of time people have made it a point to “break bread” together. Invite people over for a special dinner, have a potluck, or go out to a restaurant. Feel the connection grow.

11. Surf Your Urges

We have all been prone to want something that isn’t good for us—for many of us it happens more often than we’d like to admit. Try an experiment: Next time you are craving something you know isn’t healthy for you, set a timer for 20 minutes and then check back in to see if you still want it. That space can often invoke perspective that will help you make a more mindful decision.




 

About the Author: Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author and speaker who synthesizes the pearls of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing.

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7 Ways to Ease Your Anxious Mind





 

One thing we know for sure is we are active participants of our health and well-being. The first thing we need to do is regulate our emotions, creating a sense of stability and control. From this place we are level headed, have perspective and can make wiser choices.

In my work I have found 7 Ways You Can Ease an Anxious Mind.

1. Slow down

At the first sign of things speeding up – thoughts racing, heart pounding, breathing accelerating – move a little slower.



 

2. Come to your senses

Take a few moments to connect with your five senses to bring you back into the moment.



 

3. Do a reality check

Ask yourself, “Is this thought absolutely true?” Chances are your worst fears are just that – fears.



 

4. Release the critic

Interrupt the self-critic by dropping into your heart and saying, “May I learn to be kinder to myself.”



 

5. Lie down and look up

Look up at the sky from time to time, and watch the clouds for a natural experience of mindfulness.




6. Listen





As an experiment, take the day and set an intention to listen to the sounds of leaves in the wind, of kids playing, or someone speaking to you.

 

7. Know your triggers

What makes you anxious? If you know your triggers, you can prepare soothing practices better.



These are just tips to play with in life to help give you the chance to settle into that space between stimulus and response where choice, possibility and freedom lie.

 

About the Author: Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author and speaker who synthesizes the pearls of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing.



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Happy People Avoid These 5 Personality Types





Many people say that “you” are the average of the 5 people you hang around with the most. If this holds true, it’s important to avoid those with toxic personalities that can bring you down to their level and hinder your own happiness. Try and avoid these 5 personality types in order to keep on your positive path to happiness and success. 

 

1. The Skeptic

Yes not everything is rainbows and butterflies, but the skeptic wants to find the negative in everything. The world isn’t changed by skeptics, but instead by those visionaries that can see potential challenges and how to overcome them – not drown in them like the skeptic. If you’re looking to achieve big things and be happy, avoid the skeptic at all costs.




 

2. The Complainer

Whether they’re complaining about their job, marriage, sports team, or whatever – the complainer is a constant drain. They want you to waste your positive energy to empathize with them and agree to their complaints. Don’t waste your time, they always have a new thing to complain about – trust me. 




 

3. The Victim

Oh yes, the entire world is against you! The victim always finds a way to make it seem like they can’t catch a break because everyone is against them. They see little good in others, and the world in general, and are no help to those seeking success.




 

4. The Envious

Have you ever heard someone say “It must be nice!” when referring to someone else’s life or lifestyle? This is the tell tale sign of someone who is envious. Those folks that would rather spend their time gawking how awesome someone else’s life is, instead of working on their own. They want you to feel the same way – but you know you too can reach those life goals and don’t want to spend any time being envious of others’ successes. 




 

5. The Judgmental

It’s easy to sit back, not do anything, and just judge others. They get satisfaction by judging those that are doing things outside of the norm, and get further satisfaction when those people fail. A judgmental personal tends to have a narrow mind and can’t see anything besides their own worldview. They’ll try to make you do the same and get you to join in the “fun” of judging other people. Avoid!




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Amazing Benefits of Yoga




There are so many benefits of yoga for both the mind and body that everyone can benefit from. Yoga is definitely an exercise for all individuals, you do not have to be inherently flexible or athletic. You also do not need to go all the time to achieve the health benefits – albeit the more you go, the better you will feel, but just one session is beneficial for both your mind and body and you will feel the effects immediately. 

Below lists the top benefits of yoga:




1. Tones and strengthens your entire body

Yoga is a full body workout, meaning it works the upper body, lower body, and core. The more muscles you can work at the same time, the more efficient and effective the workout. Muscles are your metabolically active tissue meaning they burn calories for you – even at rest. The more muscle you have and the more muscles you engage during exercise, leads to greater strength gains and greater calorie burn. Constantly changing movement in different directions and alternating between holding positions and rapid movements keeps your body guessing – meaning greater strength gain and more calories burned.



2. Increase flexibility and range of motion

Yoga lengthens and stretches muscles so that overtime they become more elastic and their range of motion increases. We want to increase our range of motion and become more flexible because this decreases the chance of muscular injury and also allows us to use more muscle fibers – which again makes us get stronger and burn more calories. Studies have found that yoga is even better for increasing flexibility than static stretching – read more about this here.



3. Recover faster from a workout

Yoga stretches and lengthens muscles, which is what you want to do after a hard workout. Yoga enhances blood flow throughout the body which sends oxygen and other factors that help to repair and rebuild muscle tissue that was broken down during exercise. The quicker this can happen, the sooner you will build muscle and the sooner you can do another workout without further muscle breakdown. 




4. Increases mindfulness

Yoga has you place your attention on the present, and forces you to be mindful of your movements. Practicing mindfulness during yoga helps to train the mind to practice mindfulness outside of doing yoga. Mindfulness is all about the present, taking in the world around you and not thinking of the past or the future.



5. Stress reliever

Yoga is a great way to relieve stress because it incorporates deep breathing and emphasizes keeping your mind on the present – rather than worrying about yesterday or the future. This increases a state of calmness and mental clarity, which decreases stress in the brain as well as stress throughout the body.

6. Burns calories

Yoga is not always thought as being a calorie-torching workout, but it definitely can be! It’s all about the type of yoga you do, as well as the instructor that you have. Vinyasa Yoga and Power Yoga are common yoga classes that should definitely give you a cardio and strength training workout in one. 



7. Prevents aches and pains

Did you know that the number one way to treat and prevent back pain is a strong core? Yoga is all about keeping the core strong and just about all exercises in yoga incorporate the core. Think about when you’ve gone to reach for something or fell and you feel like you strained your back or shoulder. This is due to tight muscles, because tight muscles don’t want to move very far and when they are stretched too far this causes pain and maybe even a tear.

Real life example:

I always ask my older patients who are super fit and pain-free, what their secret it to staying healthy. The common theme that I always hear is that they stretch and practice yoga regularly.



8. Enhances physical performance

As discussed above, yoga increases range of motion, flexibility, strength, and recovery, which all together allow for you to perform other exercises with more ease. The greater you can bend and lengthen, the deeper into the exercise you can get.

Real life example:

When I was training for the New York City Marathon I did yoga at least once a week. Not once did I get hurt or feel like I pulled something. This was my first marathon, as well as my first race ever, and I ran completely pain-free as well as running the marathon under 4 hours!  I highly credit my performance by maintaining yoga as part of my training program.



9. Improves posture

Good posture is incredibly important for preventing pain in the back, shoulders, head, and neck. When your back and neck are rounded when you are slouching, this puts more pressure  and strain on those muscles, which overtime can lead to permanent changes to the spine. Yoga is all above lengthening the spine, and helps to promote good posture even outside of the class.



10. Keeps your weight in check

Yoga is a great practice to keep you in shape because it burns calories, builds muscle, and increases mindfulness and reduces stress. All of these factors go into weight management, and yoga is a great way to check all of the boxes necessary to keep you at a healthy weight.



Main takeaways…

If you have never tried yoga give it a try! And if you’ve tried yoga and you didn’t like it, try it again and try it with a different instructor. I’ve learned that the instructor is everything when it comes to yoga. A bad one can make you never want to do yoga again, and a good one can make you want to do it everyday.



References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat
  2. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/comparison-of-yoga-versus-static-stretching-for-increasing-hip-and-shoulder-range-of-motion-2329-9096.1000208.php?aid=28562
  3. http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/yoga.aspx




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Why You Should Start Coloring Daily




Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore! Coloring has been a therapeutic method for years used by psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals to improve mood and induce relaxation in individuals.

 

Below lists the reasons why you should start coloring daily:




1. Reduces stress

Coloring has an instant stress relieving effect because it moves the focus from the stressor to the picture that the individual is about to color.



2. Trains your brain to focus

When you are trying to color with either an App and touch screen, or actually using coloring pencils, it requires your brain to focus and use precision.



3. Increases mindfulness

By increasing attention and focus to coloring within the lines induces mindfulness to keep you in the present. In this way coloring is a form of meditation because it brings attention and focus away from outside factors.



4. Beats boredom

Think about all those times when you are waiting for an appointment, sitting in the passenger seat with traffic, watching TV. Kids are not the only ones who get bored and fidgety from time to time. Instead of trolling through Facebook or Instagram reading through the same posts, try using this coloring book app that will actually keep your focus and attention.



5. Takes you back to childhood

Doing an activity as an adult that you did as a child can produce care-free memories of childhood when all you had to worry about was what game you were going to play with next.



6. Helps spark creativity

When you are trying to brainstorm and think of ideas sometimes the best way to spark a new idea is to take your mind off of the subject. The act of coloring helps to free your mind as you are being creative with your choices in color and pictures. The next time you are trying to get yourself into a creative mindset, consider coloring as this has shown to spark creativity.



Main takeaway…

Coloring is an amazingly effective and easy way to train your brain.

References:

  1. http://3blmedia.com/News/Adult-Coloring-Book-Phenomenon
  2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07421656.2016.1277113?src=recsys&journalCode=uart20
  3. http://www.medicaldaily.com/therapeutic-science-adult-coloring-books-how-childhood-pastime-helps-adults-356280




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Top 9 Supplements to Decrease Anxiety




Anxiety is one of the most common mood disorders (if not the most common) and definitely one of the top conditions I’ve seen in practice. I always ALWAYS advise lifestyle changes as first line treatment, which include exercise and eating healthy foods, but when that is not enough I will recommend certain supplements before jumping straight to medication.

I don’t love anxiety medication in general because some of them can lead to serious problems, such as addiction (ie. Xanax), and most can cause too much of a calming effect. Anti-anxiety medications also come along with a whole list of side effects (some more pronounced in certain individuals than others) and can end up causing more problems than what the individual started with. So for someone with mild to moderate anxiety, lifestyle changes and supplements are a great way to get your mood back in check.



Below is a list of the most effective and safest supplements I have come across and recommend.


1. Vitamin B12

What: Vitamin B12 helps with the production of major neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which work to modulate mood and decrease anxiety. Read more about this here.
Dose: 1,000 mcg daily as methylcobalamin sublingual, lozenge, or spray
How to take: Morning




 

2. Vitamin B6

What: This vitamin assists with the production of the major neurotransmitters that regulate mood, which include serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Vitamin B6 specifically assists with the production of serotonin’s direct precursor, 5-HTP – the more there is of 5-HTP, the more serotonin that can be made. Read more about Vitamin B6 here.
Dose: 2.5 mg daily as pyridoxal-5-phosphate
How to take: Once or twice daily

3. L-theanine

What: This amino acid activates GABA in the brain to induce calm without sedation. Read more about this here.
Dose: 100+ mg daily as L-theanine
How to take: With food

 

4. Lemon balm

What:​ This is an herb that may help to decrease stress and induce more feelings of calm. When combined with valerian root it’s anxiolytic and anti-insomnia effects may be pronounced – read more here.
Dose: 600 mg or 60 drops tincture daily as Melissa officinalis
How to take: Once daily




5. L-tyrosine

What: This is an amino acid that helps to boost dopamine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters that help to calm the mind and decrease anxiety. Read more about L-tyrosine here.
Dose: 500 mg 1-4x daily as L-Tyrosine
How to take: With food




6. DHA/EPA Omega-3 Fatty Acids

What: Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation in the brain which may help to lessen anxiousness and perceived stress by the brain. Read more about this here and here.
Dose: 2,000+ mg daily as combined DHA/EPA
How to take: With a meal




7. Passionflower

What: This supplement helps to boost GABA in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for promoting calm and relaxation. Read more about passionflower here and  here.
Dose: 200 mg nightly as Passiflora incarnata
How to take: 60 minutes before sleep (can make sleepy)



8. Chamomile

What: Chamomile as a supplement has been shown to be an effective treatment of decreasing anxiety. Read more about this here and here.
Dose: 500 mg 1-3x per day as Matricaria recutita or chamomilla
How to take: Bed time (also good for promoting relaxation before sleep)




9. 5-HTP

What: This compound is the direct precursor to serotonin (main neurotransmitter involved with stable mood) and helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain. Read more about 5-HTP here.
Dose: 100 mg 1-3x daily as 5-Hydroxytryptophan
How to take: With a meal

 

Always speak to your health care provider before trying any supplement and be cautious whenever trying a new supplement because you don’t know how you will react.



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