Monday, February 17, 2014

Systematically Heal Your Anxiety

How to Systematically Heal Your Anxiety is a great post by Charlie Hoehn, but probably in the TLDR category for most people. While Charlie had pretty severe anxiety, his tips are still useful for reducing normal levels of stress. Here are the main takeaways.

System 1: Replace Negative Content with Positive Content
  • Remove from your daily routine any information that induces anxiety. For example, Charlie realized that the news fueled his anxiety and decided to stop watching and reading it. His anxiety dropped within two weeks.
System 2: Optimize Your Sleeping Conditions
  • Make quality sleep a priority. Most important changes Charlie suggests:
    • Create a routine. Get ready for bed at the same time every night.
    • Avoid using cell phones and computers close to your bedtime.
    • Cover all sources of light (e.g., blinking lights on electronic devices, digital alarm clocks, windows to block light from outside, etc.).
    • Lower the temperature in your room to 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cannot do this, then wear less clothing to bed.
    • Install f.lux on your computer(s). It's a free app that warms the colors on your screen when the sun is down. I've found that it really reduces eye strain at night.
System 3: Guilt-Free Play, Every Day
  • Disconnect (i.e., turn off your phone), and schedule fun play activities with friends instead of killing yourself at the gym.
System 4: Eat Healthful Meals
  • While Charlie recommends (1) Protein + (1) Vegetable + (1) Healthy Side, I firmly believe different food combinations work for different people. My simple advice is to cut down on sugar and to increase vegetable consumption.