I’m an advocate for creating what I call an ‘anti-anxiety’ lifestyle. What this means is to optimise as many facets of your life as possible, in order to experience less anxiety and greater peace of mind.
The beauty of this approach is that many of the things you can do are small and easy to achieve. Yet, together they can form the basis of a healthier, happier day. Read on to learn examples how this might look, and how you can easily tweak your daily routine to feel more at ease.
1) Wake up with a sunrise alarm clock
I’m amazed at how few people know about or use sunrise alarm clocks.
A sunrise alarm clock is an alarm clock with a built-in light that slowly illuminates as your wake-up time approaches. The effect mimics being woken up naturally by the sun, and makes a world of difference to being jolted awake by a sudden alarm in the mornings. In my experience, Lumie seem to make the best ones.
Recommended: Lumie Bodyclock Spark 100
2) Upon rising consume plenty of water, along with a well chosen anti-anxiety supplement stack
Getting hydrated at the start of the day is a simple but great hack. Even better is to neck a coupe of decent supplements that support healthy brain function.
My current supplement stack is a simple trifecta of magnesium glycinate, l-theanine and a B complex.
Recommended: Magnesium glycinate, l-theanine, B complex
3) Keep your phone on airplane mode until you’ve completed your morning routine
We are all slaves to our phones these days, myself included. If you can, I highly recommend keeping your phone on airplane mode for as much of the day as possible, but particularly at the start of the day.
Keep those first couple of hours for your morning routine. Don’t let the demands of others and the online world impinge on your morning bubble.
Instead, shower, meditate, eat and do what you need to do in peace. It’s a great way to set the day up right.
4) Meditate with or without binaural beats or a brainwave entrainment audio track for as long as your schedule allows
Meditation is a huge hack for anxiety and I think it should form the foundation of any anti-anxiety toolkit.
While meditation apps have become quite popular in recent years, most people still don’t know the other great (and I’d argue more effective) way to get more out of a meditation sitting.
This is listening to audio tracks that utilise audio techniques that can invoke a deeper meditation.
I like to use the products created by iAwake and Sacred Acoustics.
Recommended: iAwake, Sacred Acoustics
5) Ensure you get fresh air and if possible sun exposure early in the day
Sometimes the simplest things are the best, and this is one of them. Sunlight and fresh air set the day up right so get them if you can.
Later is fine too – just get as much as you can, when you can.
6) Avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks, learn to love herbal teas instead
I reluctantly gave up drinking coffee a few months ago and it’s been a revelation. If you suffer from anxiety and you still drink coffee, I’d encourage you to ask yourself why.
Yes, it’s super tasty (I love it!) but for me the fact that caffeine can easily raise anxiety levels is a powerful reason not to drink it.
Instead, have fun exploring caffeine-free teas. My current favourite is butterfly pea (this one goes a crazy blue colour), and I also enjoy rosella and jasmine.
7) Keep your phone on greyscale mode to reduce dopamine stimulation
This is another simple hack that will highlight just how your phone is designed to keep you distracted, stimulate dopamine production and keep you addicted to their use.
Simply removing the colours from your phone by keeping it in greyscale mode will significantly reduce its addictive allure.
It also makes it less attractive to keep scrolling, so I highly recommend it.
To do this on an iPhone go to: Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Colour Filters > Greyscale
You might want to assign this function to the side button so you can activate colour when you need it. Just go to Settings > Accessibility Shortcut to set this up.
8) Move your body regularly throughout the day
As you go about your daily tasks or job, ensure you incorporate plenty of movement and avoid being sedentary as much as you can.
9) Don’t binge Netflix in the evening
In fact I’m going to go one further – just don’t watch Netflix. There are better things to do with your downtime – build a side hustle, read a book, meditate or phone a friend instead.
10) Cut out social media and device use at least one hour before going to sleep
If this sounds unreasonable take a moment to observe what a powerless device-addicted excuse of a human you’ve become and resolve to not be so lame. This applies to me as well by the way so don’t take it personally!
11) Use f.lux on your laptop and Nightshift on your iPhone to reduce blue and white light from your devices
This simple hack is a game-changer and your eyes will thank you for it.
12) Take a warm bath or shower before bed to relax
As well as removing the day’s dirt, a warm shower is supremely relaxing and worth incorporating into your evening ritual. The warm water will relax your muscles and sooth your mind.
13) Take a relaxing pre-bed supplement stack
I take magnesium and l-theanine before hitting the sack each night. These supplements are inexpensive and will help you to relax before sleep.
Recommended: Magnesium glycinate, l-theanine
14) Meditate with a delta wave brain entrainment audio track
If you’re already feeling super sleepy before you go to bed – congratulations!
If not I thoroughly recommend meditating for at least 10 minutes or so before attempting to sleep. Even better is to incorporate a brainwave entrainment audio track into your meditation.
A delta wave track is well suited to this time of day, and will help to relax your mind and slow your thoughts. Two examples of delta wave tracks that I like are from iAwake and Sacred Acoustics.
Recommended: iAwake, Sacred Acoustics
15) Go to sleep wearing a sleep mask and earplugs
I find this incredibly helpful for getting off to sleep better.
Recommended: Sleep mask, earplugs