Anyone who has been impacted by Alzheimer’s or dementia hopes for a world where it doesn’t exist anymore. As the US population ages and as average life spans increase, the need for Alzheimer’s awareness, prevention, and care is more relevant than ever!
One landmark study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital explores the connection between the buildup of amyloid beta in the brain and particular markers of depression. In subjects with higher amyloid beta levels, anxiety levels (a key symptom of depression) also increased over time. Though more research is needed, the conclusions of this important study indicated that there could be a correlation between anxiety and Alzheimer’s later in life.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. An estimated 44 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Only about 1/3 of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment, even though the disorders are often very treatable.
If Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to anxiety, it makes sense that we would want to tackle our anxiety problems before they lead to a whole host of other health issues. So what are some ways to help reduce anxiety? There are many resources and options for this, but here are ten ways to help reduce anxiety in your daily life (check out more great tips here!).
- Practice gratitude: research shows that the practice of being thankful helps decrease anxiety and increases positive feelings. Write down all the good things you are experiencing each day.
- Add nutritious fuel to your diet: In simple terms, eat healthier! Loading up on fruits, veggies, and lean proteins goes a long way to helping you stabilize your blood sugar, which has an impact on your overall anxiety levels.
- Warm, relaxing baths or showers: many research studies have shown that looking at water or being immersed in it has a calming effect on our bodies and minds. If you don’t live near a body of water or don’t have access to a pool, even listening to a sound track of rain or crashing waves can be calming.
- Reduce caffeine, sugar and processed foods: I know, I know, this isn’t fun. But an excess of caffeine can cause heart palpitations or trigger anxiety attacks. Sugar acts as an adrenal stimulant and can also cause panic attacks.
- Spring cleaning: no matter what chaos might be swirling in your life, having a tidy and organized space can go a long way towards making stress feel more manageable. Try setting a 10 minute alarm every evening and picking up as fast as you can during those 10 minutes!
- Laughing and talking with people you love: just 5 minutes of laughter a day can reduce stress. Sharing worries or struggles with trusted people can help lighten your load.
- Focus on quality sleep: no matter what you have on your plate, prioritizing good sleep instead of staying awake to get more done is always a good choice!
While there are many more ways to reduce anxiety, this is a good starting point. If you lower the anxiety in your life now, you may be reducing your chances of many other health problems down the road.
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