ANXIETY AND YOUR HEART
We all go through bouts of stress, coupled with sometimes irregular heartbeat. In my case, it was accompanied with some breathlessness and caused some panic, so each time it happened, I would sit up and take a few deep breaths, smell some eucalyptus oil and go back to bed.
Anxiety is a word that describes feelings of worry, nervousness, fear, apprehension, concern or restlessness. Normal feelings of anxiety often serve as an “alarm system,” alerting you to danger. For e.g., knowing you have left the gas burner on at home, may send your heart rate into a tizzy. Trying to force anxiety of your life is like trying to force an idea out of your mind by hitting your head against the wall, it simply cannot work.
Your heart holds on to anxiety, fear and its prime negative emotion is ‘grief.’ Working on your anxiety helps your heart as well, and also prevents heart disease.
Here are some handy tips:
- Address emotional triggers: especially with a psychologist, who will help you iron out issues with the stress you experience.
- Meditate or do pranayam/kriyas: I would suggest whatever helps whether it’s kriyas, pranayam, breathing exercises, chanting please use anything and everything that would keep your heart in a state of ‘joy’.
- Work on simpler meals: of whole grain, beans, vegetables, good quality fermented foods, soups. Keeping the diet high in fiber always helps.
- Don’t drink stimulants: Tea, coffee, or eat sugar, chocolates which to those of you who do and suffer from anxiety, must be stopped at this time.
- Incorporate the ‘bitter’ foods: I have suggested below, and used the green shot given below daily.
- Cultivate an attitude: Work and personal issues are going to go on. Have a vision, but don’t be attached to it. Our job is to keep the faith and work in progress and be relentless about it.
- Accept that you are human: Accept all parts of yourself: Accept all parts of yourself the good, bad, and the ugly – as they were all parts that actually made up ‘you.’ You eventually got to ‘let go’ and accept yourself, as you are. My faith in something larger than us at ‘play’ here, and looking at life on a spiritual canvas helped tremendously.
- Engage in an activity: Something that releases serotonin (a neurotransmitter known to instil confidence, well-being and security) for e.g., I enjoy writing, so I wrote a lot during this time, or join a laughter club, knit, book club.
- Indulge in exercise: Cardiovascular health is extremely important, and movement is essential, as is strength training.
INCORPORATE ‘BITTER’ FOODS
Besides the whole grain focus with vegetables and beans/legumes vegetarian approach during this time, I advocate the following foods which make combating the problem easier. Your heart resonates with the ‘bitter’ taste, so incorporate ‘bitter’ foods like mustard greens, amaranth (whole grain), asparagus, arugula (rocket leaves), fenugreek (methi), celery, dark chocolate, gourd, dandelion (baunphal), papaya, karela, curry leaves, liquorice root (mulathi), use a lot of leafy greens at this time. Add, corn, quinoa, red pumpkin (bhopla), kidney beans, melons and berries to your daily diet. Emphasize the following cooking styles: blanching, grilling, quick sauté with oil, pressed, raw and roasting.
BITTER GREENS SHOT– Objective: To relax heart
Arugula leaves (Rocket)+neem leaves (Indian lilac), blended with water with 1 tablespoon seeds blended (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame)+1 awla (gooseberry) +1/4 tsp spirulina+ some kaccha haldi (raw turmeric)