Anxiety comes in cycles.
First, there is the trigger. For example, say that your child’s grades are not doing well, and you just found out that they’ve been hiding their report card from you. This may cause anxious urges and feelings.
After that anxious emotion comes the response. In this case, perhaps your response is worrying. While anxiety is a feeling, worrying is an action. To continue with the example of the report card, you may begin to worry about giving your child a head start in life. You start thinking about your child’s opportunities, and maybe blaming yourself and wondering if their bad grades are somehow your fault.
Then comes the reaction. Maybe you confront your child, and the two of you get into a fight. Because it may feel good at the moment to take your anger and anxiety out on someone, the reward center of your brain tells you that you are being rewarded for your behaviour, and it trains your brain to act this way again in the future. This can create a negative habit.
What is addiction?
The definition of an addiction is quite simple. An addiction is when you continually and compulsively engage in certain behaviour despite negative consequences. That means that you can become addicted to anything, not only chemically addictive substances.
Often, addiction is simply a negative habit and anxious urges.
And a very common reaction to anxious cycles is escapism through alcohol.
In an alcohol addiction cycle, a certain trigger causes you anxiety. In response to your anxiety, perhaps you drink, and for a little while, you feel separated from the problem that caused your anxiety initially, so the reward centre of your brain tells you that this is a positive response, which can potentially cause someone to depend on alcohol time and time again.
If you, your children, or your parents use alcohol as a coping mechanism, consider reaching out to BetterHelp. Not only do they have thousands of advice articles written or reviewed by certified therapists, but they can give you access to affordable online therapy. Anxiety and alcoholism are treatable, especially with help from a licensed counsellor.
Food and Anxiety
Sometimes life gets stressful, and many of us need some coping mechanisms to remain productive and satisfied. However, coping mechanisms do not need to be negative, and there are ways to use the reward centre of your brain to your advantage. An example of a healthy coping mechanism is controlling the foods you eat in order to help calm your anxious mind.
Note: For any advice regarding medication or treatment, please refer to a licensed psychologist.
Some foods that help with anxiety and anxious urges include:
- Oily fish and other foods rich in vitamin D
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
- Brazil nuts
- Green tea
So, based on those ingredients, we have made a list of creative and healthy recipes that you can try turning to next time you have the urge to pour yourself a glass of wine, and these foods might help you relax your mind and curb those urges.
Healthy Recipes to Help Ease Anxious Drinking Urges
Honey Garlic Salmon
This recipe is not only delicious, but it also includes a lot of omega-3, a fatty acid with close ties to our mental health.
First, you will season the salmon filets in salt and pepper. Then you will create a glaze by combining a little apple cider vinegar, about two tablespoons of honey, and a tablespoon of water.
Cook the salmon on a skillet (skin side down first) for about one minute on each side.
Add three tablespoons of minced garlic into the pan and fry until it is brown. Then add the honey mixture and fry until the salmon is coated and sticky. You can also add in a few slices or wedges of lemon at the same time as the honey glaze if you’d like to add a little more flavour and flair.
Brazil Nut Coco Balls
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, which is proven to reduce inflammation, a common culprit of mood disorders, including anxiety. This recipe has the added perk of including cocoa, and, as mentioned earlier, dark chocolate can help ease the effects of stress as well.
Follow the directions below to make this delicious and super healthy recipe!
Melt ¼ cup of cocoa butter in the microwave until it is smooth. Combine the melted cocoa butter with two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, ¼ cup of almond butter, two tablespoons of agave nectar, and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Use a food processor to mix all these ingredients, and once they are smoothly mixed, add one cup of Brazil nuts until they are chopped up and all the ingredients are blended together.
Scoop balls of the mixture onto a baking sheet and sprinkle the top of each ball with sea salt and crumbled Brazil nuts. No cooking is necessary, you then just need to store the chocolate balls in the fridge until they are cool and firm.
Enjoy these as a rich dessert that is healthy and can have the added benefit of aiding your anxiety!