12. Check your diet – and remove sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
Diet plays a huge role in mental health, and let’s face it: all too often, our diets are terrible. In particular, sugar raises anxiety levels, and it is also one of the most addictive substances in the world. What does this mean? Sugar fuels both anxiety and addiction, which fuels even more anxiety. Start cutting the sugar out of your diet, and be intentional every day about keeping it out. You may be surprised to realize how much you have been mindlessly nibbling on donuts, how much those two spoons of sugar in each cup of coffee have been adding up, or the amount of sugar in just one bottle of soda. Even a cup of fruit juice has more sugar than you want to be consuming. Make small steps to reduce your sugar intake, and as you start feeling more in control of your own health and well-being, make even more significant steps.
Do more than cut sugar out; replace it with something that your body will thank you for. Eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Find new foods, especially snack foods, that will satisfy your cravings and help you get through a long day at work. Caffeine and alcohol can be just as debilitating for mental health. While one cup of coffee in the morning is not necessarily a bad thing, relying on coffee all day long wires your brain up for chronic anxiety. Similarly, one glass of wine can be relaxing at the end of the day, but drinking to intoxication is terrible for both mental and physical health. Aim to reduce both caffeine and alcohol to more manageable levels.