3 Haute Ways To Be Happier, Healthier, & Less Anxious For the Sake of Allah (S)
Posted on Apr 23, 2017
There was a time in my life when I was neither healthy nor happy and suffered from anxiety. Years ago, I was about 40 lbs heavier, far from Allah (S), and battling an eating disorder. While I didn't go through all these things at the same time, they were all very connected. Is my life perfect? Of course not. This is the nature of dunya (worldly life); designed to be imperfect. I can now say alhamdulillah that I am happy, less anxious, and healthy. I healed from a vicious eating disorder, reconnected to Islam, and now help other women with their unique struggles.
Here are a few things I wish I knew that would have helped me.
1. Fat doesn't make you fat - the right kind curbs your anxiety.
Healthy fats (think organic eggs, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed coconut oil, and olives to name a few) are crucial to brain health, psychological well-being, nice skin, hair and nails, digestion, hormonal balance, thyroid function, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D, to name a few. Years ago, I used to avoid egg yolks because I thought the fat was bad and that they would increase my cholesterol. I was wrong. Dietary cholesterol doesn't equal body cholesterol.
There is a big difference between dietary fats and dietary cholesterol versus body fat and body cholesterol levels. So you may ask, if healthy dietary fats don't increase body fat and if healthy dietary cholesterol doesn't increase your bad cholesterol, what does? Well, for starters, refined sugar increases body fat like no other. It does so by creating spikes and irregularities in blood sugar. In special cases, some people may also experience an increase in body fat due to other reasons such as side effects from medication, thyroid dysfunction, autoimmune disease, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance, psychological issues, overeating in general, stress which increases cortisol levels, digestive issues, and gut imbalance. As for cholesterol, one of the biggest culprits is trans fat.
Egg yolks are rich in choline, which has been linked to decreased anxiety symptoms. In fact, according to an October 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that low levels of choline correlated with higher levels of anxiety and vice versa.
2. Habits and intentions are everything.
A great day is always filled with good intentions. To be clear, when I say a great day, I am not referring to a day when everything goes your way. There is no perfect life in this world, although we are promised the possibility of one in the afterlife!
In this life, there will be curve balls and things won't always go according to our plans. We plan, but Allah (S) has plans well beyond our knowledge. The key to a great day starts with making and revisiting one's intentions. Intentions must then be backed up with the tenacity to make the most of the cards we're dealt each day. That entails staying present in a world that tries to pull our attention away each moment. It's savoring our own blessings (we all have them) instead of salivating over what others have. It's doing things that scare us and pull us out of our comfort zone because they make us feel alive. It's doing things daily that make a difference because we all have immense worth to bring to the table. One of the best ways to fast track living like this is to build habits. Your habits essentially define you. Both good and bad.
3. Find a safe space to express yourself
Recently, during a session with one of my clients, we concluded that when the going gets tough, she tends to avoid speaking about it because it seems far too scary and painful. I could definitely relate because there was a time when I used to bottle up things. However, over the years I’ve learned that this is destructive and slowly kills a person on the inside. We have an innate need to express things to others. Why then, are we so disconnected in such a hyper-connected world? One reason is because of shame. To be clear, I don't mean shame as the word sometimes linguistically relates to modesty (haya'). I'm talking about the type of shame that is either self-inflicted or brought upon us by others that is toxic. Take a deep breath, give it a voice and watch it fade away, inshaAllah. Shame is annihilated by your voice. Speak it to its death. Brené Brown says it best, “Shame can’t survive being spoken.” Being introverted myself, I know this can sometimes be hard. Remember that you can choose safe places to express yourself such as with a close friend or family member, a coach, your journal, or in sujood.
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Yasmin Essa, HC, AADP is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach who empowers women and their families with transformational holistic health tools. She is a coach, teacher, author, and speaker. She is happily married to Kyle Smith and they live in Central NJ. She is the eldest of 3 sisters and the founder of Wellness with Yasmin and MBMuslima Magazine. Visit Yasmin's website to get a free Wellness Checklist, to check out her book, and to inquire about 1:1 Coaching. You can follow Yasmin on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube.