I wrote a blog post about how CBD oil and hemp oil pills increased my anxiety and depression, and I was overwhelmed with the number of people who left comments, messaged me on Facebook, and sent emails sharing that they had a similar experience. It seems odd because if you listen to popular opinion, CBD oil is supposed to decrease anxiety, not make it worse.
If you search the internet, listen to podcasts, read articles or talk to friends, it seems everyone is toting the benefits of CBD oil, and you rarely even hear about the people that had a negative experience, as I did. We may be a minority, but I learned after writing that blog post, we’re out there.
It’s a gentle reminder that there isn’t one supplement, diet, or exercise regimen that is effective for all of the population. We are individuals that may react differently than our co-workers, our friends, or even our coaches. Only you can determine what works for you.
I initially tried CBD oil to manage minor aches and pains, and it wasn’t effective for me. I discovered it also increased my anxiety and depression, quite the opposite of what I expected. CBD oil was supposed to make me feel better, and it made me feel worse.
I’ve dealt with low-level anxiety most of my life. I often say “low-level” because it seems like it’s less severe than what other people experience, but the truth is I have no way of knowing how another person feels. I know that I get a heavy feeling in my chest for no discernible reason, obsessively replay situations in my head, make up negative conversations that never actually happened, assume the worst, and worry about shit that is out of my control. I think that is called anxiety.
My bouts of depression are subtle, but leave me feeling uninspired, lethargic, and pessimistic. I can still function, smile, and go about my life, as usual, but I do it with a cloud overhead. It’s hard to talk about because it’s not something most people know about me.
I discovered, quite accidentally, that I can easily manage these symptoms with exercise and diet.
When I eat poorly, my symptoms are more persistent. I don’t manage stress well; I am more irritable and depressed. Regular consumption of added sugars, alcohol, some restaurant meals, and processed foods can make me feel emotionally worse. When I focus on eating mostly healthy, whole, minimally processed foods, I have a clearer, and a happier outlook on life. It’s no coincidence.
When I don’t exercise consistently, my mind starts to get tangled up in negative thoughts. Even a one mile run after a stressful day can give me a fresh perspective. It seems an intense cardio session clears the clutter from my brain out faster than a leisurely walk, but any form of exercise gives me a boost in mood and outlook.
All the bullshit worries fall out of my head when I am focused on sprinting up a hill or lifting heavy weights, and the real problems, the ones that don’t solve themselves with a positive mindset? I am better able to tackle them, think more clearly about solutions or a plan to move forward, and have an objective, non-emotional conversation about them when my mind is clear.
It took me a while to make the connection between what I ate, how I moved my body, and my emotions, but today the relationship is so clear that I eat healthful foods and exercise regularly for the mental benefits even more than the physical ones.
Today, I easily manage my anxiety, stress, and depression with diet and exercise—so much so that I sometimes forget it is even an issue, until something in my routine changes that causes me to miss several workouts or eat different kinds of food, and those uncomfortable feelings return. The first sign that I’m getting off track is when I don’t feel as well mentally.
Some people’s symptoms may be more severe than mine, or even on the same level, and will benefit by working with a mental health professional to get guidance and a plan to feel better, but with or without professional help, most people can experience the psychological benefits of physical movement and healthful diet.
CBD oil didn’t help with my anxiety and depression symptoms, in fact, it made them worse, but regular exercise and healthy nutrition did.
Have you had any experience in CBD or hemp oil? Do you exercise to manage stress? I’d love to hear about it.
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Questions? I’d love to help.