Anxiety is a sensation of pervasive fear, a disorder of any one of a number of mental or behavioural disorders. Other common conditions which fall under the umbrella of anxiety are neurosis, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder as well as general anxiety. To live daily with anxiety issues is not something that any person would want to endure. It is therefore really important to support the body to come out of this predisposition.
Symptoms of anxiety can be overwhelming for many people and it often contribute to secondary symptoms also. The most common experiences are:
STRESS HORMONES AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Stress hormones produced by the adrenals (cortisol and aldosterone). These are released when we experience a situation such as an argument, working long hours, chronic illness or fatigue. These hormones stimulate the nerves (neuro-excitory) and may cause additional symptoms of anxiety (restlessness, nervousness, fear, panic and distress). Long term production of these hormones is detrimental to our health because of the overstimulation of the adrenals as it will eventually cause adrenal burnout or adrenal fatigue.
COMMON CAUSES OF ANXIETY
- Elevated lactic acid due to low nervous system nutrients such as Vitamin B and minerals
- Low blood sugar levels
- Neurotransmitter imbalance – low Tryptophan, Serotonin, Glutamine, GABA and Taurine
- Caffeine and sugar overconsumption
- Lack of essential fatty acids
- Hormonal imbalances
- Trauma or unresolved emotional issues
- Adrenal fatigue
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY
- Withania and Magnolia help to reduce cortisol production from the adrenals and has an adaptogenic, anti-stress, anxiolytic and anti-depressant effect. It also exhibits mild sedative qualities to help calm the mind and spirit.
- Chamomile is a very nourishing herb for the nervous system. Two cups of Chamomile tea in the afternoon can help to reduce nervous sensitivity and improve insomnia fuelled by anxious thoughts.
- Zizyphus has a tonifying effect on the nervous system and is a gentle sedative and relaxant.
- Passionflower is indicated for people whom experience nervousness, palpitations and sleep problems. The therapeutic effects of this herb are anxiolytic, relaxant and work to calm the overactive nerves.
- Two other herbs to consider are Vervain and Oats and a combination of four of the above herbs will benefit over time.
- Bush Flower Essences or Bach Flower Essences to relive the emotional aspects of anxiety.
- Magnesium is an essential nutrient for the health of the nervous system and many people exhibiting symptoms of stress, tension or anxiety tend to be deficient in this mineral.
- Tryptophan is a common nutrient which is generally deficient in anxiety/ nervosa states also and can be considered in combination with minerals and B Vitamins.
- B Vitamins are required for the nervous system to find a balance and also promotes the synthesis of happy hormones in the brain.
DIET TIPS FOR ANXIETY
- Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee, sugar, caffeine containing beverages as these create more anxiety in most people
- It is imperative to completely avoid caffeine as this contributes to the over stimulation of the nervous system. Many people who remove coffee from their diet find that their symptoms of anxiety disappear. This is due to the effect that caffeine has on the nervous system, keeping you in the fight-flight mode.
- Follow a hypoglycaemic diet (no sugar and refined foods) because this helps to improve insulin sensitivity
- Increase protein if required to promote a steady blood sugar balance
- Avoid letting yourself get too hungry as low blood sugar can precede anxiety symptoms
LIFESTYLE FACTORS FOR ANXIETY
- Avoid overstimulation from phones, screens, lights and televisions. Lying in bed watching a thrilling movie and then trying to sleep is near impossible because your nervous system is fired up due to the flashing screen, exposure to the blue light from screens and the fact that the bedroom is a place for sleep, not epic movie marathons.
- Try some meditation and deep breathing before bed time to promote. There are some quality apps such as Calm which you can download to assist you.
- Watch the sunset each evening to help to reset your circadian rhythm and promote the production of Melatonin (sleep molecule).
- Managing stress is an important part of the journey to improve anxiety because stress is often the preceding issue.
- Seek counseling help and talk about any issues you are currently experiencing
- Begin an exercise program as a good work out helps to increase happy hormones in the brain (walking, swimming, yoga)
- Avoid triggers to emotional disturbances (alcohol, cigarettes, unhealthy relationships, stress)
- Ensure that you are exercising daily (such as walking, swimming etc.) to metabolise stress hormones
- Address any depression or nervous system conditions which may be a contributing factor
- Support adrenal health if this is an issue for you