We live in an age of anxiety and are facing a lot of unknowns and uncertainty in life. Anxiety disorder affects over 18% of the population and is expected to rise. Common symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder are:
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
- Easy fatigability
- Difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
You may have some signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder that last or bouts of anxiety. Anxiety will not go away by itself; you must take some action to ease it. Whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual, tending to it early on will allow you to be healthier and happier.
- Journaling can help you get rid of negative thoughts. Studies in multiple journals showed that writing about the effect that traumatic events have on physical and mental health can allow you to release the negative emotions associated with it Tearing the paper up is a symbolic gesture of release and is known to bring relief.. Researchers found that expressive writing led to reduced blood pressure, improved immune system functioning, fewer visits to the doctor and shorter stays in the hospital, improved mood, reduced symptoms of depression, improved memory, and more. It can help people confront and move through emotions in a controlled way.
- Exercise has been shown to immediately reduce an anxious state and regular exercises have a reduced risk of developing an anxiety disorder. While it has been well known that aerobic exercise reduces anxiety, research has shown that resistance training at a low-to-moderate intensity produces the most reliable and robust decreases in anxiety. Relief of anxiety can be immediate with exercise. Choose something that is repetitive and requires controlled deep breathing.
- Supplements can be effective to produce a calming state.
- Magnesium can be very relaxing, have a calming effect and reduces muscle tension. It is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and enables cells to make energy which can be depleted with anxiety.
- L theanine is one of my favorites of mine to reduce tension while maintaining energy and focus.
- Zinc, copper and manganese – Findings from the Eating Habit and Well-Being Study showed that low levels of zinc, copper and manganese were associated an increased risk of anxiety. Combining magnesium and vitamin B6 may reduce premenstrual anxiety and vitamin B6 may reduce anxiety in older women.
- Fermented foods that contain probiotics may have a protective effect against anxiety. The gut microbes speak to the brain and affect the nervous system as well as the immune and hormone systems. Enhancing beneficial bacteria in the gut by eating fermented foods containing probiotics, taking probiotics or making dietary changes that improve the gut microbiome, has the potential to improve mood and reduce anxiety. The microbiome plays an important role in the programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis early in life, and stress reactivity over the life span. The HPA axis controls the stress response. Keeping the HPA axis functioning normally is key to remaining healthy and calm.
- Diet can profoundly affect your mood. Sugar, caffeine and alcohol can induce anxiety and mood swings. Whereas a nutrient dense diet of whole foods can have a calming effect. What you eat affects your microbiome and in turn your nervous, immune and hormone systems. This happens indirectly by favoring gut bugs that increase anxiety and directly by affecting cortisol the stress hormone and adrenaline the excitatory neurotransmitter.
- Reset Your Mindset –The 5 Second Rule a favorite book of mine by Mel Robbins who has learned to deal with debilitating anxiety has some techniques to rewire your mindset. Anxiety begins with a worry or thought. Thoughts create a physical effect (anxiety) and then control your actions and results. Managing your thoughts can stop the negative cascade that leads to anxiety. Here are her tips:
- Write down your triggers (your boss, your kids wanting your attention, your spouse doing or saying things that stress you out)
- Write down what you are worried about
- Write an anchor thought that makes you excited and happy so that the next time you are in a situation, interrupt your thoughts with counting back 5-4-3-2-1 and then insert a thought that makes you feel good and excited and empowered.
- Practice replacing your thoughts with better one over and over again until it becomes a habit.
- Mindfulness and meditation are techniques that can assist you through your breath and being in the present moment to shift your nervous system from a state of anxiety (sympathetic nervous system) to a state of calm (parasympathetic nervous system). These techniques have been studied and proven to be very effective, however you must practice them enough, so it becomes a habit. If you are worried about the past or the future, you are not in the present moment and generally in the present moment you may not be experiencing what you are worried about and you are creating dis-stress. Through deep belly breathing that can calm the nervous system and mind, you can shift your focus on what in the present moment you can do to take control of a situation and recognize that in the present moment your worries may not be real, they are projected from the past or onto the future.
These simple strategies can help you reduce your anxiety, however they must be practiced and used. If anxiety becomes debilitating and interferes with your ability to eat, sleep, function and has health effects, seek professional help. It is always helpful to talk to a professional. If you need assistance regarding enhancing your physical health, diet, supplement program or stress management techniques, be sure to reach out to me or my team at www.VibranceForLife.com we have a variety of programs that can support you.