Anxiety is a normal response to a stressful situation. It is normal to feel some anxiety from time to time when stress increases, perhaps due to a specific event like public speaking or performance, or a particularly stressful time in life.
Anxiety can become a health issue when those anxious signs & symptoms become excessive, all consuming & begin to interfere with everyday live.
Signs of anxiety could be:
Palpitations or increased heart rate
Anxiety keeps you on high alert, which is a good thing normally, as it's keeps you safe from danger. However long term if the body remains in that heightened state of fight or flight it's resources & system's become depleted. The body in fight or flight mode runs on adrenaline (or epinephrine) & cortisol which help you stay alert, ready for action. While in this mode other process don't function as well, we need to switch into the rest & digest phase for digestion, tissue repair & relaxation of the body.
If you need assistance with anxiety, naturopathy is a great place to start. Working on your diet, lifestyle, sleep patterns & assisting with herbal therapy & supplements can make the world of difference to help support you towards better mental health. Send me an email if you would like to discuss your anxiety & how naturopathy could help.
Things that can help reduce anxiety:
Breathing techniques; to calm your nervous system & still your mind. Slow deep abdominal breathing can help the body switch into the rest & digest phase.
- Getting into nature; the natural environment changes our perspective, is soothing for the nervous system, the movement helps you feel good
- Exercise; helps in many ways including increasing serotonin helping you feel better. It also helps reduce stress, makes your body & mind stronger
Eating well; nutrition plays a big part in how our bodies feel. Without the right fuel the brain doesn't function well.
Ensure good protein, healthy fats & plenty of fresh vegetables & some fruit, which provides the brain with the needed nutrients
Protein; contains amino acids which are the building blocks the body needs to produce many neurotransmitters including serotonin, tyrosine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate
Omega 3 fatty acids; found in oily fish, olive oil, nuts & seeds are involved in neurotransmission within the brain. They also assist the gut through the gut brain axis
Sleep; a regular sleep pattern is essential to good mental health. Also ensuring you get enough sleep can help reduce anxiety
Social connection; talking to friends or family about how you are feeling can help you feel more connected & supported. Connecting with animals can also help
Herbal therapy; there are many herbs that can help support anxiety by supporting the nervous & immune systems, adrenal glands, & assisting with sleep
Some helpful herbs include;
Passionflower, Withania, Lemon balm, Liquorice,
Kava, Lavender, Chamomile
If you are interested in trying herbs it's best to get the advice of a qualified herbalist to ensure safety
Supplements; just as a nutrition can help reduce anxiety so can supplements
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain function through neurotransmitter function & can assist mental health. Fish oils with higher EPA than DHA have also been shown to be more effective with mental health issues
Vitamins Bs are essential energy & neurotransmitter production & more are used in times of stress. Specifically vitamin B6, folate & B12 may assist with anxiety
Magnesium helps relax muscles, & may assist with sleep & energy. It is needed for many processes including the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has been shown to increase GABA helping to soothe the nervous system & it also blocks the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamine. L-theonine also increases the production of serotonin & dopamine
Therapy; talking to a train professional may help assess where your anxiety is coming from & build helpful strategies to coping
Massage; is shown to reduce anxiety & stress, helping to relax your body & mind
Laughter; helps relax you & makes you feel good
Having fun; doing things you love with people who fill you up emotionally is great for helping you relax & enjoy yourself
- Mindfulness & Meditation; learning to calm your mind & remain in the moment is very useful for anxiety. Meditation has been shown to help with immunity & calming the nervous system. It also teaches you observe & not to react which can help to disarm anxious thoughts
It is important to get the help of well qualified health professions whether that is your GP, Naturopath, Psychologist or Therapist.
There are also many free helplines that deal with anxiety including lifeline, youthline & anxiety helpline