“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”
If you have ever felt worried or anxious I can promise you, you are not alone! Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States. It affects roughly 40 million adults (18.1% of the population) each year.
I am sure you are well aware of how you feel when you are anxious, but some symptoms include:
- Heart palpitations
- Loose stool
- Diaphoresis (aka sweaty)
- Trouble focusing
- Interrupted sleep
- Over eating or under eating
There are several causes for anxiety including:
- Situational stress (work, school, family, finances, etc)
- Neurotransmitter imbalances (excess epinephrine and norepinephrine, low dopamine and low GABA)
- Hormonal imbalances (low progesterone or high cortisol)
- Nutritional deficiencies (low B vitamins, vitamin D)
- Genetic SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphism) specifically COMT, MAOA
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet rich in processed sugar
- Digestive dysfunction (gut bacteria helps with serotonin synthesis)
Ways to naturally help manage anxiety
Exercise, exercise, exercise. Simply moving more helps the right and left hemisphere of your brain communicate better which helps with thought process and stress management. Next time you feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious, get up and go for a walk. You will be amazed the power of movement over the mind. What a stress relief!
Change your eating habits. Limit caffeine to 4-6 oz per day. I recommend switching to green tea which has natural calming properties and lower amounts of caffeine than coffee. Add healthy fats, such as coconut oil, cold pressed olive oil, nut butters, avocados, and sprouted seeds, to your diet. Since our brain is at least 60% fat, making it the fattest organ in our body it thrives on healthy fats. Fat also helps with blood sugar stability preventing spikes and troughs. And of course, limit processed sugar!!
Deep breathing. This risk free therapy has 0 side effects and has been shown to lower cortisol levels and reduce anxiety. There are several different breathing techniques available, but my favorite is 4-4-4. Inhale for 4 seconds (through your nose), hold your breath for 4 seconds, and slowly exhale for 4 seconds (through your mouth). Repeat 3-4 times.
Here are some of my favorite supplements to help with anxiety.
- Pharma GABA 100-200 mg as needed
- This is a bacteria synthesized for of the amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid, aka GABA. This is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps balance epinephrine and norepinephrine (excitatory neurotransmitters)
- L-Theanine 200 mg as needed
- This is a calming amino acid derived from green tea.
- Magnesium glycinate 200-300 mg at night
- Relaxing mineral that helps with sleep and muscle tension. It has a calming affect so overtime it can help with anxiety.
When lifestyle and supplements don’t work, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are a number of conventional therapies including medication, cognitive behavior therapy, neurofeedback, counseling, and more. Better yet, come see us at 2UMedical!