Anxiety is defined as generalized pervasive fear. The more anxious you feel, the more symptoms your body exhibits. Some people suffer anxiety all day long, every day. An anxiety or panic attack is an episode of anxiety ramped up dramatically. The pain and fear are so extreme, panic attacks are often mistaken for a heart attack.
The biochemical driver of anxiety is adrenaline, which is released in response to stressors.
Lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety.
Anxiety can be a symptom of a physical or mental illness or a side effect of medication.
Trauma can also cause anxiety.
Hormonal changes, including premenstrual tension and menopause, my increase feelings of anxiety.
Anxiety is often experienced by people who are withdrawing from drug, alcohol or tobacco.
- Muscle tension, especially around the neck, shoulders and jaw
- Insomnia (Check out these 2 simple ways to help with insomnia)
- Trembling or shaking
- Sweating, especially on the palms and underarms
- Feelings of apprehension, helplessness and uncertainty
- Chest pain
- Hyperventilation, fast and shallow breathing
After a prolonged period of anxiety the adrenal glands become “trigger happy”, releasing stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) well after the initial cause of worry has disappeared. It is important to be proactive and manage anxiety before it has a chance to rear its ugly head.
Eat sparingly when you’re anxious. Eat small meals regularly to maintain blood sugar levels.
Stick to easy-to-digest foods like soups and stews.
Avoid caffeine since it stimulates adrenaline, the hormone you are trying to diminish.
Studies have suggested passionfruit reduces anxiety.
Compounds in blueberries may help reduce anxiety and depression.
Things You Can Do
Aerobic exercise, swimming, walking, jogging and cycling all increase serotonin levels. Incorporate exercise at least three times a week.
For the long-term sufferer of anxiety, counseling may be useful.
Avoid movies, books and computer games that increase adrenaline; even the nightly news and social media can make you feel stressed.
“Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” -William Congreve
Affirmations can be an effective way to calm you thoughts when anxious. Repeat to yourself “all is well” or “calm” over and over until the feelings of anxiety subside.
Cocooning, feelings of vulnerability and being exposed often accompany anxiety. Cocooning is a technique that creates a sense of much-needed peace. Gently place both hands on either side of your face. Close your eyes and mouth. Rest both little and ring fingers on eye lids, forefingers closing ears and thumbs cradling the jaw. Be still and breathe.
Herbs help take the edge off feelings of panic and fear. Kava, zizphus, withaia, passionflower, magnolia, valerian, hops and lemon balm are outstanding for anxiety. Herbs can be taken daily as a preventive measure. Although not sedative (except valerian), the herbs will help you sleep, as anxiety is most likely the cause of your sleeplessness.
Calcium and magnesium are a good combination. Calcium is vital for steady nerves and magnesium helps take the tension out of anxious muscles. A tablet or powder containing both can be taken twice daily.
If your muscles take the brunt of your anxiety, more magnesium can help. You can take 400 mg 2 to 3 times daily.
Magnesium phosphate and potassium phosphate taken together are an excellent combination, particularly for children, the extra-sensitive and the easily startled. These can be taken every hour or so in anxious times.
The Bach Flower Rescue Remedy is tailor-made for quelling anxiety. Whenever you feel anxious, add a few drops to water and sip frequently. A couple of drops of Rescue Remedy can be taken under the tongue or a drop rubbed on the temple or inside wrist where it can be absorbed by the body. Incidentally, this product is also available for pets.
- 3 drops of frankincense has the ability to slow and deepen the breath. It has a sedative effect.
- 1 drop of ylang ylang is sedative, soothing and calming.
- 2 drops of vetiver is a great tonic to the nervous system. It has a calming, soothing sedative effect.
- 4 drops of Roman chamomile is soothing, balancing, calming, restorative and sedating.
- 5 drops of bergamot is revitalizing, uplifting, regulating, balancing and anti-depressant.
Once mixed together, 6 to 8 drops of this blend can be used in a room vaporizer.
Mixed with jojoba oil, it can be worn as a personal perfume.
Placed in a 30 ml spray bottle with an essential oil dispersant and rose or orange water, it can be used as a personal spray.
Mixed into 125 grams of Epsom salts makes for a relaxing bath.
Beim, Mim, N.D. “Anxiety.” Natural Remedies. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, 2014. 17-21. Print.
Reinhard, Tonia. “Passionfruit.” Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2010. 121. Print.
Reinhard, Tonia. “Blueberries.” Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2010. 132-33. Print.