Practical Tips For Lessening The Anxiety
This one I am writing for me at the moment:) Normally I am pretty centred and present but I have been experiencing moments of anxiety this year due to circumstance, perhaps yes... but I know all-to-well that no matter what the outer circumstance, it is our inner environment that matters. And we can help this inner environment. I also know very well though growing up with loved ones who suffer severe mental struggles that to dismiss something with a "you have the power to control your inner-environment" is not acknowledging our humanness... I believe it is the truth, but sometimes as messy and perfectly imperfect humans it is still tricky to LIVE this truth fully.
SO. How to practically deal with anxiety when it pops in to say hello. That icky feeling that something aint right that makes being in our own skin a little uncomfortable.
I believe that when we are truly PRESENT then that feeling can dissipate.
So all of the below recommendations are in support of this - to be able to LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Not only are they Naturopathic recommendations, like everything I share on this blog, I personally find them helpful. I am not perfect, and all the yoga and healthy eating, I still experience times where I need support and tools that help me.
STOP THE CAFFEINE - this means coffee and energy drinks. If you must still have something have a weak black or green tea - but not to start the day. Coffee is delicious and a ritual so many of us treasure BUT there is no denying that the stimulation it activates can be overwhelming for the nervous system that is already under stress - which it is if you're experiencing anxiety. Aim to substitute with a herbal tea or even dandelion "coffee" if you need something to help break the habit.
HYDRATE - water water water. Studies link depression to dehydration because 85% of brain tissue is made from water and much of our body. When we are throughly hydrated it helps the body and brain to communicate. This means it is extra important to leave the coffee and alcohol out as these dehydrate the body further. Take a water bottle with you. It is much easier to drink water when it is available to you.
LESS PROCESSED FOOD - Processed foods are often full of artificial flavours and colours, which studies have shown affect our brain. Yes, what we eat will affect how we feel. Eating less foods that contribute to the problem is a good start. It also means we will have more "space" to eat whole foods that nourish us with vitamins, minerals and enzymes, that then in-turn will support your nervous system.
HERBAL SUPPORT for the nervous system. Herbs have been used for centuries to help support our bodies and minds. Now there are many combinations easily available for individual situations. I always think getting advice from a Naturopath is the better way to get something for YOU in the NOW. For example kava is a fantastic herbs if with the anxiety you are feeling lots of frustration. St Johns Wort is wonderful when there is also a depression felt. Withania is wonderful support for adrenal exhaustion... they all work differently but know there is support you can take for periods of time that can take the edge off without taking medication. Seek it out. Use it like a tool that it is.
Supplement with MAGNESIUM at night. Magnesium helps relax the body, reduce the release of our stress hormones and is crucial to more than 300 enzyme-driven biochemical reactions occurring in the body on a near constant basis. The soil in Australia is very low in Magnesium so we often do not have high amounts in our food groups, making a supplement in these times appreciated by our bodies and our nerve transmissions!
Supplement with a good PROBIOTIC. Our gut and mind connection is not some waffling hippy concept. How we feel is directly related to our gut health, in particular the bacteria balance there. Bacteria make chemicals, including dopamine and serotonin, which are also produced in the brain and are linked to mood. So their influence over these neurotransmitters, and also over hormones that alter brain function, seriously affect our emotional state. In one study giving women aged 18–55 two daily doses of probiotics, their anxiety levels were substantially reduced compared with women who took a placebo...
MOVE YOUR BODY. Exercise can change how you feel. Really. When we exercise we produce endorphins and we increase our metabolism of adrenaline and thyroxin - the hormones that are heightened with anxiety. Find what ever it is that makes your body feel better and make a way to do it regularly. I encourage you to get out of the house to do it, but if that is not a possibility, there are wonderful yoga (and other) classes on youtube.
SIT IN STILLNESS. I know, it is contradicting what I just said, but moving our body and sitting in stillness are BOTH good to help with anxiety. Sitting in panic or sitting with the phone in our hand is NOT what I am talking about. I mean mediation, whether it be guided or silent is incredibly powerful and calming our nerves and bringing us back to a spacious and present state of being. I love the Opera and Deepak guided meditations for a wonderful and easily accessible option.
BREATHE with pranayama exercises. Our breathe works at a level that is neither our dense body nor our mind, it is rather then in-between part. So by practising pranayama we are clearing the obstacles in our bodies, allowing breath and energy (prana) to flow freely. "When we practise pranayama the veil is gradually drawn away from the mind and there is growing clarity. The mind becomes ready for deep meditation" (yoga sutra 2.52). Our breathing is improved, our bodies function better and we clear and calm the mind. Nadi Shodhana is one simple breathing exercise that is incredible at bringing balance with just ten minutes a day. Also if you are panicking, sensations of feeling overwhelmed, to close your eyes and take deep breathes into your belly can be more affective than popping a pill.
SWITCH OFF- anxiety is fuelled when we feel like there is less "space" and an over load of information and stimulation. Filling our in-between spaces - like at the traffic lights, or waiting rooms with checking on emails, the news and social media means we have no chance to switch off. To be present requires us gifting ourselves moments in the present without distraction. Only picking up the phone for calls or twice a day for designated times can work wondering in bringing a state of OK ness into your life. It also helps with the comparing syndrome, which many of anxieties can stem from.
SLEEP. It is imperative to feeling calm. It is when our body and mind rejuvenate. Ask any sleep deprived parent how important it is to your nervous system... I promise you it is!