The Prevalence of Anxiety
Anyone who has experienced anxiety, and according to statistics that’s almost 1 in 10 of us at any one time in the UK, knows that it is much more than a state of mind. Characterised by tension, worry, restlessness, irritability, insomnia and an array of other symptoms, it can severely impact on everyday life. Whilst there are a multitude of drugs targeted to treat and manage this condition, for those who want to take a more natural approach, can anything be done through food and nutrition?
Supporting Anxiety through Diet
When stressed and feeling anxious, the temptation is to go straight for the quick fix- the caffeine, the sugar, the slice of cake that’s going to give you a big hug from within! However, the “high” these types of food bring are short-lived, and the energy crash that inevitably follows can leave you feeling jittery and even more anxious than before. A kinder approach to your body is to eat foods that settle, not stimulate your anxiety. By making choices that nourish your adrenals (the glands that regulate your bodies’ response to stress), support your nervous system, and keep your blood sugar levels balanced, your body will be best equipped to deal with everything that life throws at it. So eat your way to calm, with the following nutrient-rich, anxiety-busting foods that expert recommend:
Top 5 Anxiety Foods
1) Salmon and other oily fish are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids. An increased intake of omega-3s has been associated with reduced risk of anxiety in many studies, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-zone/201201/anxiety-and-omega-3-fatty-acids. Omega-3s aid in blood sugar regulation and help to prevent the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from spiking during periods of stress. They also form the building blocks for a happy brain, and a deficiency has been linked to both low mood and depression. For vegetarians and vegans, chia seeds and flaxseeds are the best plant-source of omega-3s.
2) Spinach is rich in folate, an important B vitamin that is converted to folic acid in the body. Depression and anxiety have both been linked to folic acid deficiency. Spinach also boasts high levels of magnesium and vitamin C which are both highly important for our adrenal glands and our body’s ability to cope with stress
3) Turkey- great news for the festive season, turkey is a fantastic source of the amino acid tryptophan which produces chemicals in the brain that boost mood and encourage relaxation. It helps to provide a sense of calmness, and may also aid sleep. Seafood, nuts, beans and pulses are also all great sources.
4) Oats are one of the best foods for boosting levels of the “happy hormone” serotonin in our brain, low levels of which are linked to anxiety. Oats are also packed with B vitamins, which are essential for the creation of important neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system that affect mood.
5) Almonds make the perfect on-the-go snack during times of stress. High in both protein and fibre they help keep the blood sugar levels balanced, and cortisol levels in check. They are also rich in magnesium, otherwise known as “nature’s tranquilliser” which has a calming effect on the nervous system and promotes feelings of wellbeing.
To boost your intake of these important nutrients further, you may also consider a dietary supplement. In times of intense stress, our adrenals are under a lot of pressure and are likely to benefit from additional B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium. And as a last tip, eat little and often. This will keep your blood sugar levels balanced, and provide you with the vigour to deal with bouts of anxiety in the best way you can.
I'm not sure if this will make any sort of sense. I have many different thoughts going on at once and at 4:30 in the morning I'm pretty sleep deprived at this point. I apologize in advance to anyone reading this who can't make any sense out of it. It's been a long time since I've used my diary. I felt like now would be a pretty good time.
I don't even know how to describe how I'm feeling right now. I feel lucid; void from feelings. Like, all of my feelings erupted inside of me and now they're gone. Now they're empty. It doesn't feel like sadness, it doesn't feel like depression. I really don't know how to describe it. But I know I've felt it before. And I know it usually makes me feel on some scale of crazy.
Earlier tonight Ganon, my 3-year-old son woke up upset. It was over something trivial, his nose was running. Being a kid, I understand this is just part of how he shows his frustration. I was coaxed to go comfort him, something I didn't even think about doing. I tried my best to. I wiped his nose, brought him his favorite stuffed toy, told him I loved him and kissed him good-night. I went back to my room where my "boyfriend" (confusing relationship right now) was waiting and he told me I was a good mom for helping to comfort our son. It just made me pull away because I felt so confused. Confused over what? I have no idea. Just the act of trying to comfort my son was so foreign to me. The compliments on doing it felt foreign to me too. I didn't like it. I'm not sure why, but I didn't. It really freaked me out.
People see the things I do or the things I say and they tell me how they think I'm a great person. How they think I'm doing good things or being sweet. I thank them with sincere appreciation because I do try hard to be a good person, but deep down... Sometimes I just think, how can they not see what a shitty, fucked up person I am? I mean... The fact alone that I'm "TRYING" to be a good person should speak volumes on that. Truly good people don't TRY to be good, they just are. They do it with ease and without thinking about it because they're good people. I'm not one of those people.
I have these constant, intrusive thoughts of sex with multiple people. "Well everyone fantasizes about different people now and then." True, but I always seem to go one step over just fantasizing. I take advantage of them, use them for the physical gratitude and then want nothing more. I feel like a hermit crab moving from one shell to the next. I have periods of time where I'll stop sex altogether, but that's where the intrusive thoughts come up the most. Staring at men and women at work, getting dangerously close to sexual chat with innocent people, having wet dreams every night. Sure, they're "innocent" fantasies at first, but I always work my way into making them realities. I always think afterward "what the hell is wrong with me?" It's like this fucked up, vicious cycle that for whatever reason, since I first started having sex, I can't fucking break. I feel like a fucking prisoner and the fucked up thing is I'm the one who's locking myself up.
I wish it was as easy as just stopping. I wish I wasn't so fucked up and I wish people could see how shitty of a person I really am so I can stop feeling so guilty every time they midjudge me as a good person. I've ruined so much in my life and I truly have no one to blame, but myself.
Doctor’s offices are notorious for making people anxious. It’s practically a fact of life. If you’re one of the millions who panic when you have to make an appointment to see your doctor, you no doubt wish you could find a way to relax. Well, there is a way. Read on for three great natural relaxation techniques to try before your next doctor’s appointment.
One of the best ways to relax is breathing deeply. Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Because your eyes are closed, you’ll be less likely to get distracted by the people and things around you. All you have are the thoughts in your head and your other senses.
Take deep breaths—in through the nose, out through the mouth. Make your inhalations and exhalations as even as you can, and then lengthen the time between each breath. Don’t let sounds, feelings, or thoughts take your focus away from your breathing. After a few minutes, your body will relax and your mind will be more at ease.
Stop Your Water Intake
If your blood pressure has a tendency to skyrocket before doctor’s appointments, try to not drink as much water before your next visit. Most people don’t realize it, but water increases your blood pressure. Normally, this doesn’t matter much, because of all the other benefits of water. Plus, it doesn’t increase blood pressure significantly. But when you’re worried about a doctor’s appointment, every little bit that you can do to lower your blood pressure helps.
Notice the Room’s Colors
Most of the time, anxiety doesn't peak in the actual office, when the doctor is examining you or the nurse is using one of the radiology pacs. No, anxiety tends to spike in the waiting room. To keep your mind off of all the horrifying scenarios your brain concocts, study the colors of the wall. Say the name of the color—or as close to the name as you can think—to yourself. Repeat it over and over. Then mix in other colors you can see around the room. By focusing on one thing so studiously, you take your mind away from the appointment, making you less likely to freak out.
You don’t have to go into a full-blown panic mode before your next doctor’s appointment. There are ways for you to relax, and those ways don’t have to involve medication. Use these natural relaxation techniques, and stop worrying about your annual visit to the doctor.
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