What is anxiety?
Problems with anxiety are much more common than many people think. It is said that and as many as 1 in 6 young people will experience anxiety.
It is the feeling of panic or fear. We will all feel anxious, panicky or fearful about situations in life, such as relationship problems, financial worries, exams or confidence but often once the difficult situation is over, you are able to feel calmer. Sometimes the feelings of fear or anxiety continue after the problem and sometimes you may struggle with fear or panic more than other people. When it starts to take over your life then this is when anxiety becomes a problem and you may need some help!
Symptoms of anxiety can include:
feeling frightened, nervous or panicky
feeling down, depressed or hopeless
having difficulties sleeping
problems with eating
be unable to concentrate on things
feeling tired or irritable
You may experience physical symptoms like:
palpitations or a racing of your heart
stomach cramps or diarrhoea
needing the toilet a lot more
waves of numbness or tingling
eye strain or blurry vision
periods of blankness, confusion or “time outs”
heightened senses such as sensitive hearing or smell
feeling as though something awful will happen
People with anxiety usually experience anxiety in three ways:
- generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
- panic attacks
There are many reasons why you may experience anxiety. You may have anxiety because of:
your family history and genes
trauma in childhood
Autism, Aspergers, ADHD or another sensory condition
feeling different to others
worrying to much about things you can or cant control – Negative Automatic Thoughts
GAD – Generalised Anxiety Disorder
1 in 25 people in the UK are affected by GAD. If you have GAD then you will worry a lot of the time! You may worry about things that make no sense at all! You may worry most of your day and this can leave you feeling exhausted and fatigued.
These are feelings of extreme anxiety that come on in unpredictable attacks that usually last for about ten minutes. If you struggle with panic attacks, you may struggle to breathe, feel panicky and feel out of control. These feelings can leave you feeling out of control, exhausted and vulnerable!
If you have a phobia you may tend to feel very nervous and panicky about one thing in particular. Chances are that the thing that you might be anxious about may not be dangerous or cause worry for anyone else but can make you feel really nervous or panicky. There are so many different phobias from agoraphobia (a fear of going outside), social phobia (fear of meeting people) to emetophobia (a fear of vomit or vomiting).
Long term anxiety can also have a negative effect on your emotional and physical health. There are more and more studies now linking long term trauma, anxiety and low moods to neurological conditions such as Fibromyalgia. There are also links between inflammatory arthritis and trauma which are starting to become more visible within medical studies.
Some herbs which have gained popularity within mental health circles as a natural option for boosting happy chemicals in the body include:
“A 57 year old woman was treated with months of both antipsychotic and antidepressant medications and given two rounds of electroconvulsive treatment before anyone bothered to check her vitamin B12 level.
Her symptoms were years in the making including tearfulness, anxiety, movement abnormalities, constipation, lethargy, and eventually perceptual disturbances (hearing her name called) and the ultimate in severe psychiatric pathology: catatonia. Despite her inpatient treatment, she remained suicidal, depressed, and lethargic.
Within two months of identifying her deficiency, and subsequent B12 treatment, she reverted to her baseline of 14 years previous, and remained stable with no additional treatment.“
You can read more about this article HERE
There are numerous sources that share that there is a link between low levels of Vitamin D and anxiety. I think this goes even deeper than this. Vitamin D is linked with the outdoors, sunshine, exercise and fresh air. If you do not spend time in nature, experiencing all those natural colours in your environment, the gratitude and connectedness that we can feel when we are outdoors, then I believe that you could struggle more severely with anxiety or low moods. We run a FREE mindfulness course which covers Mindfulness in the outdoors and we discuss the benefits of being outside and feeling connected to nature. You can sign up for this for FREE by clicking HERE
“Your gut is often referred to as your second brain! What ever you put in you or on you has a direct effect on your energy levels, your moods, your emotional health and your wellbeing. So choose wisely!”
What about foods?
Diet is especially important when treating anxiety and low moods!
Some tips include:
- Eat regularly and get your 5 a day (I like to head for 7). I try to eat as many of my vegetables and fruits raw to allow my body to get these at their best. I also advocate for organic produce which is free of poisonous pesticides which have also been linked with anxiety and depression
- Tomatoes, mushrooms and bananas all contain high levels of potassium which is essential for your whole nervous system, including your brain
- Drink plenty of water. Your body is made up mostly of water. You need this! If you don’t get enough water you may struggle to concentrate, feel tired, be constipated, have dull skin and hair, feel irritable, struggle with body pains, have regular infections and lots more negative symptoms. Its easy, its available and its FREE (kind of). I like to use a water filter to remove any left over toxins and create a much better taste! These are easily available in all supermarkets and are great in summer when its hot and they are kept in the fridge. Other ways of increasing your water intake can include; herbal teas, water filled with lemon and other delicious herbs, water filled with fruits soaked and kept overnight (vodka doesn’t really count te he)…
- Get the right fats into you! Your brain needs fatty oils (such as omega-3 and -6) to keep it working well. So rather than avoiding all fats, it’s important to eat the right ones. Oily fish, poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and sunflower oils, seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin), avocados, milk, yoghurt, cheese and eggs. Avoid any trans fats!
- Get more protein! Protein contains amino acids, which make up the chemicals your brain needs to regulate your thoughts and feelings. It also helps control your blood sugar levels. Look for lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), soya products, nuts and seeds. Go for organic, free range and better cared for meats where possible. How animals are treated has a direct effect on your gut health. The less antibiotics that you have to deal with in your system as a result of being shoved into the bodies of over-toxicated and uncared for animals…the better for you (and the poor animal).
Beware of foods that elevate anxiety levels:
Alcohol Refined and processed foods
Other activities that may help manage these conditions
There are lots of things that you can do to improve your overall wellbeing and mental health. Try some of the following:
Counselling can help by allowing you to explore what ever may be triggering or causing your anxiety, low moods and symptoms. Counselling allows you the space to talk through how you experience your world as each person experiences their anxiety and low moods differently and so there is no ONE SIZE FITS ALL to help with this! I work with people all over the world via face to face support in person or online. I also offer email counselling for anyone who’s anxiety makes it too difficult to connect in a face to face way to start! To book a FREE mental health check in click HERE
I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and adhere to their ethical framework for good practice!
Explore essential oils by visiting your local health store and smelling all of the beautiful and natural fragrances! Choose what you like! They say that “the oil chooses you and you will be attracted to what your brain needs at the time”.
Spend more time in fresh air. I know that this may feel difficult but getting out into nature can be so healing.
Keep a Journal of the thoughts and feelings that you are experiencing daily. Get in touch for your copy of my 100 journaling prompts which can help to ease your journaling journey! Click HERE for free!
Get into the SUNSHINE and soak up that VITAMIN D
Take control of your weight. Don’t hide from it! Being overweight or underweight can worsen the symptoms of anxiety and depression for many reasons like causing a lack of confidence to physical pains and fatigue! If you are looking for a guide to take you by the hand and lead you through an online program, then Luke is your man! I cannot stress how much support and expertise you get from joining one of Luke’s online or face to face programs! He is so reasonably priced and his results are ridiculous! You can find him HERE . Even better, if you are on Facebook you can find him HERE
Meditation and Mindfulness offers so many benefits, that I think its crazy that this is not yet available for FREE to young people in every single school! Sign up for one of our FREE Mindfulness courses HERE
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