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

dry mouth

trembling

faintness

stomach cramps or diarrhoea

needing the toilet a lot more

headaches

fatigue

waves of numbness or tingling

body pains

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
  • phobias

There are many reasons why you may experience anxiety. You may have anxiety because of:

bullying

your family history and genes

trauma in childhood

low self-esteem

feeling isolated

Autism, Aspergers, ADHD or another sensory condition

feeling different to others

OCD

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.

Panic attacks

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!

Phobias

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:

Valerian
This herb is often prescribed by medical and natural health practitioners as a non-addictive alternative to Valium, which is the concentrated synthetic version of the plant. All parts of this plant, especially the root, contain chemicals that sedate and quieten the central nervous system.  95% of people experience deeper relaxation and better sleep with this herb.
St. John’s Wort
This herb has become very popular as an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety herb in recent years. In Germany it out sells Prozac 5 to 1. It works by optimising the levels of certain neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin. This results in a more balanced emotional system.
Nettle
Known as the “king of nervine tonics”, nettle is rich in vitamins, minerals and plant proteins. Serotonin also occurs in Nettle. Sounds good to me!
L-Tryptophan
Although technically not a herb, it is worth mentioning here. L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and a key ingredient in the production of serotonin in the brain. The lack of it is associated with depression. The body cannot produce Tryptophan, therefore it must be taken as part of a balanced diet.
Vitamin B12
I love this article by Kelly Brogan who is a Holistic Psychiatrist with a wealth of knowledge in this area. She shares that:

“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

Vitamin D

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:

Caffeine

Sugar

Salt

Alcohol Refined and processed foods

Preserved meats

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

241496_print_logoI 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”.

future-musicianSpend 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! 15ydf39rivc-carli-jeen

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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