Anxiety is a normal human reaction. It is a reaction to danger or something that is threatening. It increases our awareness of the environment and remains us to protect ourselves. Marked anxiety however can become detrimental to quality of life and can become unbalanced and should be treated. Anxiety can be classed as the following:
Intense - More then normal amount.
Chronic - Felt many times during the day or most days of the week.
Limiting - Makes it hard to do daily tasks or relate to others.
Symptoms of anxiety include - a racing heart, irritability, restlessness, trembling, poor concentration, sweats, sleep problems, tiring easily, social phobia, headaches, substance abuse, depression and the list goes on…
Mind and Body medicine
Mind body approaches are vital for treating anxiety. There are many techniques that can be used to calm anxiety. Some of these include:
- Counselling / Hypnotherapy - Seeing a therapist and having cognitive behavioural therapy or hypnotherapy.
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction - Various forms of meditation can be extremely useful in providing patients with the skills they need to reduce there own stress levels.
- Exercise - Burning your body’s energy can be a great way to release anxiety and clear the mind.
- Breathing exercises - Sets of ten deep breathes using your diaphragm can relax the body and mind quickly.
A healthy diet can improve the symptoms of anxiety as well as the risk of future occurrences. Regulating blood sugar levels is very important in stabilising anxiety levels by preventing hypo and hyper-glycemic states. Maintaining blood sugar levels can be achieved by:
- Eating multiple small meals throughout the day.
- Eating meals that have a low GI content such as - proteins: (meat and legumes) and complex carbohydrates: (whole grains).
- Limiting intake of simple carbohydrates: Breads, donuts, pastries and sugar.
- Reducing or eliminating stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes.
Dietary supplements can be effective when used in a combination with a healthy diet and exercise at reducing anxiety levels.
- Folic acid - Food sources: green leafy vegetables, cabbage, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, sprouts, mushrooms, legumes and nuts.
- B Vitamins - Food sources:red meat, legumes, wild rice, mushrooms, wish, eggs and nuts.
- Omega 3’s - Food sources: fish or seafood.
- Magnesium - Food sources: Legumes, whole grains, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts and mineral water.