As a degree qualified nutritionist, clients often ask for tools to help manage anxiety naturally. As part of my holistic approach to wellness, I often use a number of the techniques listed below (focused upon both diet and lifestyle); whilst also employing the help of a qualified mental health practitioner where required. Whilst these steps in no way claim to cure anxiety, they may help to manage anxiety symptoms long-term.
10 WAYS TO MANAGE ANXIETY NATURALLY
IS IT A GUT FEELING?
Research has found that our gut micro-biome (or lack there of) may play a role in anxiety and depression. As a holistic practitioner, mapping a patient’s micro-biome and ensuring optimal gut health is one of the first steps we can take in managing symptoms long term however, there are a number of steps you can take to attempt to manage symptoms. These are listed below.
KEEP A FOOD DIARY
Foods like caffeine, sugar and additives such as MSG can cause anxiety (caffeine is an extremely common culprit in my clinic). Keep a food diary and notice when and where you’re feeling anxious and how that could possibly be related to the foods you are eating.
EAT A WELL BALANCED WHOLE FOOD DIET
Eating too much as well as too little can have an impact on your levels of anxiety (2). Eating adequate amounts of food, in the form of a nutrient rich diet of unprocessed, whole foods is recommended. Also including foods high in B vitamins, magnesium, calcium and omega-3 foods may also help.
GET SOME REST
Whilst insomnia is a common side-effect of anxiety, low energy or fatigue can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Make sure you’re getting plenty of rest to ensure your re-charged and ready to fire on all cylinders. If you’re looking for tips to fall asleep, reduce your caffeine intake and read my post here.
Exercising will release a whole lot of feel-good hormones that will help banish those feelings of anxiety and stress.
TALK ABOUT IT
Growing up, I was never really a fan of talking about my worries, I always thought that giving them ‘air-time’ was a sure fire way to make them ‘real’ however, this is simply not the case. Don’t be afraid to consult the experts, they can also offer you a range of techniques that will help you cope in almost any situation.
TAKE SOME SLOW, DEEP BREATHS
A series of deep breaths has been shown to relax the body and mind. Doing this for just a few minutes will help bring you back to a state of calm. If you can’t force yourself to do this at home, sign-up for a regular yoga or meditation.
A wise Chinese medicine practitioner once told me that if you have too many thoughts running around in your head, write them down. At first I thought he was a little wacky, but now it’s how I deal with stress and/or overwhelm.
LOL (LAUGH OUT LOUD)
Laughing boosts your circulation, relaxes your muscles, whilst also switching off your stress response. The best part? It’s believed that your body can’t tell the difference between fake laughter and the real thing so all you have to do is fake it until you make it.
There are a number of nutrients that may help manage a patient’s anxiety however; it is essential that you discuss this with a qualified practitioner BEFORE taking any over-the-counter supplements. There are a number of drug/nutrient and interactions that can have serious side-effects.
If you suffer from anxiety, speak to a GP, psychologist/psychotherapist or health practitioner ASAP to help you manage your symptoms. Also the team at Beyond Blue are available on 1300 22 4636.