Anxiety – what’s with this? So many of us suffer from it, but why do so many of us still consider anxiety to be such a taboo word? An embarrassment? Something to hide, even from our closest of confidants.
This common ailment holds such a strong negative stigma that for many who struggle with anxiety; the thought of others knowing they suffer from anxiety can be sometimes worse than the condition itself.
Sadly many suffer in silence rather than seeking help or gaining the support of friends and family. This could stem from an age-old attitude along the lines of “people believe that people with anxiety could snap out of it if they wanted to”.
The fact is: anxiety is a very real and often isolating condition. It’s time that people are able to be open and honest about discussing this issue. We are happy to discuss our unpleasant digestive symptoms – such as diarrhoea, constipation and excessive flatulence. These types of conversations, which were once not considered common topics of discussion, are now deemed acceptable. It’s time anxiety broke free of the stigma and became a topic of normal dialogue.
Do you suffer from anxiety?
Worried about going to work on Monday - even though it’s only Saturday? Dreading going to that party that you said “yes” to? Worried about socialising, parking in town, walking down the street, that speech you have to give next week?
There are many things that evoke a feeling of panic in us – but sometimes these feelings become so intense it’s hard to function in everyday life. Imagine living for the most part in this flight or fight state. Sadly, its exceedingly common – here’s some of the common anxiety signs and symptoms:
· Feeling nervous, restless or tense
· Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
· Having an increased heart rate
· Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation) -this can create a sensation of tingling lips or face
· Feeling weak or tired
· Busy mind
· Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
· Having trouble sleeping
· Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
· Having difficulty controlling worry
· Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
A large proportion of our community suffers from anxiety and there are a lot of tools that can be used to ease these symptoms and increase the enjoyment of life.
Below are a few points to get you started:
Exercise – this helps stimulate hormones called endorphins that make us feel good – it’s best to exercise in the earlier part of the day if you suffer from insomnia.
Mediation – some form of meditation is important and can help settle and allow the mind to become still, allowing you time to regroup. This only has to take up 10 minutes a day making it easy to fit into your daily schedule.
Breathing – be aware of your breath. Incorporate breathing exercises into your daily routine. I like a simple technique that you can use anywhere – even in a crowd:
Breath in for the count of 4 – hold for the count of 2 – exhale to the count of 6 – hold for count of 2 – and repeat for as long as you need too. “as is the breath – so is the mind”.
Diet - Eat a clean unprocessed diet. Many processed foods contain chemicals that have a negative effect on our neurotransmitters.
Sleep – this is paramount to helping ease anxiety – set up a good sleep ritual.
· Set a regular bedtime
· Stop screen time at least 1.5 hrs before bed
· Avoid coffee after 12noon
· Limit alcohol
· Have a warm bath
· Read a book
· Listen to music
· Do a meditation or mindfulness
I work with many people with anxiety – there are various factors that drive anxiety. I formulate a personalised anti-anxiety protocol – this may consist of working on healthy sleep patterns, exercise, nutritional support, neurotransmitter support, relaxation, hormonal support to name a few.
Photo by Kal Visuals on Unsplash