Ways to reduce anxiety
Anxiety can mean so many different things. It can be the full-blown, whole-body version: tight chest, muscle tension, heart palpitations, squirmy tummy, sweatiness and light-headedness.
It’s this type of anxiety that I want to focus on today.
There are many factors that contribute to anxiety disorders: our genes, biochemical make-up, environment, history and personality all play a role in determining just how vulnerable we are to life’s different stressors.
Getting the biochemical balance right makes a big difference in anxiety. We want our brain to be bathed in a sea of calming neurotransmitters, specifically GABA and serotonin.
A key to identifying how your biochemistry might be contributing to anxiety is to look at your Methylation Cycle.
This must be functioning efficiently for neurotransmitter production to occur. A simple blood test can identify markers of methylation, which provides some good clues about where to start with nutritional support. For instance, an under-methylator will generally benefit from supplemental zinc, B12, magnesium and SAMe. An over-methylator, on the other hand, needs lots of folate.
Blood sugar regulation is paramount in reducing anxiety. Many clients with very unstable blood sugar levels experience anxiety whenever their blood sugar dips, way before they’re even aware of being hungry. Eating protein (meats, fish, eggs, legumes) and a source of good fat with each meal is most helpful here, as is taking extra chromium and magnesium.
Herbal medicine has some treasures that promote GABA production: magnolia, passionflower, kava, valerian and lemon balm work well on their own, but even better when prescribed synergistically.
Exercise is amazing. Not only will it increase levels of your feel-good brain chemicals, but it really helps discharge the built-up tension that characterises anxiety.