03 Dec How to Reduce Anxiety – 5 Tips
If you are wondering how to reduce anxiety, the first things that come to mind may be to change the way you think or try to control your circumstances.
And yes, mindset is extremely important, as well as working with someone to deal with trauma or other circumstances. But in addition to that, there are a lot of chemical reactions involved in how our mind works that are actually influenced by the food we eat.
Yes, you read that right…eating the right foods can actually help ease anxiety. Not only can nutrient deficiencies affect how our mind works, but if our hormones are off, we may be waking up to anxiety, experiencing anxiety at night or experiencing anxiety just before our period starts.
When I work with my clients on reducing anxiety, it’s not as simple as “take this for anxiety”, although some supplements will help temporarily. As we adjust their meals and work on some lifestyle changes, we also may use supplements to give some immediate relief while their body takes its time to heal at the root cause, eventually, not needing to rely on the supplements.
Here are 5 tips on how to reduce anxiety
1. How to reduce anxiety with mindfulness
In the past, I was waking up to anxiety daily. The first thought that crossed my mind was “what do I have to worry about today?” Does this sound familiar?
Before we address the actual foods we put in our bodies, I want address the thoughts we are putting in our mind. If you are waking up to anxiety, I encourage you to try a few short exercises in the morning.
- Take at least 3 deep breaths. If you can do a short 5-15 minute guided meditation, even better. Breath is an amazing tool that actually helps to combat our stress hormones and it’s a great way to set our tone for the day.
- Practice gratitude. For me, this meant writing down at least 3 things I was grateful for every morning and putting them in a jar. As the jar filled up with paper, I had physical evidence of everything I had to be grateful for. You can also write these in a journal, or just say them to yourself. So instead of waking up to anxiety, you’re waking up to gratitude.
2. How to reduce anxiety with supplements
I understand sometimes it’s hard to get your mind to a good place because you feel so overwhelmed with thoughts flooding your mind. This is where CBD can help to reduce anxiety on an as-needed basis. CBD has been shown to relieve a lot of the common symptoms of anxiety including increased heart rate, restlessness and rapid breath.
To use CBD for anxiety, I recommend using a high quality CBD oil. CBD takes some time to build up receptors in the body, so you may have to do this for 10 days in a row in the beginning before it will work on an as-needed basis. If you have questions about CBD or are looking for a reputable brand, check out my CBD resource center here.
Another beneficial supplement is L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in green tea that helps stimulate hormones in the brain that promote relaxation. It is the reason why most people don’t feel as jittery or anxious when they drink green tea as they do when they drink coffee.
In supplement form, L-theanine is extracted and comes in 100-200mg capsules. While it can be very effective to help reduce anxiety on an as-needed basis, some people also get drowsy, so you may want to try it in the evenings initially, especially if you experience anxiety at night.
3. How to reduce anxiety with nutrients
Here’s where we get to the good stuff…how your mind works can absolutely be influenced by what you eat. Pretty crazy right?
But if you think about the fact that the food you eat actually breaks down into pieces that become your cells, your tissues, your muscles and everything else, it makes total sense.
While anxiety can have a lot of causes and usually it’s a combination of factors, it has been shown that deficiencies in the following nutrients may contribute to anxiety and depression: Vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins, especially B12, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids.
Supplementation may help–especially initially–but getting these nutrients from whole foods is always preferable. You may also want to get tested before supplementing, as certain vitamins like Vitamin D can have negative effects if taken at too high of a dose. More is not always better with vitamins and minerals.
4. How to reduce anxiety by improving gut health
Research shows that we produce over 85% of our serotonin in our guts. EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT! And some even believe it’s closer to 90%.
Our serotonin is a hormone/neurotransmitter that is in part responsible for our mood, among many other functions. So if we want to learn how to manage anxiety, depression or any other kind of mental illness, improving our gut health has got to be a part of the equation.
If you are experiencing any kind of bloating, gas, heartburn or loose stools or you aren’t having solid bowel movements every day, check out the blogposts I wrote about how to improve gut health to get you started in the right direction.
5. How to reduce anxiety by balancing hormones
If you have anxiety at night, are waking up to anxiety or feel like your emotions are out of your control, there is also a good chance there could be a hormone imbalance.
One of the main culprits is often an adrenal imbalance (stress hormones). This imbalance can be caused by actual stress (from work, kids, family, etc), or things like excessive caffeine, drinking coffee on an empty stomach and even over-exercising and not fueling your body efficiently.
If your estrogen and progesterone levels are off, you may also experience anxiety at certain times during the month when those hormones are not rising and falling as they should. If your anxiety is coupled with painful cramps, heavy bleeding, acne, headaches or irregular cycles, then you may want to work on balancing those hormones to help reduce your anxiety during that time.
Your thyroid is the basis for your metabolism – it controls how our bodies use and store energy. So if your thyroid is not performing optimally, you may not only be experiencing anxiety and/or depression, but you may also struggle with energy, have thinning hair, dry skin, cold hands and feet and a low libido. Improving thyroid health is many layers as it is affected by your gut health, estrogen levels, stress levels and liver health.
How to reduce anxiety holistically
Now that you can see all of the possible physical and nutritional components to anxiety, hopefully your question has changed from, “what can I take for anxiety?” to, “what can I do to fix the root cause of why I have anxiety?”
Because by fixing the root cause – getting the right nutrients, improving your digestion and balancing your hormones – you’ll not only reduce anxiety, but you’ll improve every other aspect of your health so you can truly feel good in your body again.
As a final note, if you are experiencing anxiety, please seek out the help you need – whether this is a psychiatrist for the mental aspect, or health coach (like myself, or anyone experienced with hormones and digestion). This may feel like the new normal to you, but it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve seen countless clients come to me after years of feeling helpless, and as we work on improving their hormones and digestion, they feel like themselves again – happy, peaceful and thriving.
Are you ready to feel good in your body again?
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Why diets and counting calories aren’t working and how they may be damaging your metabolism
- The root causes that may be slowing down your metabolism and draining your energy
- The 5 steps to improve your metabolism