Anxiety is defined as "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome."
It's normal to feel anxious or nervous from time to time, but it's not normal to feel uncontrollably anxious or fearful most of the time. At this level, it's considered an anxiety disorder, and both physical and emotional health may be adversely affected, as well as many aspects of life, such as relationships, performance at work, personal obligations, and other daily activities.
This blog will focus on "anxiety" rather than "anxiety disorders", although the distinction between the two may seem blurry to some extent. If you feel that persistent, severe anxiety is adversely affecting you, please make an appointment to see me at 613.829.0427, or contact another health professional.
Why is anxiety increasing now?
There are many reasons for experiencing anxiety, especially these days. Health is often a source of anxiety, and that has never been more true. Other topics people report being most anxious about include safety, finances, politics and relationships.
Several lifestyle factors contribute to anxiety, including busy schedules that leave little time for regular exercise, sleep, relaxation and time to socializing. Less healthy diets can also be a factor. Around-the-clock news broadcasting, social media and pretty much constant digital connectivity also increase stress and anxiety.
How can I relieve stress and anxiety?
There are many strategies for decreasing stress and anxiety; several are presented here. Everyone doesn't need to apply every strategy; some are essential, but apart from that, the idea is to pick those you feel will do you the most good.
Without attending to these most essential recommendations, other strategies for reducing anxiety and stress will not be nearly as effective.
Physical activity: Regular exercise is extremely important, especially aerobic/cardiovascular and other types of exercise that you enjoy. Yoga is excellent for helping people to relax.
A healthy diet requires avoiding excessive alcohol, caffeine and sugar intake. It includes eating a diet that has good sources of vitamin B foods, magnesium-rich foods, foods high in calcium and omega-3 (like olive oil, nuts and seeds, salmon, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and probiotic foods).
Enough, good quality sleep: Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is what it takes to avoid sleep deprivation. However, anxiety is a common cause of insomnia, so it may be necessary to use relaxation techniques and other strategies to help you sleep.
Other important strategies
Relaxation techniques: Deep breathing exercises can be helpful. Meditation is highly recommended. Yoga is another excellent way to relax.
Maintain a consistent, regular daily routine. This includes having a regular sleep/wake cycle and eating regular meals.
Journalling thoughts and worries can help you gain perspective. A daily gratitude journal where you write down 3 to 5 things you are grateful for is an excellent practice. It's a good idea to try to think of different things you're grateful for each day, but not essential to avoid all repetition.
Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment. This can help lower symptoms of anxiety and depression. Yoga and meditation are described as forms of mindfulness.
Taking supplements and using essential oils that support the nervous system can help. Recommended ones include adaptogens, e.g. Ashwagandha; magnesium; vitamin B complex; amino acids such as GABA; passionflower and valerian root. Chamomile and lavender are essential oils that help with relaxation.
Socializing: Spending time with friends and family, whether in person or virtually, can help you get through stressful times. Be sure to talk to friends or family who are supportive and positive people.
Learn to say no: Avoid overextending yourself by learning to say no to activities that are less important to you and that you are able to change.
Limit your exposure to news broadcasts and social media. You can stay informed and in contact with friends without spending an excessive amount of your day on these activities. It's especially important to avoid these distractions later in the day.
Music can have a powerful effect on your mood and anxiety. Be sure the music you listen to when you're anxious is happy and relaxing, or soothing, i.e., music that will help you feel the way you want to.
Laugh! It's hard to feel anxious when you're laughing. Find humour in everyday life, spend time with friends who make you laugh, or watch a funny TV show.
Emotional release therapy is an alternative healing method used to help release a person’s negative energy. This technique is widely used in grief therapy and other areas of emotional trauma. It is successful in healing both physical and emotional wounds. At our Ottawa clinic, we have seen it proven as an effective way to rid a person of negative energy, as well as emotional pain and increase the person’s positive energy. Please see our website for more information.
I hope these tips will help you to reduce your levels of anxiety. If you would like to discuss possible treatment options, particularly concerning emotional release therapy, please contact me at 613.829.0427.
Featured Nature's Sunshine product: Zerenity
Helps quickly ease nervousness and promotes feelings of relaxation and calm
NSP’s formula contains supporting nutrients not commonly found in other formulas
Offers safe, non-habit-forming relief
How It Works: Zerenity is formulated to help those experiencing acute stress and nervousness find quick, temporary relaxation and calm. Zerenity is formulated around the patented botanical ingredient known as Zembrin®, or Sceletium tortuosum, a South African herb with more than 300 years of documented indigenous use to support the nervous system and produce feelings of calm and relaxation in healthy people. NSP’s Zerenity formula also contains the amino acid L-theanine, vitamin B1, magnesium and zinc as supportive ingredients.
It is helpful to combine Zerenity with Stress Pack, which is a multi-supplement formula to provide nutritional support during times of acute or chronic stress. The formula contains an array of targeted vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and extracts, and adaptogen herbs.
There are a number of supplements to help you maximize your health. You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:
RE-X Combination Herb
Levy J. The rise of anxiety symptoms and types. https://draxe.com/health/anxiety-symptoms/ November 30, 2019. Accessed August 17, 2021.
Anxiety and sleep. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/mental-health/eating-disorders-and-sleep Accessed August 17, 2021.
16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety#The-bottom-line Accessed August 17, 2021.
Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.