Cure Anxiety Naturally: 6 Tips (No Meds Required)

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

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Drug-Free Anti-Anxiety

It’s not all in your head. And you are not alone.

1 in 5 people struggle with anxiety, characterized by various symptoms, including:

  • Excessive worry
  • Irritability
  • Feeling of being edgy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trembling
  • Fidgeting or trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Trouble falling (or staying) asleep
  • Easily startled
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Sweating

(Sounds like an infomercial for a drug on the market, right?)

Anxiety can strike at any moment too.

Deadline at work or school?

Difficult decision to make?

Fear of the unknown?

No reason AT ALL?

As with many symptoms and health conditions in life, there’s a drug for that. And while there most certainly can be a time or place for medications to help—even for  short time—medications are not the only option for curing your anxiety.

#IfOnlyIKnewThen (what I know now).

Anxiety characterized much of my teens and early 20’s—particularly hand-in-hand with my eating disorder.

  • What to eat for my next meal? Anxiety.
  • What to order at the restaurant next Friday night? Anxiety.
  • How to deal with being out of routine on vacation? Anxiety.
  • Social event with other people? Anxiety.
  • Feeling alone? Anxiety.
  • Worried for no reason? Anxiety.

Lexapro and Zoloft were the “answers” according to my prescribing psychiatrist at the time.

But little did she (or I) know, there was more going on under the hood—then my medication addressed.

BRAIN-GUT 101

Bacteria residing in your gut influences brain chemistry and behavior (like anxiety).

And since your gut is home to 100-trillion bacteria…if it’s unhealthy bacteria, chances are: your brain is going to be out of balance.

Couple this with the fact that 90-percent of your serotonin is produced in your gut, and you realize that your  “feel good” and “anti-anxiety” brain chemical is directly attributed to your gut health.

  • Healthy gut bacteria= More (feel-good) serotonin (and less anxiety) to go around.
  • Disrupted gut flora (bad bacteria)= Less serotonin (and more anxiety) to go around.

Simple science.

In addition: Did you know that your vagus nerve (the nerve responsible for governing all your digestive processes, as well as your heart and lungs) is connected from your brain to the top of your stomach?

No wonder if your gut is not healthy, your more pre-disposed to experiencing butterflies in your stomach, a rapid heart beat or shortness of breath.

(Note: Your anxiety is not all in your head.)

The bottom line: If your digestive tract is unhealthy…your brain suffers (anxiety included).

So how does your gut health get “healthy” or “unhealthy” in the first place?!

There is no one answer for any individual, but some common triggers for an unhealthy gut flora include:

  • C-section baby
  • Formula-fed
  • Family history (10% genetics)
  • Chronic stress
  • Antibiotics
  • Thyroid imbalances
  • Cigarette smoking or excess alcohol
  • Food poisoning
  • Sedentary or too much exercise
  • Toxins
  • Standard American Diet (sugar, processed foods)
  • Sleep deprivation

…Just to name a few.

Regardless of your particular reason for an unhealthy gut, if you don’t heal your gut, then you may end up with one (or several) of the following:

  1. Low stomach acid
  2. SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  3. Parasites and infections
  4. Dysbiosis (More “bad bacteria” than “good bacteria”)
  5. Food intolerances
  6. “Leaky gut” (intestinal permeability)
  7. Autoimmunity (your body is attacking itself from a particular stressor)

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

You’ve come to the right place. There are several things you can do today to naturally begin healing your own gut (and anxiety).

Here’s my top 6 hit list.

Thrive’s Top 6 Natural Anti-Anxiety Tactics

1. Digest Well. Simple practices of chewing your food, drinking water throughout the day, breathing before meals and not eating in such a hurry (slow down) are the front lines of defense for a healthier gut all around. Sounds simple…but you’d be surprised how many people are not doing these things. I’ll repeat:

  1. Chew your food
  2. Drink water
  3. Breathe before meals
  4. Slow down

2. Boost Stomach Acid. Hypochloredria is a commonality amongst many anxiety sufferers. You (and i) need stomach acid to digest foods and break them down –especially during stage 1 of digestion in your stomach. Consider the HCL challenge to find your correct “dose” of a tablet form of the supplement, or add a ½-1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar to a shot glass of water before protein-based meals.

3. Aloe Vera + Glutamine. Heal an irritated gut lining with these natural gut-healers. Add this powder to warm tea or water to assist with maintaining a stronger gut lining.

4. Start Off Strong. Probiotic up or incorporate fermented foods at least one to two times per day (in medicinal doses, like 1-2 spoonfuls of sauerkraut or 2-4 ounces of low-sugar kombucha)

5. Calm the Adrenals. Another topic for another day, but often times when your gut is unhealthy, this also throws your hormones out of balance (particularly cortisol—your stress hormone). As you focus on healing your gut, a look at what your own hormones (and cortisol—stress) has been doing is warranted. Many folks have found great relief with some simple holistic (mind-body) remedies such as:

  • Essential oils (lavender, tea tree oil) on pulse points
  • AdrenaCalm K2 Topical Cream on pulse points
  • Breathing in essential oils via a diffuser
  • Warm, soothing herbal tea (ginger, or black licorice-based)

6. Address the Underlying Pathology. See the top 7 gut pathologies (listed above) for potential reasons why you may be struggling with poor gut health (like low stomach acide, SIBO, food intolerances, etc.) and book a phone consult with Dr. Lauryn to figure out your individual body’s needs to really address what may be going on.

BOOM.  

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