Feeling anxious and trying to reduce anxiety? You’re not alone. Anxiety—worry— is a common emotion experienced by many.
Although you may think anxiety is “all in your head” or something that you “should” be able to control, did you know that anxiety can also stem from physiological imbalances?
Some common “root causes” behind anxiety include:
- Gut-brain disruption (SIBO, dysbiosis, candida, leaky gut)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Limbic system disruption (“issues” in the tissues from former traumas that get stirred up)
- Hormone imbalances & HPA Axis dysregulation (cortisol – stress hormones)
- Nutrient imbalances (lack of protein—amino acids, healthy fats or antioxidant rich veggies and fruits)
If anxiety is a symptom you commonly experience, working with a functional medicine practitioner can be helpful for getting to the root causes of your anxiety. And while you are at it, check out the following lifestyle, nutrient and supplement hacks for anxiety below:
Lifestyle Hacks for Anxiety
In the Moment
10 seconds in through your nose, and 10 seconds out through your mouth. Repeat for 5 to 8 cycles. Lie flat on your back if you need to further calm down a racing heart.
Tap Your Pituitary Gland
Your pituitary is the “third eye” gland (located slightly north between your eyes) that plays a role in releasing cortisol (stress hormone). In an anxious moment, tap your pituitary several times with your first two fingers to calm it down and help your HPA Axis work for you.
Primal screaming releases stress hormones associated with anxiety. Scream into a pillow if you need.
Turn Up the Music
Make a playlist with your favorite anxiety-busting songs. You may even have a couple—one that is more up beat (a la N’Sync and boy band beats) and one that is more calming (like Hillsong United).
Bullet pray—keep a running tab of prayers on the NOTES app on your phone. Make a list for each day if you like to release the worries and thoughts on your heart and head.
Last year, at this exact time and day, what were you stressing or anxious over? Whoop whoop…what do you mean that you forgot it already?
Imagine: it’s one year from today! (What day and time is it?). Where is the worry or anxiety you have today?
Drop & Give Me 20
Pushups. Jump squats. Butt kicks. Jumping jacks. Something to shake off the stress and anxiety.
Turn it Off
Turn off the news, the social media or the Dr. Google searching keeping you anxious and making your head spin.
Move It, Move It
Studies show that exercise is a super effective treatment for anxiety — trumping therapy or prescription drugs alone (which tend to only have 1 in 3 efficacy rate for patients). Move daily and mix it up. Not just running on treadmills like a hamster on a wheel (this can be more anxiety-provoking), but mix it up with HIIT, strength training, sports and plenty of walking.
A regular yoga practice helps the thoughts flowing and racing through your mind to “calm” down. Do several sun salutations.
Connect with a good friend and stay in community. We were not made to be alone. Make an effort to be amongst the people in your daily life — go to a gym (versus working out at home), pre-book walk, lunch and coffee dates with people, attend a social gathering or two each week. Stay plugged in.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Lack of sleep leads to more stress inside. Aim for at least 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep. If you struggle to fall asleep, consider deep breathing, prayer and supplemental supports like phosphatydlserine (100 mg), ashwaghanda or quality CBD.
Acquire the Tools
“Do the work” to help power up your mind! I highly suggest learning NLP (neurolinguistic programming) under a trained NLP practitioner to learn how to rewire your gut-brain axis naturally (something I incorporate into my trainings). Also check out Tony Robbins’ and Joe Dispenza’s work to begin tapping into the power of positive thinking.
Food Hacks for Anxiety
Power Up with Protein
Are you eating enough? Amino acids are the building blocks of optimal brain function and keeping your blood sugar steady. Drops in your blood sugar drops send “May Day, May Day!” signals to your HPA Axis (your stress-regulating system), leading to anxiety. Start the day with 20-30 grams of protein within the first 1 to 2 hours of waking and include a protein with each meal. Also sip 1 to 2 cups of bone broth.
Add Plenty of Healthy Fats
Healthy fats help your body (and brain) actually absorb your nutrients. Include 1 to 2 servings of healthy fats with each meal, such as cooking with ghee, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, pastured lard and avocado oil. Adding avocado, olives, coconut butter or paleo friendly salad dressings to meals. Eating raw nuts or nutbutter.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water moves toxins and foods along throughout your body. Unfortunately 75% of people are dehydrated—missing out on this crucial nutrient that gives the body and brain “life.” Aim for half your bodyweight in ounces of water daily.
Add Sea Salt to Taste
Cortisol (stress hormone) zaps up sodium stores, making your more stressed if it’s running low on sodium balance. Sea salt not only helps stabilize your HPA Axis, but it also boasts minerals (to help you absorb your water).
Probiotics mimic healthy gut bacteria that help run the brain. Add 1 to 2 fermented foods to your plate daily — sauerkraut, cultured vegetables, kombucha, kefir, kimchi and beyond.
A Spoonful of Sea Moss Helps the Anxiety Go Down
Sea moss is an algae that is rich in both prebiotics and minerals. In fact it boasts 92 minerals of the total 102 minerals on the planet. Minerals help sync the circuits of the brain to keep the gut-brain connection happy and balanced.
Cut the Caffeine
If you struggle with anxiety, the last thing you need is something that makes you more anxious. Caffeine is a natural anxiety provoker. Even decaf coffee can have the same effect.
Supplement Hacks for Anxiety
No two people are created equal. Hence different supplements can be helpful tools for different people—depending on your root causes.
Here are a few that you can find on Fullscript (the “Amazon super store”) for practitioner-grade, quality supplements with a 10% off discount! (FIND ALL DISCOUNTED SUPPLEMENTS HERE. Simply search for the following in the search bar catalog).
BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE
- Glucosupreme & Metabolic Synergy by Designs for Health
- Fibromin by Apex Energetics
- Probiomed Probiotic by Designs for Health
- Probiospre Probiotic by Designs for Health
HPA AXIS DYSREGULATION (IN-THE-MOMENT STRESS)
- AdrenaCalm Cream by Apex Energetics
- HPA Adapt or Cortisol Manager by Integrative Therapeutics
- Daily Habit (quality CBD).
NUTRIENTS FOR A HEALTHY BODY & MIND
- B-Supreme by Designs for Health
- Rosita Cod Liver Oil
Talk to your practitioner to create the best supplement strategy for you.