by: Donald Ellsworth, M.D.
We all experience stress and anxiety at times, especially with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, so what healthy things can we do when anxiety levels increase to the red-zone? Here are some ideas. Try different approaches to see what works best for you.
- Exercise: Studies consistently show that people have less stress and anxiety when they exercise regularly. Some prefer intense exercise like running, while others like calmer and more gentle exercise like walking or yoga. Getting outside has the added benefits associated with getting in touch with nature.
- Connect: Healthy people stay connected with others. Studies show connecting online does not produce the same stress reduction that real life connections produce.
- Deep breathing exercises can quickly reduce anxiety. Take 5 minutes to breathe deeply and slowly: sit in a chair, eyes closed, with your hand on your belly.
- Breathe in and let the breath work up your abdomen to your mouth and exhale. Reverse it as you exhale.
- Read a good book.
- Unplug from media and plug into peaceful thoughts like: “I feel at peace” or “God is Love” or “I am at peace because God loves me.”
- Pray: Talk with God and listen by reading the Bible (i.e., Psalms).
- Music therapy: Music really can affect our mood. Take advantage of this by listening to relaxing music such as classical or praise music. Music has been shown to decrease physiologic symptoms of anxiety such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure in adults and children.
- Use Apps like calm.com.
- Gratefulness chases anxiety away. Have a list of at least three things a day you are grateful for every day.
- Focus on being fully present (rather than distracted): Be aware of your environment and feelings. Notice the subtle sounds, details of texture around you, etc. (This is known as mindfulness.)
- Work on cognitive behavioral therapy by reading Feeling Good by David Burns.
- Use the Hotze Brain Renew program here at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center.
- Try emotional freedom technique (tapping): this is free and can provide fast relief to many. See eft.mercola.com.
Supplements for Anxiety
- Lavender: both topically and even orally for anxiety
- Chamomile tea has well known relaxing properties.
- Ashwagandha: 300 mg, 2x/day
- Rhodiola: 500 mg, 2 capsules, 2x/day
- Inositol: 1 – 2 900 mg capsules every 3-6 hours (18 grams/day have been used)
- L-Taurine: 500 mg, 2 capsules, 2-3x/day, is a very calming amino acid.
- 5-HTP: up to 50-100 mg, 2x/day (Use with caution if on an antidepressant.)
- Magnesium is wonderful for the brain and anxiety. Many need upwards of 1,000 mg.
- Ginkgo Biloba: 120 mg, 2x/day.
- GABA: 500 mg, 2-3x/day
Hormones are Essential for Calm
- Melatonin, especially our prescription form under the tongue, helps with sleep-related anxiety issues.
- Progesterone works by activating the GABA receptor Women may need 50-200 mg/day whereas men need 12.5-75 mg. Estrogen is also essential to support when low.
- Testosterone, as well as DHEA, reduce anxiety in both men and women.
Get a Healthy Gut / Microbiome
An unhealthy Gut is the root of a lot of anxiety. Avoid the common gut disruptors: gluten, regular use of non-steroidal medications like ibuprofen, antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills and excessive alcohol. Panic symptoms can be directly caused by food allergies. We find the most common severe reactions are due to wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, and nuts. We can test for food sensitivities using simple blood or skin tests. You will also want to eradicate yeast.
Is Hormone Imbalance Causing Your Anxiety?
Don’t let anxiety and stress take over your life. Take our symptom checker quiz to find out if you have symptoms of hormone deficiencies or imbalance that could be the cause of your stress and anxiety.