A New Look at Anxiety

As we move through the holiday season and head into the new year, we can look back and reflect on our emotions.  Many of our emotions are joyful and help to make the holidays celebratory, yet many people experience a degree of negative emotions that may have made some aspects of holiday season more stressful.  With the increased darkness and the hecticness of the holiday season, it is no surprise that many people experience an increased level of tension, nervousness, and a feeling of overwhelm in their body.  Physically, this can feel like it is difficult to catch your breath, irritability, fatigue, racing heart, and trouble sleeping.    

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you may be experiencing some level of anxiety. Other places that people can experience anxiety may be around certain events, like public speaking, decision making or times of high stress. Anxiety becomes an abnormal event when it begins to affect our daily lives with interpersonal relationships, our job performance, or causes physical manifestations in our bodies.

People choose to deal with anxiety in various ways, some are sustainable and healthy, and some can lead to more health problems down the road. If you are experiencing anxiety, Dr. Lisa and  Dr. Meghan would love to work with you to find healthy sustainable ways to reduce your anxiety. There are some cases where changing your diet and lifestyle will be enough, and other cases where natural supplemental support or pharmaceutical medications may be needed. Scheduling an appointment to fully assess your health and evaluate other possible causes that may be triggering your anxiety is recommended.  The doctors will make sure your blood work is up to date and then may suggest checking your urinary output of neurotransmitters and possibly an adrenal test, to help guide which treatment options are best for you.

The doctors at Amber Wellness Group highly recommend having a licensed counselor on your wellness team. Counselors are a wonderful resource to support people with anxiety and help identify triggers as well as build tools to successfully negotiate situations that could provoke the anxiety.  www.psychologytoday.com is a wonderful resource for finding a counselor that is convenient and even covered by your insurance.

If you have been experiencing anxiety or some of the symptoms talked about above, here are some things you can try today.

  • Talking: having a close friend, a partner, or a therapist is a great first step in balancing anxiety levels. Often having another perspective or having someone simply listen to your feelings, can go a long way.
  • Diet: believe it or not, eating well rounded nutritious foods can reduce inflammation and reduce anxiety. Your goal is to eat 6 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to get your vitamins, minerals, and fiber to start. Then you want to make sure you are eating 80 grams of protein a day in 4-6 divided meals and snacks. Protein help us get the amino acids we need to synthesize neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA, these neurotransmitters are imperative in supporting our mood and reducing anxiety. Good healthy fats like olive oil, cod liver oil, and flax oil are also important to add to your diet.  Your brain needs healthy fats to help the nervous system respond appropriately. Protein and fats (aka nutrient dense foods) also balance blood sugar. Have you heard the newfound term “hangry”?  Hangry refers to being so hungry you’re irritable and angry. We’ve all been there from time to time. So remember, keeping your blood sugar balanced goes a long way to supporting mood and reducing anxiety.
  • Movement: now this doesn’t have to be a big involved exercise workout. Really just getting your body and blood moving. Taking a walk, stretching or doing yoga, or going for a short run will help release endorphins and support your mood and reduce anxiety.  
  • Breathing: take 10 deep belly breaths and notice what happens. Our breathing regulates whether our body needs to be ready to deal with a stressful situation or if it can relax.  When we take short shallow breaths our body is getting ready to run from a tiger (get out of harms way).  When we slow down and take deep breaths our nervous system calms down and switches out of the fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system) and into the rest and digest mode (parasympathetic system).

These are a few simple ideas we thought would help anyone reduce anxiety in their daily life.  The doctors at Amber Wellness Group look forward to supporting you, we will listen, evaluate and guide you towards reaching any of your health goals.

Additional resources:

https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress

http://www.portlandanxietyclinic.com/resources/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/or/portland

http://www.aacap.org/aacap/Families_and_Youth/Resource_Centers/Anxiety_Disorder_Resource_Center/Home.aspx

Posted in Wellness Blog