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When Anxiety hits, it can be one of those life-halting events. It makes your brain hyper-focused on anything and you can obsess on just about everything! You maybe have felt like you have lost the ability to control your thoughts, and perhaps you have. Perhaps you are having terribly negative and untrue thoughts about yourself and those around you. Maybe you can’t leave the house or be around large groups of people as the thought somehow makes you want to run away or start crying. This is what anxiety does to our lives and it can be a very confronting and scary time. I know this all too well as I have been through my own season of it and have come out the other side – only to be thrust back into it occasionally which has taught me valuable self-care lessons along the way. It’s funny how this is one of the subjects I talk about in clinic the MOST yet this is one of the articles I took the longest to write. Anxiety is a normal emotion every human feels when faced with uncertainty or stress. It is related to an influx of Neuro-chemicals in the body which trigger a response from us – do something, run away, think faster, fight back etc. It’s important to note that there are levels of this – not all of these emotions are bad, if they are warranted they are actually helpful and could save your life. However, if you experience feelings of danger, dread, overthinking, catastrophising and over-reminiscing on a more regular basis, then you are probably experiencing Anxiety. They all come under the same banner, however there are a few different forms of Anxiety:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Social Anxiety
- Panic Disorder
Here is a few things to remember:
- Learning to Deep Breath or Meditate isn’t just Woo-Woo. It is scientifically proven to help calm stress signals in the body. Now, I find this is only really helpful as a preventative tool – telling me to meditate when I felt like panicking wasn’t overly helpful haha. But Deep Breathing really helped. Not sure how? Look up some Apps that assist with teaching you to Meditate and Breathe like these ones or make an appointment with a Holistic Psychologist/Counsellor.
- Exercise is the quickest way to calm your nerves, even though it is the last thing you feel like doing when you are feeling anxious. Try a gentle walk outside that gets your heart rate up. My favourite exercise for Anxiety is swimming, Pilates, Bike riding, and Yoga. I find walking and running often leaves more time to think and dwell on thoughts so only do these if you really love them. Pick exercise that takes your mind away from yourself.
- Get a good crew of team members on your side – your GP, your Naturopath, a great Psychologist/Social Worker/Counsellor
- You will not be “stuck like that forever”. I know that was one of my biggest concerns when I was in the throws of it. You feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but there is. You just need a solid health plan and to work away at it.
- When it comes to Panic Attacks, most people can tell and feel when they are coming on. It is difficult, but you totally have the power to not let yourself get that overwhelmed or worked-up. It’s tricky, but you can teach yourself to not go down that road so that you do not get to the point of no-return. It takes practice and you won’t catch yourself everytime, however the more you understand that Panic Attacks are 50% in the brain and 50% what you are thinking about, you feel a little more in control.
- When you feel a Panic Attack building, my advice is to – 1. stop what you are doing. 2. move to a different location or a different room or pull over when safe if in the car. 3. Change your physical state by getting in the shower, going outside in the sun, going into the fridge or freezer, washing your face with cold water, doing some jumping jacks on the spot, go do some immediate exercise or sit and do some deep breathing until you calm yourself. It will pass, it always does. The feeling of Panic can take a little while to settle so just keep yourself busy but calm until you feel safe again.
- Get blood tests done to check all your hormones & nutrient levels – AND make sure the right person is interpreting them for you. A Naturopath/Nutritionist will assess your bloods from a perspective of “are you functioning optimally” not just “are you in the parameters”.
- Medication is sometimes necessary and that’s ok. Sometimes I recommend this to clients as your wellbeing is our priority and sometimes correcting imbalances in the body can take time. We don’t want you feeling horrible for months on end and Medication can be amazing to assist your body short term.
How we approach Anxiety at MKNH:
We need to determine the potential triggers for your mood imbalance. Whether that is gut related, linked to nutrient deficiency, hormone dysfunction, diet, stress, poor sleep, Genetics or Methylation.
We work in a holistic way to improve your mental health which can be alongside your Doctors and Counsellors. Although some people choose to manage their mental health completely naturally, we also help many people balance their Mental Health whilst they are on Medication or a care plan.
We believe in a getting you back on track for a healthier, happier and more energetic you in the safest way possible.