How the Foods We Eat Can Help Improve Our Anxiety

Doctors and dieticians are beginning to appreciate more about how the nutritional properties of the foods we eat affect the brain. There is a clear and important connection between the brain and the gut; some researchers are now referring to the gut as the second brain. They now know when essential nutrients are deficient, there is a direct effect on the production of neurotransmitters and brain chemistry that can increase anxiety-related behaviours.

Here are some foods to start eating to help with your anxiety and stress today: –

1. Asparagus

Studies going back to the 1960s indicate that many people who suffer from anxiety and depression have shown a folate deficiency. Asparagus is one vegetable that contains a valuable amount of this mood-boosting nutrient. One portion provides two-thirds of your daily recommended folate value.

Try adding asparagus spears to your meals, or even eat as a snack, dip the spears into salsa, hummus or other dips.

2. Avocado

 Avocados are rich in B vitamins and healthy fat; all the B vitamins have positive effects on the nervous system. However, deficiencies in these stress-relieving vitamins have been linked to increased anxiety in people. Avocados also contain vitamin E, which is important for vision, reproduction, and maintaining healthy skin. It also widens the blood vessels. Helps with cognition and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin E is fat-soluble; it is found in foods with high-fat content like nuts and avocados.

When you next want a chocolate dessert, try blending an avocado, some cacao or cocoa powder and sugar or stevia to taste, chill in the fridge, you will be surprised how good it tastes.

3. Blueberries

Our bodies crave vitamin C when stressed or anxious. Vitamin C is an antioxidant; this helps repair and protect our cells and provide anxiety relief. Blueberries are full of this vitamin and antioxidants.

When you are craving a sugary snack, reach for blueberries instead of sugary sweets and snacks. Sugar is not good for our brains; it causes the brain to work at a sub-optimal level, creating a larger risk of anxiety and depression symptoms. The vitamin C in blueberries will also give your immune system a boost.

4. Turkey

Turkey contains tryptophan, this is nutrient that helps you to sleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body needs to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps regulate sleep and mood.  With this in mind it may help reduce anxious feelings.

Instead of having a takeaway of KFC, try cooking a turkey breast with vegetables as a more healthy option and help your anxiety at the same time.

5. Almonds

Magnesium found in almonds and other nuts may also be effective for helping anxiety-related symptoms. Insufficient magnesium also reduces the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.  12 almonds contain approximately 19% of our daily recommended magnesium. Magnesium can also be found in seeds, legumes, and avocados.

Instead of snacking on biscuits high in trans fats, which will make your anxiety worse and increase the risk of depression, eat a handful of nuts and gain from healthy fats and fibre; these will improve your gut health. Add some dried fruit or dark chocolate chips if you need some sweetness.

6. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is a fermented food; these foods can help your anxiety too.  There is a link between eating fermented and probiotic foods and the reduction of social anxiety.  Greek and plain yoghurt are best; they contain live active cultures, which is the nutrient that will help your anxiety.  Other probiotic foods: pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, and miso.

For breakfast swap the milk with yoghurt with your cereal or have plain yoghurt with fresh fruit.

7. Kale (or Arugula)

Research has found having a lower antioxidant level is linked to anxiety symptoms. Any dark leafy greens like kale are

high in beta carotene, antioxidants, and vitamin C.  These boost our antioxidant levels and help our brains function optimally.

Add kale to your salad; if you do not like the bitter taste, have it as a cooked vegetable, or add to an omelette, soup, or a smoothie to hide the bitter taste.

8. Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly effective when it comes to foods that help with anxiety. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like salmon, chia seeds, soybeans, and walnuts, as well as cold-pressed olive oil. The correct dietary fats are essential to our brain health. Replacing red meat with fish and other omega-3 foods will help support a healthy brain-gut microbiome.

Consider having salmon instead of steak to help keep your cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you are feeling stressed.

Experiment with these foods to see if your anxiety improves.

Links to more information on anxiety.

17 Affirmations to help cal your anxiety

Anxiety and Exercise

The effect of anxiety on your body

How mindfulness and meditation can help your anxiety

How trapped emotions cause distress, pain and muscle tension in our bodies

17 Affirmations to Help Calm your Anxiety.

Calm your anxiety with affirmations. Using the right affirmations for your anxiety, you will be able to calm your attacks be they take hold.  Below are some affirmations to help reduce your anxiety when you are on the verge of an attack. I would suggest keeping a list in your bag or on your phone until this becomes second nature and you have memorised the affirmations.       

How you can calm anxiety attacks with affirmations or mantras

These affirmations bring you into the present and allow you to ground yourself.  Repeating positive affirmations or phrases instil these messages in your brain, helping you become calm and in control. Affirmations are really simple and extremely useful to use when your anxiety strikes. Well known mantras are “om”, “om mani padme hum”, personal mantras could be “I am full of light”, “I belong, I have faith” mantras are most commonly used in meditation and have a more spiritual background. Although I have used these when out walking on my own. Mantras again are repeated frequently in your mind and will immerse you completely in an idea and bring you closer to your goal. Whatever you use to calm your anxiety has to feel right for you.

Challenge your negative thoughts with these affirmations.

To manage our anxiety, we need to learn how to change our anxious thought patterns using affirmations or mantras. When you start to feel your anxiety rising, instead of listening to the negative thoughts your mind immediately gives you, thoughts like, “I am having an anxiety attack” or “I am panicking”, these often lead to negative self-talk like, “I am so stupid, why did I do …….” Or I hate myself. Why do I do …………….”. As soon as you feel an attack coming, start to read your affirmations from your phone or written list. “I am calm”, “I can feel this fear and let it pass”,, and “I am in control”.

Breaking the cycle of anxiety with affirmations

Anxious thought patterns get embedded in the brain each time you experience an anxiety attack. You can either programme your brain to react to the situation with the negative thought patterns creating anxiety or use positive affirmations to reduce your anxiety. Therefore, you can break the cycle of anxiety by using positive affirmations and mantras to rewire your brain through plasticity.

Not using any form of positive strategies like affirmations or mantras, you feed your fear of a situation, confirming to your brain that this situation results in panic. Using affirmations, you lessen the fear, forcing your brain to see this situation is not scary and not needing to release fear and panic and the fight and flight hormones.

Using affirmations can serve as a distraction to your anxiety.

Using affirmations serves as a distraction from your anxiety, giving you something else to focus on. Having positive affirmations in places around your home, on your phone as wallpapers take your brain away from the panic. By focusing on these positive affirmations, reciting them, so you memorise them will immediately bring your focus away from the anxiety attack, which will end your attacks quicker after time.

Rewire the brain with positive affirmations

Studies and science have shown that our brains can be rewired by our thoughts. Therefore, positive affirmations and thoughts can change your brain to be more positive and creating less panic. We have all heard of positive thinking and positive self-talk; this is why it is so important. Your mind will always believe what you constantly tell it.  Continually affirming you are having a panic attack or will have one, your brain is more likely to make it happen. By repeating to yourself regularly, “I am calm,” your brain is more likely to make this happen.  Affirmations can change your life.

Affirmations to use when you are feeling anxious.

Below are some affirmations to use when you feel your anxiety and fear rising. These are short, so they are easier to remember and use: –

  • I am calm and in control”.
  • I feel the fear and let it go”.
  • “I am not defined by my anxiety”.
  • “I let my anxious thoughts flow in one ear and out the other.”
  • “I am okay.”
  • “I am getting through this anxious moment, just as I have done a million times before”.
  • “I am strong and resilient”.
  • “I choose to feel calm and peaceful”.
  • “I have survived this before; I will this survive now”.
  • “I am free from my anxiety. I am in control”.
  • “I am in charge of my breathing, and I can slow it down”.
  • “I can do this”.
  • “I am above stress of any kind”.
  • “I am familiar with these feelings, and they do not scare me”.
  • “I am surrounded by people who understand”.
  • “I am supported, loved and cared for”.
  • “I have the techniques and tools I need to persevere”.

Using affirmations to relieve your anxiety.

Affirmations can be used in meditation, while you are out walking when you are not experiencing anxiety, this further helps rewire our brains, there are many ways you can use them, you choose what is best for you. The one rule for helping anxiety is to recite an affirmation at least 10 times or until you feel it resonating with you, every time you are feeling anxious wherever you are.

When you have an attack you can, recite the affirmation silently to yourself, read it from your phone or paper list, or sit and write them down. Our brains all work differently, so choose the way feels most comfortable for you. You must keep repeating the affirmations for them to rewire your brain.

The above are only a few affirmations; there are hundreds more online and plenty of apps that will send you an affirmation each day. We are all at different stages of our anxiety, and using affirmations may not be enough for you. If you feel you need more support, please do not hesitate to contact me to support you further. There is lots of help out there, and you do not need to suffer in silence and alone.

If you are already on medication, DO NOT stop taking this without getting advice from your doctor.

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Stress Now!

Taking control.

Remaining passive, thinking there is nothing I can do about my situations, makes your stress worse. Remember, there is a solution to every problem. That feeling of being unable to control your life problems is a leading cause of stress and anxiety.

Taking control is empowering; it is part of finding the solutions to your problems. The solutions need to help you, not someone else. Identify and write down your options, choose the best option, and accept the outcome, even if it is not what you expected.

Socialising with people.

We all need a network of people to talk to, friends, family, colleagues. Talking to these people helps put a different perspective on things.  Socialising and connect with people gives us a network of people that can help us when low. We can do activities with them have fun and laugh, which will help us relax and relieve our stress.

Talking with our support network helps you find solutions to your issues.

Taking some time for yourself.

Having “ME time” is essential; working in the UK, we have the longest working hours in Europe. Therefore, we are unlikely to spend as much time on the things we enjoy. We all need to take time to relax, exercise, and socialise away from work. Organising two nights a week for yourself gives you a better chance of work and personal life balance.

Take on challenges.

It is a good idea to continue learning throughout your life.  This could be in work or outside, make them relatively challenging like learning a new language, new sport, or other hobbies. You will start to feel more confident, helping your stress.

Making continued learning part of your routine, you become more resilient and are less likely to sit and watch telly for hours; you are more likely to want to do things.

Be active.

Being active can also help your stress. This can be going to the gym for a workout, but it can also be gentle walks or a keep fit routine at home. Exercise helps take your mind off your worries, so you can deal with your situations calmly.

Healthy diet and habits.

Drinking alcohol or caffeine, and smoking is not good for you, they are just ways of coping and avoiding the problems.

Men are more likely to use these to relieve their symptoms temporarily than women. Women are far more likely to talk to their friends.

You need to find the cause of the problems causing your stress.

Help others.

It has been proven that “volunteering” and community work makes us happier and more resilient.

By helping people whose situations may be worse than your own, helps you put yours into perspective. If you have a busy schedule and cannot commit to volunteering for a group, look for ways to do someone a favour daily.  These can be little things, holding the door open, treating someone to a coffee.

Work smarter, not harder.

Prioritising your day and workload, complete the tasks that will make a difference first.

You may need to accept your email inbox or your in-tray will not be empty at the end of the day, taking away the pressure of clearing all your tasks, can make you feel less stressed.  Having regular breaks, even for five minutes to take some deep breaths, you will be amazed how shallow you breathe when under pressure. You will then be able to focus more.

Be positive.

Appreciate what you have, be the glass half full person. Look for the good in people and life, find those “silver linings”.

Write down three things you are grateful for or went well for you each evening.

Accept what you cannot change.

Situations in your life are not always possible to change. Putting all your focus on these will not help your stress or anxiety. Look at ways of changing the things you can control.

How many of us complain about the weather, we cannot change it; therefore, we have to accept it, either cancel our plans or make the most of them in the rain. Getting stressed and continuing to moan about it does not help anyone.

The other thing to remember is you cannot change people, you can only change your reaction to them or your perspective.

5 Tips to Stay Positive

The philosopher Marcus Aurelius quoted “Our life is what our thoughts make it” Many others have written similar quotes since.

Do you always look for the problem, or do you look for a solution?

Are you a glass half empty or half full person?

Many studies have shown the benefits of being a positive thinker, mainly a much lower risk of dying from death’s main causes. 

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Various types of Cancer
  • Infection
  • Respiratory diseases

I am not going into detail on the above diseases, there is loads of information on the internet to read.

Other benefits of being positive from studies are: –

  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved psychological and physical health.
  • Quicker recovery from injury and illness
  • Fewer colds
  • Less chance of depression and anxiety
  • Improved management of stress and being more resilient.
  • Living a healthier longer life.

Thinking Positively

Focus on the happy times.

In life, we all have good and bad memories.  To stay positive, we need to focus on finding the silver lining of the situation. When an event is cancelled, don’t take it personally, think about an activity you can do instead that you enjoy.

Gratitude

Keeping a gratitude journal, or any other way of practising gratitude has been proven to reduce stress, increase self-esteem and resilience, to help you cope when life throws you difficult times. Write of think of people and all the situations and things you find comfort or happiness with. Do this once a day, it can be part of meditation too. The list can be simple things like thanking a person for helping you, the love you receive from your pets, the joy of your garden.

Laughter

Laughing lowers stress, anxiety, depression, as well as improving your mood and self-esteem.  When things are hard to find the funny side and laugh, I am sure many of you have experienced this when in a group, how laughing instantly changes the mood and the situation becomes easier.

Positive people

Positivity is as contagious as negativity. Therefore, consider spending time with positive people. It has been said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Positive Self-Talk

We are our own worst enemies; we talk to ourselves in ways we would not consider talking to others. You need to become aware of this talk and change the negative statements immediately with a positive one.  There are also phrases and words we should try to avoid, “I can’t”, “Should”, “problem”, “if”, “just”, “if only”, “but”, “someday”, “why me”, “I don’t know” are some, read a blog post here for 21 words and Phrases.

Want help in finding ways to quiet your negative self-talk, email Rosemary@soul-essence.com

Anxiety and Exercise

Exercise is a great way to maintain your mental fitness.

Research has shown how exercise helps reduce fatigue, improves alertness and focus, which in turn reduces stress. When you exercise your body produces endorphins, this feel-good hormone acts like a painkiller and helps you sleep, which again will help reduce stress and anxiety.

Unfortunately, stress and anxiety are part of our lives, we all have them but deal with them in different ways. A simple 10-minute brisk walk can relieve anxiety and depression, if you can focus on your senses during your walk, listening, smelling, and feeling the environment around you, bringing you into the present moment. This may only be temporary relief, but done regularly, you may find your anxiety attacks to lessen.

Find forms of exercise you enjoy, if you prefer gentle keep fit, running or jogging, make time to do this each day. If you have not done any exercise for some time start slowly, it takes up to eight weeks to get back to into regular fitness program.

Not everyone’s anxiety will be improved by exercise, however, if you are mobile and have no other health concerns, being physically active should be encouraged. With exercise, we will start to feel better about our bodies which may help to improve your mood.

If you suffer anxiety and have mobility issues, I suggest trying to find a hobby, like drawing, painting, knitting etc. so you can focus your mind away from your anxiety and worry.

If you are still struggling to control your anxiety, meditation, or energy healing may be able to help you. Email rosemary@soul-essence.com for more information.

Check out Soul Essence and their resources page for more information on how we can help.

The Effect of Anxiety on Your Body

Stress hormones and their effects on anxiety.

Anxiety and panic attacks create the “flight or fight” response in our body.  Our brain then releases the stress hormones into our nervous system, like adrenaline and cortisol. This is helpful if we are in a genuine stressful situation. Constant exposure to these hormones is not good for our bodies, they can cause hyperactivity, weight gain and high blood pressure to name a few..

Hormones which are released when stress of having an anxiety or panic attack: –

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts energy supplies.

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

Norepinephrine is released from the adrenal glands, most of the norepinephrine in the blood comes from the nerve endings. Together with adrenaline, norepinephrine increases heart rate and blood pumping from the heart. It also increases blood pressure and helps break down fat and increase blood sugar levels to provide more energy to the body.

Why do we suffer anxiety?

Often anxiety and panic attacks are bought on by perceived situations that we are thinking or believe will happen.  This is why meditation and mindfulness can help, both of these bringing you into the present. When we are faced with an event, our brains are like a computer and go through events in our past, these past memories can shape our focus on the present and future.  These past thoughts can then create our anxiety and panic attacks. If our subconscious believes some thing will happen, we then worry and can have anxiety.

By trying to focus on the present and use the past to learn from and improve, can be immensely helpful to ease your anxiety. It helps you retrain your brain.  Meditation and Energy Healing can help re-programme your subconscious.

My mantra is: – You cannot change the past you can only learn from it and change the future.

If you would like to find out more about meditation or energy healing email rosemary@soul-essence.com change your future now.

Checkout Soul-essence.com for more about what we do we have resources you can download.

How Mindfulness and Meditation can Help your Anxiety.

Anxiety can drain you mentally and energetically.  However, research has proven meditation and mindfulness can reduce your anxiety.

Mindfulness and meditation can be done in the comfort of your home with little equipment. You can use mindfulness, throughout the day. When you are making a drink really listen to the water being poured into the cup, and the smell of the coffe or tea, the same when you are making dinner. What ever you are doing try to come out the auto pilot mode.

Your Intention.

Start the day with setting your intention. Your intention can be repeated as an affirmation or written down in your journal, you can even write on a post it and put it some where you will see it regularly.

Your intentions can be, I look for the positives in negative situations. I accept myself and know I am enough, 1 will drink enough water today, I will do my best to achieve my goals. Make it something relevant to what causes your anxiety.

Meditate or Practise Mindfulness Each Day.

You can use an app for meditation, there are several free ones available or you can just listen to meditation music or focus on your breathing. There are many classes if you need some help or inspiration to mediate. Soul essence runs a fortnightly Tuesday evening meditation group online via zoom.

Do Something Creative.

There are many adult colouring books available now. Colouring can be very relaxing, as can plain doodling. You can make some lovely patterns doodling. I am sure many of have done this during a boring meeting. This could be helpful if you are at home alone and find it difficult to switch off and need something to do with your hands.

Doing a Walking Meditation.

Go for a walk and really focus on the nature around you, if you are in a town try and find a park. Walking round the block in a town is good too, but keep your focus on what you can hear, smell, and feel. We need to keep our minds in the present on what our senses are picking up.

Breathing

When you are walking home, or doing things outdoors, take some deep breaths into your belly, and look up to the sky, whether it is light or dark, and notice the clouds floating by or the stars shining. By focusing on our breath, it helps us to relax and become calm. Take our attention away from our anxiety and problems.

Social Media

Social Media can be helpful when used for the right reasons. It can also be one of the main causes of anxiety and stress. The more platforms you use the more you are likely to create stress and anxiety.  Set yourself a limit on the social media platforms, either use one of the apps that monitors your time on social media or logout each time. By having to put your password in each time will make you think about why I am logging in. You will realise how much you go on these platforms without thinking and taking in other people negativity.

Are Your Relationships being Sabotaged by Your Inner Child!

No one gets through their childhood without a degree of wounding, some may continue to be in denial about this.  Staying blind to these wounds will allow them to have a way of unconsciously ruling us. If while growing up you were smothered and overprotected by your parents and you don’t look at this issue, you may overreact to even the slightest amount of control by your spouse. However, when you understand the dynamic with your parents can find the emotional freedom to make different, and healthier, choices. Being vulnerable and communicating your childhood hurts to your spouse. You can let them know what triggers you, what your “inner child” needs. You can then act, rather than only react.

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The wounded inner child – whether from childhood trauma or neglect – tries hard to get our needs for love, care and attention met. This could cause us to use manipulation with people and situations to get our own way, perhaps by becoming overly dependent upon someone else to meet our needs – as if they were our idealised parent.love-1833159_1280

 

Alternatively, if we have given up on our efforts to get our needs for love met by someone else we might then become emotionally cut off and overly self-reliant and super-independent. All of which keep us disconnected from mature love – the very love that could heal our early wounds.

If any of the above rings true to you, you can find more information about the Inner Child in my Ebook or contact me for more information

Suffering Panic Attacks – How to Help Yourself Cope in Life

Most of us have experienced anxiety at some time in our lives. That tense feeling, being hesitant and fearful of an approaching exam, test or interview. These situations are normally short-term and can be useful; they may make you more alert in an exam. However, the feelings may overwhelm you making you unable to concentrate.

 

We have all heard of the “Fight or flight” reflex, this reflex was to protect us from danger, give us the extra energy to run away. For this to happen, the anxious feelings and the fear trigger the release of a hormone called adrenalin. Adrenalin makes your heart beat faster to carry your blood to the organs which most need it. Your breathing increases to obtain more oxygen, you will sweat to stop you overheating. There are many other changes that take place in your body to help you cope with the impending danger. Once the danger has passed other hormones are released to help you relax. The “Fight of flight” reflex is very useful to help you run away from danger, however, when you want to run away from things like exams, driving tests it is not so useful because your body will take much longer to relax and you will be in an agitated state for longer. If the anxiety stays at high levels for long periods of time, you may find life difficult to deal with. The longer this goes on for, the more powerless and out of control, you may feel. If this feeling of fear or anxiety begins to overwhelm you the next stage is “Panic attacks”

Panic attacks are the exaggerated response of the body to fear and stress. You often get palpitations in your heart, possibly feeling faint, nauseous, chest pains, difficulty breathing and many more. You may start to feel you are going to have a heart attack and die. Attacks come on quickly and last from five to twenty minutes, those suffering them for longer are experiencing several attacks one after the other.

Anxiety and panic attacks can be a combination of factors. Something distressing happening to you in the past (possibly in childhood) and you were unable to deal with the emotions at the time. If things happen to you now which trigger that distress the anxiety and the emotions which have not been dealt with, and possibly trigger a panic attack. Your parents may have been anxious people and therefore this has been learnt by you in your early life.

Unfortunately, anxiety has an effect on your body and mind making you fearful, on edge, and unable to relax or concentrate. To cope with these feeling you might smoke, drink or use drugs as relaxants.

To stop the anxiety and panic attacks, learning to meditate and relax the mind is very helpful. Meditation is not all about sitting cross-legged on the floor; it is about learning to relax and focusing on a soothing voice or music. In my groups I do guided meditation, you focus on my voice as I take you on a relaxing journey to relax you.  Energy healing and integral core therapy, also benefits people suffering anxiety and panic attacks, we encourage you to go back to the fearful feelings and learn how you can deal with them.

My meditation groups are the 1st Wednesday of the month. I also do one to one sessions for meditation, energy healing and integral core therapy. 

If you would like advice or help please contact me.