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How To Manage Your Anxiety with a Functional Approach

Updated: 4 days ago

After my third baby, I went through a period of #hormonal chaos that I would not wish on anyone. I could not sleep for nine months. I would lie in my bed, heart racing, brain working on overload, crying because was so exhausted and yet could not sleep.

After a few weeks, just walking past the door to my room would set off an anxious state. I felt like I was having mini panic attacks multiple times a day. My stomach would drop out and my heart would start beating quickly. My palms would get sweaty and fear would grip me as I thought about another night where I would get no sleep.

My anxiety felt like it took over my life, and no one could help me. My doctor wanted to give me an antidepressant. I knew I was not depressed- I just couldn't sleep!

So when I get questions from women about managing their anxiety, I tell you- I get it. It's exhausting to deal with anxiety. The more you think about it, the more anxious you get.


According to the American Psychiatric Association, over 25 million Americans are have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders affect more women than men. If you don't struggle with anxiety yourself, you probably know someone who suffers from anxiety.

You already know this, but yo- I'm not a doctor. If you need medical intervention, please see your physician or psychiatrist.

But if you are interested in a #functional approach to managing your #anxiety, I have a few tips.

Diet

Make sure you are eating animal protein at least once a day. The amino acids, zinc, and B vitamins in meat all have a positive effect on stress hormones. Sometimes, the root cause of anxiety can be a #micronutrient deficiency.

Eat green vegetables. Celery has plenty of natural potassium and magnesium. Potassium supplements are standardized at 99 mg per serving. A cup of celery has 263 mg of potassium. Without proper levels of potassium, sodium, calcium, and #magnesium, your anxiety may continue.


Other green vegetables, especially the leafy green vegetables, have plenty of bioavailable magnesium and potassium. Get at least a serving or two of veggies with every meal.

Get good animal fat daily as well. Butter is my favorite (right now, I am loving the cultured French butter from #TraderJoe's!) because the Vitamin A and E nourish the brain and reduce inflammation. The butyric acid in a good quality butter also supports your colon cells and leads to proper elimination. Ok, I lied to you. #Butter is my favorite because it tastes freaking amazing. But it does all that other stuff too.

Rest

You must. Don't shortchange yourself. If you can nap during the day, allow yourself to do it. Especially if you have a new baby! Besides sleeping, make sure that you allow yourself some physical rest every day. Something I recommend often for anxiety is the following: using your skimpiest bathing suit, lay out in the full sun daily for 10-15 minutes, uninterrupted. Don't read, don't look at your phone, and don't talk to anyone. Just close your eyes and lay in the sun. The Vitamin D, the fresh(ish) air, and the quiet is very relaxing. If you struggle with intense anxiety, try this exercise twice a day. I use this time to pray and to listen to #Scripture- the Psalms are so calming during a time of anxiety. I have the ESV Bible app and use the audio option to have someone read Scripture to me. My pastor told us once that the Bible was originally written with the intent to be read aloud. It is a good exercise to listen to the Bible a few times a week, in addition to reading it yourself.


This is not the time to push your adrenal glands. Your body is exhausted and your #adrenals are working overtime to push out cortisol to manage the stress produced by physical anxiety. If you want to move your body, I commend you. However, please don't start training for a marathon, or take 5 spin classes a week, or do HIIT training every day. This is the time to walk your dog leisurely for an hour. It is the time to begin going to yoga, or Pilates. Move in a way that is relaxing and strengthening, not depleting.


Supplementation

This is what you really wanted to know. What pill can I take to make it all better? I feel you. I was searching for the same thing for an entire year. And I will tell you- no one thing made the difference. It is truly a holistic, integrative approach that works best for managing anxiety. Supplementation is only a part of the puzzle. That said, there are many different substances that work well to address the root cause of your mood disorder.

Magnesium


Magnesium is the best. Seriously. Let this be the first line of defense against your anxiety. Take 200-400 mg with each meal for 60 days. If it upsets your stomach or causes diarrhea, you have taken too much. Drop it down to 100-200 mg with each meal. Use the Natural Vitality Calm before bed to sleep better. This is one thing that helped me almost immediately once I discovered it.


B Vitamin Complex


B Vitamins are depleted quickly during times of stress. Anxiety is a stress condition. If you are panicky and agitated, it is likely that your body is in need of a good B complex. It is best to take B vitamins together and not as separate supplements. However, if you are struggling with intense #depression or anxiety, check out Andrew Saul and his work with niacin. I have been using B3 regularly, along with a B complex, and have experienced better skin, better circulation, and a slight elevation in mood.

Essential Fatty Acids


Fish and fish oils are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Plant and seed oils are high in Omega 6 fatty acids. While you need some of both, you absolutely need more Omega 3s in your diet. Omega 3 fatty acids become anti-inflammatory cytokines, and omega 6 fatty acids become inflammatory cytokines. That means that fish oil reduces inflammation and inflammatory disorders in the body. These cytokines have an effect on your neurotransmitters, which have an effect on mood- like anxiety. Take your fish oil to reduce your anxiety.

I use Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil in my HTMA nutritional balancing program because it has a proper ratio of Vitamin A to Vitamin D.

CBD Oil

There is no THC in commercially available #CBD oil. Therefore, CBD oil, even if ingested, has no hallucinogenic effects.

That said, let's talk about the effect it has on the body's #endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system refers to certain chemical messengers and their specific cell receptors on the nervous system, immune system, digestive tract, and brain.

Your body cannot produce endocannabinoids without essential fatty acids (please refer to supplement #3). Your body should produce its own natural endocannabinoids, but if hormonal or systemic dysregulation is afoot, that process shuts down. CBD increases the amount of endocannabinoids in the body. This can lift the mood.

This is my favorite:

As I tell my clients: care for yourself the way you would care for a child. What do you do for your little ones? Or pets?

- feed them regular meals

- make sure they get plenty of #sleep

- talk through their worries with them

- make them take time away from electronics and get outside

- allow them reasonable treats but not too many

- monitor their stimulants and stressors

- hug them often

Do these things for yourself. Unless your mother lives with you, and she just happens to be perfect, no one will care for your in this way unless you care for yourself. That's not a bad thing- it's your job to be a nurturer. However, if you are an anxious, exhausted hot mess, you will be less capable of caring well for those around you. It is a loving thing to do for everyone to practice self-care.

What are you doing to manage your anxiety?

To your health,

Jennifer

PS- If you are interested in doing more to manage your health with a Functional Nutrition Approach, group coaching classes start this July. I usually charge $250 for the initial appointment in a one on one setting. Group coaching will be online only, meeting once a week for a lecture, discussion, and questions. All attendees will have a personalized supplement plan. Classes will run for 4 weeks at a time. While the final price is not set yet, the waitlist price is $127 for the month. More info to come. Contact me here to be put on the waitlist. In the interest of personalized attention, classes will be small. First come, first serve.




jennifer

woodward

NUTRITION

jennifer woodward

NUTRITION

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