Stress, anxiety and depression are triggered in all of us at some point during our adult life. According to the Office of National Statistics, these are the most common mental disorders in the UK. When we become stressed or anxious, we often find it hard to concentrate and work as efficiently as we should be. Our brain can become foggy, leaving us feeling tired and drained. Anxiety can also leave many with a feeling of ‘What if?’ accompanied by panic, fear, poor concentration, loss of appetite, sweats, aches and pains and can even be the root cause of migraines and IBS. Nutritionist Sarah Flower shares her top tips and advice to help relieve your anxiety from the comfort of your own home.
Take deep breaths
As soon as a feeling of anxiety or stress comes on the first thing you should take note of is your breathing. Deep breathing is a powerful anxiety-reducing technique because it activates the body’s relaxation response. For even more effective results rubbing some lavender oil on your pillow or direct to your body before bed can help you feel calm.
Change your diet
We tend to consume more salt or sugary foods when stressed and anxious, as well as caffeine. A high sugar, carbohydrate and processed foods diet will cause a spike in blood sugar levels, causing insulin production and in the long term, insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes. B vitamins are recommended in times of stress, anxiety and mild depression. Make sure to incorporate foods which are rich in these vitamins such as meat, nuts, whole grains, eggs, wheat germ, brown rice and fortified cereals.
Get plenty of sleep
The hormone cortisol can build up through stress, anxiety and continuous late nights. Ideally, aim to be fast asleep by midnight, so that cortisol levels can dip to their lowest between midnight and 4am. Try to avoid using electronic devices before bedtime, as the artificial light source from a smartphone or tablet can halt the production of melatonin, potentially leaving you awake for hours on end.
Relax with Epsom salts
Another great way to relax and alleviate anxiety is by taking an Epsom salt bath. When Epsom salts are dissolved in warm water, its magnesium content is released into the water and absorbed into your skin to help replenish magnesium levels and ease muscles. These salts can also help to promote calmness and relaxation as well as reducing irritability levels.
Substitute with oils
Omega 3 fish oils are known to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as regulate inflammation. Fish oils can also help to reduce the production of adrenal hormones. The adrenals release cortisol as part of your stress response, which is involved in blood sugar regulation, blood pressure regulation, immune responses and inflammation processes. Over stimulation of the adrenals can lead to chronic fatigue.
The power of ginseng
Panax Korean ginseng is an adaptogen, helping to support you in times of stress and anxiety. It can also help clear your mind, enhance memory and improve mood; all of which can be affected during times of stress. Opt for a high-quality ginseng, such as Power Health’s Power Ginseng herbal remedy which contains the highest quality four to six-year-old Panax Korean Ginseng roots or Holland and Barrett's Korean Ginseng capsules.
Up your magnesium intake
Many people who suffer from anxiety, depression and migraines will usually also have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium Citrate; known as an anti-stress mineral due to its remarkable effects on the nervous system. It also helps relax muscles, improve flexibility and tone blood vessels – vital to protect you from heart disease. Up your magnesium intake with foods such as kelp, wheat bran, almonds, buckwheat, Brazil nuts and molasses. Not a fan of these foods? Try Era 8, a melt in the mouth tissue salt made from Magnesium phosphate, which can help keep you calm during times of anxiety and stress so ideal to keep at your desk or handbag.
Boost your mind with meditation
Meditation is a great way to unwind in the evening before bed or to energise you first thing in the morning. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, can not only help with anxiety and stress but can actually change the structure and function of your brain. Mindfulness trains you to view your thoughts differently and works to make your brain less anxious by not worrying about the future and ruminating on the past.Last modified: June 10, 2021