For years and years, I struggled with anxiety. I mean crippling anxiety. I would worry about every decision, get overwhelmed incredibly easily, and be ridiculously indecisive. I was basically a hot mess of worry that kept me from experiencing all the good right in front of me.
I was on a mission searching for How to Get Rid of Anxiety Naturally.
My journey with anxiety took two paths: addressing Body & Mind.
Body Root Causes of Anxiety
Once I began studying functional medicine and the root causes of anxiety, my life completely changed.
The physical causes of anxiety stem from either:
- Deficiencies: minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids (proteins).
- Toxicities: heavy metals, sugar, vegetable oils, parasites
- Hormonal Imbalance
I realized I was not eating at all of what my body needed to have balanced hormones and mental health. Once I adjusted my diet to balance my hormones, I emotionally felt like a whole new person.
How to Get Rid of Anxiety Naturally
1 . Diet for Anxiety
When people come to me searching for How to Get Rid of Anxiety Naturally, I immediately look at WHAT and HOW they are eating. Your hormones and neurotransmitters need certain nutritional building blocks in order to work correctly. If you are not eating or DIGESTING enough of the foods your body needs, your mental health will suffer.
Amino Acids (Protein): Your neurotransmitters are made from protein. If you are not getting enough protein, or if your body is not absorbing the protein you eat- anxiety and depression begin to manifest.
Essential Fatty Acids (healthy fats- Omega3, EPA, DHA, GLA): Your hormones are dependent on cholesterol and healthy fat to be made in the correct ratios.
Vitamins and Minerals: All vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium and zinc, play an irreplaceable role in the biological functionality of the human body. Every chemical reaction, every thought, and every heartbeat in the body is dependent on minerals and trace elements.
Take Away: Make sure you have a protein, healthy fat, and veggie at each meal and eat in a slow relaxed state so your body actually absorbs the nutirents you are eating. Consider fish oil, liquid minerals, B vitamins, or digestive enzymes to help fill defficineces and increase bioavailibility of the foods you are eating.
Related article: How to balance hormones
2 . Gut Health and Anxiety
Hundreds of studies have now shown that the bacteria that are inside of us are the number one factor for a healthy body.
Happiness and mental wellbeing may be directly related to the health of your digestive tract. The truth is that 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, while only 5% is produced in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood, sleep, appetite, and pain sensations. The right amount of serotonin in the brain produces a relaxed and positive feeling.
Everything from depression and anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism are related to an imbalance in serotonin signaling.
If you have leaky gut (which many people do), your digestive track may not be producing or getting serotonin to your brain like it should.
Many mental health disorders and even autism improve once the gut heals.
- Take care of your gut by avoiding processed food, fast food, sugar, vegetable oils, conventional meat and dairy, antibiotics, birth control pills, pesticides, and fluoride.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory organic diet filled with vegetables, filtered water and consume a WIDE range of probiotic pills, food, and liquids daily.
3. Blood Sugar to Stop Anxiety
Balancing blood sugar is the key to stopping anxiety! It is critical for your mood, hormonal balance, weight loss, cravings, and energy.
Here is how it works:
When you eat meals high in sugar (pasta, fruit juice, bread, cereal, cookies, desserts) or skip meals- your body makes cortisol (stress hormone) INSTEAD of progesterone and estrogen (feel good hormones).
Once your blood sugar is balanced, you will feel like an entirely different person! This means eating a generous amount of healthy fat and avoiding caffeine on an empty stomach, and high sugar/carb meals.
Takeaway: Start your day with healthy protein, fat, and fiber. Eat healthy fat and protein every 3-5 hours. Do not eat pure sugar or carbohydrate meals.
Related article: What to eat to balance hormones
Probably not the first time you have heard this one, but exercise has been proven to be as effective as an anti-depressant. Moving gets blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your brain and every organ in your body. It also produces feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine.
Take Away: Move every day! Find a type of movement you love doing: walk, HIIT, dance, pilates, barre, sports, weights. . . ANYTHING. Take little movement breaks throughout the day and exercises a few times a week and you will be amazed how much less reactive you are.
Related articles: How to get in shape in 20 minutes a week with HIIT
5. Rewire Your Mind
Now listen. . . .food, supplements and movement make a HUGE difference. . . however, the most important transformation is in your mind, and its ability to choose to yield to the spirit.
Often times, anxiety is just a HABIT the mind has picked up.
The science behind rewiring your mind
A quick explanation about how this actually works:
- Every thought you think is a physical structure and pathway in your brain that controls your default way of thinking.
- If you worry all of the time, your brain is full of worry pathways, so that is where your mind automatically goes because those are the pathways that are there thus A HABIT.
- The goal is to break down those pathways and build new ones so your automatic reaction to the circumstances in your life is not worrying. Just like breaking any other habit, it will not feel comfortable at first.
How it works
It takes 63 days to break down pathways and to replace with a new pathway. It also takes that long to get your new way of thinking into your subconscious mind so it becomes how you automatically think and see the world.
What I am saying is: you can wire out your natural response of worrying and wire in a new natural response.
It takes work and constant awareness for at least two months.
Takeaway: Every day, spend a few minutes deeply thinking about the old mindset and the new mindset you are wiring in. Then, when you have old feelings of anxiety come up, replace that thought with the new thought (what you are grateful for, Bible verse, etc.)
Slowly, day by day, you will break down old neuropathways and build new ones.
Wire in verses like Philipians 4:6: “Do not be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout the day offering your faith filled request before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life and the peace of God which transcends human understanding will make the answers known to you through Christ Jesus” turn to that MULTIPLE time a day until it becomes a part of who you naturally are!
Practice joy, love, and gratitude each day even when you don’t feel it. This way you are replacing those anxiety pathways with joy pathways that will completely alter the way you experience life.
Anxiety Spot Treatment
You will never not feel anxiety. Life happens and certain situations are just too much. Not to mention as women, we go through different hormonal changes every month and at certain times we will just be more prone to anxiety.
The goal is not to never get triggered or feel hard emotions. . . the goal is learning how to experience them in a productive way, release, and feeling better faster and faster each time.
When something has triggered you with anxiety, here are a few tools!
Exercises to Stop Anxiety
- Emotional Stress Release Technique – I go into how to do this here <——–
- BREATHE! – Anxiety always comes with shallow breathing. The next time you are feeling anxiety, I guarantee you are taking short breathes, probably even in a hunched or curled up position. Sit up straight. Breathe. Relax Every muscle in your body to get grounded and in the present moment. —> How to Breathe
- Power Pose – Your body language changes your brain which changes the way you feel. I talk more about power pose here.
- IT’S OKAY- MINDFULNESS & OBSERVATION: One of the biggest breakthroughs in my personal life was learning how to observe, and thereby have some control over, the various non-stop chatterbox voices in my head. Stop and label exactly what you are feeling. This alone calms your nervous system and begins to create change.
- Sometimes, we just need to sit with our feelings, even when they don’t feel good. When you acknowledge them and why they are there- then they can move through you.
- Know whatever you are feeling is OKAY! Experiencing hard situations and feeling ‘off’ sometimes is normal!
- We surrender a feeling by allowing it be there without condemning, judging, or resisting it. We simply look at it, observe it, and allow it to be felt without trying to modify it. With the willingness to relinquish a feeling, it will run out in due time.
- Observe: You are not your thoughts. There are three parts to you: You are a spirit, you have a soul(mind, will, & emotions), and you live in a body. Anxious thoughts are your mind trying to put meaning to your feelings. When you step back and just witness your thoughts (your spirit witnessing your mind), you realize you are in control. Sometimes I witness my thoughts and think ‘wow, they are really going crazy’. Weird? Yes. But it works.
Supplements for Anxiety
What you put into your body provides the building blocks to create the hormones and neurotransmitters you need to avoid anxiety. Supplements can play a huge role in this. These are the supplements that have helped me the most in ending anxiety.