As a holistic psychiatrist practicing in New York City, I see a lot of anxiety.
And I’m disheartened to see so many of my patients on loads of psychiatric medications that are not necessarily helping and may even be causing harm. Meanwhile, these highly medicated folks are still suffering from anxiety! This is because we’re going about it all wrong.
Anxiety is not a Xanax-deficiency disorder!
There is so much we can do with diet and lifestyle to manage anxiety, and much of it is safer and more effective than medication.
Here are 6 tips for managing anxiety naturally:
Maintain Stable Blood Sugar
- “It isn’t disrespectful to the complexity of existence to point out that despair is, often, just low blood sugar and exhaustion.” – Alain de Botton
- The American diet promotes a blood sugar roller coaster, and every time we’re on the ride down, we can feel anxious.
- When our blood sugar crashes, our body responds with a stress response. We secrete stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, which tell our liver to make more blood sugar to keep us alive. The good news: We stay alive. The bad news: This hormonal stress response feels identical to anxiety.
- By stabilizing blood sugar, you can avoid this stress response and decrease your anxiety.
Here’s how to maintain stable blood sugar:
- Eat more protein and healthy fats (e.g., olive oil, coconut oil, butter and ghee from pasture-raised animals).
- Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.
- Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks daily; don’t skip meals.
- Take a spoonful of coconut oil upon waking, in the afternoon and right before bed; this will serve as a blood sugar safety net throughout the day.
- Always have a snack handy (e.g., nuts, hard-boiled egg, dark chocolate, Epic™ jerky, Vital Choice wild salmon jerky, almond butter).
Do a Trial Off Caffeine
- Don’t underestimate the relationship between caffeine and anxiety.
- Think of it like this: When we’re caffeinated, our nervous system is ready for a fight. Introduce a stressor, and you have an all out anxiety response.
- If you suffer from anxiety, you owe it to yourself to do a trial off caffeine.
- I know, I know, the idea of going off caffeine is giving you anxiety right now. If you reduce your intake gradually (coffee -> half-caf -> black tea -> green tea -> herbal tea) over the course of a week or two, you’ll avoid withdrawal symptoms. After a few weeks, you may be surprised to see that your anxiety has decreased, your sleep has improved, your energy is stabilized, and you even tolerate stress better.
- If you had a successful trial off caffeine, but you want to go back to having that morning ritual, consider making green tea your go-to beverage, rather than a “Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte.”
- Getting adequate good quality sleep is your best protection against anxiety.
- There’s a 2-way street between anxiety and sleep–anxiety causes insomnia and sleep deprivation makes us vulnerable to anxiety.
- The best way to address this is to set ourselves up for better sleep. Conveniently, the way to do this overlaps with the overall approach to anxiety.
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine
- Even if you have no trouble falling asleep, caffeine decreases sleep quality.
- Maintain stable blood sugar
- Blood sugar fluctuations disrupt your sleep, causing middle of the night awakening.
Be strategic about light:
- Let your eyes see bright light in the morning and dim light at night.
- If your room isn’t completely dark when you sleep, wear an eye mask or get blackout curtains.
- Wind down and unplug before bed
Heal the Gut
- Perhaps you’ve seen some of the recent articles about the relationship between gut flora and mood.
- The bugs in our digestive tract have a profound impact on how we feel and play an integral role in anxiety disorders.
Here’s how to promote healthy gut flora and heal the gut…
Avoid what irritates the gut:
- Food: Gluten, sugar, industrial vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, alcohol.
- Certain medications: Antacids, antibiotics, oral contraceptives (only make changes under close supervision from your doctor).
Add in what soothes the gut:
- Fermented foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, miso paste, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, kefir (if you tolerate dairy).
- Starchy tubers: Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, plantain, taro, yucca.
- Bone broth:
- Take a probiotic.
- Consider supplementing with glutamine and collagen.
Create the conditions for the gut to heal:
- Squatty Potty can be life-changing.
- Get enough sleep.
- Manage stress with yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, unplugging, acupuncture, being in nature.
- Treat gut infections. If you suspect you may have a chronic gut infection, get evaluated by an integrative or functional medicine practitioner.
- Exercise is the best anti-anxiety medicine.
- If you struggle to exercise regularly, forget the boot camps and triathlons. Get in the habit of mini workouts. Do small amounts of exercise in your living room or take a brief walk outside. Sustainability is key.
- In general, stand more, sit less, walk whenever possible, and lower your standards for exercise.
- Yoga and Tai Qi are particularly beneficial for anxiety, but the most important thing is to find something you enjoy.
- Magnesium is mothernature’s Xanax.
- Many of us are deficient in magnesium, since our food is grown in magnesium-depleted soil.
- You can supplement with magnesium in a few different ways:
- Take an Epsom salt bath.
- Take a chelated magnesium supplement (e.g., magnesium glycinate).
- Try a topical magnesium gel.
Anxiety has a significant impact on quality of life. Maintaining stable blood sugar, reducing caffeine, getting enough sleep, healing the gut, getting some exercise and filling the body with magnesium are safe tactics that go a long way toward reducing anxiety. If your anxiety does not respond to these lifestyle interventions, I recommend having a consultation with a qualified mental health provider.
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!
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Use them anytime, anywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.
Plus the results are permanent!
Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
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Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.