Anxiety - things you need to know / can change

Anxiety disorders are now the most common form of mental illness. Interestingly, it appears to be more prevalent in women with 1 in 3 women experiencing anxiety compared to 1 in 5 men.

This is exacerbated due to platforms such as social media, that allow you to compare yourself to everyone else’s highlights or extravagant lifestyles. This has increased the social pressure women especially place on themselves to ‘be perfect’ or ‘appear perfect’. This in combination with negative lifestyle choices, and lifestyle factors such as work, family, social events and relationships further increase anxiety levels.

Interestingly, anxiety and excitement are actually the same pathways in the brain. But anxiety is a sign that you are focused on what you don't want. When it comes to anxiety, just like everything else in the body you need to understand the root cause of your anxiety instead of just suppressing your anxiety with medication. Please note here I am not talking about anxiety due to previous trauma but more anxiety associated with day-to-day activities or the anxiety that might stop you from doing certain things.

There are a few root causes that can really impact your anxiety.

1)    Gut Issues

There is a huge growing body of evidence linking the health of the gut to the health of the brain. If you have IBS (which is a symptom of something else not a condition/disease), bacterial overgrowth, SIBO, or leaky gut then your body is going to produce an inflammatory response that will affect the brain. This is when people say your gut is your second brain - it really is. 

We also have a large amount of serotonin in our gut. This is our ‘happy’ neurotransmitter. So any gut dysfunction can lead to a variety of mood and behavior disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

2)    Nutrient Deficiencies

There are many nutrients that play an important role in mental health. Including; B12, zinc, copper, vitamin D, vitamin B6 to name a few. Interestingly, these deficiencies are generally prevalent in vegetarians and vegans, meaning they may be more susceptible to mental health problems due to lack of nutrients if you are not looking at your nutrition safely and responsibly. 

Have a read of my other posts on vegan diets and how sustainable they can be That Fitness Blog: Vegan and Plant-based 'Diet' - There is a diffrence?

How to beat your anxiety

1)    Mindfulness

Im sure you will have heard all about breath work, yoga and relaxation therapy, some may even say its a bit 'woo woo' and not your thing. But, how do you know it is not your thing if you have never tried it? Research into mindfulness, yoga, and relaxation therapy is constantly emerging with great outcomes for those suffering from depression and anxiety. In fact, studies have shown significant improvements in depression and anxiety in just 8-weeks.

2)    Gratitude Log

The idea of the gratitude log is to write down the everyday positives that happen to you. Find 3 things that you are grateful for that happened that day and write them down before you go to bed. This is going to help improve your mood and sleep quality and you begin to internalize positivity which has a direct impact on your overall lifestyle.

3)    Nutritional Supplements

I will always recommend a full blood test from your doctor or health care professional for anyone before taking any nutritional supplements. However, basic supplementation to assist with anxiety are B vitamins (especially B6), Vitamin D, zinc, and/or probiotics if needed.

4)    Strength Train

The mental health effects of exercise are widespread with research indicating that strength training helps to prevent both depression and anxiety. In fact, some research has shown the anti-depressant effects of exercise can last longer than some anti-depressants!

5)    Visualization

I mentioned above that anxiety is a sign that you are focusing on what you don't want. Try and reframe your thinking to visualize the outcome you want from a situation. Remember, your brain doesn’t know the difference between something you imagined and something that has happened. This is why professional athletes will use a lot of visualization prior to big events. To reduce stress and anxiety, and manifest the outcome they want.


I hope that this may help someone who may read it. As stated, i am not a psychologist or therapist these are just my findings through reading and personal experience.  


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