Anxiety: The Low Down + 6 Tips For Self-Care

What is it?
Anxiety is an umbrella term for a class of disorders and the distress they cause that hinder you from conducting your life normally. Under this umbrella category anxiety is broken down further into four sub-categories: panic disorders, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias (such as fear of heights), and generalized anxiety disorder. 

What causes it?
Medical researchers, God bless them, wish they knew but to be fair, it is extremely hard to pinpoint a root cause. What is known is that anxiety can happen as a result in changes in ones genes and changes in the brain. 

How does it feel?
A mess. Seriously. Heart palpitations, chest pain, paranoia, nausea. Not nice.

Anxiety and the Immune System, any connection?
Anxiety can be considered long-term stress. The effect of stress on the immune system over long periods of time has been shown to weaken it. During periods, of intense stress the body releases immense amounts of cortisol into your body to reduce inflammation (caused by the stress) which weakens certain antibodies that tend to increase inflammation. Cortisol, however, is only useful is small amounts. The experience of sustained stress in the body means increased cortisol levels, which continues to suppress the antibodies your body needs, thus weakening the immune system over time.

How does one keep anxiety in check?
If you're anything like me, you have no desire to take prescription medicine to cope with anxiety. For many people, however, that is the only viable option to be a functional human. For those who prefer a more natural approach, there are any number of natural solutions ranging from herbal concoctions such as teas and tinctures, vitamin supplements, and adding super foods to one's diet to keep anxiety at bay.

Here are a few tips I am trying, and will try, that have been successful in keeping my anxiety in check.

  1. Herbs and supplements. 
    • I swear by L-Theanine to slow my overactive brain
    • I currently take Rhodiola, an adaptogen, to encourage healthy immune response.
    • For those who deal with excessive inflammation, which in and of itself can be a stressor, Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent.
    • Ashwagandha works wonders but unfortunately is out of the question for those with allergies to night shade.
    • Lavender: This is my favorite flower scent and it has a well documented history of reducing anxiety
  2. Cannabinoids. Living in the Emerald City, where marijuana is decriminalized, and innovation has made it extremely accessible, one can easily find a marijuana strain to meet their anxiety needs. The key is finding a strain high in CBD and low in THC: high on the happy, low on the paranoia. Marijuana guide par excellence Leafly, is an excellent resource for researching the positive effects of CBD on the brain as well as identifying a high CBD marijuana strain that suits your needs.
  3. Super foods: Maca, Coconut, and Cacao. Don't play yourself, a chocolate brownie isn't going to improve your immune system. Making a habit of cooking with coconut oil and putting maca powder and/or raw cacao in your breakfast smoothie and meals, over time will, however, make a difference.
  4. Water. This vital element is a necessary component to healthy living. A hydrated body literally tells your brain that all systems are a go. Read: not anxious
  5. Floating. I can not take credit for my own conversion to the ministry of float therapy, but when I tell you it is a mighty anointing for the congregation of the anxious... My own personal float evangelist sent me the following text message a few days ago that said "Float. Go again. And again. And again." I urge you to do the same. If in the Seattle metropolitan area, check out Urban Float. I'll post my review of my first couple of floating experiences here very soon.
  6. Reiki. This Japanese energy healing modality reestablishes the free and fluid flow of ki (life force) throughout the body.  Practitioners use Reiki to reestablish a harmonious energetic state by unblock clogged energy centers in the body, known to cause pain and emotional imbalance.

The important thing about managing your anxiety is that you take a brave, first step to seek out assistance. You are not alone in this struggle and Perpetuity Healing Arts is here to offer you the support and service you need.