Everyone can experience anxiety at different times in their lives.  Normal day to day anxiety such as sitting exams, going on a first date, having to speak in public or walking down a dark lane at night can evoke feelings of nervousness, uneasiness or worry. This type of anxiety is considered helpful as it makes you more alert to the circumstances. When the anxiety becomes more persistent and begins to take over a person’s live then it can become a problem. The feelings of constant dread, unease and worrying more often than not in a 6 month period may indicate you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.  Anxiety can take over your life leading to feelings of being overwhelmed, unable to cope with normal situations and lacking enjoyment.  People with anxiety need to know it is possible to take control, reduce/get rid of these feelings and get your life back with the right support.

Anxiety disorders can be divided into 5 different categories:

Specific Phobia is specific objects or situations create an intense fear eg. Fear of spiders, flying, open spaces, social phobias

Generalized Anxiety disorder is caused by the person having uncontrollable worrying thoughts that take’s over the persons thought process. The source of these thoughts can be known to the person but often they are not aware of what is causing the unease or worry.

Post- traumatic stress disorder is the result of a traumatic experience that causes the person to experience flashbacks attached to that experience

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a condition that causes the person to engage in repetitive behavior to help them manage their anxiety.

Panic Disorder can occur in moments of complete fear. The person can experience palpitations, shortness of breath and whizzing sensation in the head.

The exact cause of anxiety is unknown but some contributing factors include:

  • Prolonged periods of stress interfering with the neural pathways in the brain
  • Traumatic experience can trigger feelings of anxiety e.g  abuse, an accident
  • Genetically predisposition towards anxiety i.e if a parent suffers from anxiety disorder they can pass it on.
  • Substance abuse
  • Medical causes such as side effects of medication, stress from medical procedures and symptoms of medical illness

Signs and symptoms you might be suffering from anxiety

  1. Tend to have difficulty controlling feelings of worry, anxiety or constant dread, these types of thoughts tend to last 6 months or more.
  2. The physical symptoms can include palpitations, restlessness, sweaty or clammy hands, fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, nausea, diarrhea and change in appetite
  3. Other physiological symptoms of anxiety can include dry mouth, dizziness, breathlessness, tightness in the chest and rapid heartbeat.
  4. If you are suffering from prolonged anxiety you could become more irritable, have difficulty concentrating or sleep disturbances.
  5. Difficulty relaxing, restlessness

When anxiety is left untreated people’s long term health can suffer leaving them more prone to disorders such as high blood pressure, heart disease and depression

Natural Ways to Relieve Anxiety

1.Relaxation therapy such as breathing techniques, meditation and mindfulness are useful practices to help reduce the effects of stress on the mind and body.

Here is a simple breathing exercise to practicBring your awareness to your breath

Bring your awareness to your breath

On your next breath inhale for a count of 4

Hold for 2

Then exhale for 4

Do this for 10 repetitions

The breath is very powerful in bringing a sense of calm

Over time you can increase the intervals and the time

2. Dietary changes in your diet such as cutting out sugars, alcohol and caffeine and include food high in magnesium and B vitamins e.g spinach, kale, nuts

3.Exercise is always recommended to improve and maintain good health

4.Mandalas/Colouring books are becoming a popular way of reducing stress levels.

5.Check with your local health food store to see if they can recommend any supplements to support you

6. Holistic therapies including acupuncture, reflexology, reiki, hypnotherapy and Indian head massage can all help reduce the effects of stress and anxiety on the body and mind.  In my practice, I have used all of the therapies above to help people alleviate their feelings of anxiety and develop coping strategies.  After prolong periods of anxiety and stress the body has changed and needs support to rebalance. The therapies can be combined to give people physical and mental relief from their symptoms and strategies to cope with anxiety in the long term.

Getting the right support is essential to overcoming these feelings and getting control of your life. Conventional medicine doesn’t always work and some people prefer an alternative approach to anxiety management.  If you want to find out more on, how our holistic therapies can help you please get in touch.

If the symptoms are persisting it is advisable to contact your G.P for advice.

Post by Pauline Mc Cormack

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for information purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a medical practitioner. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine.