Common anxiety symptoms include feeling on-edge, irritable, and fatigued, as well as having tight muscles, a racing heart, and chest constriction.
Studies have shown that cortisol (otherwise known as the stress hormone) is often at its highest in people suffering with unhealthy anxiety due to a decreased parasympathetic activity.
Low blood sugar can trigger anxiety as well. Research suggests a link between diet and anxiety. A diet that is too high in simple carbohydrates and sugars (including alcohol) may cause further glucose spikes and dips, which may increase anxious feelings.
Caffeine is also a powerful psychoactive that can trigger anxiety in some people, especially if one gulps down one too many cups.
Physiological factors combined with dysfunctional thoughts, may very well create a dome of doom that clouds the waking brain with unhealthy anxiety.
How can we flatten the anxiety curb?
As most people with anxiety will tell you, trying to simply push anxious thoughts away often makes them that much more poignant — especially if one has spent a lot of time ruminating on them.
Yet, there are still viable solutions that can curtail unhealthy anxiety, and, with practice, may eventually stop it in its tracks.
Some of the most efficient ways to combat it, from a physiological point of view, is to acknowledge and address the effects of high cortisol levels, low blood sugar, and poor diet, and the role these play in exacerbating unhealthy anxiety.
Engaging in deep breathing exercises can lower stress hormones. Regular exercise can decrease overall stress.
Enjoying a balanced diet may help alleviate low blood sugar (making sure to omit or limit coffee if it makes you anxious). An overall healthy diet during the day, which includes protein, omega-3 fats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables can also even out those glucose spikes and dips, and, thus, also even out those on-the-edge feelings.
Specific foods such as dark chocolate (preferably sugarless), bananas, pears, black and Green tea, and pro-biotics in such foods as yogurt or Kefir and kombucha can further lower cortisol levels.
All in all, know that if you suffer from unhealthy anxiety, you’re not alone and there are ways to target both the physiological and psychological factors that contribute to it.
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