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Beat Anxiety Naturally

Beat Anxiety Naturally
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By Mary Jane Horton

Whether it has happened to you once or once a week, you can’t forget it. Your heart starts beating quickly, the world blurs and spins, you have to sit down and breathe easy – if you can. It’s a panic attack or a bout of major anxiety. Most people have had one at least one in our lives, but if this is a constant occurrence for you, you can battle it. And you don’t necessarily have to do it the pharmaceutical way. Anxiety medication, such as Xanax and Valium, are okay for the short term – used during an extremely trying time – but they are addictive and can negatively affect your health in the long run. Instead, try these ways to vanquish – or at least lessen – anxiety:

Supplements

Unlike medications, supplements won’t calm you down once you are having a panic attack or anxiety (with one exception), what they do, when taken long-term, is calm down the nervous system. Bach’s Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic remedy that comes in a spray, drops, or pastille’s and is used for acute anxiousness (http://www.bachflower.com/rescue-remedy-information/). If you are feeling anxious, take three little sprays or suck on a pastille, and you should experience some quick, short-term relief.

The longer-term approach includes SAM-e (S-adenosyl methionine) which is an excellent supplement for depression as well as anxiety. It is an amino acid derivative found in every cell of the body. The exact action of SAM-e is not known, but it is thought to regulate the amounts of various hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. It reduces anxiety by causing methylation to occur more often in the body, resulting in better regulation of mood-regulating hormones and neurotransmitters for people who are deficient in them. While studies performed in Europe have suggested that the supplement actually performs better than generic drugs for depression and anxiety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have yet to officially test and approve it as a drug. Doses range from 200-800 mg daily.

Taurine, another supplement, is also part of the arsenal. It is an amino acid that has the ability to reduce electrical activity in the brain. In the body, taurine is concentrated in the brain, where it acts as a neurotransmitter with calming effects on the nervous system. Taurine is also concentrated in the heart tissues where it helps them to contract properly, therefore it can help with palpitations that come with anxiety. It should be taken on a fairly empty stomach – 1000 mg once or twice a day.

Carnitine and Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10). These two supplements are involved in the production of energy within cells. Carnitine carries fatty acids into the cell and CoQ10 is involved in the process of converting fatty acids into energy. Taken together they work synergistically to help the heart produce energy more efficiently. The dose of CoQ10 is 30 to 90 mg and day and Carnitine, 500 mg twice a day.

Lifestyle changes

Gluten-free seems to be the buzzword of the day, however there is some good research that points to limiting or eliminating gluten as being helpful in treatment of anxiety. Gluten is a psychoactive molecule and can cause a variety of psychiatric symptoms including panic attack. Allergy testing can be done to see if you are sensitive to gluten. However gluten sensitivity doesn’t always mean that you have a gluten allergy. If you eat a great deal of wheat, and experience anxiety, you may want to do a trial run restricting wheat gluten – which is hidden in a great many foods. Three to six days should be enough time to see if you feel better without it.

Not just for anxiety, but for a healthy life in general, exercise is definitely a must. Vigorous exercise creates an immediate sense of well-being (however don’t overdo it – a rapid heartbeat can feel like a panic attack). Exercise should be vigorous enough to raise a mild sweat and should be done for half an hour, three or four days a week. The easiest way to build in exercise if you are a total neophyte is walking briskly.

Finding a supportive network is also useful if you are really suffering with anxiety or panic disorder. It is always good to talk to people who are having similar experiences and can share what works for them. There should be groups that you can find close to you. And there are several online including http://www.panicsurvivor.com/.

Meditation, especially mantra meditation, such as TM, in which you focus on a thought, object or activity, can be helpful. This sort of meditation has been shown to slow down and relax the autonomic nervous system. And it also helps one break away from anxious thinking patterns. The technique is simple: think of a word or phrase over and over. Many people use the word “peace.” Every time your mind drifts away from the word, bring it back. Initially you may only be able to do it for five minutes, but as you practice, you should be able to relax your mind – and your body – for half and hour or longer.

Note: Of course, this information is not meant to substitute for personal medical attention. If you are feeling uncomfortably anxious for a long period of time and/or you have physical symptoms, see your medical care professional.

 

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