By Balanced Babe Contributor: Sophia Ntovas
For the last few years, I have struggled exclusively with anxiety–actually, make that my whole life. It was always a part of me, but it didn’t become apparent until recently.
Anxiety, like any other mental illness is often genetic, influenced and triggered by environmental circumstances around us. I like to think of genes as switches on an electric panel, present and turned off until further notice. Trauma, major life changes, or extreme stress can turn that switch on indefinitely. Instead of fretting about how to rid yourself of these feelings ASAP, sometimes the first step is to manage and the rest will follow! Whether it’s simply stress or unwanted anxiety, here are some natural remedies to aid in the healing of your body and mind.
GABA is an amino acid that can be taken through supplements or absorbed naturally through foods, but it also naturally occurs as a neurotransmitter in your own brain! Your body has 2 components to its central nervous system that control the “flight or flight” stress response: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. While the sympathetic system controls your body’s response to stress, your parasympathetic system works in the opposite manner to calm you down. This is where GABA comes in! GABA neurons are involved in coaxing your body down from an anxious or stressful state. Next time you find yourself coming down from an emotional high, you can be sure those GABA neurons are firing up a storm.
naturally found in: berries, spinach, broccoli, cocoa, fermented foods, whole grains
Magnesium affects a number of neurological systems in the brain. Aside from working hand in hand with production of GABA neurons, it actually inhibits the neurons in your brain that are “excitatory”. Just as it sounds, excitatory neurons are responsible for the signals fired to your brain. These neurological signals are involved during feelings of anxiety and stress. Aside from consuming magnesium in your foods, you can take supplements or even add powder to your night time tea!
naturally found in: legumes, nuts, seeds
Cyanocobalamin is the made man version of B12 most commonly utilized in supplements. Once in the body, it is converted to methylcobalamin–the structure of the vitamin that is naturally occurring in nature! What this means is there is a methyl group added to the chemical structure of the vitamin, which can lead to higher retention rates of absorption. Studies have shown that choosing to take the methylated version of B-12 can actually be absorbed and utilized differently for those who struggle with mental health. While the methylated version of B12 has shown to aid those with depression, anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Since each case is unique, do your research as to which structure type of the vitamin sounds best for you and your body!
naturally found in: animal products such as fish, eggs, milk, meat, poultry
AND “THAT’S THE TEA”
When taking your bedtime tea, try one that contains chamomile or valerian root! Both chamomile and valerian have shown to slow night-time anxious thoughts and get your body and mind ready for a good night’s rest. For an extra relaxation boost, add lemon balm to your nightly tea to promote sleep and limit anxiety. An ancient herb used since the middle ages, lemon root has shown to have multi-usage physical effects as well as promoting an increased mood and reducing stress.
While nothing can be deemed a magic cure, it’s important to explore functional medicine options–as well as traditional methods–to determine what is best for you!