A deep sense of persistent worry or fear that can overwhelm us, make us feel powerless, want to run away and hide, or have us shut down. These are just some of the feelings that travel with anxiety.
Fear is a normal short-term response to stress. Anxiety can be characterised as a disproportionate response to a situation that's persistent even when the stressor is removed. This sensation can also arise for no apparent reason. It can be mild or severe. What many people do not also realise, is that anxiety can be specific to a situation or trigger, or general.
With General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) people feel anxious most days about a wide variety of situations or issues.
Stress (specifically, distress) can be a causative factor in anxiety attacks, and can result in various hormonal and metabolic imbalances. Anxiety can develop after trauma, such as abuse, divorce, abandonment, injury or car accident to name but a few.
What you probably didn't realise is that the Mental Health Foundation 2016 report indicated there were over 8.2 million cases of anxiety reported the UK and that number is set to rise. Anxiety can be the the main symptom in conditions such as panic disorders, phobias, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and even depression.
But what are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms can vary for each individual, here are some of the common symptoms of anxiety
So how can we best deal with anxiety? Most people will need an integrated approach to deal with their anxiety. By tackling it from different angles, chances are that you will find a right way for you.
Nutritional Management & Clinical Considerations
Nutrition may not be the be the only tool in your box to tackle anxiety, but beyond the standard advice of "eat healthily" there is a wealth of scientific literature that supports specific nutritional protocol. These findings are based on the potential biochemical mechanisms of anxiety. Let's explore these together.
Neurotransmitters - are chemicals which essentially help pass messages from one nerve to another, which target other specific neurons, cells, muscles or glands. Neurotransmitter dysregulation is thought to be a contributing factor to anxiety.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the main calming and inhibitory neurotransmitter that balances the excitatory action of Glutamate released during the stress response (Glutamate is an amino acid and the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain).
GABA also acts on two other important hormones in the stress response, namely Corticotropin Releasing Factor (CRF) and AdrenoCorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) secretion. It has the ability to modulate excess adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine, it also influences seratonin levels. So what does all this actually mean in real terms? Well, GABA is associated with feelings of relaxation and happiness, while low levels are associated with anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Methylation - is a metabolic cycle that is important for neurotransmitter synthesis. Impaired methylation can result in elevated homocysteine, a by product which has neurotoxic properties.
Gut Dysfunction - this includes allergies, intolerances, inflammation, and the state of your gut lining (intenstinal permeability), may also be a contributing factor, as digestive problems are strongly associated with anxiety.
Nutrient Deficiencies - low levels of B vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium and zinc have been linked to anxiety.
So what does this look like for our nutrition? What can we do on a day to day practical level?
Taurine - is a potent activator of GABA receptors.
L-Tryptophan - is a precursor for seratonin and melatonin, so can potentially help modulate cycles of sleep and awakefullness. 
L-Theanine - Blocks binding of glutamic acid to receptors and reduces stress response. , .
Lemon Balm - (also known and common balm, or balm mint) is part of the mint family, but has a lemon fragrance. It inhibits GABA transaminase, which breaks down GABA. It helps to reduce anxiety, stress and insomnia.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus - There are many different strains of gut bacteria. Lactobacillus rhamnosus may help to modulate the stress response and anxiety. It prevents bad bacteria from colonizing, and encourages the growth of healthy gut bacteria. 
Every Day Nutrition
Antioxidants - Anxiety is associated with low levels of antioxidants. Vitamins A, C & E have been shown to alleviate symptoms, and so too has selenium. 
B-Vitamins support energy and homocysteine metabolism, stress control and neurotransmitter synthesis. 
Zinc - is a co-factor in methylation, and synaptic transmission (communication between nerves). 
Essential Fatty Acids - have been shown to reduce anxiety and lower cortisol. 
Magnesium - Has been shown to improve sleep patterns, and HPA Axis over activity. Chronic stimulation of the HPA (Hypthalmic - Pituitary -Adrenal) Axis can contribute to ongoing anxiety symptoms. 
Getting foods abundant with these key nutrients, or careful supplementation could prove beneficial.
The ability to catch the signs of anxiety as they arise, or identifying triggers is a powerful step in being able to deal with it. Self regulation is about being able to recognise, and use this information to put your self care plan in action.
Get in Touch With You
This could writing down what anxiety feels like for you, the direct sensations you experience within your body (making a mental note too), now some of you reading this may already know, but see if there is any other sensations you can add to the list.
For those of you that are unsure, I invite you to ask yourself "How do I know when I don't have anxiety?" write down those answers. This will enable you to contrast and get a sense for when you do experience anxiety.
Are there person, places, situations or things that trigger your anxiety? Now this doesn't mean that you'll automatically avoid these things. Just that you can now make a conscious decision whether or not you want to expose yourself to these triggers, and if you do, put a plan in place to minimise the effects. Never stay where you are not comfortable and does not serve you. You have every right to leave situations or people.
Habit & Ritual
As part of our self care there are often things that we already do that help us to feel better within ourselves. This can be anything from daily meditation, breath work, seeing a therapist, eating healthy most of the week, massages, meeting up with friends, keeping a diary, writing, or regular exercise, whatever it is for you, jot that down. This is all part of your self care plan.
As part of my own mental hygiene I keep track of the things I do, and notice if parts of my self care habits and rituals start to slip. There is a strong chance that if I don't put these things into practice my mental wellbeing will take a hit.
You can use a diary to track things, I use a combination of a journal and also Today I Did It Right workbook/ diary which I think is brilliant, but decide for yourself.
Anxiety is something that can have a devastating impact on our lives if we let it, but it doesn't need to stop you from living a full and vibrant life if you want to. There will be challenges, and while they may seem overwhelming at the time, they can often be reduced and managed better with the right comprehensive approach, that is a good fit for you.
I know that anxiety comes and it goes, it's like a hurricane that leaves a mess in it's wake. But if you are looking for a Coach to work alongside you and your therapist, who can help you improve your wellbeing, your nutrition, your training and emotional mastery, book in some time with me for a Complimentary Coaching Call to see how I can help you.
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