By David Saunders| UPDATED: 05:28, 21 January 2020
The need for everyday tips for those struggling with anxiety is apparent now more than ever – people seeking help with their mental health are being kept on “hidden waiting lists”, with more than 122,000 patients waiting more than eight weeks to see a doctor again after their first appointment
“Stress and anxiety is increasing in society due to several factors: increased breakdown of family life and structures means people do not get the emotional and practical support they used to. Also, constant news feeds, incessant social media access, has increased anxiety – information overload and FOMO. Plus, the world and national situation is tough, plus climate change, so younger people in particular feel doom-laden. And we have unreal expectations (wanting instant fame, wealth, romantic love), which means many of us feel let down, disappointed and confused, ” explains Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Corinne Sweet working in association with ThinkWell-LiveWell (www.thinkwell-livewell.com).
So what warning sings should we be looking out for?
“Anxiety can be experienced as a racing mind, an inability to slow down, feeling out of control with our thoughts or trouble staying on track and focusing. It can show up in our body as muscular tension, pain, jitteriness and difficulty relaxing. It affects our breathing, making it short, tight and held in the chest which has other knock on effects for mood, mental health, the nervous system and cardiac health.
Anxiety can also diminish our mood and energy levels, it can make us more prone to anger and reactivity, teariness and emotional sensitivity for some,” explains qualified psychologist and health & fitness coach, Suzy Reading, working in association with ThinkWell-LiveWell (www.thinkwell-livewell.com).
Everyday tips from our experts…
1. Calm, Breathe, Deliver – CBD
“CBD oil, such as CannabiGold Terpenes+ (RRP: £29.00, www.cannabigold.co), can help reduce social anxiety. In an interesting study, researchers measured anxiety by giving people a public-speaking test. They found that the people who received CBD oil before speaking felt significantly less anxious,” explains Nutritionist Fiona Lawson.
“For its mood enhancing effects CBD oil indirectly stimulates the 5-HT1A serotonin, ‘happy hormone’ cannabinoid receptors and exerts an anti-anxiety stable happy mood,” adds Nutritionist Alix Woods.
2. Switch up your hot beverage
“If you’re a coffee addict, then matcha green tea may be a perfect alternative. This antioxidant rich beverage uses the whole tealeaf, which means it’s a source of a special compound called l-theanine. Research suggests that l-theanine can help to stimulate feelings of relaxed alertness and clarity without the those anxious jitters that come from caffeine,” explains Nutritionist Lily Soutter (www.lilysoutternutrition.com)
3. Avoid alcohol when possible
“Alcohol can have a negative effect on mental health including anxiety and stress,” explains Lily. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. You may feel notice that you feel more anxious after the alcohol wears off, this is because alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours, or even for an entire day after drinking.
4. Mix things up
Mindset & Marketing Coach, Isabella Venour (www.isabellavenour.com) recommends, “When you’re feeling anxious your mind can find it hard to find solutions. An instant way to interrupt the effects of anxiety is to change your state, which could involve simply going for a walk or even doing star jumps while smiling!
5. Lemon balm
“The lemon balm plant is a member of the mint family, which comes with a beautiful lemony aroma. It has traditionally been used to improve cognition as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that supplementation with lemon balm may help to induce a sense of calmness, which may be of benefit for those struggling with anxiety. In fact, lemon balm leaves have been used in traditional medicine for over 2000 years and can be easily be incorporated in teas, potpourris, cocktails, cooking, salads, cocktails and anything you think will benefit form a herbal lemony flavour,” advises Lily.
6. Top up your zinc levels
Zinc supports healthy brain function. It activates your central and peripheral nervous system and also plays an important role in neurotransmitter and hormonal processes. Zinc deficiency has been linked to depression and anxiety.[ii] Foods that are high in zinc include meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy and dark chocolate. You can top up your zinc levels with a supplement like Natures Plus Zinc (RRP £7.95, www.revital.co.uk), which are yeast free and suitable for vegetarians.
“Honestly if you haven’t started doing this yet I really encourage you! The best thing mediation does is reduce anxiety. So if you are in a state of overwhelm then you need to start doing it now! It really helps to centre and focus your mind to a more relaxed, positive state,” explains the UK’s Leading Burnout Coach, Rosie Millen (www.missnutritionist.com).
8. Turn to online resources
We can control how we respond to things we find challenging in our day-to-day life. The Postcard to Anxiety module on the new mindfulness toolkit, ThinkWell LiveWell (RRP: £8.00 a month), can help you become aware of your triggers whilst changing the way you respond to the cause of anxiety.
“Most men have no idea what to do with stress, anxiety, low self-esteem. They bear it, or suppress it or just
pretend it’s not there. Traditionally men just tough it out, and maybe talk to a friend after a few pints or in an indirect way,” says Corinne Sweet. This resonated with The Naked Professor, Ben BidWell – “by an early age I had subconsciously decided that masculinity was about being a leader; I should appear macho in my appearance, and the one thing I couldn’t be, was weak.”
Then ben was introduced to ThinkWell-LiveWell – “I was fortunate to be introduced to experienced therapist, former advertising psychologist and brainchild of TWLW, Mick Cassell. His teachings in the mental health space resonated with me and I am grateful for him in finally providing a solution that is cost effective, trustworthy and easily actionable.”