Anxiety is more common than many realise. According to the US Preventative Task Force, 1 in 4 men and 4 in 10 women will develop the disorder at some point. Suzie Sawyer, a Clinical Nutritionist and researcher at Natures Way, has given us her six top tips to help manage it.
The high number of people who do or will suffer from anxiety is not something exclusive to the USA. Research by Natures Way found that more than two in five (41.3%) of UK adults said they feel more anxious and nervous now than they did three years ago, pre-pandemic. Women suffer the most, with 47% of survey respondents in the research poll noting the health challenge.
The same real-world research poll from Nature’s Way found that seventy-six per cent of Brits have a broken night’s sleep at least once a week, with 54% noting that this is a problem every night. In addition, 52% of those who reported sleep disturbances said it was mainly due to anxiety and worry.
The anxiety symptoms included:
- Negative thinking (44.4%)
- Low self-esteem (43%)
- Difficulty in relaxing (42.6%)
- Avoiding social contact (42.2%)
- Sleep disturbance (41.2%)
Commenting on the growing challenges of anxiety, Suzie Sawyer said, “Anxiety can manifest itself in different ways and is very much an individualised response to a myriad of situations. Everyone will feel anxious sometimes, but for some, their anxiety is constant and affects their daily lives.
“Latest Government research also shows that employee anxiety is a challenge, accounting for a significant percentage of ill health cases at work. Living with COVID, coupled with the current cost of living crisis, is certainly fuelling a heightened ‘Anxiety Pandemic’ across the nation. If you deal with anxiety on a regular basis, prescribed medication doesn’t have to be your only treatment option. Good nutrition and self-care are the cornerstone of health in any situation. Try working these tips into your daily routine to calm your mind and combat anxiety. I swear by them.”:
Find some metabolic balance. If your blood sugar levels are all over the place, metabolically, you’ll be out of balance emotionally and physically , plus you will crave more sugar, which triggers the release of adrenaline, and the body will feel ‘on fire’ within. Having protein at every meal is essential for blood sugar balance. Think eggs, meat, fish, beans, nuts, and dairy produce, and try to plan them into your meals and snacks. Starting the day with a double espresso and banana can knock some people off balance without them realising it. It’s amazing how much more balanced you’ll feel when your blood sugar is under control.
Breathe more. Exercise is an important part of your physical and emotional health. It is well known for being able to reduce feelings of anxiety and will help boost a sense of well-being. Aim for three to five 30-minute sessions of regular exercise per week. It doesn’t need to be hardcore workouts – brisk walks can be just as effective, but be sure to choose exercises you enjoy so you look forward to them. The heart rate needs to be slightly increased to get the blood flow and circulation around the body, especially to the brain.
Sweet Slumber. Poor sleep causes raised daily cortisol levels and vice versa, increasing anxiety. Cortisol is our stress hormone, which creates a normal ‘fight or flight response but should only be needed in short bursts rather than ongoing.
If anxiety makes it hard for you to fall asleep, create a routine to help you better relax. Try leaving electric screens behind at least two hours before that precious night shut-eye; aim to go to bed and rise at the same time each day (including weekends); make sure your pillows and mattress tick all the boxes when it comes to comfort and keep your bedroom cool.
Try Bonuit Sleep Aid, a relaxing natural herbal remedy combining two key ingredients: Valerian and Passionflower. Valerian is known for its positive effect on sleep structure, helping achieve deeper levels of slow-wave sleep. Passionflower has traditionally been used for its benefits in reducing symptoms of stress, such as mild anxiety, which can hinder the initial act of falling asleep.
It might sound a little odd but try to plan your worry time. Many experts recommend that you purposely pick a time to think about your fears. Take 30 minutes each day to uncover what it is that’s bothering you and what you can do about it, and try to do this at the same time every day. Don’t dwell on ‘what-ifs’ – focus on what really makes you anxious. Try to also turn any negativity into a positive. Imagine yourself facing your fears head-on, as the more you do this in your mind, the easier it will be to deal with it when it happens.
Let food be thy medicine. Evidence suggests food may play a role in your overall mental well-being by helping to reduce stress, ease anxiety and even fight depression. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, fibre-rich whole grains, fermented foods, proteins, and dark green vegetables are notable for promoting mood balance and well-being. Preparing meals at home has also been shown to be therapeutic and calming.
Try starting the day with this wholesome blueberry and nut oat bake. It packs a serious nutrition punch that’s good for the mind. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and folate, which support the production of serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline – key brain hormones involved in mood regulation and balance. Oats also offer a great source of slow-release energy and help to stabilise mood and blood sugar levels throughout the day.
From Nature with love. If you are often affected by anxiety, then it’s well worth trying RelaxHerb Passionflower tablets, a traditional herbal medicine used to relieve stress and mild anxiety. The effects of the active herbal ingredient – Passiflora incarnata L – on anxiety have been clinically researched,, and a recent study revealed how Passionflower could help reduce the anxiety associated with public speaking within an hour before the event.
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb – which means that it stimulates the body’s resistance to physical, environmental, and emotional stressors – with a sound base of numerous positive published clinical trials for treating stress and anxiety. Vitano Rhodiola tablets are a traditional herbal medicinal product used to temporarily relieve stress-related symptoms, such as fatigue, exhaustion, and mild anxiety, based on traditional use. Consistency of extract purity is guaranteed thanks to precision formulation to pharmaceutical standards in Germany.
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-  ONS Depression or anxiety in adults, Great Britain: 22 September to 3 October 2021 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/mentalhealth/adhocs/13844depressionoranxietyinadultsgreatbritain22septemberto3october2021
-  Consumer omnibus survey among 1,030 UK adults. Commissioned by Schwabe Pharma (UK) Ltd and Nature’s Way UK. Conducted by Perspectus Global. Published Summer 2022
-  https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf
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-  https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/2929/food-and-mood-2017.pdf
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-  da Silva JA, da Costa MJ, da Alves MD, da Braga JE, da Lima CM, da Pordeus LC. Effects of the single supplementation and multiple doses of Passiflora incarnata L. on human anxiety: A Clinical Trial, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Randomized. International Archives of Medicine. 2017 Jan 24;10