by Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
Anxiety is a very common symptom of PCOS. Regardless of a PCOS diagnosis, many people struggle with anxiety.
“Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn how to live with it. Just as we have learned to live with storms.” -Paulo Coehlo
I believe the most powerful tool we have to weather our emotional “storms” is at the end of our forks – the food we eat. For me going gluten-free has tremendously helped my anxiety levels. Eating a nutrient rich PCOS diet has helped me calm the storms of life. Interestingly, according to a study in the Journal Pharmacological Research, berry phytonutrients turn off enzymes that fuel depression and anxiety. (1) Food really is medicine! For more about using food to fuel your mood, check out “8 Steps to Managing Your Mood with Food“.
PCOS Diva’s 12 Tips to Manage Anxiety
Bring to mind a “Focus Phrase”. My favorite is, “I chose to be grateful and enjoy this moment.” By saying this to myself, I chose to aim my attention at enjoyment and to the immediate sensory events happening in and around me, rather than worrying about the past or future.
Keep anxiety at bay by taking Omega 3’s every day. Poor diet results in a decrease in Omega 3 fatty acids. They play an essential role in building and maintaining the brain. Over 60% of your brain is built from these fatty acids and your brain cells are continually being renewed. Without adequate Omega 3’s your brain cannot build properly. Ohio State University recently found that healthy adults who took 2.5 grams of Omega 3’s per day for 12 weeks experienced 20 percent less anxiety than those who took a placebo. (2)
Consider supplementing your PCOS diet with a carefully sourced fish oil supplement. Ideally, choose one that includes both DHA and EPA Omega 3 fatty acids. Above all, be sure that your fish oil comes from a respected nutraceutical company that is GMP certified. PCOS Diva Ultra DHA Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement is a terrific choice.
Create a Calming Ritual
This is a simple but powerful way to reduce your experience of anxiety. Over time, your body and mind learn that physical signals mean “destress” and you will train yourself to be soothed. For me it means lowering the lights, lighting a candle, and putting on some soothing music – I love George Winston‘s Piano music.
Sugars are known to increase heart rate which can cause anxious feelings. Caffeine is also known to make people feel jittery and be more likely to feel stressed. Try to stay away from foods high in sugar and caffeine, including sodas, coffee and candy.
Exercise will improve overall health and give you a sense of well being by the release of endorphins, can lower stress and anxiety levels.Calming activities like Yoga and Tai Chi are great. Just one hour session of yoga offers the GABA boosting effects of conventional medications with no side effects. According to a recent study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, yoga is more effective than walking for reducing anxiety. (3)
This is a powerful mindfulness and anti-anxiety tool. For detailed info and how to’s read my post here.
Use Lavender Oil
I am a big believer in a relaxing bath. When my nerves are frazzled and am feeling very anxious I let it all float away in a bath of Dead Sea Salts, or Epsom salt which both contain relaxing magnesium and some lavender essential oil which has a sedative quality. For my bath recipe and more info on Essential oils read my post.
Drink (decaffeinated) Green Tea
L-theanine in green tea is a calming agent – increases alpha brain waves, which are linked to increased relaxation. For more information on the health benefits of tea for PCOS read my post.
Take B Vitamins
B vitamins are essential for stress management, energy production and neurotransmitter balance. B6 aids in the production of serotonin which helps prevent mood swings and anxiety. For detailed info on B12 read my post. Note: The birth control pill and metformin commonly cause vitamin B deficiency.
Acupuncture works to counteract the fight or flight stress response by releasing calming feel-good neurotransmitters such as endorphins and reduce stress hormones like cortisol. It also improves blood circulation with oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol which soothes worry.
Accupressure is another form of energy work. By pressing, tapping, or massaging key energy points on your body’s meridian system you can learn to relieve anxiety and worrying thoughts very effectively. One excellent DIY way to do this is with Emotional Freedom Technique or “tapping” which I explain in detail in this post.
Amy Medling, best-selling author of Healing PCOS and certified health coach, specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill, and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet, and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.