by Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
Anxiety can be one of what often seems like a myriad of PCOS symptoms. I have shared some of my favorite ways to overcome anxiety naturally below. Regardless of PCOS, many people struggle with anxiety. I just came across this quote by Paulo Coehlo, the author of The Alchemist (a great book by the way!):
“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.”
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. Isn’t this interesting? – according to a study in the Journal Pharmacological Research, berry phytonutrients turn off enzymes that fuel depression and anxiety. (1) Food really is medicine.
Here are some other ways to learn to live with anxiety:
Focus Phrase 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.
Omega 3’s 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 Ritual It is a simple but powerful way to reduce your experience of anxiety. For me it means, lowering the lights, lighting a candle and putting on some soothing music – I love George Winston‘s Piano music.
Eliminate Sugar and Caffeine 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 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)
Meditation This is a powerful mindfulness and anti-anxiety tool. For detailed info and how to’s read my post here.
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.
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.
B Vitamins– B vitamins are essential for stress management, enery 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.
Rescue Remedy is great for on the spot relief in anxious or stressful situations. And white chestnut is excellent for worries that wander round and round in your head. Here’s the description of white chestnut’s uses from the Bach Flower website: White Chestnut: This Essence helps when your mind is full of unwanted thoughts and mental arguments. These mental arguments can often keep you from sleeping at night. White Chestnut helps you clear your mind and get the thinking under control and can be put to positive use in problem-solving. Worry is replaced by trust in a positive outcome.
Acupuncture 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 imporves blood circulation with oxygenates the tissues and cyscles out cortisol which soothe’s worry.
Acupressure 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.
If you have an anxiety buster that has helped you, please share it with us in the comments!