What Causes Anxiety?

Anxiety can be exhausting and debilitating. Don’t suffer alone for too long. It often helps to talk to a Counselor or Psychologist, who can help you find ways to deal with stress in your life and teach you skills to manage anxiety.
In addition to emotional and life stresses, there can be physical causes of anxiety:

  • Nutritional deficiencies that affect the function of the nervous system and the glands. This can be from eating incorrectly or from an inability of your body to absorb the nutrients it needs.
  • Stress is another cause. I call the stress “The 21st century stress” which is here to stay and it will never go away. The human body simply isn’t designed for constant stress. When that occurs, our ability to cope with stress can be overwhelmed. This can give rise to a serious condition known as adrenal fatigue. Some of us are more vulnerable to anxiety than others, but even those who become anxious easily can learn to manage it well. We can also make ourselves anxious with “negative self-talk” – a habit of always telling ourselves the worst will happen.
  • Emotional shock can have a devastating effect on one’s life. Death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, or increased job load.
  • Brain chemistry: Anxiety has been associated with abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are special chemical messengers that help move information from nerve cell to nerve cell. If the neurotransmitters are out of balance, messages cannot get through the brain properly. This can alter the way the brain reacts in certain situations, leading to anxiety.
  • Addictive substances: The use of and withdrawal from addictive substances, including alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can also worsen anxiety.
  • A specific phobia is an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Some of the more common specific phobias are centered around closed-in places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, dogs, and injuries involving blood.

Physical symptoms:

  • Tense muscles
  • Trembling
  • Churning stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Numbness or “pins and needles” in arms, hands or legs
  • Sweating/flushing

Our clients are concerned about taking antidepressants or anxiety medications. Medications can be helpful for people with severe anxiety disorders. We offer gentle alternative approaches that can provide relief. Natural treatments for anxiety target both the physical, emotional causes of anxiety and hormonal imbalances.

Natural ways to treat anxiety

  • Learn to manage stress in your life. Keep an eye on pressures and deadlines and make a commitment to taking time out from study or work.
  • Learn a variety of relaxation techniques. Physical relaxation methods and meditation techniques really do help. Practice yoga at least three times a week. Health food shops and book stores carry variety of relaxation tapes and yoga DVDs.
  • Look after your physical self. Eat healthy, get regular exercise and try to keep a regular sleep pattern. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and junk food.
  • Practice deep abdominal breathing. This consists of breathing in deeply and slowly through your nose, taking the air right down to you abdomen. Visualize the air travelling right down to your abdomen and say the word “calm” to yourself as you breathe in. Then breathe out slowly and gently through your mouth. As you breathe out visualize the stress and tension leaving your body with your breath and think the word “relax.” Deliberately let your muscles go floppy as you breathe out. Take three deep breaths at a time. If you breathe deeply for too long you may feel dizzy from the extra oxygen. You can repeat the three breaths after a short time of breathing normally. Your feet from your knees to your toes should be on a chair.
  • Learn to replace “negative self-talk” with “positive self-talk.” It is useful to make a list of the negative thoughts you often have and write a list of positive, believable thoughts to replace them.
  • Seek counseling and support after a traumatic or disturbing experience.