Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Why is anxiety so prevalent and what can we do about it?
Anxiety evolved as a helpful emotion. It would have given us an evolutionary advantage. A part of our brain detects a danger, whether real or perceived, and our body reacts accordingly to fight or flee the danger.
This is a perfectly normal reaction…when it is warranted. The problem is, our primitive brain detects danger everywhere. In our current environment, we have an abundance of modern-day threats such as the pressures of work deadlines and mortgage payments, which to our brain can feel like a pride of sabre toothed lions lurking behind us, ready to attack. And so, we prepare to fight or flee.
This can result in many of us being filled with fear, stress and anxiety on a daily basis. The problem is we cannot run away from a work deadline or a mortgage payment. This physical response to everyday situations can create feelings of persistent anxiety, a racing heart, dry mouth, obsessive thoughts, insomnia, loss of motivation and loss of sex drive.
Fear of evaluation, a persistent fear of being watched or judged is the most common fear and anxiety according to research. Fear of uncertainty resulting in OCD and bizarre thoughts is another common form of anxiety.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders. This may be due to a combination of how we manage stress, social isolation or feelings of inadequacy.
Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter which makes us feel happy and relaxed.
It is produced predominately in the gut. Disruption to gut bacteria and an inflammatory diet have been identified by science as a driver behind the increasing epidemic levels of anxiety and mood disorders. An inflamed brain is an unhappy brain.
Increased levels inflammation are thought to be a major contributor to many diseases of civilisation. Inflammation in small amounts is helpful when needed, like turning on a hose pipe for a short time to put out a small fire. However, if that hose pipe is left on, then water floods everywhere, just like inflammation flooding the body. The bloodstream allows inflammation to travel to the brain and other organs. Science suggests that many mood disorders are rooted in inflammation.
Coping with anxiety can cause us to turn to strategies that are not helpful in the long run such as alcohol, comfort food, drugs and addictive behaviours.
What can I do to help with Anxiety?
Reducing the inflammation in your body can radically improve neurological stability resulting in more clarity of thought, better sleep, improved focus, more stable moods and reduced migraines. Reducing inflammation can be achieved by:
Nutrition- reducing sugar, carbohydrate and alcohol intake, increasing good, healthy fats and vegetables
Increasing our omega-3 fats. These are very anti-inflammatory and can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. A high quality, high potency fish oil can achieve this.
Dampening down the production of inflammatory markers. Science has shown us that this is how CBD oil creates a pain reliving, anti-inflammatory effect, through working on reducing the production of inflammatory molecules in the body.
Using stress-management techniques such as meditation and mindfulness has been shown to improve anxiety
Improve gut health
Improve our gut microbiome can have great beneficial effects on our mental wellbeing. This is through the production of the happy hormone serotonin in the gut and through improved nutrient absorption.
Eating fermented foods can improve good gut bacteria. Foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kombutcha and natural yoghurts can all hope improve gut health.
Whilst we may not feel like it when we are experiencing low mood and a state of anxiety, exercise can be very beneficial for our mental wellbeing. It helps to stimulate more of our ‘feel good’ hormones and recent research is also suggesting it stimulates the production of our own cannabinoids, the molecules found in CBD which interact with our cells are create feeling of relaxation and harmony.
If you would like to learn more about how to reduce inflammation, increase fat-burning and energy, improve gut health, improve liver and brain function and safeguard your health from chronic illness, take a look at some of the seminars we have coming up. The Ultimate Health Programme will guide you through all of the topics above and more. The CBD workshop will focus on all of the most recent research in the field of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. This will focus on, what we currently know, areas of interesting research such as the neuro-protective effects of CBD and pain-relieving effects of CBD to future research in the area.