Anxiety 101: Why does anxiety happen?
Feeling anxious these days? Read on for expert tips on natural remedies for anxiety.
Below, we cover the difference between anxiety and stress, types of anxiety disorders, causes of anxiety, how to recognize an anxiety attack, and give our top herbal remedies, supplements, and lifestyle tips to manage it (and know when to get help!)
What is anxiety?
What actually is anxiety, and how is it different from stress? Here’s how: stress is a normal response to an external cause, like running late to an important work meeting. Your shoulders tense up and your breath shortens. When you arrive late at the office, stress levels slowly recede as you apologize to your boss and continue on with your day.
Anxiety, on the other hand, isn’t rooted in external causes. Say you left home for work at the same time as usual. You’re not running late, but you fear you’ll be late anyhow. You feel anxious for the whole ride. When you finally arrive at work, on time, the same feelings remain. It just doesn’t go away!
Types of anxiety disorders
Although there are different classifications of anxiety disorders, they all trigger an intense sense of fear or worry. Some major types include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What causes anxiety?
Though there is no single cause, we know that women are more prone to anxiety than men, and that possible causes include exposure to stress, genetics and brain chemistry.
People who suffer from anxiety may have different triggers. If you experience anxiety, identifying your own triggers can be a helpful step toward better self-care and self-awareness.
Am I having an anxiety attack?
- Tension, worry, restlessness
- Fatigue and sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating and hyper-vigilance
- Shortness of breath and tension in the body
- Feelings of apprehension and dread
Natural remedies, supplements, and lifestyle tips
Herbs can help! Top herbal remedies include passionflower, kava kava, and ashwagandha.
Passionflower has been shown to be as effective as benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders, minus the side effects. It also helps promote deep, restful sleep.
Kava kava has also been shown to assist with generalized anxiety disoder, acting as a potent remedy for acute anxiety attacks.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps to balance cortisol and adrenaline levels, regulating the stress response, and lowering feelings of anxiousness.
Go-to supplements for anxiety relief include Adrenal Chill, a formula with ashwagandha and L-theanine, along with 5-HTP, a precursor to the happy hormone, serotonin!
Managing through lifestyle habits and changes:
- try psychotherapy and/or cognitive behavioural therapy
- practice mindfulness and keep relaxation techniques handy
- consume a high nutrient diet
- commit to plenty of high quality rest
Know when to get help
Don’t go through it alone: if it gets too hard to bear, seek help from a healthcare practitioner or therapist. Tell your friends and family, and build a support system as you manage your anxiety.