Almost everyone will occasionally experience anxiety.  Dealing with a difficult person, speaking in front of a group or even making a challenging phone call can be the kind of situations that may make us have a moment of anxiety.  But one in ten adults overage 60 suffers with the worry, obsessive thoughts, fear and perhaps the nameless dread of anxiety that has become chronic.

   If you are suffering from anxiety,  seeing your physician is the first step to overcoming this challenge.  Most doctors will prescribe medication which many patients will find very helpful.  But I often see clients who feel that the medicines are not the answer for them.  Some feel the medications are just not working while others are fearful of side effects or dependency.  

    If you suffer from anxiety and do not wish to take medications, what else can you do?  If you would like to tame anxiety without drugs, there are other tools to overcome anxiety and help prevent future occurrences.  Making healthy diet and lifestyle changes can strengthen your body and conquer anxiety.

    What you consume in eat and drink has a tremendous effect on how your body reacts to the stresses in your life.  Eating to tame anxiety includes eating complex carbohydrates while avoiding simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include brightly colored vegetables and fruits.  A good goal is at least two servings with each meal.  The protective phytonutrients in these foods help prevent the destructiveness of high stress hormones . Avoid simple carbs like white bread, crackers, white potatoes and white pasta elevate blood sugars.  They causes a quick uplift where you feel better before crashing into even greater anxiety. Be sure to get 60 g to 70 g of protein daily.  Proteins are important in moving the amino acid tryptophan to the brain.  This increases the calming neurotramsmitter, serotonin. Protein foods include, beef, chicken and fish,  Nonanimal proteins include soy, beans, seeds and nuts.  Don't forget alcohol is a concentrated sugar so limiting alcoholic drinks is recommended to overcome anxiety. And avoid caffeine which elevates the stress hormone norepinephrine.  Limit or at least avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and caffeinated soft-drinks.

    Many experts in the field of anxiety believe that certain vitamins, minerals  and other supplements will help control chronic anxiety. I highly recommend that you consult your medical doctor before beginning a supplement regimen especially if you are taking any prescription medications.  Among the vitamins recommended by experts are the B-complex which include folic acid, B-6 and B-12, Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids available in a fish oil supplement.  Minerals such as calcium and magnesium can help as a mild muscle relaxant.  Herbal supplements are also recommended including Saint-John's wort, Passionflower and L-theanine.  Before you use these be sure and discuss dosages with your doctor.

     Exercise can be a great way to deal with anxiety.  Get up and move.  If you are anxious about being outside, climb the stairs inside your home.  If you haven't been exercising at all, start slowly - walk outside to the mailbox or down to the corner.  Challenge yourself to do a little more each day until you are moving regularly for about half an hour.

     Learning breathing techniques can be a great way to deal with the stresses that can foster anxiety.  If you have ever watched a baby asleep on its back, its little belly will go up and down.  We're born knowing how to breathe.  As we age, we get more uptight and tend to inhale much more shallowly.  To release the tension which can cause anxiety, put your hands on your belly, breathe down through your lungs and into your abdominal cavity. You should be holding air  so your tummy will go out rather than such in.  I suggest you breathe in to a count of four.  Hold your breath for two counts and exhale for seven counts.  Do this for about a minute at least three times a day.  Some people do it as often as every 90 minutes to two hours.  By doing this, you are training your body to release stress and tension automatically.

    Hypnotherapy is an excellent tool for relieving anxiety.  It will help you relax.  I always suggest to my clients that they may want to record the session on their smart phone for a time when they would like that level of relaxation again.  In addition, hypnotherapy can be a great way to motivate yourself to eat better, avoid caffeine or alcohol, and exercise more.  Hope you can use these tips to overcome anxiety and BE WELL.