Anxiety in modern society is a common issue born of many personal historical, psychological and social issues, not least of all our fear of exclusion and difference. Our culture has become so homogenised that deviances from the norm can create crippling anxiety and fear of the future. And never more so than since the events of 2020 for a host of reasons that I will not elaborate on here.
However, while anxiety may be born of future fears and squished down feelings of anger, resentment and inadequacy, causing untold psychological and physical conditions and harm, such as IBS and ME/CFS, there are answers. Did you know there are easy, simple to apply real life steps you can take to bring your body more into harmony with the natural order of things?
For one, as a veg grower of many years now, I have noticed a range of interesting benefits since I have spent more and more time outdoors in all weathers growing and preparing my own foods: things that have illustrated to me just how far removed we are from being truly human in all its facets. However, the following list encompasses a range of easy to apply steps to reduce your susceptibility to anxiety and get you feeling grounded.
Caffeine is a stimulant that, until you no longer take it, hides from consciousness as a cause of anxiety. It creates hyper alert in the body and interestingly, experiments done by NASA in 1995 showed that caffeine administered to spiders and their webs studied, showed a highly disorganised web formation: worse than those administered with marijuana and LSD. Coming off caffeine may cause headaches for a week, but in my experience, it is well worth coming off this substance. I personally have not taken a caffeine drink for 30 years now (except twice by mistake which resulted in panic and nausea) and as I came off it, I noticed the downregulation of my system while calmness ensued.
Sunshine is not a permanent fixture in the UK climate, but that’s ok. It’s the morning light on the retina, and sunshine if there is any, that will change your mind state. Early morning sun comprises yellow light, afternoon blue light, and evening illumination needs to be lower than eye level and red or much lower intensity. This simulates firelight. Most people are looking at too much blue light from computer and phone screens which is unnatural to the body. The energising light of early sun/daylight, in modern living, is often missed altogether and the body does not get a chance to align with the natural cycles of life. This can also cause weight gain, depression and anxiety as we are born to live in this earth environment with its seasons and cycles. In addition, getting sunlight on your skin also supplies much needed Vitamin D which stimulates your immune system.
Food is vital to calming the nervous system and ensuring that the whole body and all its functions, are being well nourished and therefore, operating at their optimum. Fresh, local, seasonal and preferably, home grown is best. Cook from scratch and eat plenty of vegetables and healthy meats. Anything processed is not recognised as food by the body and the body will go into hyper-drive to try and rid it of the toxicity. This directly impacts on the amygdala, a part of the brain that mediates our emotional responses to various stimuli, real and imagined. There is more science to this which is beyond the remit of this article so I encourage you to research. Seasonal produce as well, causes our mind and body to synch with the rhythms and cycles of our environment. I’ve found a kind of honouring of the amazing abundance of foods cooked and prepared in their seasons. If you have time issues, ie, not enough of it, prepare meals in bulk and refrigerate till needed.
How we breath directly impacts on our health and wellbeing. Many with anxiety issues breathe shallowly and quickly in the upper chest. This is a fight/flight response and once it becomes a habit, it creates an endless cycle of anxiety in the body. Breathing long and slow into the diaphragm needs to become a daily habit. It takes 5 mins, or even just 2 mins several times a day, to bring the parasympathetic nervous system down into a state of calm. This body’s system is unconscious and its resting state is calm. It cannot rest if it is being constantly excited by shallow breathing, which signals to the body that there is danger around.
The earth has an electrical charge all of its own. We have often heard that during a thunderstorm, negative ions are released and many people feel much better after a storm. The earth does something similar except it is accessible all year round. The earth is negatively charged, and by putting a bare foot on the soil, grass, sand, sea, etc, you are discharging all kinds of unhealthy impulses into the ground. It’s called ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding’. I know in summer, I walk around my allotment bare footed and aside from the ingrained mud on the feet, I actually feel grounded. My energy centre lowers, my head becomes calmer, and I am consumed with working the soil, feeling the wind, working with the seasons, and the wonderful abundance of growing food. Which brings me onto my next point.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to raise your endorphins, and give yourself all the positive neurotransmitters that the body needs to feel good. If you can do that while doing something useful like growing food, you’ve saved yourself a gym fee, and made your time spent productive too. If you can spend an hour down the gym 3 or 4 times a week, you can spend that same time in the garden or at the allotment. The physical effects are different: unless you take your weights to the lottie, you won’t get the definition you get at the gym. So why not take them and do a 20 minute upper body or leg work out before you start!
Last but not least is the quality of our water and how that affects our neurology. Most of us now filter our water, but even that often does not remove all the fluoride so research carefully for filters that can remove fluoride. Sodium Fluoride is a by-product of the aluminium industry which is the chemical that is added to our water, and while aluminium is abundant in the earth, it is in a calcium fluoride formulation which has positive effects on the body. The Fluoride that is administered to our municipal water is classed by the WHO as a neurotoxin and many studies have evidenced this too. It lowers IQ and, though I haven’t found a study on anxiety and fluoride toxicity, I suspect there is a link. Get clean, filtered or distilled water and do not compromise on the quality of your water. If you’re crystal savvy, use shungite to energise and structure your water.
In the above 7 points, I have covered elements of our general health and wellbeing that can have a massive impact on our psychology. However, modern medicine often confounds the problem by prescribing additional toxins (anti-anxiety/anti-depressants) into an already toxic body without looking at the whole person and their lifestyle and habits. If you see yourself in any of the above descriptions then I encourage you to do a little bit at first – sunshine, breath, and earth. These cost nothing at all and can have huge impacts on wellbeing. As it’s spring as I write, experiment with a few seeds in pots on the patio, balcony or garden. See how it feels to grow something edible that you can use. Everything is a journey and changing habits can be hard. So give yourself a list of simple things you can complete every day and watch how it changes your mindset.
If however, you need to talk through your issues with someone, clearing out old programming and resetting your mind to be able to forgive, let things go and reset your thinking, by all means, give me a call or email or book in for half hour free, no strings, evaluation on www.openmindtherapy.co.uk.