10 Natural Ways to Combat Stress and Anxiety

10 Natural Ways to Combat Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety is something I have been struggling with on and off for most of my life. Over the past 5 or 6 years since my digestive issues have worsened, my anxiety worsened right along with it. After reading many articles, listening to many doctors, and learning how to listen to my body, I realized that my gut problems and my anxiety had weaved themselves into and endless cycle – One causing the other. With the help of several natural practitioners, virtual support from stories found online, and my family and friends’ support, I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Keep reading to learn what has helped me maintain some control over my anxiety. (I am not a medical professional. These are what I have found works for me. They may or may not work for you – Everyone is different.)

1. Apps

A good percentage of us have smartphones. Take a snoop around the app store on your mobile device and you will find a plethora of relaxation apps. A few of my favorites are:

Relax Lite: Simply guided breathing with soothing music in the background. When I get panicky I forget to breathe. This guide gives me something to focus on, other than my nerves.

CalmThis app is very popular. It has a lot of great guided meditations for balancing emotions and relaxation. There is also a work book bassed on the Calm app, with a similar concept.

AudibleSometimes, when my mind is racing at night, I put on a story that comes free with an Amazon Prime subscription.

Relax Melodies: If you enjoy noises, tones, or sounds for relaxation, this app would be great for you.

2. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing,  4 counts in and  4 counts out. Focusing on the counting and feeling the breath deep in the bottom of my lungs helps to calm me.

3. Essential Oils

I LOVE essential oils. I use them for everything. Some great single oils to use for anxiety are Lavender, Chamomile, Orange, and Ylang Ylang.

There are also a few blends that are amazing: Relax, Peace and Calming I and/or II, and Stress Away. Each of these is unique, with beautiful, calming scents. All of these oils work well applied to the skin – for stress, I like to rub them over my chest – and diffused in an essential oil diffuser (the one I’m currently using – great for smaller to medium sized spaces, not so great for larger, open spaces).

4. Yoga and Meditation

When I include a few minutes of yoga and meditation in my day I feel a whole lot better overall, both physically and mentally.

A few apps I like to use are Daily Yoga, Asana Rebel, Butterfly Yoga, and Yoga Academy.

5. Get Outside/Grounding

Getting out into nature, into the fresh air has so many benefits both emotionally and physically. Grounding or Earthing – getting skin to earth contact – in ways I don’t understand supports our overall health in so many ways: reducing stress, reducing pain and inflammation, speeding up healing, and supporting adrenal health. (wellnessmama.com has a really great article about grounding.)

“Playing” in the dirt can provide lots of beneficial probiotics. Having a healthy microbiome is the basis for a healthy body and mind.

So get out there in the sun and dirt! Breath in the fresh air, soak up the vitamin D and play in the probiotics.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Reach out to a friend or family member you can trust. Explain what you are feeling. Don’t be afraid to tell them exactly how to help you when you do have a panic attack.

Seeing a Therapisteapist can do a world of good. I really enjoyed the time I spent with mine. She provided me with many great tools to understand what was going on with my brain and how to manage it and correct it. Panic attacks don’t just come out of the blue. There is a cause. Maybe we can’t identify the reason right off the bat – and that’s okay – but with time a professional can help you understand the underlying causes of your anxiety and find a way to retrain your brain to overcome what triggers your anxiety.

7. Staying Busy

Staying occupied helps me to keep my mind off of whatever might be stressing me.

For example, I get quite anxious when we have company (I’ve made a lot of improvement on that recently) so staying busy in the kitchen or cleaning around the house in preparation for guests really helps keep my freak out to a minimum.

8. Reducing Toxicity

Detoxing can do a world of good for the body. You can start by making sure the products you use on yourself and your home are chemical free. (Sign up for my email newsletter or follow me on Bloglovin’ to get even more tips on living chemical free.)

With your Doctor’s approval remove synthetic medications. Search for natural options. A Naturopath, Functional Medicine Practitioner or Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner may be able to help with that search.

9. Check hormone and vitamin levels

I really recommend finding a Functional Medicine Practitioner in your area. I absolutely love mine. She is the best Doctor I’ve had so far (and I’ve seen a LOT of Doctors). She is dedicated, open-minded and thorough. Functional Docs have access to both sides of medicine – pharmaceutical and natural. They can also request testing from both sides of medicine. Functional Docs have access to more unique, detailed and possibly weird tests. Ask to get your hormone and vitamin levels checked. My results have been very revealing and helpful for future treatment and healing.

10. Supplements

There are many supplements that can help with stress reduction and mood balancing. (Always speak to your doctor before introducing a new treatment.)

Taking a high quality probiotic to keep your gut flora balanced will, in turn, help the rest of your body. Anxiety can be a side effect of vitamin b deficiency. I recommend finding methylated b’s in case there is an MTHFR gene mutation.

A few supplements such as Holy Basil, Gaba, and L-Theanine are very helpful with mood balancing.

So there you have it. Those are my tips and tricks for keeping a lid on my anxiety and panic attacks. I hope you find something here that could help you but remember, everyone is different. (You should always speak with your doctor before making any changes with your health.)

Do you have any tips that I didn’t include? If so, please share them in the comments!

Young Living Essential Rewards – May 2019

Young Living Essential Rewards – May 2019

Young Living has been one of my go-to essential oil brands for a number of years. Each month I get a box of products at a wholesale price that I have hand-picked for myself…

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

Essential oils are used in my home nearly every day in one fashion or another. We use them in our skincare routines, treating unhappy tummies or aching muscles, making the air smell lovely, and even when cleaning…

Find Me On Social Media

My 23andMe Experience

My 23andMe Experience

For many months I have been thinking about doing 23andMe genetic testing. Or any genetic testing in general for that matter. There are many companies that test DNA for many different reasons.

A few years ago 23andMe was focused on the connection between health and genetics. They also offered a lot of information on genealogy. In 2013 the FDA stopped 23andMe from providing health results, or “diagnoses” as they saw it. It took almost two years for the FDA and 23andMe to come to an agreement on what they could and could not share with their customers.

At this time, there are some health results available directly from 23andMe. They have a pretty good system for genealogy and connecting with distant cousins, etc. You are also able to download your raw genetic data (a file of just the scientific codes assigned to each gene) to run through third-party companies. These companies can provide incredible results.

Why did I decide to have my DNA analyzed?

Here and there I have mentioned my health battles, trying to heal my leaky gut. I have yet to go into great detail about it, well because I’m not sure how to just yet. A few years ago I discovered a wonderful Functional Medicine Practitioner. At my first appointment, she requested a rather large batch of blood work (14 vials!!!). Part of that batch tested me for the two most common variations of the MTHFR gene mutation.

A few years ago I discovered a wonderful Functional Medicine Practitioner. At my first appointment, she requested a rather large batch of blood work (14 vials!!!). Part of that batch tested me for the two most common variations of the MTHFR gene mutation.

The results are in… I don’t have MTHFR C677T… BUT… I am homozygous (two copies … one from Mom and one from Dad) for MTHFR A1298C. OK, cool. I guess I’ll take my fancy, methylated B vitamins and that’s that.

About a year and change went by before I really started to wonder about this MTHFR thing. I wasn’t feeling any better, so I decided I needed to look into this and maybe manage it a bit better. What I learned was quite scary, overwhelming, and amazing.

I can become quite obsessive when my mind is set on something, so I set out to learn everything I could about what MTHFR means for me, my body, and my healing.

On several occasions, I found myself on Dr. Ben Lynch’s website, mthfr.net. From what I understand, he is one of the top MTHFR experts on the internet. One article from his website, about managing MTHFR, highly recommended doing 23andMe testing. So I shifted my obsessive researching to genetic testing.

My research concluded that 23andMe was the most cost-effective, consumer service available for what I was looking for. But the argument with the FDA was discouraging and left me nervous about spending so much money on something I wasn’t 100% sure I could trust, rely on, or totally benefit from.

It was many months later, after putting a hold on that research adventure, that I joined Dr. Axe’s Healing Leaky Gut Program. Included in that program was access to a private gut healing Facebook support group. I took my MTHFR questions to that group page. On several occasions, it was suggested that I do 23andMe. Once again my obsessive researching took off.

This time, it led me to Sterling Hill of mthfrsupport.com. We had an incredible phone conversation about how crucial it can be to know your own DNA. She helped me to understand that there are several possible gene mutations that can interfere with the MTHFR mutation and create kind of a perfect storm (wich was what I felt was going on with my body) .

Sterling sold me! After all that time I finally decided to do it!

I bought the kit!

After I ordered my test I was so excited to receive my results. I was constantly checking my 23andMe account, Looking for this image:

I also searched Google high and low for any indication of how long each step of testing would take. There weren’t any good answers. Some people received their results in a few weeks. Some took the average, estimated amount of time, and other had to wait even longer.

Since I didn’t have much luck finding the answers I wanted, I decided to create a timeline of my wait for the next person wondering:

Day 1: Purchased kit online.

Day 3: Kit mailed.

Day 5: Kit received and registered online.

Day 6: Mailed the kit back.

Day 11: Box logged in at lab, quality inspection started

Day 21: DNA Extraction

Day 27: DNA Analysis

Day 28: Quality review, Initial Raw Data Processing

Day 32: Woke up to an email saying my results were in!

Because I was so anxious and excited, this process felt like it took about 4X longer!

The Results Are In!

I learned a LOT from just the results available on 23andMe’s site. I have two copies of the lactose intolerant gene. (I was diagnosed with a low lactase enzyme count via endoscopy several years ago, at the beginning of my health struggles.)

I am more likely to have a sweet tooth. YEP!! It’s a Fox thing.

I can also smell asparagus metabolite in my pee.

23andMe was pretty spot on with my appearance too: Most likely to have brown eyes, no dimples, no unibrow, light-colored, wavy hair, ring finger longer than the index finger and light skin. Cool!

Even though most of the genealogical stories that have been passed down on both my parent’s sides are French/German, my DNA is actually more British/Irish. I also have a smidge of Asian/Native American in me too!

Third Party Analysis Programs

There are many companies who offer more in-depth analysis programs for your raw data. The few that I came across that look pretty good are:

Free:

Athletigen: A sport focused program. It explains how your body and mind react to athletic activities. It gave me recommendations like yoga, hip strengthening, and get more omega-3s. I can agree with all of those. I didn’t need to do this one but I thought it was fun to learn from it.

Codegen: I really like this one! It is very easy to search by gene, mutation, keyword, disease, condition, etc. You do have to reconnect your 23andMe account every time you want to “log in”, but that only takes a second. There is an option to email a time sensitive (accessible up to one week) file of results to your doctor as well. They provide links to many research references.

Genetic Genie: This service provides you with two PDF files. One with methylation genes and the other with detox genes. I chose to use Genetic Gene to first get a feel for what I might be finding in relation to the MTHFR mutation (MTHFR falls under the methylation and detox categories) . It was not as extensive as I was looking for, but it is a great place to start.

NutraHacker: Nutrahacker is a more nutrition based service. They offer great results via “free sample” You can also pay and receive extended results. I downloaded the free portion but have yet to purchase the full results. Do any of you know if they are worth it? I think the free results are pretty interesting. It would be amazing if the full, paid results were twice as interesting!

Paid:

A common one is Promethease for $5. I did not do this one because I had already purchased one that I felt was more extensive.

MTHFR Support at $30: Sterling (previously mentioned in this post) has a very thorough app on this site. The app provides a crazy amount of SNPs. They have educational YouTube video’s linked to many of the gene mutations, along with SNPedia links. Sterling also offers one on one consultations (at an additional price) to go over and understand your results.

I recently discovered Dr. Lynch has created Strate Gene for $45. I haven’t purchased this on but upon first glance at the website, it looks similar to Sterling’s App. Have you used Strate Gene?

There are many others available. Some I didn’t like the looks of, and others I just couldn’t figure out.

What other programs are out there that you would recommend?

I recommend any and all of the free ones. Sterling’s App from MTHFR support was really worth it for me. At first, I was really overwhelmed with all of the scientific codes and words, but it forced me to learn something new. I am really glad I did. I can almost understand it now! 🙂

I am happy I did the 23andMe testing. They are constantly updating their website and releasing new studies. Customers are also encouraged to participate in their surveys, which help with their research projects.

The family features are really neat as well! I was contacted by a distant cousin who told me her last name translated to fox in Russian. I don’t know of any Russian roots in my family, but that was still a pretty cool bit of information.

I would recommend 23andMe to anyone thinking about DNA testing. You get the most for your money. There are also umpteen million third-party analysis programs available.

Have you done any DNA testing before? Did you find it valuable? Are you thinking about doing it now? I look forward to continuing this conversation in the comments!

-Liz

Young Living Essential Rewards – May 2019

Young Living Essential Rewards – May 2019

Young Living has been one of my go-to essential oil brands for a number of years. Each month I get a box of products at a wholesale price that I have hand-picked for myself…

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

Essential oils are used in my home nearly every day in one fashion or another. We use them in our skincare routines, treating unhappy tummies or aching muscles, making the air smell lovely, and even when cleaning…

Find Me On Social Media

Pin It on Pinterest