Did you know that 1 in 6 women in Australia will experience depression and 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety in their lifetime
Our Naturopath has created some helpful strategies to support those who are experiencing anxiety, stress and depression.
Anxiety, stress and depression are all linked to our nervous system. When this happens we go into fight or flight mode. In cave man days this would help us run away from the tiger. But nowadays, everyday stressors can put us into this mode. When this happens, our body produces too much cortisol (a hormone secreted by the kidneys)- it is your body's natural defense mechanism and reaction to stress or danger. A small amount is helpful to our survival, however long term exposure to cortisol can harm our health. It can lead to issues such as; weight gain, hormonal reregulation, poor sleep, poor digestion, weakened immunity and blood sugar problems. So as you can see it is imperative we get our stress under control. So what can you do?
Taking supplements can be very helpful, here are a few key nutrients for nervous system support:
• Magnesium: is essential for nervous system support. It assists us with sleep, helps us to relax and is needed for the relaxation of muscles and production of certain neurotransmitters. Especially great if you are getting tension headaches due to stress.
• B Complex: B vitamins are the essential nutrients of the nervous system. They are responsible for energy production, which is important to support bodily functions that respond to stress. B vitamins are also essential for the production of cortisol and neurotransmitters.
• Fish Oil: People who have anxiety and depression can have more inflammation in their bodies, and fish oil helps to reduce that inflammation.
• Ashwagandha: is an adaptogen; meaning it helps to calm us when we are feeling stressed and give us energy when we are feeling low. It also helps to support adrenal function and reduce cortisol levels.
It is important if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, take any medications or have any underlying health conditions that you check with your health care professional before starting any supplements.
• Exercise: helps to increase serotonin and endorphins; both feel good chemicals. Even going for a walk can be helpful!
• Practicing mindfulness, meditation, yoga or tai chi can help you to relax and bring you in the moment.
• Deep breathing exercises: are excellent for helping to regulate anxiety by switching you from fight or flight mode to rest and digest mode. You can find some videos on YouTube that can show you how.
• Eating a healthy diet: is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health. Reduce sugary and processed foods, caffeine and alcohol as these can all increase anxiety, stress and the release of cortisol.
• Having a good support network: catch up with family or friends, even if you don't feel like it.
• Essential oils: add them to your bath or place them in an oil diffuser. Relaxing and uplifting scents include lavender and citrus. They can even assist with sleep.
• Get a blood test: Checking for things like Iron, Vitamin D, B12 and thyroid function can be helpful, as these nutrients are all essential for heathy nervous system function.
If you are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression have a chat to your doctor. For more information, come and have a chat to our naturopath.