Anxiety is so common that I’d bet if you think really hard, you can name a handful of people dealing with it. And maybe one of those people is you. Please know that you are not alone. An estimated 30% of adults have dealt with anxiety at some point in their lives.
If you’ve been racking your brain trying to determine why you’re anxious all the time, then it might benefit you to figure out what your body is trying to tell you.
I’ve always been a Type-A kinda person, always in a rush, overly ambitious and an over-the-top perfectionist. This served me well in school, cramming for exams and writing papers long into the night. But as a parent, I struggled to find balance between being a “perfect mom” and being a workaholic.
You see, it’s impossible to be both.
I thought I was coping really well until one day, while waiting in line at the grocery store, I had an all-out panic attack – my vision went foggy, my heart was beating out of my chest and I couldn’t breathe. I completely understand why people would want to reach for a pill because, this feeling was downright AWFUL. In fact, I went straight to my doctor after that and she immediately wrote a script for Xanax.
But, here’s the thing: I wasn’t deficient in Xanax. I had undiagnosed vitamin and mineral deficiencies. That coupled with a perfectionist, high-pressure mindset was the perfect storm for a full-blown panic attack. My body’s way of communicating there was something wrong was through anxiety.
Addressing Anxiety with Functional Medicine
Conventional medicine is based on the thought that your body is broken and misbehaving, and it can only be fixed with medicine. This approach can be effective for some people however, it only masks the symptoms of anxiety, it doesn’t address the root cause of why it’s happening in the first place.
You see anxiety is a symptom of a bigger problem. It’s like your body’s alarm system. Your body is screaming at you to tell you that something is wrong. When we look for the root causes of the alarm, we are practicing Functional Medicine.
Functional medicine is focused on how and why illness occurs and, more importantly, restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual.
What is Functional Medicine?
Imagine you’re on a boat that is leaking water. Conventional medicine is focused on bailing the water out of the boat so you can stay afloat.
But wouldn’t it make more sense to just stop the boat from leaking in the first place? This is what functional medicine is all about.
In this analogy, anxiety is like the leaking water. It’s a signal that there is something wrong with the boat (your body). Most people spend all of their focus on the leaking water (anxiety) instead of finding and plugging the hole in the boat (the root cause).
Here are 3 common things that may just be the root cause of your anxiety:
1 - Food sensitivities
Believe it or not, certain foods can make you feel stressed, upset and anxious. It’s your body’s way of telling you that it cannot tolerate a particular food. Because the gut produces 90% of your body’s serotonin (the hormone responsible for happy feelings), if your gut is not happy, it’s likely you’ll be unhappy too.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to test for food intolerances. The best way to determine if a food is causing you problems, is to do an elimination diet. An elimination diet involves removing foods from your diet that you believe you cannot tolerate. Later, the foods are reintroduced, one at a time, while you look for symptoms that show a reaction. As with any diet, speak with a professional first to make sure you are able to meet your nutritional needs.
2 – Thyroid
One of the most overlooked causes of anxiety is thyroid imbalance, which can cause a whole host of symptoms ranging from anxiety, weight gain, heart palpitations and depression. Generally the more severe the thyroid disorder, the more severe the mood changes.
The best way to address thyroid imbalance is to work with a well trained expert to treat the root cause of thyroid dysfunction and rebalance the system.
3 – Nutrient Deficiency
Science is discovering that people with anxiety symptoms often have specific nutrient deficiencies. They are more likely to need extra vitamins and minerals as well as essential fatty acids, as well as certain amino acids. One mineral of note is magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer, which can help with anxiety symptoms. Since we tend to hold on to so much tension with our muscles, magnesium can be an easy way to create calmness.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get more magnesium in your life, consider trying Tranquility Cream which is infused with concentrated magnesium, potent herbs and calming essential oils.
Finding and treating the root cause of your anxiety can take time and effort, but hopefully some of the above suggestions can kick-start your healing journey so you can find relief sooner than later.