Anxiety is a normal part of life, but for some people it goes beyond that to a chronic, exaggerated worry and tension which can be diagnosed as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Anxiety can be described as being excessively worried about something for a period of time, such that it impacts on the everyday function of the person experiencing anxiety.  It is a condition that commonly waxes and wanes and is more often than not associated with other mental health symptoms such as depression. It is a serious condition that can make it hard to deal with daily life.  GAD means always anticipating disaster, often worrying excessively about health, money, family or work.

Anxiety is usually accompanied by a constant feeling that something bad is going to happen.  Those with anxiety sometimes worry they have a serious illness and the symptoms of their anxiety often reinforces this in their minds.  Anxiety can affect your whole being.  Reactions can by physiological, behavioural, and psychological all at the same time.  For example, physical reactions such as increased heartbeat, muscle tension, sweating and nausea are accompanied by irrepressible behavioural changes in the way you deal with situations (not being able to speak properly) and psychological reactions such as feeling extreme apprehension and uneasiness.

Often simply thinking about a particular situation is enough to bring on the anxiety.  This is call ‘anticipatory anxiety’ and occurs simply by considering what might happen when you are faced with your fears. ‘Situational’ or ‘public anxiety’ is a type of anxiety that occurs when you are placed in a specific situation, such as being in a crowded place, going to the dentist, or driving on busy, unfamiliar roads.  Such situations can become phobias when you begin to consciously avoid those situations.


Anxiety is usually followed by up to 3 of the following symptoms:

Restlessness + fatigue + concentration problems + irritability + muscle tension or sleep disturbances.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath or lightheaded
  • Trembling or twitching
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes, sweating or chills
  • nausea and abdominal distress
  • Constant need to use the bowels or urinate
  • heart palpatations / racing heart
  • numbness
  • dizziness and unsteadiness
  • digestive disturbances
  • obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour

Factors that make Anxiety worse

Factors that can trigger or worsen symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Stress
  • Medical conditions
  • Lack of sleep / sleep disorders
  • Negative relationships
  • Poor dietary habits
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Some medications
  • Negative environments

Dietary Advice

Diet plays a large part in assisting your recovery from anxiety.  The brain produces chemicals called neurotransmitters, and they need the right nutrients from foods to function correctly.  The following is a list of foods to include as well as those to limit or exclude.


  • Fermented foods
  • Whole grains and legumes
  • Protein such as lean meat, turkey is beneficial
  • Deep sea oily fish – (aim to consume 3-4 times a week)
  • Green leafy vegetables (as they contain B vitamins)
  • Berries (can be added to smoothies)
  • Nuts such as walnuts and almonds
  • Low glycaemic foods (will aid in stabilizing blood sugars, helping to support healthy nervous system and brain function).

All these foods above are rich in folate, omega-3 oils, tryptophan, vitamin B, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium.

Limit / Exclude:

  • Caffeine / coffee/ coke/ chocolate/black tea
  • Processed foods
  • Foods high in saturated fats or trans fats (ie deep fried foods, chips etc)
  • Sugary food or high glycaemic carbohydrates such as breads, pastries, cakes, biscuits, lollies and soft drinks.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.

Aim to eat regularly: 3 small meals a day with snacks in-between, each containing protein, as this will help keep blood sugar levels stable, preventing hypoglycaemia which can be a trigger.

Lifestyle Advice

Anxiety responds well to a natural approach, but it is important to note that without learning how to calm both your mind and body, natural medicines do not work as well.  Techniques to elicit the relaxation response can make a huge difference to people experiencing anxiety.

There are numerous methods to help to quiet the body and mind.  Some of the most popular relaxation exercises and techniques are:

  • Progressive relaxation and deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation / prayer / mindfulness
  • Walking or any physical activity
  • Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Art and hobbies
  • Grounding in nature  – get to the local park or go to the beach

Cognitive behaviour therapies or other psychological support may be necessary.

It is important to find a healthy work-life balance involving meaningful work, proper rest as well as effective sleep, physical activity, positive social interactions and pleasurable hobbies. This can sound a lot, but can be very simple actions that can be practised many times during the day. Over time as your commitment to do these practices increases, it will have the desired effect, and the anxiety will be better managed.

Good sleep is also very important to relieve symptoms of anxiety and promote neurotransmitter synthesis.  Incorporating the above techniques to help you relax, will often have the knock on effect of improved sleep.


Evidence from published medical studies show that nutritional and herbal supplementation is an effective method for treating anxiety and anxiety-related conditions without the risk of serious side effects.  Treating anxiety is very individual, so we will guide you as to the best supplement and natural medicines for you.  Commonly prescribed nutrients may include B vitamins, calcium or magnesium, herbal supplements and tonics and amino acids. Seeking other professional support may also be encouraged.

If you are struggling with anxiety and would like a free no-obligation call to see how we can help, then please book in below.

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