Monthly archives: October, 2014


19869756_sAnxiety disorder is a far more common problem than was once thought. It can affect people from preschool years through middle age and later. Anxiety manifests itself in different ways such as panic, obsessive compulsive, or phobias. There are of course many medications that may be helpful in treating anxiety, however, there are also natural avenues for dealing with anxiety that may be just as helpful in some cases. In addition to some of the common tools for reducing anxiety, such as, exercise, breathing and muscle relaxation certain foods and herbs can reduce your levels of anxiety. It is a fact that stress and nutrition have a very strong link.

Complex Carbs
All carbs prompt the brain to make more serotonin. For a steady supply of this feel-good chemical, it’s best to eat complex carbs, which take longer to digest. Good choices include whole-grain breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals, including old-fashioned oatmeal. Complex carbs can also help you feel balanced by stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Too little magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue, compounding the effects of stress. One cup of spinach helps you stock back up on magnesium. Spinach is a great source of magnesium.

Relives anxiety related to upset stomach and reduce abdominal tension, and relaxes the large intestine. It is most effective when taken as a tea, before or after meals.

Mandarin oil
Can help with the oppressive feelings of anxiety. It can be used in a bath, rubbed on the skin or used in massage or aromatherapy.

Provide minerals including calcium, essential to maintain well functioning nerve impulses. Calcium also contains lactobacillus, which is essential for maintaining effective gut flora (micro organisms that help you to digest food properly).

Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna contain Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon and tuna, which can prevent surges in stress hormones. Omega-3 can affect the functionality of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a critical role in both depression and anxiety.

As much as nutrition can be instrumental in reducing stress and anxiety there are certain drinks and food, such as, caffeine, sugar, soft drinks and junk food that can aggravate stress. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid them completely, just consume them in moderation.


parent anxious childParents can be helpful in elevating some of their children’s phobias by just taking some simple steps and following them with praise and rewards. One of the main factors that keeps anxiety going is avoidance of a phobias feared stimulus. One way you can help your child or young person to challenge this avoidance is to put together a step-by-step plan that gradually exposes them to the thing that they fear. This should not push them into an anxiety-provoking situation – the point is to build
on the success of the last step and help them to grow in confidence each time. For example, for a child who had a phobia of dogs an exposure program might look like this:

Step One – Find an achievable 1st step, for example looking at a photo of a dog

Step Two – When the child is comfortable doing this, perhaps try looking at a toy dog

Step Three – Holding a toy dog

Step Four – Being in the same garden as a very small dog in a carrier

Step Five – Moving closer to the carrier

Step Six – Being in the same garden as a dog on a leash

Step Seven – Moving closer to the dog

Step Eight – Touching the dog for one second, etc.

Each step should be decided in agreement with the child and the parent, and plenty of praise / rewards should be used as the child or young person moves through the ladder. If the child or young person becomes distressed or does not feel they can manage the next step, then make the step smaller. It may take a considerable length of time for them to get to their goal, and everyone is different so patience, time and support are required in bucket loads from the family. You can assess when a child or young person’s anxiety drops by getting them to rate it on a scale of 1-10. When that number drops below 2 in the situation, you will be ready to move on to the next step.

Using praise and reward to get the behaviors you want:

When you see good behavior and brave behavior (where they challenge themselves – even in small ways) remember to give tons of praise. Remember:

  • Sound like you mean it
  • Avoid mixing in criticism (‘that’s great, but it would be better if you…’)
  • Say exactly what you are giving the praise for

Tips for getting the most out of rewards:

Give the reward ASAP after the good or brave behavior

Give loads of praise too

Never take a reward away once it has been earned

Always give rewards AFTER you have got the behavior that you wanted to see













Copyright: <a href=’’>dmbaker / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


27638891_s42 million people in the US will experience an impairment because of an anxiety condition.  Looking at these statistics it is evident that we all could use some tools to relieve anxiety. There are three different factors that can make a particular activity more soothing:

Familiarity: Any memories that you may have associated with past activities or events that are pleasant can be especially helpful in feelings of soothing. A good example was one of my patients found that working on her scrape book and putting in pictures of her family very calming since it was an activity she often did with her grandmother as a young girl and it brought back happy memories.

Multi-Sensory: When we use multiple senses in an activity our brain responds positively. So pleasant activities that involve two or more of our senses(sound, touch, sight, taste and smell) are more soothing. An example of a multi-sensory activity might include walking on the beach, feeling the sand underneath your toes, smelling the ocean and hearing the surf breaking on the beach.

Repetitive motions: Studies suggest that repetitive motion, such as chewing gum, knitting, or rocking in a chair can produce serotonin in the brain.  Our bodies are naturally inclined toward repetitive motion, like pacing, when we are agitated.

Here are some simple actions you can take that relate to one of the factors mentioned: checking gum, wearing familiar perfume or cologne, stretching, sucking on hard candy or sitting in the sun.