Ten Easy Steps to Get Over Anxiety

Here is the Anxiety2calm.com top ten on how to get over anxiety. Let me count you down!

10. Learn to relax. Relaxation is important for anxiety sufferers. You should do ten to twenty minutes of relaxation everyday.

9. Take regular exercise. It’s a fact! Exercising regularly, and getting out of breath, raises your serotonin levels. It is a great stress-buster.

8. Cut out chocolate, coffee and any other caffeine in your diet. It really can have an effect on anxiety and you will quickly get used to doing without. If you have a sweet tooth and are a chocoholic then it’s OK to substitute with other sweet snacks that don’t have caffeine (although it’s better to eat more healthily – see #7)

7. Keep your blood sugar levels stable. Many people get anxiety, or at least worse anxiety symptoms, when their blood sugar levels are low. Eat complex carbohydrates and protein, and avoid sugar and processed foods (including refined wheat products) to keep your blood sugar and mood stable.

6. Use soothing herbs like Valerian, Passiflora and Chamomile. Drink them as tea or buy a tincture. They really do work!


5. Practise good breathing. Lots of anxiety sufferers have Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome which can be corrected by regular breathing practice.

4. Write down your thoughts. Doing “Morning Pages” where you just let your thoughts flow onto the paper first thing in the morning (or whenever) is very cathartic and therapeutic. It helps with sleep, motivation and relaxation.

3. Think about getting more tryptophan in your diet. It is the building block of serotonin and being deficient can cause anxiety.

2. Learn the techniques of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy). They are useful to get you through anxiety symptoms and help with negative thought patterns.

1. Practise Mindfulness Meditation. It is a fantastic long term solution to anxiety. It’s best to buy a book or a CD, or go on a course. Like all the best things, it takes dedication.


If you think I have missed something please add it below as a comment!

Cure Anxiety Panic Attacks Naturally

The best way to cure anxiety and panic attacks naturally is to look for the cause of the problem. The medication doctors prescribe, as well as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) works by treating the symptom and not the cause. The natural approach should be more solution focused: it’s kinder to your body, works better and makes anxiety history sooner.

So how do you cure anxiety and panic attacks naturally? In an ideal world you would discover the cause of anxiety and treat it accordingly. In reality no two people are the same and figuring out what causes anxiety inside you is not easy. That means you are left with a process of trial and error, and more often than not it will be a combination of things that ultimately cures you of anxiety.

You need to examine yourself in these areas:

Brain Chemistry

It is possible that you are not producing enough serotonin due to a tryptophan deficiency. You could try a 5-HTP supplement. Or maybe you need an amino acid boost to raise your GABA levels. Naturally balancing your brain chemistry is much better than taking anti-depressants  and is much more of a permanent solution.

Nutrition

In this day and age it is easy to become deficient in vitamins and minerals. It is easy to correct these deficiencies but you need to be careful that you don’t overdose. You should pay particular attention to calcium and magnesium as well as Vitamin D. These vitamins and minerals can have a surprising effect on our psychological well-being.

Balance. A surprising amount of anxiety and agoraphobia is caused by balance problems. Very slight vestibular disorders (disorders of the inner-ear) can cause panic attacks in wide open spaces and supermarkets (typical of agoraphobia). While psychologists might still insist that these problems have their roots in childhood memory, science is moving on and finding many non-psychological causes of anxiety. Killing Anxiety From The Roots has a lot of information on this.

Breathing

Chronic Hyperventilation is linked to anxiety as a cause and symptom of anxiety. It is essential to practice good breathing everyday and this will pay dividends in a short time.

Amino Acids and Anxiety

Amino acids can be used to treat anxiety. The question is which ones to use, what dose, and how often. These can be difficult questions to answer as there are various causes of anxiety which might respond to various amino acids.

What’s more, everyone is slightly different and therefore able to absorb differing amounts of amino acids through natural diet and supplementation.

General advice on dose when it comes to amino acids and anxiety is to use the least amount that works and to never go beyond the amount recommended on the packet without medical supervision. Often, when a deficiency of an amino acid has been corrected you can move to a much lower “maintenance dose” or stop taking the supplement altogether as long as your requirements are being satisfied by diet alone. At any rate you should stop taking the supplement periodically for a week or so.

The most important amino acids for anxiety are:

Tryptophan, which is used to make the feel-good chemical serotonin. Found in most protein based food such as meat, fish, dairy and egg it is thought to be low in people with anxiety disorders and depression. There have been questions over the safety of tryptophan but now it is back on the market in most countries. Some people prefer 5-HTP as a natural way to raise serotonin.

Taurine is one of the amino acids the brain uses to make GABA, an important calming substance. Taurine is found in reasonable quantities in some fish and meat products.

Glutamine is also used to make GABA and is widely available. Research as to its efficacy is scant however.

Theanine is known by some as Nature’s Valium.  It is safe and encourages relaxing brainwaves to keep you calm. It is found in green tea but can also be supplemented.

Histidine is sometimes used for anxiety, as is glycine.

Tyrosine is often used for depression but there is good reason to believe that it might help anxiety in some cases as well.

You should also read about amino acids side-effects. If you are interested in treating the root cause of anxiety through amino acids and other physiological aspects you will find Killing Anxiety From The Roots extremely interesting.

Amino Acids Side-Effects

Amino acids side effects can be severe. It is often said that amino acids are safe and natural, and this is true if they are used properly. But unfortunately there is very little reliable testing available to assess which amino acids you need more of. That means it is easy to have too much either in one dose or over a period of time. From dietary sources alone it is virtually unheard of to have too much of an amino acid and to suffer side-effects.

Tryptophan (commonly used for anxiety and depression) can have side-effects at relatively low doses. Side-effects can include nausea and dizziness and, in cases of large doses, can result in mania and seizures. It should not be taken alongside other drugs without medical supervision.

Histidine can cause a rise in histamine and make allergies and asthma worse. Large doses should be avoided and caution taken. Histidine is said to be effective for anxiety in some cases

Tyrosine (indicated for anxiety) is involved in the production of dopamine and epinephrine and to some extent serotonin and is favored by some as a treatment for depression. But too much can cause over-stimulation including anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia. Use with care and start at low doses. Read this post: Tyrosine for Anxiety.

Glycine can give palpitations and panic attacks to people who are sensitive if they take too much.

Glutamine can cause mild stomach upsets but is not known for severe side-effects at any ordinary dose.

Taurine is not known to cause serious side-effects at this time, although there are isolated incidents of some negative outcomes that may or may not have been related to large taurine intake.

Food Containing Tryptophan

Below is a list of foods containing tryptophan. But before you head out to the supermarket you need to understand how the body uses tryptophan to make serotonin and melatonin to relax us, improve our mood and make us calmer. Read this about a high tryptophan diet for anxiety.

Tryptophan is one of many amino acids, but it is one of the less prevalent ones. Most other amino acids outnumber it and, in a straight numbers game, get absorbed more readily.

The best way to get more tryptophan to where it is needed (the brain) is to take it with as fewer other amino acids as possible. The problem is though that most food containing tryptophan is also high in other amino acids. So the overall amount of tryptophan you get might not increase as substantially as you would expect.

There is one thing you can do to get round this. The other amino acids are flushed out of your system quickly by insulin, which leaves the tryptophan with a clear path to get through to the brain. To increase insulin production, eat tryptophan containing food with a good carbohydrate, something like juice is good – sugary but not too unhealthy.

Many people do this automatically when they comfort eat. Binging on carbohydrates allows the tryptophan to flow increasing serotonin production and producing a sense of well-being. They key is to combine this with a high-tryptophan diet and not binge on bad carbohydrates, just eat a decent supply of good carbohydrates.If youy would like to no more about the physical and chemical causes of anxiety and panic attacks please consider Killing Anxiety From The Roots.

A list of food containing tryptophan

  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Soya Beans
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Turkey
  • Halibut
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Snapper

A list of vegetarian food containing tryptophan

  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard Greens
  • Tofu
  • Spinach
  • Kelp
  • Broccoli
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Lentils

A list of good carbohydrates to consume with food containing tryptophan.

  • Wholewheat Bread
  • Pasta
  • Oatcakes
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fruit
  • Sweets/Candy occasionally!

Supplement Tryptophan

Supplementing tryptophan can be much easier than increasing levels through diet. Source Naturals L-Tryptophan is available in the USA.

Swanson Ultra TryptoPure L-Tryptophan is available in the UK/Europe.

You might also be interested in these posts:

Tryptophan Anxiety Dose

The debate rages on about the usefulness of Tryptophan in the fight against anxiety. Fact: your body needs Tryptophan to make serotonin. If you follow a diet very low on tryptophan, such as a strict vegan diet with too little protein in the form of nuts and soya etc, you quickly become fatigued and miserable, with aching joints. You can also get worse anxiety.

Getting more Tryptophan into your body through diet is rather hard due to the complex way that Tryptophan and other amino acids vie for a way through the blood-brain barrier. Ultimately that means that you might need to consider supplementing if you are trying raise serotonin naturally.

But how much should you take? Especially considering the health scares and scandals that have surrounded Tryptophan for several decades.

Calculating the best dose of Tryptophan can be tricky. Like most supplements research is lacking and too much of the data is qualitative.

The most commonly suggested dose is 500-1000mg, but I would like to add a few caveats to that. Firstly, more is not better! Some studies have shown that higher doses of Tryptophan do not yield better results. That is because of the way Tryptophan is metabolized and some of the (unpleasant) enzymes produced. So don’t aim to take masses!

Secondly, Tryptophan can have some side-effects. Some people have reported nausea, dizziness and dry-mouth. Obviously taking in lots more Tryptophan than usual can be a shock to the system, therefore starting on a small dose and gradually increasing might be wise. I recommend starting as low as 50mg and increasing in increments of 50mg or even less every few days. Stop increasing if you get any side-effects and let your body get used to what it is getting before moving on.

Depleted levels of seotonin take time to recover, so don’t expect results for a few weeks anyway.

There is more on beating anxiety through nutrition and dealing with other physical symptoms in Killing Anxiety From The Roots.

Anxiety Niacinamide

Does Niacinamide work for anxiety? Well, There are a few reasons why I think it might be worth a try. Firstly, a proper scientific study found that Niacinamide had anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) effects in animals (Tallman JF, Paul SM, Skolnick P, Gallager DW (1980).

Some  people have hypothesized that Niacinamide works on the same receptors as Benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax.

Further more, if the body does not get enough Vitamin B3 through diet, it can make it from Tryptophan. This is not good for anxiety sufferers as Tryptophan is the amino acid the body uses to make the good mood chemical Serotonin, a lack of which causes anxiety and depression. Therefore it might be the case that taking on more B3 in the form of Niacinamide lessens the necessity to divert Tryptophan away from Serotonin and therefore boosts mood and calm anxiety that way.

On top of that, B Vitamins are essential for correct brain and nervous system functioning.

Lastly, other people with anxiety that have expressed an opinion swear by Niacinamide. Not everyone of course, nothing works for everyone. But when someone else has tried something and had success it is generally worth a shot!

How much Niacinamide should I take for anxiety? That is another very good question which it is quite hard to answer. I have read conflicting advice and of course there is no decisive answer from medical circles. The Reference Daily Intake (The Recommended Daily Allowance in the UK) varies from country to country but is often around 50-20mg depending on age and gender.

Doctors that advocate Niacinamide as a treatment for anxiety recommend much much higher doses. Sometimes as high as 3000mg a day. It is thought that doses beyond that can cause liver toxicity.

In terms of dosage I would say you have to be careful. Take medical advice if you can and start on a lower dose and move up and see if you get any anti-anxiety effects. If so, why not check with your doctor that the dose is safe in their opinion, or see if they can monitor you for liver function if the dose you are using is extreme.

Avoid weight gain SSRI’s

Lots of people have had weight gain problems with  Celexa (citalopram) and Cipralex/Lexapro (escitalopram). Indeed most psychotropic drugs can potentially cause weight gain.

Advice for  avoiding weight gain.

Firstly let’s cover the basics: try to eat well, make sure you eat whole foods, complex carbohydrates and keep refined sugars and processed fats to a minimum. Also, take plenty of exercise. Whether you are taking an SSRI for depression, panic attacks or anxiety, you are almost guaranteed to feel better to some extent just by exercising. It also of course keeps weight off.

Now the clever part: One hour or so before meals it a high carbohydrate snack. This could be some fruit, some oatcakes, even high cocoa content chocolate. Don’t eat too much, say a couple of hundred calories, and try to eat something that isn’t too refined, so your body burns it slowly.

You should then find that this carbohydrate snack has boosted the Serotonin levels in your brain and that this will limit your food cravings. (click here to understand why carbohydrates boost Serotonin levels.) Your appetite will return to more reasonable levels and you should keep/gain control of your weight. Worth a try anyway!

Also read:

Cipralex and Weight Gain

Cipralex Weight Gain issues are part of one of the common topics I find in my inbox: the whole issue of whether SSRI’s make you put on weight and if so how can this be avoided. Many people have had issues with Celexa (citalopram) and weight gain, but as this personal experience shows, other SSRI’s such as Cipralex (escitalopram) can have weight gain issues.

I had a nervous breakdown 9 weeks ago, never felt that bad in my entire life…. Terrible anxiety, depression, tachycardia. I really did not want to take anti depressants as the side effects would have pushed me over the edge… I started getting a little better by myself but after 7 weeks I decided to start. My doc gave me cipralex and after only 2 days on that I felt much better, than noticed my weight had gone up by THREE kilos after 5 days on it!! Anxiety back of course. have been really watching what I eat, but the weight has not come off. I am hepatitis c positive and am scared to try duloxetine although that is the only SSRI that is good for severe anxiety/depression and has no weight gain associated with it. Duloxetine has been known to cause liver damage apparently. I am between a rock and a hard place as I need to up dosage from 5mg to 10 mg.

Sometime later this emailer followed up with:

I have been on Cipralex for 10 weeks now, and the weight gain is not such a major issue anymore, just have to watch what I eat. It has helped me a lot, I am on 20 mg now, and feeling almost back to myself. It took a while, but than I was not on the right dose. I was very ill, I’d had a mental breakdown and suffered from terrible anxiety and depression. It is worth sticking with it, at first you go up, almost as soon as starting the medication, than you seem to go down again, but you come up again as the drug accumulates in the system. Not quite like other anti depressants I have taken, but so far very helpful.

Firstly let me say how grateful I am to this person for sending me their personal experiences and allowing me to share them on this blog. It’s great that taking Cipralex has been positive and beneficial here, and I wish them all the best as they continue to recover! I think that it’s particularly interesting that weight gain hasn’t been such an issue in this case. It has long been known the SSRI’s have a tendency to cause weight gain, but not everyone suffers (indeed many SSRI’s list both weight gain and weight loss as possible side effects!).

No has a definitive answer to the question “why do SSRI’s cause weight gain?” but I have heard a theory which may have some credence. It is said that the action of SSRI’s like Cipralex on Serotonin receptors in some way causes the body to crave even more Serotonin, which it normally gets in the following way: the amino acid tryptophan enters the blood stream through consumption of foods containing the right kind of protein such as cheese, milk, fish, and meat. Tryptophan has a better chance of crossing the blood brain barrier and turning into Serotonin when it doesn’t have to vie for space with other amino acids. When you eat carbohydrate, insulin floods into your system and takes away amongst other things many of the amino acids that compete with Tryptophan for space. Tryptophan can then cross the blood-brain barrier and become Serotonin. Thus the best way to get a Serotonin hit is to eat carbohydrates (hence ice-cream can temporarily make you feel better). People on SSRI’s crave more Serotonin and therefore more carbohydrates and therefore put on more weight.

Is there something you can do about it? Probably yes, check out this post on how to avoid gaining weight on SSRI’s like Celexa, Lexapro and Prozac.

Tryptophan Anxiety Depression Cure

Tryptophan for anxiety and depression is now being touted as one of the best natural anxiety cures you can buy. It is always hard to know if something like Tryptophan is effective or not because it is not marketted by big pharma companies and is therefore not widely researched.

Hydroxytryptophan, to give it its full name, is an essential amino acid which the body cannot produce itself and therefore needs to find through diet or supplement. There are many food sources but you can buy a supplement in most countries called L-Tryptophan.

Tryptophan is thought to be useful as a treatment of anxiety and depression (and other mood disorders) because it is a precursor to Seratonin. Your body uses Tryptophan to make Seratonin which is one of the most important neurotransmitters effecting mood. It also makes Melatonin, which helps control sleep.

Common dietary sources are things such as egg, cod, soya and some cheeses and some meats. Turkey is always said to be high in Tryptophan, but actually cod has more per kg. While many people get enough through their diet others do not. It is hard for Tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier because it has to compete with other amino acids. The best way round this is to eat some carbohydrate with the Tryptophan, which will release insulin which helps Tryptophan’s passage into the area of the brain where it is needed.


It is hard to say if Tryptophan works as an anxiety cure or a depression cure. Certainly many people find that carbohydrates make them relaxed which is likely due to elevated Seratonin levels in the brain. If that strikes accord with you then maybe supplementing is worth a try.

In may be better to supplement with Tryptophan than with its nearest neighbour 5-HTP, which has a habit of converting to Seratonin outside the brain and is thought to cause heart valve damage. The only real way to know if Tryptophan works for anxiety is to try it!