sad young woman with anxiety

Are you experiencing anxiety every day? Do you wake up suddenly with feelings of panic and fear, or does your anxiety grow steadily as the day wears on? Do you anticipate worst-case scenarios, even if you don’t have a real reason to? Every day, women ask us for help with their anxiety. They need a real solution to relieve their symptoms so they can stay calmer and more at ease without prescription drugs.

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Anxiety may start small but it can quickly gain traction if its underlying adrenal connection is not addressed. Your adrenal glands naturally make cortisol in response to stress, but when cortisol levels become elevated and stay that way, it can lead directly to anxiety, depressed feelings and other symptoms.

Normal but upsetting life events and situations — the death of a loved one, ongoing financial worries, trouble on the job, relationship difficulties — fuel the kind of stress that can erupt in anxiety. The symptoms of short-term anxiety can multiply quickly and include:

  • Increased heart rate or palpitations
  • Hyperventilating or breathlessness
  • Extreme irritability and moodiness
  • Sudden anger
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • A sense of impending doom
  • Nausea and other digestive symptoms
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeplessness

Short-term, everyday anxiety is temporary — or not — depending on how you choose to deal with it.

Understanding your anxiety

Anxiety in women shows up in a variety of ways and at different times of the day, but the underlying hormonal mechanism is the same: cortisol. During stressful periods, cortisol levels can be consistently too high, or they may rise and fall at the wrong time of day and disrupt your sleep cycle. Those same sleep issues can also increase cortisol, as can eating sugary foods, consuming alcohol and caffeine, and skipping meals.

Women are twice as likely as men to have anxiety and it can show up in very specific ways. When we work with women to reduce their anxiety, we start by identifying where, when and how they experience anxiety.

Some women say they have anxiety all day every day, and that it’s beginning to undermine their ability to function normally. Others have anxiety first thing in the morning or late at night as they’re heading to bed. Some women say their anxiety is linked to their menstrual cycles, with or without accompanying PMS. A fair number of women can only describe their fears and worries, unable to identify patterns or even to label their feelings as anxiety.

See a doctor about your anxiety if:
  • You can’t complete daily tasks, go to work, or leave home.
  • You overuse alcohol or drugs.
  • You’re deeply depressed for longer than 2 weeks or have repeated panic attacks.
  • Your anxiety is made worse by a known medical problem.
  • You have self-harming thoughts.

Once you’ve had an anxiety attack you can become terrified it’s going to happen again. This is known as “anxiety sensitivity” or being anxious about being anxious. This fear itself can produce physical sensations like sweaty palms, racing heartbeat or rapid breathing — some of the same symptoms produced by working out, which may also trigger this kind of anxiety.

How to calm down and feel more peaceful every day

Short-term anxiety gets its start following a buildup of stress, tension and worry and it takes off from there, often becoming a self-perpetuating cycle. Of course you can’t avoid life’s ups and downs, but you can do something about everyday anxiety. Can you start today? Yes, you can, and here’s how.

healthy meal and snacks

Step 1: normalize cortisol levels

One of the most important steps in feeling less anxious is helping your body recover healthy cortisol production and regulation using our two-pronged approach:

1. First, you can support normal cortisol levels with predictable, well-timed nutrition — eat three meals and a few snacks spaced out over the course of the day. This helps reduce stress on your body by keeping hunger and blood sugar in check — very important for healthy adrenal function. Try to eat a little something every few hours even if you aren’t hungry.

2. Second, use calming passion flower and plant-derived phosphatidylserine to tamp down overproduction of cortisol and soothe your nervous system. This helps your body restore its natural “cortisol curve,” with cortisol increasing in the morning when it’s time to get up, and falling gradually during the day and evening so you can sleep at night. Our Serinisol calming supplement is formulated specifically to help with cortisol imbalances.

Step 2: set calmness as your goal and believe it can happen

Science shows that by setting a goal to be less anxious and more blissful each day — and believing you can achieve it — you can feel calmer. Anxiety, even if it’s short-term, can make you feel out of control, even though most factors that cause anxiety are firmly within your grasp. Take time to figure out what makes you feel calm and centered. It can be as simple as taking a long hot bath or shower, getting your house in order, or listening to music through headphones in a cozy spot.

Focus on your breathing and note that in this moment, all is well. Once you know which calming activities work for you, plan your life around them and protect them carefully. Something else will always pop up to steal your time and attention, but if you treat your calming activities as sacred and don’t give them up, you will feel more peaceful and less anxious, even during stressful times.

three middle aged women walking on the beach

Step 3: let your body release anxiety

Physical movement and exercise are known antidotes to anxiety because they activate the release of tension-relieving chemicals called endorphins. Just a few minutes of aerobic exercise generates anti-anxiety effects, so you don’t have to carve out lots of time for working out. A quick, brisk walk can be plenty but it’s important to do this regularly because the positive effects wear off.

A form of exercise with built-in relaxation, such as yoga, can also dissolve nervous tension, especially if you feel prone to panic attacks. The stress behind your anxiety may make you feel too busy to exercise, but the negative consequences of not exercising — on your body and your mind — add up quickly. Simply being outside can help dissolve anxiety, and if you add in a little physical activity, you’ll naturally relieve and prevent short-term anxiety and stress.

Help yourself be strong, resilient and anxiety-free

Stepping away from everyday anxiety takes awareness, nutritional support, and a little bit of practice. If you’re like many of our readers and customers, you’re ready to ditch your anxious feelings and get back to your life. Get started today by following our three-step plan so that you can feel calmer, happier and more relaxed — every day.

References

Anxiety. Risk Factors. Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/basics/risk-factors/con-20026282. Accessed October 1, 2014.

Heitler S. Worrying in Relationships: 3 Habits That Invite Anxiety. In: Resolution, Not Conflict. Psychology Today Web site. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201204/worrying-in-relationships-3-habits-invite-anxiety. Accessed October 1, 2014.

Randall M. The Physiology of Stress: Cortisol and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis. February 3, 2011. Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science Web site. http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/fall-2010/the-physiology-of-stress-cortisol-and-the-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis#.VDVeTBZaZI0. Accessed October 1, 2014.

Ochs C. Foods That Affect Cortisol Levels. August 16, 2013. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/131724-foods-that-affect-cortisol-levels/. Accessed October 1, 2014.

Tartavosky M. How to Overcome Being Anxious About Being Anxious. Psych Central Web site. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/03/20/how-to-overcome-being-anxious-about-being-anxious/. Accessed October 1, 2014.