Living with Generalised Anxiety Disorder can have a significant impact on your family, and can be detrimental to your day to day activities. But thankfully through my own practice and research, I discovered many practical tools and techniques that have become a catalyst for changing my life. The tools I developed helped me accept and have compassion for all the painful parts of my inner emotions, find a renewed happiness and weaken the hold anxiety had over me as a person.
Now, I am truly grateful to be able to live life with greater ease, vitality and wellbeing, and I am thrilled to be sharing a few helpful tips with you today.
Isabelle Mary Fitzgerald
Millions of people rely on their morning coffee to kick start their day, as well as using it to reboot and focus when their energy slumps, but is it a good thing?
Research suggests that drinking coffee in small doses can help increase alertness, attention, and cognitive function, but unfortunately, there is a downside.
Coffee is one of the most significant dietary sources of caffeine, and because it is a stimulant, it increases activity in your brain and nervous system. It also increases the circulation of chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline in the body.
When consumed in excess, it stimulates the central nervous system triggering a "fight or flight" response, leading to heart palpitations, shaking, irritability, headaches, insomnia and anxiety.
t's the end of a busy day, and you're feeling tired and frazzled. But, you can't wait to sit down, put your feet up, and pour yourself a delicious glass of red. You begin to feel all your tension and worries melt away.
While a glass of red may temporarily help calm your anxious mind, acting like a sedative by helping you feel more at ease, the benefits are short term.
Drinking changes the brain. Once the effects fade and your serotonin levels drop, research shows that alcohol can cause you to feel more anxious, disrupt your sleep, trigger blood sugar swings, and increased dehydration. All things you want to avoid if you're suffering from a generalised anxiety disorder. Alcohol also reduces your blood sugar levels, leading to irritability, dizziness and heart palpitations, a common outcome of anxiety.
Whilst having a couple of drinks may seem like a great solution when you're feeling anxious, unfortunately, drinking leads to anxiety, and the two trigger each other. And this is where the vicious cycle begins. First, you start drinking to numb the anxiety, which worsens the anxiety, which leads you to drink more, worsening your anxiety further.
Are you one of those people who loses your appetite when you're feeling stressed and anxious?
If you are skipping breakfast or other meals, you are asking for trouble on the anxiety front. Waiting too long to eat or missing out on breakfast can cause your blood sugar levels to plunge, bringing on anxiety, mood swings and irritability.
The fluctuations of blood sugar levels may also trigger dizziness, shakiness, confusion, and poor concentration. In addition, studies show that limiting our food intake also increases stress and impacts our mental health.
The timing of when we eat can make all the difference. The optimal way to fuel your body is to space meals and snacks 3 to 4 hours apart and choose a healthy protein and carbohydrate source at each meal.
Next time you go to grab that diet soda because you want to avoid all those carbs and sugar, think again!
Just because it's sugar-free, it doesn't mean that you are doing any favours for your health. For example, diet soda may not be the best option if you suffer from a generalised anxiety disorder.
Aspartame, the common (and dangerous) ingredient found in diet soda, chewing gum, and sugar-free lollies, blocks the production of the 'feel good' neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. As a result, Aspartame can trigger a whole range of unpleasant symptoms, including headaches, insomnia, changes in mood, irritability, depression and yes - anxiety. Simply put, reducing serotonin reduces happiness; Aspartame won't help us here.
But it's not just Aspartame: NutraSweet or Equal may also be bad for your mental wellbeing.
When you're feeling anxious and low, it can be easy to overlook simple things like your vitamin and mineral intake. However, being deficient in certain minerals and vitamins can affect your physical and mental health, as well as the biochemical balance in your brain, resulting in anxiety or increasing the levels you're currently experiencing.
A popular vitamin used to combat stress, nervousness, and anxiety is B complex. Research shows that a deficiency in the B group vitamins can be associated with mood and behavioural changes, memory loss, anxiety and depression. Other symptoms may also include nerve problems like numbness and tingling, muscle weakness, and loss of appetite.
If you're struggling with insomnia, anxiety and stress, you may be lacking in the mineral - Selenium. This antioxidant is essential for the efficient function of neurotransmitters in the brain, helping control your mood.
Other essential minerals include zinc and iron. If you suffer from constant fatigue, depression, and anxiety, you could be deficient in iron. Iron is especially recommended for women, powering red blood cell production and delivering oxygen to your cells.
As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweept across the world, it had a major impact on our lives. As a result, many of us face new stressful and overwhelming challenges, triggering high fear, worry, and anxiety.
Public health actions such as quarantine, social distancing, and lockdowns reduced the spread of COVID-19, but made us feel isolated and lonely, further increasing stress and anxiety.
With many of our usual activities, and routines being limited, as well as our livelihoods - it affected our sleep, eating habits, ability to concentrate. Also, increased our use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, worsening mental health issues.
Taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories about Covid, and now the flu, including news on social media, can be very helpful. It's good to be informed, but hearing about fear and doubt constantly, can be upsetting. So consider limiting news to just once a day or once a week. And disconnect from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
How much time do you spend on Social Media every day?
Social media is a great way to keep in touch and stay up to date, but did you know that your social media diet can also be a trigger for anxiety and unhappiness?
The latest research suggests a link between the heavy use of social media and an increased risk of depression and anxiety. It also shows that people experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety can often use social media to escape and distract themselves from unpleasant feelings and to soothe their moods – creating a negative cycle.
With constant notifications affecting your focus and concentration, blue lights disturbing your sleep, this round-the-clock hyper-connectivity is making all of us slaves to our phones, affecting our mental health.
Would you consider yourself a perfectionist?
Now, being described as a perfectionist isn't typically regarded as cause for alarm. After all, isn't perfectionism a good thing?
Well, maybe not. Perfectionists can be their own worst enemies leaving them feeling burnt out and extremely stressed. And a growing body of evidence suggests that perfectionism can be damaging, cause overwhelming emotional suffering, and act can trigger a cascade of anxieties.
Suppose you place too much attention on doing everything perfectly and continually set unrealistic expectations. In that case, this can lead to self-criticism, dissatisfaction, mental and emotional exhaustion, and feelings of inadequacy. Because perfectionists believe that anything short of perfection is horrible and that even the smallest of imperfections will lead to catastrophe, triggering very high anxiety.
Do you worry excessively or feel tense and anxious all day long? Everyone gets anxious sometimes. But suppose your worries and fears are so constant that they interfere with your ability to function, experience happiness, and relax, affecting your relationship with your partner, kids and your work. In that case, you may be suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder. (GAD)
GAD can make simple things feel difficult, leaving you with a general feeling of dread or unease that impacts your whole life. Generalised Anxiety Disorder is mentally and physically exhausting. It drains your energy, interferes with sleep, and wears your body out. It can also affect your concentration and leave you constantly feeling on edge or out of control.
IMAGINE WHAT YOUR LIFE WOULD LOOK LIKE if you could finally:
✔️ LET GO OF ANXIETY.
✔️ REDUCE ALL MENTAL NOISE AND OBSESSIVE WORRY.
✔️ IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP AND FEEL POSITIVE.
✔️ STOP STRUGGLING AND START LIVING.
✔️ ACCESS INNER CALM AND HAPPINESS at any time.
BOOK a personal discovery call with Isabelle. CLICK HERE 🧡
Isabelle Mary Fitzgerald is a leading Mindfulness and Meditation coach with over 25 years of experience helping clients improve their own health and happiness. Isabelle is currently an administrator for Mindful Educators Australia, holds a Diploma in Energetic Healing with a Level 2 Certificate in Meditation and is a certified Mindfulness Mentor with the Mindfulness Mentoring Institute. Isabelle coaches teachers, parents and kids 1-on-1 in Mindfulness and Meditation and has curated a 1-year Mindfulness and Meditation program for children that can be easily accessed online within a practise, or within schools.