Hello, hello! Today, I wanted to talk to you about anxiety and depression! While they can feel similar at times, and many state to have both, they are two different emotions. Anxiety is a nervous disorder with feelings of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. Triggered by the thoughts of something (anything) that activates the body’s flight, flight, or flee response. Clinical depression is more than feelings of sadness; it is a mood disorder also associated with loss of interest as it can affect how you think, feel, and even how you behave. Left untreated, it can lead to physical problems as well as various emotional issues. Let’s dive deeper…
When experiencing anxiety, we first want to ensure that that’s how we truly feel. Come to find out, anxiety and excitement can create the same expressions, such as sweaty palms, butterflies/ jitters, spinning mind, etc. But those are not always coming from a hostile place! I have found two things that can be happening. First, anything that stimulates the stress response, such as artificial flavors, colors, and chemicals in our foods and drinks, can also produce anxiety. And secondly, as a child, you may have been super excited about something, but since it presents the same as anxiousness, told by an adult that you were anxious instead of, “oh, you’re excited!” In reality, you may have been super excited about something and not know how to express it. Thus over time, reprogramming your brain to interpret those feelings as “Oh, no! Something is wrong”.
Anxiety can develop in a few ways. Panic disorders are sudden fear, breathlessness, and dread. Generalized anxiety can create a pattern that shows excessive worry about various issues, often accompanied by physical symptoms, muscle tension, a hammering heart, or dizziness. Social anxiety can be triggered when called on or asked to be around others.
I have found that depression has a massive connection between low serotonin/ dopamine levels and inflammation brought on by poor food quality. When you are in a nutritional deficit, your brain nor your gut receives the minerals you need to function daily. Also, the dependence on low-quality, sugar-filled processed food is driving our inflammatory markers high, which means you will drive serotonin/ dopamine levels down. Serotonin’s primary function is to stabilize your mood and feelings of happiness and well-being. Serotonin also plays a role in the digestive system and sleep cycles. Dopamine levels affect memory, movement, motivation, mood, and attention. So you can see that when inflammation causes these to deplete, many signs of depression increase.
So, how can we fix this?
The critical fact to remember with both of these disorders is that emotions only last about 90 seconds if you can get your thoughts under control fast. So how do we do that? First, talk to yourself like you are a scared 3-year-old because that is the part of the brain running the show in these moments. Then teach yourself better questions to ask about your mental health. Try something like this; “Hello Jessica, I noticed your heart rate is fast, and your breathing has gone very high in your chest. Can you take some slow, deep breaths for me?… Now that your breathing is calmer, was there something you ate or drank today that might have stimulated your stress response?… Is there something that hurt your feelings or made you feel scared? What was that? Can you write that down for me? When do you remember feeling this way for the first time? Oh, in elementary school! Excellent. Is this a real or remembered similar experience?”
After assessing those questions and beginning to breathe deeper – conscious, deep, and slow breaths move you out of the stress response into the relaxation response – here are the next steps.
Move differently! Make yourself giggle, do some jumping jacks, or go on a run. If you want to think differently, you have to move differently. If that doesn’t work, then grab a snack. Due to the parts of the nervous system controlling fear and eating, it is nearly impossible to continue an anxiety attack while eating, so grab some carrots or something healthy to chomp on to help swap those feelings. The next step is to use smell; it’s a 3-second route to the brain, but here is where purity matters. You can’t use synthetics because the brain knows and will ultimately re-stimulate the stress response. I love teaching what types of oils and mantras can allow those feelings to float away. My go-to oils are Valor, Joy, Harmony, White Angelica, and Stress Away, paired with “I am safe,” “I am excited to try XYZ,” or “I am allowing new things/joy into my life.”
Over the years of studying brain chemistry, I concluded that anxiety and depression were often due to the lack of specific minerals in the system, making it impossible to produce the hormones and neurotransmitters needed for motivation and happiness. So, I also developed a supplement for helping heal these imbalances, EpiMatter, which helps heal the brain and supply those needed minerals that we no longer are getting through our food. Another thing that I have been teaching for the last several years is to drop gluten and sugar. So many studies are now coming out about the connections to depression, leaky gut, and gluten. Please take the time to read your labels, know what you are putting into your body, and read through PubMed.gov
to see the studies showing how corrosive wheat can be in the body. When we overload our bodies with synthetic foods, RoundUp, and the high sugar content, our bodies put all their energy into simply processing food, and our peak brain functions are thrown on the back burner. The book Wheat Belly is an excellent resource to see the brain-gut connection explaining how inflammation shuts your systems down, which inhibits healing.
Another thing I make sure to tell my patients is to watch their sugar intake. Our bodies are made to only have roughly 25g – 50g of sugar A DAY… Now, if you pull a candy bar, you’ll see much higher numbers! One MilkyWay is 32g of sugar alone. Sugar in the body can skyrocket your heart rate, which may give anxiety attack symptoms and cause energy rollercoasters that may feel like depressive episodes. If you look at children now and how they are fed; sugar in candy, soda pops, and poor school lunches, it’s not a surprise that children (especially if born in the last twenty years) have had severely increased numbers of mental disorders.
So bottom line, eliminate the foods linked to anxiety and depression (wheat and sugar), try some of the above suggestions with movement, smell, talking kindly to yourself, and identifying the original trauma. I’m excited to hear back about what you discover about yourself.