Anxiety.  It’s a term that we didn’t use much even 10 years ago.  But now it seems to be something that a vast majority of people are dealing with to one degree or another.  There are lots of terms that people can be synonymous with anxiety.  Some refer to it as stressed, frazzled, high strung, worried, burned out or overwhelmed.  

Whatever you call it, let’s settle it!

What is anxiety?   

You can think of anxiety as persistent worry.  It’s commonly triggered by day-to-day situations that were perhaps no big deal in the past.  It can be mild and annoying or can be extreme and debilitating, resulting in full blown panic attacks.

What does it feel like and how do you know if you have it?  

Anxiety tends to come with an increased heart rate, faster breathing, fatigue, sweating and trouble sleeping.  The brain feels like it won’t turn off and allow you to rest in silence.  For someone feeling anxious, the silence is never quiet (internally).  Some will describe the anxious feeling as a constant and unsettling vibration throughout the body.

What are the most common causes anxiety?

  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Lack of sleep
  • Emotional traumas
  • Physical traumas
  • Caffeine/energy drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Food sensitivities
  • Recreational drugs
  • Thyroid or other hormone imbalances
  • Prolonged high stress

Why does it matter?

When you’re feeling anxious on occasion and for short bouts, this is normal and healthy.  

But when you are living in a constant state of stress and anxiety, your body is “sympathetic nervous system dominant”.  In other words, you are in “fight or flight” all the time.  Constantly internally vigilant as you would be if you were expecting an attack.  Some people even feel this alertness while they’re sleeping.  

The reason this is so detrimental is because when you’re in the “fight or flight” state, it means you’re NOT spending much time in the “rest and digest” state (also referred to as the parasympathetic nervous system).  This means that your body is not able to take care of otherwise basic functions such as digestion, sleeping, detoxification and other things you need to live a healthy, long life.  This is why it’s so common for people to have digestive issues when they’re stressed an anxious.  Food isn’t adequately broken down so there’s a tendency for gas, bloating, constipation or loose stool as well as acne, hives and other skin issues.  It’s hard to focus.  Blood pressure tends to rise.1  Sleeping can be difficult because the mind won’t settle down.  All of this results in frustration, fatigue and an overall sense of overwhelm.

5 ways to reduce or eliminate anxiety:

  1. Get your micronutrients tested.  Certain nutrient deficiencies, such as folate, copper, chromium and magnesium (just to name a few) can cause you to feel fried and out of balance.  (Click the link to order your test and for more information click here).  In the meantime, focus on a nutrient dense diet that reduces sugar and processed foods and increases whole plant foods.  Improved nutrition is associated with improved anxiety.2
  2. Improve your sleep.  This can be easier said than done but at night when you sleep is when your body heals and repairs and rebalances.  Anything you can do to improve sleep will typically help improve anxiety.3  For more specifics on help with sleep issues, click here
  3. Reduce stress as much as possible.  Start by saying NO to things that don’t fit or you just don’t want to do (if possible).  As a society, we are just taking on too much.  If you have a 15 hour day packed solid, of course you’re more likely to feel stress and anxiety.  Give yourself breaks during the day and days off during the week.  Be realistic about what you can take on and prioritize your self-care (including getting a good night’s rest).  Take a moment to think about the stressors you can prevent (leaving late for school/work, over eating, staying up too late, etc) and work at those first.  Less stress yield less anxiety.1
  4. Exercise…but not to exhaustion.  Exercise is SO helpful for reducing stress and anxiety4…as long as you don’t push too hard or long for too many days in a row.  Although every person is different so there isn’t a perfect formula for this, it’s important to be balanced.  (Check out my other blogs “Exercise is the Fountain of Youth” and “A Downside to Exercise?”).  If you’re not exercising at all, start going for a 20 minute walk each day.
  5. Meditation has many proven benefits and one common one is a dramatic reduction in anxiety, stress and focus.5  Many people are intimidated by meditation.  Don’t over think it.  There are lots of ways to meditate.  Choose one that resonates.  Or just set a timer for 5 minutes, pick a positive feeling that you love to feel (joy, peace, love, etc) and just sit in it and feel it until the timer goes off.

These are some powerful ways to get started.  Pick the one that feels the most simple to you and take a small but consistent step in the right direction today!

You were not created to be anxious.  Your natural state is calm and peaceful.  If you can’t seem to find this serene place in your life, please reach out for help.  Don’t wait for it to get worse.  We are here to help!  You don’t have to be local to work with us!  Call the clinic today at 269-204-6525.


1. Mucci N, Giorgi G, Ceratti SDP, Fiz-Pérez J, Mucci F, Arcangeli G. Anxiety, stress-related factors, and blood pressure in young adults. Front Psychol. Published online 2016. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01682

2. Norwitz NG, Naidoo U. Nutrition as Metabolic Treatment for Anxiety. Front Psychiatry. Published online 2021. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2021.598119

3. Staner L. Sleep and anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. Published online 2003.

4. Anderson E, Shivakumar G. Effects of exercise and physical activity on anxiety. Front Psychiatry. Published online 2013. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00027

5. M C, LOC K, LS N, AB M, BA G, DC M. Mindful Meditation for Individuals with Asthma and Anxiety: Promising Results from a Multiple Baseline Study. J Yoga Phys Ther. Published online 2017. doi:10.4172/2157-7595.1000262

Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease.  It does not take the place of a qualified health care practitioner and is intended for educational purposes only.

Dr. LeAnn Fritz, PhD

Dr. LeAnn is a practitioner, coach, speaker, consultant, and the founder of New Hope Health. She is also the author of The Quantum Weight Loss Blueprint, and Get Healthy Now. She is laser-focused on practical, evidence-based practices to empower her clients to get real results that last. She sets the bar when it comes to radiant health that will change every area of your life forevermore.

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