We are living in a world that pushes us to excel. Our lifestyle is jeopardizing our mental and emotional well-being: we feel stressed, tired and exhausted, have difficulty concentrating and suffer from mood swings. Fatigue, neurocognitive impairment and irritability are common characteristics unhealthily connected to mental and cognitive function, such as depression, anxiety, neurasthenia/chronic fatigue syndrome and dementia.
A recent survey by consulting company Grant Thornton of industry decision makers in 30 countries revealed that, in 2005, executives felt even more stressed than during the previous year. But it is not only managers who are jeopardizing their mental health.
Students, housewives and mothers, and senior citizens are affected as well. In the United States, 24% of the general adult population has suffered from fatigue lasting 2 weeks or longer. In addition, 5.8% of men and 9.8% of woman will experience a depressive episode in any given year – worldwide. A recent European study reported that 13.6% of the respondents experienced a lifetime history of some kind of anxiety disorder, and that one new case of dementia is diagnosed every 7 seconds.
The impact of mental illness on society has been heavily underestimated. Data developed by the Global Burden of Disease study, conducted by the World Health Organization, reveal that mental illness, including suicide, accounts for more than 15% of the burden of disease in established market economies (such as the United States). This is more than the combined effort caused by all cancers. The projections show that with the ageing of the population and the conquest of infectious diseases, psychiatric and neurological conditions could increase their share of the global disease burden by almost half, from 10.5% to almost 15% in 2020.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state ranging from mild unease to intense fear. Anxiety differs from fear, in that while fear is a rational response to a real danger, anxiety usually lacks a clear or realistic cause. Though some anxiety is normal and, in fact, healthy, higher levels of anxiety are not only uncomfortable, they can lead to significant problems.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety
throbbing or stabbing pains
feeling of tightness and inability to take in enough air
tendency to sigh or hyperventilate
tension in the back and neck muscles
headaches, back pains, and muscle spasms
dryness of mouth
The anxious individual usually has a constant feeling that something bad is going to happen. They may fear that they have a chronic or dangerous illness-a belief that is reinforced by the symptoms of anxiety. Inability to relax may lead to difficulty in getting to sleep and to constant waking through the night.
Nutritional factors that triggers anxiety
Caffeine, sugar, deficiency of B vitamins, deficiency of calcium or magnesium, alcohol and food allergies may trigger anxiety by raising blood lactic acid levels. Avoiding caffeine, sugar, alcohol along with boosting B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium may help in relieving anxiety.
L-Theanineis a relaxing amino acid found in green tea, which helps to relax your mind and protect your body. It promotes non-drowsy relaxation by crossing the blood-brain barrier to increase levels of the relaxation neurotransmitters, dopamine and GABA, in your brain. This increases alpha-brain wave activity associated with alert relaxation and inhibits the stimulating effects of caffeine. Clinical studies have shown L-Theanine to induce a sense of calm in patients with anxiety. Take 100-200 mg up to 3 times. Higher single dosages, e.g., 400 mg, L-Theanine may produce sleepiness.
GABA is one of the most important neurotransmitters in your brain for filtering out excess “neuronal noise.” It works in synergy with the amino acid taurine and the mineral magnesium to inhibit excess neuronal activity in your Central Nervous System. It also keeps dopamine and serotonin molecules active in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, moods and appetite.
Increase Green Intake
Diet high in B vitamins, calcium and magnesium is recommended. Consume leafy vegetables, whole grains, legumes, sea vegetables, sesame, milk and dairy products. Also recommended is chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass juice, barley grass juice, blue green algae.
Ashwagandha Relieves Anxiety
Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) is a powerful adaptogen that has been shown to exert stress-relieving and anti-anxiety effects. It is unique because it produces a relaxing effect while increasing energy.
St John’s Wort Relieves Anxiety
St. John's wort has been traditionally used to relieve stress and help maintain emotional stability by inhibiting monoamine oxidase (MAO) and interacting with GABA; both are brain-active chemicals that influence our mood. St John’s Wort is very useful if depression is an underlying feature contributing to the anxiety.
5 HTP Regulates Mood
5-HTP is a mood-enhancing chemical that may induce sleep, regulates mood, and control appetite. 5 HTP is converted into serotonin to help maintain healthy emotional stability.
Holy Basil Relieves Stress
Holy Basil is one of the primary botanicals used in India to reduce the negative effects of stress by lowering cortisol production in the adrenals. It is valued in the Ayurvedic herbal tradition for promoting focused clarity. Its leaves are rich in antioxidant compounds, have adaptogenic properties, and have long been associated with improved mental clarity and mood, to help the body maintain healthy functioning during times of stress.
Mucuna Pruriens Improves Mood
Mucuna Pruriens contains a very powerful neurotransmitter pre-cursor, L-Dopa, an amino acid that converts into dopamine. Dopamine is required for proper functioning of the brain, improve mood and sense of well being.
Avena Sativa has traditionally been used to support mental health and cognitive function since medieval times. Its tonifying, stimulating, antidepressant and anxiolytic properties contribute to a cheerful and sharp mind.