Amy M. Spagnola


Top 5 Anxiety Hacks and Healing Advice and Supplements

Ryan Reynolds recently admitted to receiving an anxiety diagnosis caused by his life in the spotlight and a starring role as his career saving Deadpool character. While Reynolds is courageous to admit to his own mental health struggles, there are many of us suffering the same daily fears, phobias and heart-wrenching episodes of anxiety. From panic attacks to sleep paralysis, many celebrities have fessed up to feeling the weight and worry of anxiety. Myself, I have struggled with severe anxiety since a recent health scare led me to numerous unnecessary and frightening medical tests, doctor visits and sleepless nights. The ensuing anxiety raised my white blood cells, increased my blood pressure and started a cycle of crippling panic episodes.

Anxiety is serious sh*t; its merciless and manic, its consuming and chaotic, its stifling and suffocating, it's oppressive and overwhelming. Regardless, anxiety is not uncommon and can be conquered. Whether your anxiety started because of a health crisis, loss of a loved one, traumatic or even positive life changing event (i.e. giving birth), there is hope.

Image Via Time to Break

I'm still in what I've termed 'anxiety recovery' as I'm trying to return to normal life...but here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me in the waves of anxiety and its relentless demolition on all things hope and happiness.

1.) Disconnect
Social media offers a slew of benefits for networking, friendship and voyeurism. A peeping paradise, Instagram and Facebook allow for branding your life in a filter-fabulous way. No need to run off to Bali, your Target run can be just as glamorous as a celebrity sighting or stay in a five-star hotel. Except most of the social media posts, pictures and pretend adventures are simply a creation of those desperately trying to portray their life in a favorable light. Behind those adorable baby pictures, are lots of late night feedings, spit up sessions and exhausting shower-less days.

For someone with anxiety, social media can heighten fears, increase insecurities and lead to more negative thought patterns. Even exposure to joyful or happy posts can release the green eyed monster and make it more difficult to resume a life free from the noose of anxiety. Unless absolutely necessary for professional or personal reasons, its best for those with anxiety issues to avoid or disconnect from the sinkhole of social media.

Image Via Buzzfeed
2.) Distance
Find the source or sources of your anxiety and try and create space with the trigger(s). For instance, if you have health anxiety--restrict or limit time on websites like WebMD. If parities give you panic, try and attend small gatherings or RSVP for only select events. While not always entirely possible to avoid those anxious inducers--i.e. cars, airplanes, crowds, loud noises, dogs, etc. limiting exposure can help heal anxiety or offer a temporary respite long enough to work through issues or deep traumas.

3.) Design
Don't expect the black cloud of anxiety to automatically disappear on its own. It will likely take lifestyle adjustments, dietary changes, supplements and support to stop the specter of anxiety from haunting your every waking hour. It might take something major--a job change, a new hobby or a therapist to remove road blocks to anxiety annihilation. It will also likely take time to return to a state of homeostasis after a life crisis.

Image Via Time to Break

4.) Decide
Once you've decided to beat that anxiety, it's important to have a plan, goals and to even create a dream board or something to remind you of your progress and purpose. Reading or meditating on affirmations is a smart idea. Listening to uplifting music or making time for fun/play is also important to distracting, redirecting and renergizing.

5.) Daily Dedication
Whether its nighttime meditation sessions, yoga, crochet, epsom salt baths, detoxing, hormonal balancing or nutritional therapy, there's likely daily and diligent focus required in order to keep anxiety from taking over and upsetting day-to-day functioning. Many people struggle with anxiety over a lifetime--it's important to work hard to continually break the anxiety loop.

On my anxiety journey, I've tried countless therapies and treatments. In my experience certain things have helped and others have not. While these aren't certainly true for everyone, this has been my experience and I thought worth sharing.

Things that Have Helped Me:
-CBD oil or CBD transdermal pen/lotions (only recently tried--but it seems to provide a sense of well-being). My favorite so far is HERE (I purchased my pen at an acupuncturist office)
-Probiotics, fish oil, B vitamins, melatonin, Vitamin D
-Essential Oils---My favorites are HERE, HERE and HERE
-Meditation--My favorite channel on YouTube is HERE
-Healthy eating--including lots of beets, lemons, little gluten/dairy, limited alcohol/caffeine, iron-rich red meat, walnuts, less fruit (sugar), no regular soda, lots of herbal tea, less smoothies/fruit-heavy juices, real butter, lots of salads, dark chocolate
-My favorite natural feel-good supplement (after trying a million different formulas)--HERE
-Tarot card reading/psychic guidance/health mediums
-Sleep--During the height of my health crisis, I was napping 2-3 times a day and can still sleep 12 hours. Sleep is highly restorative and can be used for physical, mental and emotional rebooting.
-Lemon balm, passion flower, chamomile
-Infared Sauna sessions
-Stabilizing blood sugar--always having snacks and eating regularly
-Working on gut healing (aloe, glutamine, apple cider vinegar, various probiotics)
Image Via Time to Break

Things that Have Hurt or Haven't Helped My Anxiety:
-Trying to force myself to socialize when I felt unwell or unhappy
-Trying pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medication (Lexapro) for less than a week (side effects galore--more on this later...)
-Trying too hard to people please and not 'rock the boat'--being overly generous with time, money, texts, compliments, kindness, etc
-Spending time circling/regurgitating/ruminating on past problems or stressful people/incidents
-Trying to make major life changes during anxious times
-Not decompressing or taking mental vacations from emotionally heavy events
-Acupuncture--as much as I endorse it and find it to be relaxing--it didn't improve my anxiety even with over 15 sessions
-While I think the following can be helpful for many conditions/situations, they did not necessarily improve my anxiety:
Coloring, reading, therapy, workbooks, massage, reflexology, chiropractic care, homeopathy, naturopath visits
-Things that caused side effects (I tried all) and I would not recommend for the long term: 5HTP, Tryptophan, Saint John's Wort

Next things I'm trying and will update: hypnosis, crystal therapy, manuka honey, neurofeedback, life coaching, CBD massage, floating, Body Stress Release, anxiety support groups

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