A certain amount of anxiety is quite normal; before an exam, moving house, stepping outside your comfort zone or starting a new job. Usually feelings of anxiety will disappear once the event has passed. However, when these feelings escalate and have an affect on other areas of your life such as your sleep, everything can feel out of control. When everything feels out of control it can result in panic attacks for some people. When a panic attack takes hold the fight or flight response is literally in overdrive. Living with anxiety is quite distressing, but there is help out there to assist you in taking control of your anxiety instead of it controlling you.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the Stomach and its paired organ the Spleen carry the burden of chronic worry, anxiety, or overthinking. TCM views the function of the Stomach to be responsible not only for digesting food and drink, but also for digesting your emotions and thoughts, keeping what nurtures your wellbeing and discarding what doesn’t.
Here are some ways to take care of your Stomach:
*Try some meditation or mindfulness techniques to take your mind off your anxiety. Deep breathing techniques can also alleviate anxiety and help calm the mind.
*Eat mainly cooked or warm foods and drinks – your Stomach is warmth loving by nature, eating cold, raw foods and cold drinks can damage the function of the Stomach over time. Its all about moderation, some raw foods during the summer months such as salads or ok. *Listen to your body, it will let you know what it doesn’t want. Keep a food diary and note any reactions to foods, overtime you will find the foods that work for you. See my previous Food As Medicine posts for more information.
*Try not to eat late in the evening, your body needs time to recharge. Eating late will just make your stomach work overtime when it should be recharging with the rest of your body.
*Try a course of acupuncture. According to the most up to date evidence, acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety by slowing the body’s production of stress hormones, calming the mind and supporting a better sleep cycle.