Flourishing with Sensory Processing Sensitivity
Guest Writer Megan Bruneau of www.OneShrinksPerspective.com
7 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF NEXT TIME YOU FEEL ANXIOUS
Anxiety is often caused by unhealthy thought patterns, worries and stress. However, sometimes that uncomfortable, distressful and at times panic-inducing experience has little to do with what we’re thinking and more to do with our biochemistry or what we just ate. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much we “talk it out” because our anxiety has little to do with our thoughts and more to do with these other culprits.
If you’re feeling anxious and no idea what’s brought on this feeling, ask yourself these questions:
1. Did You Just Have Caffeine, Sugar Or MSG?
All of the above can increase heart rate and cause hyperarousal and feelings of anxiety in some individuals. Pay attention to labels and notice if your body reacts to certain foods or drinks containing such ingredients. I, for example, am not generally affected by caffeine (although my colleague’s anxiety skyrockets if she drinks it), but if I order Chinese and forget to make sure there’s no MSG, I’m up all night with heart palpitations and catastrophic thoughts.
2. Could Hormones Have Something To Do With It?
After deciding to cease oral contraceptives after a decade, I experienced a serious hormonal imbalance that mimicked menopause. Hot flashes, night sweats, heart palpitations and cognitive and physical anxiety were present a good part of my days. After seeing my naturopath and working toward balancing my hormones, I noticed a significant improvement and felt calm (although anxiety still worsens for me at certain times in my cycle). If you’re feeling anxious or depressed and can’t pinpoint why, it might have to do with fluctuating or unbalanced hormones.
3. Are You Fatigued Or Getting Sick?
Low energy, foggy brain and a general sense of malaise contribute to anxiety in a couple of ways: Firstly, it creates a stress reaction as your body tries to fight illness and secondly, your cognitive functioning is affected, often resulting in feeling anxious, unfocused and indecisive. Remember to lower your expectations for yourself in this case, especially for tasks involving cognitive performance.
4. Did You Have A Few Too Many Glasses Of Wine Last Night?
I met a friend in Nicaragua who described his experience of “The Scaries” after we imbibed too much the night before. Before that, I thought I was the only one who experienced feelings of depression and anxiety as byproducts of a hangover (why do we drink again?). Alcohol messes with our nervous system and neurotransmitter levels, which can cause anxiety (or “The Scaries”).
5. What’s The State Of Your Gut Bacteria?
Growing evidence is revealing a connection between gut bacteria and anxiety. This is thought to be due to the vagus nerve, which connects the gut to the brain. Take your probiotics and be mindful of food intolerances! Many people have no idea of the brain-gut connection or that their diet could be contributing to their experience of anxiety.
6. Could Your Blood Sugar Be Low?
We’re programmed to go into a state of anxiety in response to low blood sugar. Our body says “hunger” and sends our brain the message to find food. Some of us are more sensitive to this experience than others, so it might not be a bad idea to pay attention to your experience of anxiety’s relationship to hunger.
7. Could You Be Deficient In Certain Nutrients?
B complex vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, potassium, magnesium, GABA and zinc all play vital roles in neurotransmitter and nervous system function. Deficiencies in such nutrients are related to increased anxiety. Consider visiting a naturopath, holistic nutritionist or dietitian and supplementing your diet with some of these nutrients if you believe you aren’t getting enough.
So, the next time you’re experiencing anxiety and can’t seem to talk yourself out of it, see if any of these factors might be coming into play.
Food for thought.
For only 3 minutes you receive a profound question and poem.
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy…”
In this together,