Is Anxiety Running Your Life?

By Trevor Chetcuti on 9 Nov 2013
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Roughly 1 in 10 Australians suffer with anxiety, making it one of the most common forms of mental illness in Australia.

An often debilitating condition that may severely influence one’s life and livelihood, many Australians spend much of their lives going through various forms of psychological and pharmacological treatment, to no avail.

Whilst there are many causes to anxiety, research is increasing the link between anxiety and the dysfunction of a couple of key areas of brain function: the hippocampus and the amygdala.

To keep things simple, the amygdala stores all of your life threatening memories.

It’s where all the memories involving hurt are associated.

The hippocampus provides the ability to convert short-term memory into long-term memory. It also provides us with our sense of navigation and our spatial awareness. Most importantly, the hippocampus is the main structure that turns off our stress mechanisms.

“Controlling anxiety is all about controlling stress.”

In a person who has been under prolonged stress, the hippocampus is the area that tends to suffer most. It gets burnt out quite quickly, especially in women.

As this occurs, the ability to regulate the effects of stress and the amygdala decrease, predisposing us to a constant level of stress or anxiety.

Controlling anxiety is all about controlling stress. Changes in our stress hormones occur when all the things we do and all the emotional workload we carry through our day become greater than our recovery ability.

With this in mind, here are a few simple ways we can control or limit our stress:

Reduce Your Workload

Our workload is everything we do. Reducing the number of hours we work or exercise can greatly reduce our workload.

However, exercise is great at regenerating brain function and reducing anxiety, so rather than decreasing the hours we spend exercising, reduce the number of high intensity sessions, such as weights and interval training, and replace them with light aerobic, cardio sessions.

Improve Your Recovery

Much of how quickly our body recovers from day to day is based upon our health and fitness, so improving health is essential to improving recovery.

Most of our recovery occurs overnight through a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin production is decreased by light and peaks very early in the night, so the earlier to bed and the darker your bedroom the better your recovery is.

Change Your Diet

Stimulants increase our energy levels by increasing our stress hormones. In other words, they make things worse. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and sticking to a low GI diet can all help decrease stress and improve recovery.

In addition, the solanacea family of vegetables, known as ‘nightshades’, contain a little protein known to increase our stress hormones. These include tomato, capsicum, eggplant, potato and chili.


Information contained within this article does not replace medical advice. Information contained within these articles should not be attempted without proper supervision.

About the Author

Dr Trevor has a passion for helping people that goes beyond what most people expect. He has a knack for getting to issues quickly and an amazing knowledge for all things health and wellbeing. With extensive study in areas such as Physiology, Nutrition, Supplementation, Applied Kinesiology, Neuro Emotional Technique and Chiropractic, Dr Trevor's skills at working with a wide range of health and performance issues have become widely respected.

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