I’ve suffered from anxiety all my life. I remember having panic attacks when I was a child. Since then I’ve always had to manage my stress levels so as to avoid huge panic induced problems in my life.
The book I’ve been reading “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?” by Datis Kharrazian explained that anxiety (and the other resulting symptoms, disorganized attention and over excitability) is often due to poor GABA function. Kharrazian says that some people have genetic issues with GABA, and since both my mother and her mother suffer from anxiety, its probably not too far fetched that I have a predilection towards low GABA function. But poor GABA function can be exacerbated by “stress, blood sugar imbalances, and lifestyle and diet related issues.” So I’m sure my food intolerances to oils and gluten didn’t help any. It was nice to confirm that my general impression that sometimes a person can do better and sometimes do worse just depending on how much GABA is in the brain. I’ve often thought that I was very silly for being able to handle stress sometimes but not handle the same stress a few days later.
Interestingly many of the things that he suggested for supporting GABA function I’ve been implementing these past few years. I’ve made an effort to remove trigger foods (oils and gluten) increased nutrition, lowered inflammation, and made efforts to keep my blood sugars even. Turns out all of these changes have the side benefit of supporting brain health as well as with general over all health.
I had noticed that my anxiety levels had decreased substantially over the last few years and I have been very grateful.
Still I occasionally will have an extra stressful day. I find its best on those days to avoid TV, for some reason it really makes my anxiety worse. Its better to do quite things like read, take a walk or spend time with people I know and love. If I need to function and can’t chill out I take an extra dose of passion flower, because it is helps with GABA function. If passion flower doesn’t cut it I make a homemade version of Tension Tamer Tea because the Celestial Seasonings brand contains soy lecithin.
Homemade Tension Taming Tea
- Lavender fresh or dried
- Chamomile fresh or dried
- Lemon balm fresh or dried
- Cinnamon stick
Mix an equal amount of lavender, chamomile, and lemon balm in a glass measuring cup and pour one cup of hot water over them. Let steep for 3-5 minutes until to the desired color. I use a 1/2 teaspoon each for a mild tea and more for a stronger brew. Strain tea into a mug, drop in the cinnamon stick and serve. If you would like more of a cinnamon flavor add the stick to the herbs when you pour the hot water.
Has anyone else come up with some good acute stress relievers?