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Do you struggle with anxiety? Are many of the women in your life dealing with the same symptoms?
Everyone feels a little anxious now and again. It’s a normal part of life. Anxiety is how the body responds in times of stress and uncertainty. It can be helpful in times of desperate need. However, when your body is constantly in this mode, it can be detrimental to your wellbeing and often indicate an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
The National Institute of Mental Health describes generalized anxiety disorder as excessive anxiety and worry about various events or activities (e.g., work or school performance) that occur more days than not for six months. People with generalized anxiety disorder find it difficult to control their worry, which may cause impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Restlessness or feeling on-edge
  • Becoming easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pain
  • Unable to control feelings of worry
  • Sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

While anxiety disorders affect both men and women, it’s been shown that women suffer at a higher rate.

Why is this the case?
While no one knows exactly why women suffer from anxiety at higher rates than men, it’s thought to be due to a combination of biological and social factors.
Why Women Are More Likely to Suffer From Anxiety Than Men

Hormone Function

Hormone changes can increase your risk of an anxiety disorder. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menstrual cycles are common events associated with hormonal changes. Men go through fewer hormonal changes throughout their lifetime, which could explain the lower anxiety rates in men. Women deal with hormonal changes on a weekly basis, while pregnancy and postpartum can have you feeling like you’re riding a daily hormonal rollercoaster.
It’s not entirely clear why women are more sensitive to stress than men, but hormones may play a role. Women have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than men, and they also produce more of the hormone oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” or the “bonding hormone.” Oxytocin has calming and relaxing effects, but it also sensitizes the body to the effects of cortisol. So when women are stressed, they may feel the impact more strongly than men do.

It’s also important to remember that what you eat, the products you put on your body, and your environment can all play a role in your hormone function.

Coping With Stress

It’s no surprise that women and men react to stress differently. Studies have shown that women are more likely to worry and focus on negative thoughts.
It’s also possible that women’s brains are wired differently from men’s when it comes to stress. Studies have found that women tend to ruminate more than men when they’re stressed, which means they dwell on their stressors and try to figure out what caused them. This can lead to even more stress and anxiety. On the other hand, men are more likely to try to distract themselves from their stressors or take action to confront them head-on. Neither of these approaches is necessarily better than the other, but they suggest that women and men may deal with stress differently.

For both men and women, actively finding ways to reduce stress and maintain balance should be essential in caring for your mental health.

Ease symptoms of anxiety naturally

How to Ease Symptoms of Anxiety

We know that many people deal with anxiety daily, whether male or female. Several factors can cause anxiety. The good news is that there are lifestyle changes and proven remedies that can reduce your symptoms and improve your mental health.

Reduce Environmental Toxins

Makeup, skincare, shampoo, toothpaste, cleaning products, and even cookware contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. Evaluating the products in your home and making small changes, where possible, can lead to healthier hormones, reducing your risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
One of the ways environmental toxins can lead to anxiety is by disrupting the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for regulating hormones, and when it’s out of balance, it can lead to a whole host of issues, including anxiety.
These toxins can also contribute to inflammation throughout the body, linked to anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that when the body is in a state of chronic inflammation, it’s more likely to experience anxiety and depression.
So what can you do to protect yourself from these harmful chemicals?
One of the best things you can do is be aware of the products you’re using and make an effort to switch to natural alternatives. This includes things like lotions, shampoos, cleaning supplies, and makeup.

The Environmental Working Group is an excellent resource for educating yourself on the toxins lurking in your home and finding clean alternatives.

Hormone health for anxiety

Focus on Nutrition

What you eat affects how you feel, physically and mentally. Caffeine, sugar, processed, and spicy foods can trigger anxiety. Incorporating more natural, whole foods can improve your health while lessening the risk and easing anxiety symptoms.
Food choices – both what’s on your plate and what isn’t – significantly impact your mental health and well-being, especially when it comes to anxiety!
Your cells —and, as a result, your entire body—need certain nutrients to function correctly. If you don’t give your body what it needs, it can’t perform optimally. This can lead to all sorts of problems, including anxiety. The phytonutrients in your feed help determine how your cells function and what they can do.
There are a few essential nutrients that women need to ease anxiety and feel their best and what you eat affects the structure and function of your brain!
For example, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining the structure of cell membranes throughout your body, including in your brain. These healthy fats are also involved in neurotransmitter production. Neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine play a significant role in regulating mood, and low levels have been linked to anxiety and depression. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in foods like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
Another nutrient that’s important for brain health is magnesium. Magnesium helps regulate stress hormones like cortisol, and it’s also involved in nerve and muscle function. Low magnesium levels have been linked to anxiety, so make sure to include magnesium-rich foods in your diet, such as dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and yogurt.
You might not realize it, but gut health is vital for reducing anxiety. Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria, and the balance of these bacteria is known as your gut microbiota. This microbiota plays a role in everything from nutrient absorption to immune function, affecting your mood. A growing body of research suggests gut health is linked to mental health, including anxiety.
How can you keep your gut healthy? By eating fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, you can keep your gut healthy. You can also take a probiotic supplement to ensure you get enough beneficial bacteria.

Get a Massage

Of course, we all know a massage can make us feel better when anxious or stressed, but how does it work, exactly?
When we are anxious, our bodies go into fight or flight mode. This means that our hearts race, our breathing quickens, and we may even start to feel dizzy or lightheaded. Massage therapy can help to slow down all of these physical reactions and allow us to feel more relaxed.
Tactile manual massage can also help reduce anxiety by promoting the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that has been shown to have calming and soothing effects. It can help to promote feelings of well-being and relaxation.

Try Chinese Herbal Medicine

We have a whole other article dedicated to addressing stress and anxiety with the help of Chinese herbal medicine. Click the link below to learn more about Chinese Herbal Medicine for Staying Calm.

Make Acupuncture a part of your self-care routine

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for anxiety. It works to address the root of your anxiety, balance the body, and improve your mental and physical wellness.
If you’ve ever received an acupuncture treatment, you know how calm and relaxed you feel when you leave your session!

Find Your Calm at Calm San Diego

Calm San Diego is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine clinic with a simple goal: to make the world a calmer, happier place, one person at a time.
Our mission is to help you understand your body better, so you can take back your power. Our integrative treatment and lifestyle plans equip you with the care, guidance, and tools to help you make the most of each new day.
If you’re struggling with anxiety symptoms and ready to find relief, we can help. We specialize in using acupuncture, herbal medicine & supplements, personalized diet guides, and lifestyle tips and support to help you get to the root of your anxiety and support your body’s ability to heal.

Find your Calm today!

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