Another Natural Treatment for Anxiety Symptoms

While working on the root cause of anxiety is the best long-term solution, we all need some good tools to gain some control over the symptoms.

Here’s a unique holistic tool for managing anxiety symptoms:  Homeopathy.

 

I’m not an expert on homeopathic remedies, but I work closely with someone who is an expert: my colleague Cherri Schleicher, Family Nurse Practitioner.  As we share office space together, we often collaborate in the treatment of our patients.  Cherri has taught me a lot about natural solutions for anxiety symptoms and now I’d like to share some of what I have learned with you.

What is Homepathy?

homeopathy

 

Homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, is a medical philosophy and practice based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself. Homeopathy was founded in the late 1700s in Germany and has been widely practiced throughout Europe. Homeopathic remedies have been regulated in the United States since 1938 and are considered to be safe, with no side effects.

The good news is that homeopathic remedies are quite inexpensive.  They are small pellets dissolved under the tongue, having a very slight sweet taste. They are formulated from plants and mineral, and are completely natural with no chemical additives.

 

Homepathic Medicine for Anxiety

The big benefit of homeopathics for anxiety is that they have no risk of dependence or risk of being habit forming (as many prescription medications do). They have no side effects and can be used to treat children, as well as used in pregnancy. They can also be given to someone who is currently on a medication for anxiety to help in potentially decreasing the dose or permanently weaning off of the medication.

The right homeopathic medication takes into account your specific feelings, anxiety symptoms, and anxiety provoking events.

Therefore, in order for homeopathic remedies to work well on YOUR anxiety, it’s important to get an individualized recommendation from a homeopathy practitioner.  Here are some of the more common homeopathic medicines that my colleague Cherri Schleicher uses to treat anxiety symptoms:

 

Aconite is a homeopathic that is very beneficial for panic attacks and the individual who has a fear of dying. This fear tends to be enhanced at night.

Arsenicum Album is for the anxious individual who tends to wake up between 1-3:00am. They may also experience “feelings of doom.”

Argentum Nitricum is more for the individual who is agitated, experiences anticipatory anxiety, phobias, abdominal pain some dizziness. They also may do frequent “throat clearing.”

Ignatia is helpful after the person experiences emotional shock, also intense grief. They may also experience palpitations.

Gelsenium is helpful for the person who experiences paralyzing fear. They may feel as if their body is trembling and numbness like “their legs are being cut-off.”  Their anxiety can cause headaches around the eyes.

Kali Bromatum is helpful for the individual who becomes physically agitated with their anxiety, fidgeting of the hands and also experiences restless sleep.

Phosphorus is a medicine that helps the person who becomes more anxious in the evening and they have a tendency to feel vulnerable.

Staphysagria is for the person who feels easily humiliated and has a sense of “injustice.”

One Size Does Not Fit All

You are a unique being, and the way your anxiety appears can be unique. Symptoms can change from person to person, and can even change at different times. 

Treatment with homeopathic medicine must be adjusted and an individualized plan of care will be based on your personal history and your specific anxiety reactions. Although homeopathy is safe when used in conjunction with anxiety symptoms, it is important to determine the root cause of the problem and take an integrative approach to returning to wellness.

Feel free to contact Cherri Schleicher, FNPc APNP AHN-BC, to explore how homeopathy might be useful for you!      

You can call her at 414-640-6287 or email her at cholisticfam@wi.rr.com

One last note…if your anxiety is keeping you up at night, there is a homeopathic solution for that too!  

Most Relaxing Song of All Time?

catsleeping-stencilI came upon this song which is touted as the most relaxing, easiest to fall asleep to song ever:

Weightless by Marconi Union

Marconi Union worked with sound therapists to create this soothing tune, which also supposed to help slow breathing and reduce brain activity.  Sound therapy has been used for thousands of years to help people relax and improve health and well-being.

The relaxing nature of this song is said to come from its sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50.

 

Homeopathics for Better Sleep

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a natural system of medicine based on the principle that you can treat ‘like with like’… meaning that a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms.  Homeopathic remedies are inexpensive, small pellets dissolved under the tongue.

My friend and colleague Cherri Schleicher, APNP is a holistic nurse practitioner with a homeopathic specialty. She recommends the following homeopathic remedies to improve sleep, and my clients report that they really work!

Homeopathics for Better Sleep

  1. woman-sleeping-in-bedCoffea Cruda: This is a homeopathic derived from the coffee bean. It is very useful for the person who has mind racing and cannot quiet down for the evening. The typical dose is 15C 5 pellets under the tongue before bedtime.
  1. Gelsenium: This is a flowering plant that works very well for anxiety. 30C 5 pellets at supper time or before bed is beneficial.
  1. Ignatia: This homeopathic comes from a plant. It is for the individual who is sensitive and has an excitable nature. They have a mild disposition and are usually quick to perceive. The nervous individual who has difficulty falling asleep. 30C 5 pellet’s at dinner or bedtime is typical.

What Does Caffeine Really Do to Your Brain?

Cup of coffeeDo you need a java jolt to get you going in the morning?

Or soda or energy drinks to keep up your energy?

In my eBook “Top 7 Secrets to Break Free from Anxiety…Without Drugs,” I talk about the relationship between caffeine and anxiety. Any amount of caffeine can be too much for people who are prone to anxiety.

What I’ve found is that many people don’t believe (or want to believe) that caffeine is contributing to their stress, tension, anxiety, fatigue or sleep problems.

Ever wonder whether caffeine really does or does not affect you?

Recently Dr. Daniel Amen published an article explaining the mechanism by which caffeine operates in, and negatively impacts, the brain. This article contains excerpts from his report, so if you’re interested in the brain science behind those daily java jolts, read on…

What Caffeine Does in the Brain

Caffeine works in the brain by interfering with a natural process involving a brain chemical called adenosine. When adenosine is produced in the brain, the brain’s blood vessels dilate, causing neurons to slow down, and inducing drowsiness.

When you drink caffeine, the adenosine receptors are fooled into doing just the opposite of what adenosine normally does: it constricts the brain’s blood vessels, speeds up neuron activity, and signals your body to go on high alert by producing adrenalin.

How and Why It Is Addictive?

This gives you that java jolt, which makes your heart beat faster, your breathing become more shallow, and your muscles tense up. (Did you know these all can also be symptoms of anxiety?)

It also boosts dopamine levels, which activates the pleasure centers in your brain. The bad news is that when the effects of the caffeine wear off, you feel sluggish. So you consume more caffeine to re-energize and a habit is formed.

Long Term Negative Impact on the Brain

What happens to the adenosine receptor system when you consume large amounts of caffeine on a regular basis? New research shows that habitually high caffeine intake (about 950mg a day) eventually causes reduced blood flow to the brain.

Dr. Amen says: “After years of studying brain scans, I can assure you that reduced cerebral blood flow leads to brain drain. It lowers cognitive function and can exacerbate emotional and mental health problems. It can also wreak havoc with your sleep system and reduce the amount of deep sleep you get at night, leaving you feeling even more fatigued.”

Take One Step Now

Macro of a can of sodaPlease don’t underestimate the effect of caffeine on your body and your brain.

If you take in caffeine regularly, focus on cutting back and then eliminating it altogether. Because caffeine is an addictive substance, withdrawal can lead to headaches and fatigue, which can be reduced by slowly decreasing your intake week by week. You might consider enlisting the help of a medical or wellness professional to ease the process.

Waiting for the perfect time to cut back? Or to switch to decaf?

The perfect time to start is always in the present moment. Taking one step…any step at all…gets you on your way!

[Acknowledgment for excerpts and content for this article: “Copyright 2008, Amen Clinic Inc., A Medical Corporation. All rights reserved.”]

Earthing for Stress Relief

When I was in the mountains of Peru on my recent vacation, little did I know that my laying around on the grass or meditating while sitting on huge rocks was actually “Earthing.”

Di Philippi - Earthing in PeruMost people intuitively know that spending time in nature is good for you – it feels good, feels relaxing, helps us calm down. Native American and other indigenous cultures (like the Incans in Peru) have known forever that Mother Earth has healing energies and properties.

Now an emerging field of research called “Earthing Science” is showing how direct contact with the Earth can help with stress and anxiety reduction, sleep problems, and lots of physical health problems.

What is Earthing?

The simplest form of Earthing is to walk outside barefoot, or to sit or lay on the Earth. Conductive surfaces include sand, dirt, gravel, grass and concrete. Wood, vinyl, asphalt and painted concrete are not conductive.

Connecting to the Earth can also be achieved through man-made conductive materials. The goal is to allow electromagnetic connection to the Earth’s surface. Earthing tools for consumer use are rapidly being developed.

Earthing concepts are not new. We know that when working with electronics we need to prevent build-up of static electricity. This is often achieved with grounded electrical outlets, or grounded desk mats, shoes or wristbands. In operating rooms, patients are grounded to protect inner electrical workings of the body from outside electrical interference.

We’re Short on Earthing

Earthing researchers believe that lifestyle changes in that past 100 years (and especially since the 1960’s) have disconnected us from the natural healing and calming benefits of the Earth. Earthing researcher Clint Ober notes that “little more than 100 years ago, 90% of homes still had dirt floors.” Now, our rubber and plastic soled shoes, multi-story buildings, and indoor lifestyles keep us separated from the Earth.

Earthing, Stress and Cortisol

Cortisol is a stress hormone involved with chronic stress, anxiety, sleep problems and other health issues. A pilot study in 2004 showed that test subjects who slept on an Earthing mattress for 8 weeks had improvement in cortisol levels and reported better sleep and less stress.

A study last year suggested that Earthing may help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Most of us in this busy day and age have an imbalance (“sympathetic dominance”) and most stress management treatments involve improving this balance.

Earthing Research

Earthing research is new and is based on the understanding that all life on the planet functions electrically, and that our optimal functioning is dependent on an electrical connection with the ground.

You can check out Earthing research at The Earthing Institute

Better yet, maybe you want to try your own research. ‘Tis the season in Wisconsin for Earthing. You can experiment by connecting with the Earth on a regular basis…then pay attention to how you feel.

Anxiety Relief with Progressive Muscle Relaxation

progressivemusclerelaxation-stencilThis easy to learn relaxation technique can be done anytime but can be especially helpful right before bedtime. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), taught for almost 100 years for stress and anxiety reduction, involves alternately tensing and then relaxing the muscles (one muscle group at a time).

You can do PMR sitting or lying down, with eyes closed. Muscles are tensed (for about 10 seconds) and relaxed (for about 20 seconds) sequentially through various parts of the body. PMR takes as little as 15 minutes once you learn the technique.

Try it tonight with these Progressive Muscle Relaxation Step-by-Step Instructions.

Less Stress Now: Set Yourself Up For A Good Night’s Sleep

woman-sleeping-in-bedWe all know sleep is rejuvenating, but did you know that it’s actually a time when the nervous system helps break down and release excess stress chemicals from your body? That makes sleep one of the best stress-busters.

Preparing yourself for a good night’s sleep starts about 3 hours before bedtime…

    • Dinner. Eat dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime to allow proper digestion. have a bedtime snack only if you’re truly hungry, and avoid sugar (a stimulant) and heavy or spicy foods that may cause heartburn.
    • Exercise. Although physical activity earlier in the day can help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer, avoid it within 3 hours of bedtime. It can get your system revved up instead of relaxed for bedtime.
    • TV. The very thing many people do before bedtime is the very thing to avoid. TV is stimulating to the physical senses and anything scary or violent (especially the news!) can cause stress chemicals to be released into the body.
    • Conscious Relaxation. Remind yourself that it’s time to relax. And make the time for it – it’s a great investment. Find some relaxing options that work for you: soft/relaxing music, warm bath/shower, 10 minutes of quiet time, snuggling with your pet (or your partner or kids!), restorative yoga poses, lavender aromatherapy, etc…

Thinking Yourself Sick?

Do you have any of these physical ailments?

Young woman cannot sleep

  • Digestive problems
  • Acid Reflux
  • Constipation, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Chronic muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • TMJ or teeth grinding
  • Sleep problems

The traditional medical community is increasingly acknowledging that there is a connection between stress/anxiety and these physical ailments (and more!).

Stress and anxiety can be the root cause, or a big contributor, to physical illness. If you have more than one of these, anxiety may be the common denominator. Learning how to get anxiety under control can help you feel better physically. This is the power of the body-mind connection.

I had one client who dramatically reduced her GERD symptoms and headaches as well, by getting a handle on the underlying anxiety she had experienced for most of her adult life. We worked on practical tools she could use anywhere and anytime to reduce and prevent anxiety symptoms…and we also went deeper and focused on resolving the root cause of her anxiety.

anxiety-magnifying-glass-istock_000013887814xsmallStress = Anxiety

People often ask me” Is this “just” stress or is it anxiety? My answer is YES. Whether you want to call is “stress” or you want to call it “anxiety,” they both cause the same response in the body. To learn more about that, see my April 2014 eZine article “Anxiety FAQ” 

Is it all in your Mind?

Neuroscience and Quantum Physics are demonstrating that the mind is more powerful than we can even imagine. The stress/anxiety response we experience physically in the body (tension, fatigue, racing heart or palpitations, being on edge, tightness, fidgeting, nervousness, dizziness, sweating, tingling, etc.) is the result of a chemical reaction in the body which is kicked off by the brain.

So yes, it’s all in your mind.

And no, it’s not all in your mind.

Anxiety and anxious thoughts can create so much upset in your system that real physical symptoms start appearing. At that point it can be hard to know which came first… the chicken or the egg?

The Mind Influences the Body

The conscious mind can influence the body and adversely affect the body’s natural ability to heal itself, according to Bruce Lipton, PhD, cellular biologist.

A few years ago, he released a fabulous video on this topic (and more!) which I highly recommend. It’s about 30 minutes long and well worth the time. You can sign up for instant access to view it here: Bruce Lipton video.

When we understand that the Mind and Body are integrated and cannot be separated, we can address BOTH the Mind and the Body in order to feel better!

Tapping Your Troubles Away With EFT

     Q:  What is the biggest thing that blocks our flow of energy and
          causes all sorts of distressing emotions and dis-ease?

     A:  How emotional issues are held in the body.

How Can EFT Help?

 
EFT is a natural healing technique: a three-minute process that’s easy to learn and can bring immediate and satisfying emotional release. It helps the body let go of old patterns that have been keeping you stuck in any sort of distress or dis-ease.
Tapping the brow point

Also referred to as “tapping,” EFT helps release release distressing emotions, leaving you with increased calm and confidence.

I use EFT with my clients because it is especially helpful in reducing anxiety, stress, worry and fears of all kinds.

With EFT, you can:

  • Avoid getting stuck in distressing emotional states
  • Increase positive thinking and focus on positive solutions
  • Reduce fatigue and have more energy
  • Get better sleep
  • Have more satisfying relationships
  • Feel better about yourself!

How Does EFT Work?

Tapping the collar bone point

It’s like an emotional version of acupuncture – without needles! By tapping on various energy points on your body you can release negative energy, distressing emotions and thoughts, as well as physical issues.

Just like Reiki and other forms of energy healing, EFT is based on the idea that there is a “life force energy” flowing through all living things. This vital energy of life is called “ki” or “chi” or “prana” in various Eastern traditions.

When this vital life energy is balanced and flowing freely through you, you can achieve a happy, healthy state of well-being. However, blockages or imbalance in your body’s energy system can lead to pain or dis-ease.

EFT works on your Energy Meridians

Energy “Meridians”
 
Thousands of years ago, the Chinese mapped out the energy pathways of the body into a system of energy “meridians.”These meridians are central to Eastern wellness practices, acupuncture, acupressure, and a wide array of other healing techniques…including EFT.

EFT works by stimulating your energy meridians, allowing emotional and energetic releases.

When our energies are allow to flow freely, the body has amazing abilities to heal itself.

The Critical Connection:

EFT is based on the premise that there is an emotional contributor to all dis-ease and distress.

It just makes sense that if you spend a long time carrying around anger, fears, grief, traumas, blame, guilt, resentments or other emotional pain, the body becomes stressed.

Stress can eventually show up physically in the form of pain and dis-ease. The medical community is increasingly telling us that in order to improve conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux and more (!), that we need to reduce stress.

EFT is a tool to help you get to the root cause of whatever is bothering you. EFT works at 2 levels:

  1. EFT provides immediate relief so you can feel better in minutes
  2. More importantly, EFT also works deeper to help release and heal the root cause of the problem

Learning EFT

There are plenty of resources on the web (including my website   www.wellnesscounselingmilwaukee.com/eft) where you can learn more about EFT and the basic EFT tapping technique. Even the most “basic recipe” for EFT is helpful! Additionally, I can recommend any of Gary Craig’s books. He’s the creator and founder of EFT. (Check out the selection at Small Stones in Brookfield.) You can also see lots of tapping on YouTube, or come to one of my EFT workshops.

Tapping the karate chop point
But EFT is more of an “art” than a science.

To learn the art of applying EFT for yourself, it’s best to work with an EFT practitioner (like me) one-on-one. You’ll not only learn the nuts and bolts of the tapping process (the “science of EFT”), but more importantly you’ll learn how to most powerfully customize EFT to help you resolve your particular issues (the “art of EFT”). After working together for a few sessions, you’ll have what it takes to continue clearing issues on your own.

EFT: Try it on everything!

 

How To Be Free

We all want to be FREE…

Free to DO what we want. Free to BE who we want to be. Free to be HAPPY living a life we love.

Yet we often feel bogged down, troubled, or blocked…as if something is keeping us from truly feeling free.

This morning, despite a super busy schedule and a daunting “To Do List,” I chose freedom to take a break and admire the daylillies in my garden. This is one of my joys of summer. Their season is short and each blossom lasts for one short day. So I chose to allow myself to be FREE to enjoy and admire the blossoms of the day – even though my mind said I “should” have been handling all the things in my Inbox, or doing one of the dozens of things on my growing “To Do List.”

FreeGuess what?!? When you die your Inbox will still be full and your “To Do List” will still be in progress. The time to be FREE is right here and now.

So today I allowed myself the luxury of a few minutes of peace and happiness admiring my lillies – no guilt, no thinking about the Inbox. Just enjoying the moment and smiling.

Now, for me, that felt FREE.

Free of worry, free of the Inbox, free of the pressures of the “To Do List”…free for those few minutes. That’s just how freedom starts:

                              You have to WANT it
                              You have to CHOOSE it
                              You have to ALLOW it

What do you mean by “Free?”
“FREE” can be defined (with the help of dictionary.com) as: the state of being at liberty rather than in confinement; immunity from external control or interference. I think of being free as having the luxury of choice. Naturally, when you choose something you feel less confined, more in control. You truly can make choices to change or let go of things that weigh you down.

What do you want to be FREE of?

    • Burdens or obligations?
    • Continual worry?
    • Emotional eating or excess weight?
    • Stress or anxiety?
    • Overwhelm?
    • Obsessive thoughts or actions?
    • Depression?
    • Insomnia?
    • Clutter?

What do you want instead?

Once you know what you want, then you choose it. Sounds simple; actually doing it requires re-learning some of your “old” habits of thinking. Let’s start with how you think of the concept of “choice.” Choice always leads to greater freedom.

Think There are Some Things You Have No Choice Over?
I challenge you to think again, and I know sometimes it’s not easy. The problem comes in when your mind is tricked into believing that you have no choice. No choice about your actions/reactions, the burdens, obligations, worry, emotional eating, depression, clutter, etc. Choosing is always more empowering than feeling like you “have to” or that it simply has to be a certain way. Choosing always feels better than living with something because you think you “need to” or “must.”

success_failure-signs-istock_000003986459xsmall

The truth is that you always have choice, even when it feels like you don’t. Even when you do something you don’t really want to do (like staying up late to finish that cleaning, going to the doctor, driving your son to his next activity, or doing that one thing that “needs” to be done), you ARE actually making a choice to do it. You could always make a choice to NOT do it. It’s just that there would be consequences of making that choice and because of the consequences, you choose to do it. Understanding this leads to a much greater sense of empowerment than feeling like you had no choice in the matter.

Re-training Your Mind: Part 1
The key to feeling free is to expand your awareness of your choices, and realize you are constantly making choices that are YOUR choices. Realize that there are many choices which at first may not appear to be options. This requires developing a new skill: re-training your mind to think differently and expand your choices. It takes skill, time and practice to start seeing choices where previously you couldn’t see any.

Example…
Let’s say you “have to” pick up your daughter from school immediately due to sudden illness. It really feels like you “must” do this because your child is ill and the school says you “must” take your daughter home immediately. But to do it, you’ll have to leave work in the middle of a very important customer meeting which will probably mean your company loses business from this customer (which is entirely unacceptable to your boss).

trueHonestly, you always have choices:

  • Leave and pick her up?
  • Ask someone else to pick her up?
  • Pay someone to pick her up?
  • Have a taxi pick her up?
  • Have her take the bus home?
  • Wait and pick her up after this meeting?
  • Wait and pick her up at the end of the day?

Can you brainstorm others? Your mind may have immediately discarded some of those choices and judged them as not viable. Realize you actually make split-second evaluations of the consequences of every choice. Some consequences you prefer over others. Then you choose. You don’t “have to” do any one of them. You choose one that you’ll do.

Now you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, instead of letting people or circumstances or old, limited thought patterns dictate your life.

Re-training Your Mind: Part 2
Once your mind learns to generate more choices and to consciously choose, the next skill is ALLOWING the freedom. Like I allowed the luxury of being with the lillies without guilt or worry about what wasn’t getting done, you can re-train your mind to accept your choice. No second-guessing, no analysis-paralysis, no regret, no guilt, no worry. Simply allow your choice to be and to unfold. This re-training takes practice. Accept your choice and enjoy it as much as you can, knowing it came from your power to choose. Stay in the present moment with it as much as you can.

In the allowing is where you can really experience feeling free.