How to Treat Anxiety without Xanax.

It’s only human to feel a little anxious from time to time. If you have a big test coming up, a presentation for your boss, a first date…these are all normal reasons to feel anxious. However, if you feel anxious more often than not throughout the day for no apparent reason, this can lead to serious health problems such as hypertention, a weakened immune system, stomach ulcers, and even depression. Some people may not have control over their anxiety, and can have a panic attack or a nervous breakdown at any moment, but there are ways to help reduce the chances of those events occuring without resorting to xanax.

The first line of defense I want to talk about are the B vitamins. B-Vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, which controls our body’s response to stress. The way our bodies respond to stress is important because if the response is over exaggerated for something quite minor, this causes unecessary anxiety. B Vitamins help normalize mood and behavior, combat stress induced fatigue, lower cortisol levels (the primary stress hormone), and maintian healthy lactate levels (which are responsible for anxiety attacks). Magnesium is also great for anxiety because it helps maintian normal nerve function and supports healthy neurotransmission. It has a calming effect on the body and is also known to help lower blood pressure. Another supplement good for anxiety is L-arginine. This helps dilate constricted blood vessels (which is what normally occurs when one is experiencing anxiety) and in turn helps lower blood pressure and nervousness. Lastly, Valerian has been shown to lower anxiety by increasing what is known as GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, in our central nervous system. This neurotransmitter suppresses nerve impulses related to anxiety and calms the body down. With all that said, if you are still not a fan of taking supplements, exercise is one of the best treatments for anxiety. When you exercise, your body releases endorphines, which are our body’s natural opioids. They are known as natural analgesics and cause an overall feeling of well-being. Proper breathing is also very helpful when trying to control your anxiety. Taking a deep breath in times of stress helps deliver oxygen to your brain, which will help increase clarity and focus in order to come up with a resolution to the problem at hand.

All the above mentioned supplements can be found over the counter and are readily available in almost all drug or health food stores. You do not have to take all of them to help treat your anxiety. One should be ample enough, however, these supplements may be combined if needed. When all else fails, one last thing you could try is just smiling, even when you don’t feel like it. This is because when the muscles used to produce a smile are activated in your face, they send a signal to the brain which tells it you are happy, so it releases endorphins. This mechanism is known as “facial feedback.” I hope this article has helped and thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

 

 

Music is Medicinal

The power of music is quickly pioneering a new approach to therapy. Recently, music has been proven through numerous studies to benefit the body both mentally and physically. Songs that make us happy, energetic, or even reminiscent of good times can bring on a multitude of medicinal effects unmatched by any other form of treatment that exists today. I guess you could say Lady Gaga is the new Prozac.

Music therapy has been practiced as a way to treat many neurological conditions including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and even depression. It has been shown that music can help with improving impaired movement in people with Parkinson’s by giving them rhythm and coordination. For people with speech problems, since the area of the brain that processes music overlaps with speech networks, music therapy can help improve the flow of words and enhance vocabulary. Anxiety and blood pressure are reduced when listening to music because music stimulates the hypothalamus, which is the part of our brain that controls heart rate and blood flow. Alzheimer’s is improved by music since certain songs can help trigger old memories. It has also been shown that endorphins are released by the brain when listening to upbeat music, which can help treat depression. Most importantly, studies have proven a 50% spike in pituitary growth hormone levels, which is a hormone that promotes healing, in people that listen to music.

Listening to music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. That fact alone was enough to instigate studies to determine how music could be incorporated into the health field as a form of therapy. I recently watched a video about a man who was physically alive, but mentally and emotionally dead. He had been living in a retirement home for years and had not been showing any signs of interest or engagement in any activity until he was given an iPod filled with songs his daughter knew that he loved. He instantly perked up and felt alive again as soon as he put his headphones on. Please watch this clip to see for yourselves what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player. Now go put on your favorite song and dance like nobody’s watching! Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

What to Do If you have Trouble Sleeping

Let’s face it, counting sheep doesn’t work. After a long day, the last thing anybody wants is to lay in bed and toss and turn for hours until they finally fall asleep. Wouldn’t it be great if a butterfly could just touch your face and make you fall into a deep, peaceful sleep like in the Lunesta commercials? Well, instead of an imaginary, sleep inducing butterfly, I have some real remedies to share that do not involve prescription drugs, insects, nor sheep.

Falling asleep could be very easy if you just trained your body to know when it is time to go to sleep. This can be achieved by doing the following: Never do any type of work on your bed, which means no writing essays, no looking over bills, no studying, etc.. Your bed should solely be for resting and sleeping. This is so that when you look at your bed, you do not subconsciously associate it with any anxiety provoking activities that may deter you from falling asleep. Sleeping around the same time each night is also very helpful. I know this isn’t typical for most people because some nights we want to go out and have fun, and some nights we just want to stay in and watch a movie. However, the more you are able to sleep around the same time every night, the better your sleep pattern will become. Another important tip is to stop having coffee, sugar, or any other type of stimulant at least 3 hours before bed. Even if you do not have trouble falling asleep, consuming these things close to your bedtime will prevent you from having a deep, restful sleep. Also, make sure you do not have any electronics on when you are going to bed. Turn the TV off, your radio and even your phone. This will allow your mind to rest so that you can fall asleep. Last but not least, do not exercise late at night. After a workout, your body feels energized and awake. So, going to bed after a workout is a bad idea if you are trying to wind your body down.

Other than resorting to prescription drugs, there are safe and effective supplements over the counter that can help with sleep. Melatonin is a naturally occuring compound in our bodies that helps regulate our circadian rhythm , which also controls our sleep cycle. The pineal gland in the brain makes serotonin which is then converted into melatonin at night when exposure to light decreases. So when night falls, melatonin increases in our bodies and makes us sleepy. Taking supplemental melatonin could be beneficial for those of us who do not have as much melatonin production in our bodies. Valerian is also a great sleep aid because it increases the neurotransmitter known as GABA in our brains, which has a calming effect on the body. As mentioned in previous posts, magnesium also has a calming effect on the body and can help induce sleep as well. VItamin D is also beneficial because it enhances your pineal gland’s ability to regulate your circadian rhythms.

Many people resort to alcohol to fall asleep, but little do they know thay are doing themselves a disfavor. Alcohol may help induce sleep, but it disturbs the duration of sleep. In other words, falling asleep will be easy, but staying asleep will not because alcohol doesn’t allow the body to go into a deep sleep. So if you can fall asleep but not stay asleep, what’s the point? Hope these tips help and thanks for reading! This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

 

The Dangers of Stress

Unless you are an orthodox monk living atop Mount Athos, chances are that you will be stressed at one point or another in your lifetime. Stress is an inevitable part of our daily lives and can take on many forms, such as forgetting where you left your keys, being stuck in traffic, or even getting your order mixed up at the coffee shop. Contrary to what most people think, stress affects your body both physically and mentally. Stress makes your body feel as though it is under attack, causing it to wear out over time. Finding ways to cope with or resolve your stress is more important than you may think and should not be overlooked.

Acute, or short term stress, is different than chronic, or long term stress. If you are stressed out here and there and do not let it affect you for long, you are not in as much danger as those who feel stressed more often than not on a daily basis. Chronic stress can compromise your immune system, which is what controls your body’s defense mechanisms. When you undergo long periods of stress, your immune system becomes weak and your body becomes more susceptible to illness. The bacteria and viruses you are exposed to everyday have a better chance of infecting your body because your defense mechanisms are not as strong as they normally would be when you are calm and relaxed. Have you ever noticed that you tend to get sick when you are studying for a big exam or preparing for a major presentation at work? That is not just a coincidence. Constantly being nervous, not sleeping enough and over-exerting yourself are all forms of stress that increase your chances of getting sick. Over time, stress will not only suppress your immune system, but may even compromise your body’s circulatory system, blood sugar regulation and even cell growth. All this may lead to more serious health problems down the line such as hypertension, diabetes and possibly even cancer.

Learning to control your anger and anxiety when encountering a stressful situation is crucial. Take deep breaths to increase oxygenation and blood flow in your body. Try to think realistically about the situation instead of jumping to over-exaggerated conclusions before they even happen. Think about if what you’re getting mad or anxious about is really worth damaging your health over. Take 10 seconds to calm yourself before reacting to the situation. Find an enjoyable activity to release your anger and frustration through, such as exercise, so you do not repress it and let it build up within you. Last but not least, try to smile or laugh because it sends a signal to your brain to release endorphins, which have a calming effect on the body. Hope these tips help! This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.