Q: I have become extremely anxious of late. Can you suggest some ways to overcome this?

In today’s world, experiencing anxiety has become all too common. With anxiety, it gets difficult to concentrate or to be present in the moment. Your mind frequently appears to drift. 

Anxiety is a maladaptive mechanism. Which means we learn it because we are trying to adjust to something/adapt to something. This usually happens when you try coping with all the life events that you weren’t prepared for.

The first step in overcoming it is to start understanding why you’ve become anxious and what you are trying to cope with. This will help your brain detach from anxiety and observe it rather than using it to cope with stuff.

Dealing with anxiety involves a combination of 5 factors – food, sleep, activity, emotional well-being and connection to source. This is where biofeedback comes into the picture. It’s a fancy way of saying that everything, every cell, every organ in our body is constantly communicating with one another and making sure that everything is well balanced and working properly.

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We all have different triggers, belief systems, and innate tendencies, but biofeedback is something we all experience in our unique ways. For example: If you’ve got inflammation in your body, if your head hurts or your gut is suffering, it will tell the rest of your system that something isn’t right. When your body experiences this, it starts to feel like its survival is threatened and triggers feelings of fear. So even if your blood sugar spikes and crashes, that shakiness is known to worsen symptoms of anxiety. Learning to manage biofeedback, or making this communication more effective is one of the most important skills in managing anxiety.

Anxiety can make handling emotions, decision making and facing stressful situations very challenging.

A little about the brain to better understand anxiety: The amygdala is the part of your brain responsible for processing emotions. It allows us to react to a threat in a split second in fact, even before the rest of the brain processes information. But it’s a vicious cycle: the bigger the amygdala gets, the less we can cope with stress; and the less we cope, the bigger it gets.

So, what makes it bigger or more active? Constant fear, chronic, unmanageable stress and sleep deprivation. Constant anxiety leads to poor decision making.

Now, let’s put all that in the context. If you already have an innate tendency for getting stressed, and you already have the body taking on physical stress through unbalanced systems or problems such as inflammation, bad diet and lack of sleep, you’re already using up your physical and psychological endurance.

How does one learn to cope with it? There’s no one simple answer. Mindfulness can help. As can diffusion. The more you slow down and allow yourself to experience a negative thought or unpleasant state, the more time your brain has to properly assess whether it’s something to be concerned about. And of course, rest well, have a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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