I remember when starting over felt like the heaviest burden in the world. An experience to dread. Something that made me feel like a failure sometimes, like I couldn’t get it right the first time around. It made me feel like I was losing my stability until I realized that starting over is one of the most liberating experiences ever. It’s sometimes essential. It’s sometimes what you don’t know you need. It’s sometimes the only way to move forward because when you start over, you have a chance to write a better story.
Your new life will cost you your old one; your new dreams and plans will force you to let go of your past and the things that didn’t work out for you. It will force you to release all that wasn’t serving you. Your new life will cost you old friends and meaningless attachments but it will reward you with the things that you actually desire. The things you were scared of doing. The people you were intimidated by. The risks you were too afraid to take.
Starting over means being brave enough to say goodbye to so many things and so many people because you’re choosing yourself instead of bending over backwards to please others. Starting over means living the life you were meant to live instead of following someone else’s dream or path. Starting over means you’re no longer stuck because you’re not afraid of changing everything around you for a better life.
Starting over means building a stronger foundation because now you have experience, now you know what makes something stand tall and what makes it fall apart. Starting over means writing a new story because now you’re wiser and you actually have something to say. You have an ending to look forward to and you know who you need in your story and who doesn’t really have a role anymore. Starting over means allowing yourself to be reborn again in the same lifetime, it means seeing life from a whole new angle and living the life you’ve always imagined. Starting over means you’re not giving up on yourself and you’re not settling either. It means you’re fighting for yourself and the life you were meant to live.
So please don’t let anyone make you feel like starting over means you’ve failed, because the real failure is staying stuck in a place you hate, living a life that doesn’t excite you, or being with someone who doesn’t love you. The real failure is choosing to live in the same environment that broke you instead of going out and creating a whole new one. Starting over doesn’t mean burning bridges or losing everyone you love, it simply means you’re crossing that bridge and moving on with nothing but love for what you left behind, but you know you can’t take it with you anymore.
Starting over means trusting that new beginnings will eventually lead to better endings and that you are capable of taking your life in a whole new direction because as painful as it can be, sometimes letting go of who you used to be and the life you used to live, can bring about the best experiences and the happiest of endings.
Every problem in life has a solution. Every problem in life can be dealt with. Every problem in life needs some time to be spoken about. And all it takes is the couragefrom within. All it takes is some resilience.
We’re all human beings, and yes, we all might have the ego within us that probably holds us back from finding possible solutions to our problems. The ego within us that stops us from giving in a little to others. The ego within us that refuses to give people a chance to be heard.
Not everything in life sucks. Yes, sometimesthings don’t happen the way we want it to be. Yes, sometimes things don’t happen when we want it to happen and that is okay. Things meant to be will eventually find their way back. All it takes is some time and effort. Time and time again, you need to remind yourself what you are capable of. You need to continue to persevere and you will eventually achieve what’s ideal for you and all that you’ve ever wanted.
We’re all human beings and we’re incredibly resilient. We all have dealt with pain at least at one point of time in life and we all have recovered. That’s because of the strength that we have within us that pushes us further and we don’t give up easily. We may not have achieved what we dreamt of when we were all much younger, but we may have achieved something we never thought of.
Eventually, we all would do fine with what we are faced with.
At this moment, even if life does not seem to be that good, trust the universe that the happier days of your life are just ahead of you. Even if you don’t believe right now, trust me, things will get better. And that’s because eventually everything will work out.
Anxiety: a dreaded feeling you never want to experience. Yet, over 33% of the U.S. population will experience anxiety in their lifetime- that’s 40 million Americans. However, a holistic and functional approach to health can help explain why anxiety isn’t just in your head, while addressing and healing chronic anxiety disorders.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety describes an inner state of emotional turmoil. It’s a mental, and often physical, response to stress, fear, and worry. In many cases, anxiety is a normal and healthy reaction to unknown situations or danger. However, deeper trouble arises when anxiety becomes chronic and debilitating.
Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders
When anxiety starts to negatively impact day-to-day activities, a formal anxiety disorder might be at play. The most common kinds of anxiety disorders, include:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Feelings of excessive anxiety and irrational worry
Panic Disorder (PD) – Panic attacks and feelings of intense fear
Social Anxiety Disorder – Fear and anxiety in social situations
Phobias – Persistent fear of an object or situation
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Frequently repeating thoughts or actions
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Fear triggered by a previous traumatic event
Major Depressive Disorder – Over two weeks of experiencing low mood
It’s important to work closely with a health professional to accurately diagnose and manage any anxiety disorder.
8 Uncommon Reasons Why Anxiety Isn’t Just In Your Head
Although anxiety can feel primarily like a mental or emotional issue, there is much more going on beneath the surface. Meaning, your anxiety isn’t only in your head. In fact, there are many root causes of anxiety. Some of the most common ones are:
Mental or Emotional Stress
Stress comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms. And, it can be in response to previous life experiences. Some of the most common sources of mental/emotional stress are:
Learned behaviors as a child
The result of different parenting/attachment styles
Lack of healthy boundaries
Not enough downtime/rest
Social, financial, relationship stress
Ongoing and acute stress (due to finances, work, family, relationships, etc.) can also contribute to anxiety symptoms.
The thyroid gland affects every physiological function in the body. When thyroid hormones become imbalanced, consequential dysfunction occurs. This imbalance can have a major impact on mood regulation. For example: an underactive thyroid can result in low mood or depression, while an overactive thyroid can create anxiety or fear. Autoimmune thyroiditis can trigger both under and overactive thyroid symptoms.
A functional medicine practitioner can help you identify and address any imbalances within the thyroid through functional testing.
In addition to thyroid dysfunction, other hormonal imbalances can be a primary root cause of anxiety disorders. In many cases, these physiological changes create a chronic stress response in the body, leading to chronic anxiety. The most important hormone imbalances to pay attention to, include:
Dysglycemia (blood sugar dysregulation)
Caffeine sensitivity (ie. an intense adrenaline rush when consumed)
Inflammation is the root cause of all chronic disease, including anxiety. Common causes of inflammation include: unhealthy lifestyle choices, an inflammatory diet, chronic infection, acute sickness, autoimmunity, and more.
In the case of anxiety disorders, cytokines play a starring role. Inflammation causes a dysregulation of cytokine production and can lead to cognitive imbalances, like depression and anxiety. More so, the concept of psychoneuroimmunology further explains the role of inflammation on the central nervous system and brain. GABA deficiency has also been associated with anxiety disorders.
Hippocrates once said, “All health starts in the gut.” Hence, poor gut health is a breeding ground for a host of health issues. Regarding anxiety, the following gut imbalances should be addressed:
Unsurprisingly, imbalances in the brain largely influence mood and anxiety. Common examples of brain imbalances, include:
An overactive mesencephalon (midbrain)
Excessive CO2 levels in the body
Increased amygdala function / limbic system activation
Underactive frontal lobes
Neurotransmitter imbalances (ie. GABA deficiency)
Vestibular, Balance or Eye Tracking issues
Unfortunately, toxins are all around us. We find them in our air (pollution, mold, mycotoxins), food (pesticides, herbicides), water (heavy metals, pharmaceutical drugs, bacterial, parasites, viruses), cleaning products (chemicals, fragrances), cosmetics (endocrine disruptors), and more. Chronic exposure to these toxins in everyday life can greatly alter brain, immune and hormone function.
Various socioeconomic factors can play a role in anxiety disorders. The most common factors, include:
Lack of access to healthcare
Discrimination, racism and bias
Cultural influences and expectations
It might feel like anxiety is all in your head. However, it’s clear that anxiety stems from other imbalances in the body. The key is to identify what is causing anxiety, so that it can be effectively addressed and healed.
How to Heal Anxiety (from a Functional Approach)
Anxiety can feel like a life sentence, but it doesn’t have to be. When looking at anxiety from a functional medicine approach, it’s important to understand and address the root cause, starting with:
1. Improving Gut Health:
You may not be able to change all external factors that contribute to anxiety. But you can somewhat control what you eat. An inflamed gut and brain will have a much harder time managing stress and calming anxiety.
First and foremost, it’s critical to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet when anxiety is present. Minimally, this means removing inflammatory foods (ie. gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, corn) from the diet. However, for those with a chronic health condition, an autoimmune disorder or severe anxiety, the Autoimmune Protocol might be the best option.
Additionally, it can be beneficial to include plenty of gut-healing foods in the diet, like:
2. Practicing Mind-Body Exercises:
Clearly, the mind-body connection is strong. Practicing mind-body exercises is an effective way to address both chronic anxiety symptoms and acute anxiety attacks. Try these exercises to expedite healing:
Vagal nerve exercises
Deep breathing- Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 2, breath out for 8, hold for 2, and repeat.
Deep pressure application- weighted blankets, hugs, massage, applying pressure to your own body
3. Implement Natural Remedies:
Naturally remedies, like supplements and essential oils, are foundational in functional healing.
Supplements- GABA deficiency is very common in those with anxiety. Precursors to GABA, like glutamine, magnesium, and zinc, can help the body naturally produce more GABA. Additionally, adaptogens, like ashwagandha, are helpful in regulating the nervous system and stabilizing mood. For those who are sensitive to nightshades, opt for eleuthero root, instead.
Essential Oils – Essential oils are an effective and enjoyable method of aromatherapy for anxiety. Specifically, Lavender, Wild Orange, Lemon, Ylang Ylang, and Melissa Frankincense have been shown to reduce anxiety and improve stress response.
4. Consider Therapy:
Arguably the most well-known treatment for anxiety is therapy. Various methods of therapy, like talk therapy, neuro-based therapies (EMDR), and energy psychology techniques can be beneficial. Explicitly, EMDR has been shown to help people heal from the past traumas and experiences that cause anxiety in the first place.
Unaddressed anxiety can affect every part of your life. To fully heal from your anxiety disorder and get your life back, it’s necessary to take a root cause approach. And, sometimes, we need help doing so.
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Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.*
With all of the stress, chaos, and trauma of this crazy year, I think it would be helpful to put together some resources on how to really take care of our mental health. I admit that with everything going on, I have had my own struggles. We are living in a time that is much harder than most of us have ever had to go through. I see that nearly everyone I know is dealing with anxiety, panic, or even depression because of the overall situation going on. So let’s go over some helpful ways to really help with supporting our mental health in general, as well as some specifics for this current time period.
Diet and Holistic Mental Health
Your gut is your second brain, which means that what you consume plays a direct role in your mental health. If you are eating a diet filled with sugar, processed foods, and food with artificial ingredients than your entire body can suffer. Unfortunately, the majority of food in the Western world is full of this garbage, so it can take some time and effort to figure out what is good or bad.
Do your best to eat clean. To me this means sticking with REAL foods. Look for organic foods when you can. Go for grass-fed meats, free-range eggs, organic and grass fed dairy, fresh fruits and veggies, and just moderate your sweet intake (you can still enjoy dessert! Just make sure it’s made with REAL ingredients and be smart about portions).
Leaky Gut and Holistic Mental Health
In addition to diet change, healing the gut is crucial for your mental health. We often have to undo the damage that our guts dealt with over the years before we can get the most benefit from our new, clean diet. Healing and sealing the gut lining is crucial too- when food or toxins gets through the gut lining, this is when our health begins to suffer. The main steps to focus on for gut healing include increasing nutrient absorption, healing/sealing the gut lining, and healing the microbiome.
Increase nutrient absorption with things like bitter herbs, apple cider vinegar, unrefined sea salt, and lemon juice.
Heal/seal the gut lining with things like aloe vera, collagen etc.
Heal your microbiome with things like fermented foods as well…
Minerals and Mental Health
When we grow up eating the Standard Western diet, we are basically eating food with very little nutritional value. In addition to being low in nutrients, the stress of trying to digest these foods makes us burn through nutrients even more! This is why minerals tend to be incredibly low in people with chronic illness. Minerals are at the base of our health- if they are imbalanced or depleted, then our entire bodies can suffer!
When it comes to mental health directly, there are a few big mineral imbalances that can occur. With high calcium levels, we tend to be very sluggish and depressed, even apathetic. When we have issues with copper balancing, we can experience a wide range of symptoms like anxiety, racing mind, panic attacks, OCD, paranoia, bipolar, and more. If sodium and potassium levels are tanked, then our bodies lack overall energy in the body- both physical and mental energy!
Toxins/Infections and Mental Health
This step is HUGE for overall health and wellness in general. If our bodies are not eliminating toxins properly, this allows them to recirculate and many toxins can go through the Blood Brain Barrier, which will really affect mental health.
Some toxins and infections to look into if you suspect problems:
Mold is one of the WORST offenders right now for creating physical and mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, mood issues, and so many more symptoms are associated with mold illness. If you KNOW you have had mold exposure, please take it seriously!
Lyme and co-infections are also huge causes for mental health issues. Bartonella especially seems to be a big infection associated with mental health problems.
Parasites are a lot more common than you think! They are quite hard to detect for the most part, but most people have an infestation of them, especially if you are dealing with a chronic illness. When we have leaky gut, we are even more at risk of developing a parasitic infection.
Heavy Metals are a HUGE cause for mental health issues. When we work on balancing minerals, this helps the most with heavy metal removal as the minerals help to antagonize the metals. But many people need very strong adrenal and liver function to fully eliminate metals- they can sit in the body for YEARS if we’re not working on actively eliminating them. Some of the worst offenders are mercury, aluminum, and uranium.
Emotional Trauma and Mental Health
Healing from our past traumas is an essential part of healing. More and more people are becoming aware of this importance luckily, and for many people it will be the MOST important aspect that they focus on. As someone that went through many traumas growing up, I never really understand the importance of healing from them until a few years ago. I’m still working on this healing, and I can honestly say it is just as (if not MORE) important than the physical healing.
As we work on healing physically with everything I mentioned above, it can become easier to heal on a true holistic level. But to help with healing from emotional trauma specifically, I always recommend reading about a few modalities and go with what speaks to you more.
Tips for Reducing Stress in Chaotic Times
Breathe. Take a step back from the situation. Don’t force yourself to talk about the issues at hand so much, and don’t be afraid to ask others to stop talking about it if it triggers you.
Turn off the TV/Social Media if needed. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE. The news has one main purpose: to incite fear. It is really doing a great job at that right now. Social media is even worse. People are constantly sharing doomsday posts and basically running around like Chicken Little right now. Just turn it off and again- breathe. Take breaks as needed. There is nothing wrong with being informed on the situation, but refreshing the page every 5 minutes is not healthy (and trust me, I know how easy it is to get sucked into that).
Ground yourself. Mediation, breathing exercises, a nice relaxing bath, or even make sure you’ve got your crystals on hand (black tourmaline, shungite, bloodstone, and carnelian are great for grounding). Pray more, talk to God or your angels, ask for light shields- whatever your cup of tea is. If you’re an empath, I highly recommend The Empowered Empath for more tips. Melanie of Ask Angels has an amazing YouTube channel with many meditations to help with emotional health as well.
Hobbies! It’s a good time to start a new one or pick an old one back up. Take your mind off of the stress.
Spend time with your loved ones. Play a game, watch a movie.
Reach out to friends and family to speak with if you need
Use herbs and homeopathy as needed if you are dealing with anxiety, depression, anger, or anything else that feels out of hand. It is OK to feel your emotions, but if you start to feel like it’s getting to be too much then take steps to help yourself calm down.
Remember to eat! Please nourish yourself, and do not neglect yourself.
Sleep as best as you can.
Just remember that this will pass. Have faith! Stay safe and healthy!
More Resources on Holistic Mental Health- Please do as much research as you can on this. I feel like this all deserves a book and not just a blog post.
Disclaimer- I am not a doctor so if you are suffering from an illness, I would advise you to seek out a licensed health professional before embarking on any suggestions I make. The suggestions on this website are just for informational purposes only and by choosing any of the natural remedies discussed here, you will be taking responsibility for your own health and wellness.
Find a doctor willing to work with you to actually HEAL instead of just mask symptoms. So many doctors are starting to get on board with true healing now and they are willing to help more people now.