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AlloBaber
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Can Pickles Reduce Social Anxiety?
In the future, rather than popping a Valium, anxious people (like me) might just opt for munching on a pickle. Researchers at William and Mary have shown that eating fermented foods – like yogurt, pickles, sour cream, kimchi, and sauerkraut – can substantially reduce social anxiety.
Over 19 million Americans suffer from the condition known as social anxiety, or "the persistent and overwhelming fear of social situations." It's the second most common anxiety disorder in the country – and studies in mice now point to a shortage of "good" bacteria in the body as the likely cause.
Here's a summary of what the experiment found. Mice whose intestinal tracts had been stripped of bacteria were anxious, depressed, and had higher levels of cortisol, also known as "the stress hormone." However, when these mice were given probiotics ("good" bacteria in edible form), their stress levels dropped and anxiety- and depression-linked behaviors disappeared.
In humans, scientists think that the probiotics found in fermented foods boost the production of a brain chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which mimics the effects of an anti-depressant.
It's fascinating to consider that the bacteria living in our intestines can have such a profound effect on our feelings of well-being. Next time you're feeling anxious, reduce those feelings by having some yogurt or crunching on some pickled vegetables. At the very least, you'll be populating your gut with healthy microbes, and enhancing your digestive health!
Read more at National Geographic
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I have had GAD since I was a little girl. I take medication for it, but it only helps so much. I have a few things that help me to control it when it's really bad: I write down what I'm doing at the moment, how I'm feeling at the moment, and try to pinpoint what's making me anxious. Am I hungry? Am I tired? Did someone upset me? Just writing down what I'm feeling helps to release some of the anxiety because I'm letting it "out" and not holding it "in." I will avert my mind to something else for a few minutes, something as simple as looking at a pretty picture, washing my hands, making goofy faces at someone, ( this helps a lot, because you will start laughing when they do, and when you laugh, you are bringing the up the serotonin in your brain *the stuff that makes you feel good* and drops your anxiety down. I also beat up pillows, go for short walks, love on my kids and my cats. Plus much more!
@jlee37 I LOVE these suggestions. Especially the writing things down and pinpointing your source of anxiety. I end up doing random things like picking off my nail polish when I'm feeling anxious, but I feel like writing stuff down is a lot more productive and less of a nervous habit.
I love writing it down because I don't to tell anyone about my emotions and I can cuss, scribble, whatever I want, and let it all flow out. My saying is, "The paper is your enemy, the pen is your savior."
Wow @jlee37 thank you for sharing your experiences! Those are all really great suggestions for dealing with anxiety. Looking at beautiful pictures is an especially interesting one that I've never tried before – but it's true that looking at a picture of a gorgeous landscape, a beach scene or even good food can really transport you out of your present circumstances. I'm going to give that a try next time I'm feeling anxious – some nice, soothing Google Image searches :)