The Most Effective Ways to Manage Anxiety {part 1}


I taught A Space to Breathe this morning and I’m still riding the wave of a full heart and the amazing energy we all created today. While this entire vision is a passion of mine, teaching a class specific to managing anxiety is extra special to me.

When I was 15 and a sophomore in Highschool, I came down with symptoms that seemed to derail my life entirely. My parents were getting divorced and they each decided they would take me to their own doctors to figure out what was going on. My mom was, and still is, riddled with Autoimmune diseases (yes, plural) so naturally she took me to her Rheumatologist who quickly diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and prescribed numerous medications. My dad brought me to his Doctor of Osteopath who was also certified as a holistic practioner. Upon a similar check up, the DO also pulled out a prescription pad of paper and started writing. I figured I would be prescribed similar medications and the same diagnosis. As I looked down at the paper he handed me, I was shocked.

He had written:

  1. Go in the sunshine
  2. Hang out with your friends
  3. Exercise
  4. Drink a lot of water
  5. Do yoga and breathe

What?! I looked at him perplexed. He smiled and told me I did not have Fibromyalgia but I was dealing with anxiety and the ‘expected’ emotions of my family going through a divorce. He reminded me to do the things we should all be doing regularly and sent me on my way. Within a week my symptoms were gone and I was back to my healthy self. I want to mention that I’m a HUGE advocate of therapy and started seeing a therapist to work through all the emotions. But what a HUGE relief to know I was HEALTHY, NORMAL, and did not have an autoimmune disease. I also firmly believe there are cases of legitimate autoimmune diagnoses that shouldn’t be taken lightly, medications are often needed but self care is always needed. I often think back to that life changing season and how that one appointment helped me dodge what could have been a lifetime of a misdiagnosis. More importantly, it taught me how valuable and non negotiable taking care of our bodies is! I truly believe, a seed was planted in me to pass on the message of self care, the power of fitness, balanced nutrition, and breath work. We are meant to THRIVE friends…not merely survive.

Anxiety is more prevalent now, than ever before. Kids are experiencing legitimate bouts of anxiety at a much younger and much more frequent rate. Anxiety is limiting what people are able to accomplish and it’s stealing the joy from our everyday lives. I have yet to meet a single person who has not battled the beast of anxiety in one way or another. So if you’re reading this hoping for some tips to battle those nerves, know this:

  1. You’re not alone.
  2. I got you and I get you!

Know the facts: Anxiety strikes more than 19 million people in the US. That adds up to more than 10% of kids and 40% of teens-adults. Anxiety surpasses even depression, ranking as the #1 mental illness in the US. Hang on…that is only reported and documented cases of anxiety which means even more people experience anxiety but may not be treating it. (

Anxiety involves your nervous system. When a thought pops into your mind, it has the ability to create a reaction like your heart rate speeding up, your breath getting quicker, butterflies in your stomach or you may begin to sweat. Think of anxiety like your car blowing a tire. If your car (your body) is pretty stable and in overall good condition then blowing a tire will just cause you to pull over and fix it within 30 minutes so you can move on with your trip. But if your car (your body) is frazzled, low on fuel, falling apart and in need for a tune up…a simple blown tire can really derail your entire trip, causing you to spend a few days in the repair shop.

THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT ANXIETY IS TO STAY AHEAD OF IT WITH SELF CARE. Going with the car analogy, you need to be sure your tank is full of proper fuel and you’re keeping up with service appointments, car washes, etc.! Self care is incredibly trendy these days so let me clarify what I mean. In my opinion self care is simply taking care of your body the same way you would take care of anything else: Move, Nourish, Breathe…and repeat. The same way you book a hair, nail, tax, pest control, dental cleaning, or tutoring appointment; your nervous system needs maintenance too. I’m not talking elaborate spa days, personal chefs, and extensive vacations. I’m talking about self care in terms of basic everyday maintenance.

It seems so simple but how often have you missed a meal because you were cramming too much into your day. Maybe missed a workout or a mere opportunity to take the stairs and chose the elevator instead because you were again, short on time. Or how about skimping on sleep because you stayed up late to work on a project or study for an exam. Our body can handle occasional extra busy/stressful days but we can’t live in that high stressed-state constantly. When we do it all the time, we pay the price. I often say, it’s more relatable for me to call a friend and talk about how frazzled, exhausted and busy I am then to say I’ve been sleeping well, am filled with joy and have little to no stress.

I’m going to break down what that self care looks like so you know how to take care of your body consistently enough to keep anxiety away.

MOVE: Move your body! Move it daily, move it frequently, and move it in a way that feels good. Move for at least 30 minutes a day and if you have the chance to get sweaty-do it! If you are going through a particularly stressful time..move it EVEN MORE! There is an entire physiological process that occurs when we are stressed. Whether it’s simple daily stress of a busy schedule or major stress like when my parents were divorcing; our body perceives it the same way and produces specific hormones that alert the body we are “in crisis”. When we exercise, that hormone production is halted and we instead produce endorphins (the feel good hormones) that are like a spa day for our nervous system. You cannot feel two emotions at once. If you’re anxious, feeling down, or generally off in some way; a workout will pause those feelings and flood your body with the happy vibe for a bit! I often remind my clients: “You’re only one workout away from a good mood!” But it doesn’t even need to be a formal workout. A few minutes of stretching, going for a walk, or a kitchen dance party will all do the trick!

NOURISH: What we eat greatly effects our body. If you’re experiencing anxiety or have an anxiety inducing day coming up it’s important to stay clear of foods that will elevate your nervous system even more. The two biggest players are caffeine and sugar. Caffeine speeds up the heart rate and makes the body feel more alert. If you’re sleepy in the morning and have a cup of coffee it’s likely not a big deal. However sipping on coffee, energy drinks, and soda throughout your day will keep your heart rate and alertness slightly elevated; signaling the nervous system to stay on “high alert”. I avoid caffeine after lunch and have noticed major improvements on the quality of my sleep. Aim for 0-1 servings in total/daily of the following food and drinks:


Iced Tea


Energy drinks


Sugar directly effects our blood sugar level. Food has something called a Glycemic Index (GI). GI is the way a food will effect our blood sugar level. For example, a banana will elevate our blood sugar a little bit more than a hard boiled egg. A Starbucks frappaciuno will elevate our blood sugar level significantly more than a Passion Iced Tea (unsweetened). When our blood sugar rises, our body releases insulin. This is normal and good. In fact, when we lose that ability we are officially diagnosed with Diabetes and have to take insulin pills or injections. The problem occurs when we have a lot of high sugar foods throughout the day; our body has to constantly pump out insulin at a more rapid pace and it begins to work in overtime mode. The constant spike and crash of our blood sugar level burns out the adrenals and you guessed it…fries the nervous system. Sugar should be kept to 45grams or less daily.

Two other key players are proteins and carbs. Protein stabilizes our blood sugar, and prevents it from spiking too high. Ideally we would have protein at every meal. This helps to keep us full and energized in a stable and consistent way.  Pro tip: If you plan to have a little extra sugar, balance it out with protein. For example: Choose nuts as a fro yo topping, opt for chicken and veggies if you know you’ll be ordering dessert after dinner, or if you’re sipping wine; skip the crackers and go for some lean cold cuts to snack on.

Breathe: Our Breath can tell us a lot about how we’re feeling but it can also help control our feelings. If you walk up to someone you have a crush on you may notice your heart races a little faster and your breath speeds up. The same can happen if you’re nervous about an exam, job interview, or performance. Use your breath to tune into your body. Notice your breath throughout the day. Is it shallow and quick or are you breathing deep into your belly at a slower pace? Slowing the breath is one of the most effective tools to squash anxiety. It’s all about maintenance to prevent anxiety from spiraling out of control. Daily breath work in less than 5 minutes can majorly improve anxiousness by giving your nervous system breaks to settle back down. Ultimately you are giving your breath and nervous system a calmer “home base” to return to. Taking a break from excess stimulation falls under the breathe category as well. Kick back on screen time, scroll Instagram and facebook less, don’t feel like you need to answer every text the second it comes through, and watch who you follow (if you follow them on social media, they are influencing your energy). 

{Check back in for Part 2 of this post for my top 3 breath exercises}

So far you have the tools to:

MOVE-NOURISH-BREATHE your way to less anxiety!

In addition, the following info has helped me personally, and so many of my clients:

Fish Oil: Many studies have proven fish oil to be just as effective as antidepressants to help stabilize mood. Always check with a doctor before taking any supplements and never stop a medication without the supervision of a doctor.

Essential Oils: Lavender, Vetiver, Doterra balance and serenity are extremely helpful! Reach out if you would like me to order some for you.

Know you’re normal 😉 We all have crazy thoughts that pop into our mind but that’s seriously all it is…a crazy thought. Don’t waste time overthinking it. Remember your nervous system is reactive. The more you think about something the more you will trigger your nervous system to respond in an anxious way and then it’s harder to manage.

The best analogy I can give you is that managing anxiety is like managing brush fires. Your daily self care is like clearing the brush so that a simple spark (anxious thought or situation) doesn’t trigger a full blown catastrophe. The more you practice self care; move daily, eat balanced, and tune into your breath-the better you will become at managing anxiety so it doesn’t derail you!