For some, Autumn is a favorite season. Cooler temperatures, fall foliage, football, and pumpkins bring excitement to the change of seasons. There are some people, however, that suffer from bouts of anxiety with the changing of the seasons. Why is this? As I was browsing the internet I found a great article by Elizabeth Enochs that gives some great insights into some of the reasons that friends and family can struggle during fall. A few of the reasons are stated in her article at Bustle.com:
Decreased exposure to sunlight is one of the biggest reasons so many people suffer from both anxiety and depression in the fall and winter. As the days get shorter, the majority of us spend less time out and about in direct sunlight, and that can translate into a vitamin D deficiency. Since literally every tissue in our bodies has vitamin D receptors, and numerous studies have linked vitamin D deficiencies to anxiety and depression, it’s really not surprising that even anticipating fewer daylight hours can result in increased anxiety for so many people. Fortunately, taking vitamin D supplements can be an effective way to combat this.
Going Back To School
The start of a new school year can trigger autumn anxiety for many people, and it makes perfect sense. Even if you (like myself) always enjoyed going back to school in the fall, the fact is, school is stressful sometimes. On top of that, it’s not exactly easy to switch gears from the chill vibes of summer to the hustle of a fall semester. So when you add the responsibility of maintaining a new course load (whether they’re your courses or your kid’s) on top of the changing weather and shorter days that accompany fall, that’s just a whole lot of newness to deal with at once.
Reasonably, change of that magnitude is hard for a lot of people to deal with — especially people who are already prone to anxiety. As Therese Borchard put it for Everyday Health, “Autumn is full of new things: new schedules, new jobs, new schools, new assignments. It’s no wonder why some of us experience heart palpitations trying to process it all.”
A 2009 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that the process a person goes through when they’re fighting off an infection looks the same as when that person is depressed or manic. Other studies have found that changes in allergy symptoms during low and high pollen seasons correlate with higher anxiety and depression scores. This most likely happens because allergies attack the immune system, and the body responds by pumping cytokines (proteins that signal inflammation to our cells) through the blood stream. Understandably, if your body starts freaking out as soon as fall rolls around, your mind is probably going to follow suit. So if you suffer from both fall allergies and autumn anxiety, know that treating your allergies should help you treat your anxiety as well….read the full article
Surprisingly enough those fall allergies are linked to Autumn Anxiety symptoms. We have discussed fall allergies quite a bit, check out this article for some allergy relief tips.
Along with an air purifier to help contain those environmental allergens in the home, MAB Air Solutions LLC has also found a list of natural foods that you can help to help cope with the anxiety.
Therese Borchard provides these fall foods to boost your mood:
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are one of Mother Nature’s most potent mood boosters. They’re chock-full of zinc (containing 23 percent of the daily recommended value in just one ounce), which Emily Deans, MD, a psychiatrist in Massachusetts, calls an “essential mineral for resiliency” in her Psychology Today blog “Zinc: An Antidepressant.” The mineral also increases our ability to fight off inflammation, which can cause depression and anxiety.
In addition, it’s rich in magnesium, a calming nutrient: According to a mouse study published in January 2012 in the journal Neuropharmacology, magnesium deficiencies induce anxiety, which is why the mineral is known as the original chill pill.
Authors of an earlier review of studies on magnesium and other alternative treatments, published in Nutrition in 2010, concluded that, “Although the exact mechanism has yet to be determined, it appears that magnesium supplementation is effective at treating anxiety and anxiety-related disorders when used in combination with other vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts.”
Squash was already one of my favorite fall foods before I knew it was packed full of mood-boosting ingredients. Just 1 cup of butternut squash contains 15 percent of the daily recommended value of magnesium, 17 percent of potassium, and 18 percent of manganese — all critical minerals to help keep you sane. One cup also contains a whopping 52 percent of vitamin C, which gives a helping hand to the immune system and to the entire central nervous system.
Cinnamon was used as early as 2000 B.C. in ancient Egypt to treat a host of different health conditions. A study conducted at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, published in April 2005 in the North American Journal of Psychology, showed that even smelling cinnamon enhanced cognitive performance.
The spice is especially good for anxiety and depression because it can also help regulate blood sugar. And 1 teaspoon provides 22 percent of the daily recommended value of manganese, a critical trace mineral that helps with nerve and connective tissue function, aiding the central nervous system in general. In addition, it plays a role in neutralizing free radicals that can damage cell membranes and DNA.
If you’re fretting about all the family drama that happens at Thanksgiving, rest assured that the turkey will be helping you stay sane. It’s a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps your body produce the feel-good chemical serotonin…..Read all 10 foods at Everyday Health
Great stuff! The pumpkin seeds tip is especially timely as Halloween is only a few weeks away. Make sure to save those seeds when carving your pumpkins any time you need a mood boost!