• Theo

Anxiety Symptoms - Nausea

I have experienced a lot of different anxiety symptoms, but I have to say nausea may be one of the worst ones. I didn’t realise how truly debilitating and terrifying it could be, until experiencing it for myself. After a long time, I found a few ways that helped me cope with it.

Tip #1 - Diet

So the biggest change in my life was my diet. It was pretty awful for a while and I thought that was causing the nausea. It wasn’t the root cause but it definitely contributed to it. I visited a nutritionist and basically cut out everything apart from a few vegetables. It was horrendous and I felt as though there was no hope. However, it forced me to find new recipes (mainly soups). As I started to feel better, I could add more things back in. I never found a consistent list of foods that I could eat no matter what as stress would make things difficult for me.

Basically, the more anxious/stressed you are, the harder it is for your body to digest foods as your stomach basically shuts down. By giving it heavy things, you are asking a lot of it and will therefore feel nauseous. However, if you eat light foods that provide your body with the nutrients it needs, you will feel better overall and it should also reduce the anxiety, not just the nausea.

You can also add in certain nutrients with supplements to keep your body healthy. For a while, I had to have a Proactazyme tablet after evening meals which would help digestion. There are also substitutes for certain foods. For example, I use coconut milk rather than cows milk.

If you can, see a nutritionist to get more information, but if not, experiment with your diet a bit and cut out foods that you think may be making the nausea worse. A food journal can help you identify what foods you may want to avoid.

Tip #2 - Rest

This one may either seem obvious or not very helpful but actually, I didn’t realise how much it could ease the nausea. Perhaps not immediately, but it did work (and still does). If your nausea is anxiety related, it means your overloaded. In order for your stomach to start working properly again, you need to rest and remove the stress.

Stress brings anxiety and nausea. Resting gives your brain and body a chance to recover from it all but we live in a world where we forget to take a proper break from everything. As soon as we finish work, we get on with whatever needs to be done at home and when we aren’t doing that, we are planning things with friends. There is always something to do. When’s the last time that you just stopped and gave yourself a day to do nothing? Well, that may be exactly what you need. My way of resting is putting something on the TV and just laying in bed. That’s when I can completely switch off.

Tip #3 - Outdoor activities

Being active helps with anxiety generally speaking but being outdoors in the fresh air can reduce nausea a lot. You get more oxygen when your outside and there is something when you connect with nature. The endorphins we experience when exercising outdoors usually surpass that of the ones we experience when exercising in a gym.

Dealing with nausea means that you probably won’t want to exercise properly, but you can still spend time outdoors walking, sightseeing, taking pictures or even seeing some animals. I’m fortunate enough to have my on horse so I visit her every day. It didn’t get rid of the nausea entirely but it did make it much more manageable.

You could even go outside in your garden or to a park and try out some mindfulness exercises to relax both your mind and body, all of which should ease of any anxiety symptoms, not just nausea.

Tip #4 - Distractions

Personally, I found that distractions helped a lot. Even though the worst is behind me (I’d like to believe) I still struggle with nausea from time to time, especially at night. That means that falling asleep can be quite the challenge. In those situations, I try to put something relaxing/funny on the TV and focus my attention to that.

Distractions can also mean colouring, drawing, singing, any kind of hobby really. The point is that it’s stress free but it redirects your thoughts away from the nausea. There weren’t may things I could do when feeling nauseous but immersing myself in some kind of series would usually help the most.

Here's another post on that: https://www.zortex.co.uk/post/7-ways-to-distract-yourself-from-feeling-anxious

Tip #5 - Therapy

If you are able to seek out therapy then I’d recommend doing so. When my GP first suggested this for dealing with nausea, I was furious frankly. I didn’t see how it would help and technically it doesn’t ease the nausea directly. What it can do, is find the source of your stress by uncovering things you may not have realised are even bothering you. By addressing those things, you are likely to experience less stress, less anxiety and feel less nauseous.

Hopefully at least one of these tips can help you deal with nausea. Remember that anxiety is a passing moment and although it may feel like forever and the symptoms can be awful, it will get better. Reach out to a friend if you can or get in touch with a support line who can guide you out of those difficult times, even if only temporarily.

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