Anxiety affects tens of millions of people, leaving them rattled by intrusive thoughts and worries — sometimes to a disabling degree. Anxiety has now surpassed depression as America’s number one mental health disorder. Here, we talk about why that is, and what you can do about it, from simple self-calming techniques to fundamental lifestyle and perspective shifts.

This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Anxiety — a condition that causes tens of millions of people to feel rattled by intrusive thoughts and worries, sometimes to a disabling degree.  

Anxiety has now surpassed depression as America’s number one mental health disorder. So here, we talk about a wide range of strategies proven to help, from nutritional interventions to self-calming techniques.

We also explore the underlying reasons anxiety is giving so many of us so much trouble. 

From the factors that have given rise to our high-stress society, to the implications of medicating anxiety’s symptoms rather than addressing its root causes, we invite you to consider the role anxiety may be playing in your own life, and the options you have for making it better.  

We also offer some experiments to help you build your own collection of anti-anxiety skills.  

“Anxiety” Episode Highlights

  • The scope and nature of our society’s widespread anxiety problems
  • Why digestive issues are commonly associated with anxiety, and how they directly impact mental health
  • Dallas describes his self-imposed experience with anxiety — how it helped him empathize with others who experience anxiety from natural causes
  • How anxiety blurs the lines between things that are relevant and irrelevant — plus tips to reclaim focus and equanimity
  • Pilar observes how our current societal trends and recent history have contributed to the high level of anxiety many of us are experiencing
  • Dallas and Pilar discuss how anxiety can be triggered by inadequate nutrition, circadian rhythm disruption, stimulation from modern technology, and chronic perceived threats
  • The importance of physical touch and social support in mitigating anxiety
  • The role medication can play — in conjunction with essential lifestyle and environmental adjustments — in easing anxiety

Try the “4-7-8” breath. Breathe in deeply for 4 seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, then slowly release the breath for 8 seconds. Do three rounds of this breathing exercise and tune in to how it makes you feel. The next time you begin to feel anxious, consider doing a few rounds of this breathing, knowing that your slowed breath “directs” your nervous system to relax. 

Examine your intake of complete dietary protein. Increase your intake of this type of protein (from animal sources) to 30 grams three times a day. The correlation between anxiety and inadequate intake of complete dietary protein is strong. Try this dietary tweak for 2-3 weeks and see how it impacts your sense of wellbeing.

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