On Fridays, I sometimes host dinners on my rooftop and have a few friends over. The other week, one of my friends started talking about a situation she was having with her ex-boyfriend that had everyone at the dinner table talking.
They broke up about a month ago, but kind of left things open-ended.
Her boyfriend had said that he needed time apart and they both agreed that they would see where the future led them and if being together was ultimately what they wanted.
However, every other day since the break up, her ex had been reaching out to her — despite agreeing to give each other space.
One day he would be really nice, telling her how much he loves her and wants her back. Then the next day he would start putting her down, saying how much stress she is “causing” him. He’d even asked her for a precise date that they would speak to determine “what the future holds”.
Needless to say, she was confused. She tried a couple of times to tell him that she thinks he needs to work on his anxiety issues and dealing with uncertainty, but he would always explode, insisting that he had no issues whatsoever, and that SHE was the problem.
And you know, that’s how it is with anxiety and stress. People often identify some issue in their life as the “source” of the problem, but even when that source goes away, they are still left feeling anxious and stressed without knowing why and looking for something or someone else to blame.
Everyone is exposed to hundreds of stressors in any given week from a partner, work, financial, ill health, friends, family, reading the news, loneliness or a traumatic event. It could be as simple as someone cutting you off in traffic.
Stressors are natural and all around us…
In the past, people had much harsher lives than we currently do in the developed world in almost all ways. You’ll never be able to stop stressors. If you lock yourself up in a room, you’ll still be stressed by loneliness.
Anxiety is a negative physiological response to stressors in your environment.
I don’t know anyone who wants to feel anxious. Anxiety is not a conscious choice we make to better our lives. It’s a result of your brain chemistry being a certain way, which is heavily determined by your genetics.
I remember a time when I tried to reduce my anxiety by trying to reason through why it’s not rational to be anxious by a stressor. It never worked. I couldn’t control my anxiety.
Instead of merely trying to reduce stressors in your life, it’s way more important to change how your body responds to stress.
While we don’t consciously choose to be anxious, we can make the choice to change our brain chemistry so that we don’t get as anxious from stressors.
Our bodies handle stressors differently according to responses in our amygdala, prefrontal cortex and hormone levels in our body.
Fortunately, this is something you can change.
Genetics plays a key role in determining our body’s response to stress and often puts us at a disadvantage.
For example, you could have a version of the OXTR genes that is associated with reduced oxytocin signalling, which may allow negative emotions like anxiety to increase.
Or, you may have genetic variants in the GABRA6 gene that may impair GABA function and have been associated with impaired stress response and higher odds of anxiety.
The GREAT news is that there are specific diet, supplement and lifestyle changes you can make to counteract the negative effects from your genes.
For example, if you’ve got the “bad” OXTR gene that I mentioned above, magnesium could be a game-changer because it is essential for oxytocin receptor binding.
Depending on the genes you have, your body’s source of stress may be completely different than mine, or someone else’s. That’s why I’m extremely excited to announce that we’ve just released our personalized SelfDecode Anxiety DNA Report.
This report analyzes 28 different genes and 57 SNPs involved with stress and anxiety to deliver you with a personalized analysis of your risk for anxiety and a prioritized list of recommendations on how to improve your genetic functioning.
Optimized genes = less anxiety = increased happiness.
So, get your SelfDecode DNA kit today, or upload a DNA file you already have, and download your Anxiety DNA Report to get your personalized recommendations!
Pro Tip: In addition to downloading your Anxiety report, look at the recommendations in your Mood, Sleep, Cognitive Function and Attention reports to completely optimize your body, mind and soul. You’ll feel happier, more balanced and achieve more than you ever thought possible.