We didn’t have enough food growing up.
At least that’s the message I received, “don’t eat it that, save some for tomorrow (or for your siblings)”, my mom would say. But food was not the only thing we didn’t have enough of, we didn’t have enough time also. My dad would declare, “It’s not ok to go out and have fun. Don’t you see that there is plenty of work to do around here?”
We didn’t have enough money either. Our home was furnished with left-over chairs and couches from closed down offices, and my 8 siblings and I wore hand-me-downs, and played with recycled toys. The streets were not safe enough, at home we weren’t at peace either, fighting for attention and significance, my behavior or my grades were not good enough, all around a feeling of not-enoughness.
This not-enoughness later transferred to other areas of my life: not enough time to complete tasks, not enough resources, not enough money (no matter how much I earned), not enough help, not enough schooling, you name it.
Having this belief, created an unconscious yet consistent current of anxiety that quietly ruled my life. Over-preparing for things, planning way ahead of time, solving problems without anyone asking me, clenching my teeth, hyper-awareness of my surroundings, caring too much how others perceived me, doing things perfectly and never making mistakes, saving the food in my fridge for later (and watch it rot), hiding when I didn’t feel like my life was perfect, ruminating unforgivingly when I made a mistake, and so many other behaviors I engaged in to try to keep my sense of significance and control.
Because of this constant need to control my environment and my situation, I became a much more serious person than I ever was. I stopped laughing, having fun, relaxing, and living life. I became a doer, an over-achiever, a control freak. My thoughts and actions revolved around making sure I did everything perfectly so I could to feel enough: If my fridge was full, that meant I had enough, if I studied and mastered one more topic, that meant I was smart enough, if I strived to never make a mistake or work on myself endlessly, that meant I was good enough, if I planned ahead and controlled the timing of everything, that meant I had enough time, if I worried excessively about things…
Writing this brings me to tears.
I have spent years working on healing my wounds, trying to forget my past so I would not be acting from a victim role, working on myself to be better and creating a peaceful life.
Yet there was something I hadn’t realized yet.
I was still operating on a low-grade anxiety.
Anxiety is that sleeping giant that rears its ugly head when we least expect it. I tried to keep it in its cage while it screamed at me in the form of perfectionism, self-criticism, and procrastination.
This anxiety from not enoughness was no just in my mind, it had transferred to the cells in my body, and to my nervous system, and without me knowing, it became a slow burning fire that gradually affected my relationships, my health, my work, my peace of mind, and my life.
I honestly didn’t know I was anxious… until I wasn’t any more.
I hadn’t realized how every action and every thought was ruled by that slow-burning anxiety. I had no idea that this current of distress running through me at all times, shaped my decisions, my actions and my thoughts, until it didn’t anymore.
How screwy is that?
This realization came one day, after researching how the body stores traumas at a cell level. I had previously learned about Epigenetics and how genes can be turned on and off according to environmental influence. For example, people who grew up in the Great Depression era, had an activated gene that produced a strong response to stress, which was then passed down to generations (more about that in another post).
I then learned (and experienced) that very often feelings of anxiety and depression are the result of deficiency in so many substances essential to normal body functioning as well as possible allergic reactions. We walk around beating ourselves up because we are not feeling happy when in reality, we may be just deficient in some vitamin or mineral or consuming poison without knowing it.
Sometimes the answer is much easier than we think.
I began taking a brilliantly developed supplement called Qualia to help me focus on studying for an exam I had to take. I really didn’t expect anything, and being the skeptic that I am, I recorded hour by hour how I felt. The first 30-45 mins I felt nothing differently, then… a wave of calmness overcame my entire body and mind. A deep sense of ease enveloped each one of my cells. Here is a section of what I recorded the first day I started taking these nootropics:
“…the ability to choose to be present with compassion and calmness… That’s huge!… To not be overtaken by anxiety… but to have the choice to be distracted if I wanted to and not a the mercy of my impulses or reactions”.
It became clear to me that I was living constantly anxiously without being conscious of it.
Kind of sad, really.
I have also witnessed many of my clients’ transformation when they change their diet or add supplements to their health routine: their mood improves substantially and they feel more empowered. It is hard to believe but their mood radically changes when they stop consuming a triggering food, or began adding a supplement to their daily intake.
Which supplement to take varies for every person. I can’t prescribe but I can share what worked for me. There is no magic combination that can fix it all. We are unique individuals with unique experiences and our bodies respond in special ways to try to keep us safe. Besides, supplements are what the name implies, an enhancer, a booster to what you are already doing to maintain your health.
My clients have experience amazing results from following an integrative approach and I’d like to share with you some words of advice before you decide to head to the store to buy supplements or decide to restrict certain foods from your diet.
1- Supplements or diets don’t work alone. You need to help yourself first.
Exercise, healthy eating, sunlight, nurturing environment, peaceful inner life, and other forms of self-care are a priority to keep you healthy. Taking supplements alone or restricting food will not work.
2- Go to your primary care physician and have a full check up. Get a blood panel done to check for hormone imbalances, deficiencies, blood sugar, and any other irregularity that could be affecting your mood.
3- Once you find what you may be deficient on, or if you have allergies, ask your physician if it’s ok to take supplements. Some supplements are contraindicated in certain situations, so check first.
4- Consult an expert in functional medicine.
4- Implement techniques that bring awareness of your internal beliefs and activities that induce relaxation. Meditation, journaling, yoga, therapy, and nature, are some examples to help release some of the anxiety and gain tools to cope (and possibly change your gene expression).
5- Be consistent in your routines and taking your supplements. You may not see an immediate effect, so give yourself some time and don’t give up. Your body (and mind) will thank you later.
I’m constantly blown away by the results of applying integrative approaches to wellbeing. It gives me confirmation that the holistic work I’m passionate about is effective and hope that soon more and more people will come to the same realization that the body and the mind are deeply connected and have an amazing capacity to heal and truly experience inner peace -at a cell level.
Looking forward hearing your thoughts.
P.S.: If you are curious which supplement had me walking on cloud nine, it was a nootropic from Neurohacker Collective called Qualia Mind. I am now taking Focus and it’s helping me maintain my energy level, focus, and mood consistent and leveled.
P. P. S.: When you use the code CALM you’ll get 15% Off your order.
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