Psychology of Nutrition

Have High Anxiety? Here’s Why

Struggling With High Anxiety?

Nobody likes to feel anxious. It’s just the truth. Nobody wants to be experiencing high anxiety to the point where it affects their daily life, makes them cancel plans with loved ones, or prevents them from reaching their fullest potential.

But unfortunately, a lot of people do. And, they have no idea why.

That’s why, on this episode, ITN founder and CEO Cynthia Garcia is discussing the link between high anxiety and trauma.

The link between anxiety and trauma

Unresolved trauma can lead to experiencing stress and anxiety, but because of how our body reacts to trauma, you may never be able to pinpoint it as the reason for your stress.

Cynthia shares how she helped one of her clients process the trauma that was triggering her anxiety and ways that you can do the same.

She explains the neurological reaction that humans have to traumatic events and how that can manifest itself as anxiety, even though we might feel like our responses don’t have any rhyme or reason. 

An inspirational quote from episode 025

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Release your trauma, overcome your anxiety 

If you’re tired of feeling anxious every single day about things that make no sense to you, it may be time to pause and reflect on the bigger reason why this is happening to you.

Trauma is scary, and it’s extremely specific to each individual that goes through it.

We’ll equip you with the tools and tactics you need to discover what’s bringing you down and move past it safely.

Listen to Discover...
  • Why it’s important to become aware of your anxiety triggers and how to do so 
  • The body’s biological response to trauma
  • Tools to help process the feelings that come after experiencing trauma
  • How anxiety is linked to trauma and why this is crucial to healing
  • The power of speaking and writing about your trauma 

Episode Resources:

Listen to The Transformational Nutrition Podcast on Apple Podcast Spotify Stitcher

Ready to take the next steps toward becoming a Nutrition Coach?  Download our detailed Course Catalog

Want to hear more from the ITN student featured in this episode? Connect with Sarah!


Read the transcript for this episode:

Introduction & Welcome

[00:00:00] Cynthia Garcia: Trauma can live deep inside of us.

And, it can be something that happened when you were young and it’s still affecting you and causing you high anxiety without you even really knowing or understanding it.

Unless you work to overcome and release this trauma, it will continue to make you feel anxious.

Welcome back to The Transformational Nutrition Podcast, the podcast that is redefining nutrition as anything that feeds you physically, mentally and spiritually.

I’m your host, Cynthia Garcia, the founder and CEO of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition. In today’s episode, I am going to be sharing a few reasons that you might be dealing with really high anxiety, and I’ll also share some ways to help you overcome that. Okay?

Listen, it is an interesting time right now. We are all experiencing high levels of anxiety. Just in our world, right? There’s been a lot going on for the past couple of years, and there’s no doubt that our mental health has really come up against some interesting obstacles, right? So, let’s dive into anxiety.

“Jane’s” Struggle With High Anxiety

I had this client once — we’ll call her Jane — and Jane was worried a lot. And, she didn’t always know why. She was just very anxious.

When we were together, she would just constantly fidget with things. She would look around, her knee would be bouncing up and down, she’d check her phone repeatedly, she’d take those deep breaths and those deep sighs.

And, I knew that there wasn’t really anything huge going on in her life. It wasn’t like, you know, she was going through a relationship struggle or an issue with her career because we’d coached together for quite some time.

As a matter of fact, it was the opposite. She had a great job. She had recently gotten engaged. She had a lot of friends. I mean, she was the life of the party. She was close to her family, and her life seemed pretty perfect by any normal standard.

But, she just never seemed to be able to relax. To be able to just chill and calm herself.

So, one day we were chatting and she started telling me about something that had happened a few nights before. She told me that she was driving home, and, I don’t know why, but she’s never been one to enjoy driving. She’d shared that with me before — she doesn’t like to drive. She would have people drop her off, she’d take public transportation, but driving wasn’t her thing. And ever since I had known her, this was just the way she was.

But, there was one night that she had to drive home, and she lived near Los Angeles and there’s always cars on the road, right? The road is never empty.

And, she said to me that she felt like someone was following her home. She just had this intense anxiety level that just kept poking her, and she was convinced that someone was following her.

It got worse the longer she drove. Her heart started racing, her palms started sweating, she couldn’t focus. She just knew that someone was following her home. Now, she gets home to her house, and, in fact, no one had followed her. This was actually was just a story that she was making up [in her own head].

Unfortunately, once she realized that, then all of this anxiety and tension just came out. She couldn’t control it. And, she had a bit of a breakdown in her own driveway.

So, you know, again, she’s telling me all of this and I have already been coaching her for many years. So, I’m in my coach mode because I want to help her, and I start to ask her some questions.

One [of these questions] was if she could remember the very first time that she had felt really anxious, that she had had high anxiety. She thought about it for a while, and then she said, “You know, I kind of do. I think the first time I started to feel anxious like this was when I was driving home from a friend’s funeral who had died in a car accident.”

Then she said, “But you know, that was years ago.”

It’s been like this for a long time, it was fine for a while, and this just started up. So, why would I start doing this now? You know, that happened way back in the day.

And, the reason that it was all coming back was because of trauma. Her unresolved trauma had caused her to experience this high level of stress and anxiety. So, that’s what we’re talking about today. How your unresolved trauma could lead to you experiencing these high levels of stress and anxiety.

[Break for Student Testimonial] Let’s Meet Sarah Joy!

Let’s pause for a moment and hear from one of our Certified Transformational Nutrition Coaches, Sarah Joy. You’re going to discover how Sarah’s background and life experiences set her on track to becoming a coach.

[00:05:24] Sarah Joy: My personal health journey started after the 2008 crash. At that time, I was newly married with a toddler and thanks to the crash. Me and my then husband’s lives completely fell apart. I had a sudden onset of symptoms about six months after, and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2008. My health slowly declined yearly after that, as my conditions worse.

And I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I was overtaken by anxiety and panic attacks. I had severe fatigue and about 25 other symptoms. Thanks to all of these symptoms. I could no longer work drive, go to the grocery store, play with my kids. And honestly, I can barely take care of my family.

I basically exhausted both medical systems, Eastern and Western after battling for about eight long years, I completely gave up hope and I decided to let my illness kill me, but the universe had a different plan. My brother was released from 10 years in prison in August of 2016. He had a hard time reacclimating to society.

He also struggled with his health daily, especially low energy. He ended up turning to drugs to cope. And after a run in with the Sheriff’s department, three days before his 39th birthday, he was shot 14 times and ended up dying in an SUV and a ditch on the side of the road. This tragedy changed my life literally forever.

I fortunately. Use this tragedy to propel me into a better life. And it ended up reviving my hope and renewing my fight to live again because it showed me how short life really is. That’s when I decided to move out file for divorce and enroll in school for.

[00:07:36] Cynthia Garcia: So as you may or may not know, anxiety usually has a trigger it’s an event, or thought that provokes an anxious response. However, most of us are not aware of our triggers. And so we think we become anxious for no reason. You know, maybe you think that I’ve had people say to me, gosh, I’m just so anxious. I don’t even know why I’m just so anxious.

Right? Like Jane, for example, even when her anxiety got really bad, as she was driving home, she didn’t know why she was feeling it that way. And so she gave it a story saying, oh, someone’s following me home because she needed an explanation. Right. Otherwise she was just feeling kind of loopy. Really. I’m just being a little crazy.

Right. So. She gave that as the reason for her anxiety. The thing was trauma though, is that we often don’t even process trauma as it happens. Right? Because as humans evolved, our species developed this instinctual response to danger known as fight flight or freeze, right? So this fight or flight response is mediated by two important substances, a hormone called cortisol and a neuro-transmitter called nor FNS.

Cortisol mobilizes glucose like sugar, right? For the body to use this fuel, which is really helpful. If someone is getting ready to fight or to run away, nor epinephrine has effects on the brain that promotes alertness and vigilance. So a heightened, physiological response to stress can develop with stressors and an individual where who’s actually experienced trauma at some point.

They’re past, right? So these people can go on to develop tightened stress responses due to environmental cues that aren’t dangerous at all, but this is where it becomes problematic and distressing, right? This is where those unresolved traumas can lead to feelings of anxiety for no clear and apparent reasons.

K simply because you now have these heightened stress responses to these environmental clues or these triggers, but yet you don’t know what these triggers are. So you don’t understand the source of your anxiety. Does this make sense? So this again is where those unresolved traumas lead to your stress and anxiety that you have today.

Now I want to quickly mention that we all experienced trauma differently. What I think of as being traumatic, you might not and vice versa. That’s why we never compare. Traumas, right. We just don’t do it. What’s traumatic to me is traumatic to me. What’s traumatic to you is traumatic to you. We don’t judge and we don’t compare trauma can be caused by a multitude of factors.

If you’re alive, you have experienced trauma. Birth is traumatic. Right. So were things like experiencing a natural disaster going through grief or loss of physical or emotional abuse, childhood neglect, war or other forms of violence. Trauma also could be a bad breakup or you being embarrassed when you were five years old in front of your classmates.

Lots of things can be traumatic to people for Jane driving. After losing a close friend, due to a car accident was a very traumatic experience. She just didn’t know it. She’d never put two and two together. Right. But the thing about trauma is that eventually. It does come out. It does present itself, whether you want it to or not.

And so eventually you’re going to need to face the traumas that you’ve experienced, if you really want to tame these triggers so that you don’t feel the stress and anxiety on an ongoing basis. Sometimes these traumas can come up or come out years later when we least expect them. I remember with Jane, she was in a great relationship.

She had a great job. She slipped in a nice house. She was safe. And when you feel safe, your body has a better ability to finally resolve those unresolved feelings that have been building up for years and years and years. So now that she was finally safe, it was safe for her trauma to be released. It’s like our bodies and our minds know that we’re now in a place to start to come to terms with trauma.

Now I did a whole episode on how you can overcome trauma and what trauma can look like for different people. And you can listen to that episode. It’s 0, 0 5, and it’s called, this is how you overcome trauma for good. So if you want to go back and get more information on trauma, listen to episode five.

When you finish this one. But today I wanted to bring it up from the perspective of anxiety, because this can be a hidden sort of cause for anxiety. For a lot of people, usually we associate anxiety with, with some trigger, right? We might have a test coming up or a deadline approaching, or maybe you’ve told a lie and you feel guilty or anxious about it.

Right? There’s something a gnome it’s simple. It might not be easy to overcome this anxiety, but the cause of. It’s simple. Right? We know what the cause is. We know exactly what’s leading to her, our anxiety with trauma. It’s not so simple. Trauma can live deep inside of them. And it can be something that happened when you were young and it’s still affecting you and causing you high anxiety without you even really knowing or understanding it, unless you work to overcome and release this trauma, it will continue to make you feel anxious.

All right. Let’s check back in with Sarah. Last time we heard from her, she had just decided to change her life completely. So now let’s find out how and why she decided to enroll at the Institute of transformational nutrition. Um,

[00:13:28] Sarah Joy: when I signed up for college in 2017, I knew I wanted to do something in the health industry, but I wasn’t sure what I thought I wanted to become a registered dietician. But after one look at the food guide pyramid and the government nutrition website, I knew that was not the way I wanted to teach people to eat my counselors.

And I looked all over. The nation for colleges. And I didn’t like any of the health programs that I saw. So one day I was making lunch and I put on the model health show and I heard Cynthia and she started sharing her story about ITN and why and how she started ITN. And I was just lit up inside. It was like angels started singing.

And it was my answer. I knew it. And there was just no doubt. And I was just filled with so much happiness and I knew that joining ITN was exactly what I needed to do next. So I signed up immediately and because ITN is accredited, my counselors were able to add it to my transfer and graduation plan. I finished out two more semesters.

At regular college while starting the CTN see chorus at the same time. And I had a duel graduation December of 2019. And honestly it was the best month of my life.

[00:15:01] Cynthia Garcia: Now I want you to know that I’m not saying if you’re experiencing anxiety, that you’ve gone through some traumatic experience that you aren’t fully aware of, that you need to work through. Just like people can undergo different traumas, people, experience anxiety for a multitude of reasons. However, if you’re experiencing high anxiety and it started to affect your daily life, it might be time to dig deep and figure out exactly.

What’s triggering these feelings. So I would suggest that you do what Jane did and try to think back to the very first time that you’ve experienced anxiety. Now, if you’ve been struggling with anxiety for years, you might not be able to remember the first time, but you might. So give it a try. If you’re new to having anxiety, this is something that you hadn’t experienced, but all of a sudden it’s coming up for you.

Now, it might be easier for you to remember what was going on at the time it started. So ask yourself, right. Or can you remember a time when you dealt with anxiety? That was really bad. Like in Jane’s case when she had this, you know, anxiety at hit her hard when she was just driving home. Once you’ve identified that instance, then you can start to work to remember anything in your past that might have triggered an anxiety response.

At that time, I see at ITN, we use something called transformational timelines because we know that things that happen in your life and your body. They’re connected. Very rarely does. One thing happened to one of them and it doesn’t affect the other. Right. So when you go back and you say, oh gosh, I experienced this feeling of anxiety pretty deep, right around this time.

We’ll look at what else was going on. Right. What else was going on during. Time. And once you have that, then you can start to work through and remember what the trauma was that led to these feelings of anxiety. Right? So if you can remember this traumatic experience that’s causing you this anxiety, then there’s some things that you can do to help yourself work through the trauma and ease your anxiety.

The first of which is to acknowledge that you’ve experienced. You’ve been through a traumatic event and sit with that for awhile. Allow the feelings to come and then just accept. Right. This isn’t something that you’ve been able to do yet around this, which is why your body is in this constant state of high alert.

It’s trying to feel what you would have felt, but it hasn’t been able to. Okay. So process that acknowledge that yes, this happened and that there’s nothing wrong with you because it did. And there’s nothing wrong with the fact that you’ve experienced trauma. Again, most of us have, if we’ve been born.

We’ve experienced trauma. So allow that to be okay. The next step would be to connect with other people, connect with friends and loved ones who trust, sharing your experience with. Okay. Also you can write about your feelings and journal your experience. You want to get your experience out. So if, whether that’s with another person, for example, a coach, specifically a transformation or a nutrition coach, who’s trained to work in areas like this, or it could be.

You know, the pages of your journal, where you write it down and just get it all out, but make sure that you do that right. Make sure that you seek out the help that you need and make sure that you start to share what happened to you. If your anxiety is interfering with your normal day-to-day life, or if you have deep rooted trauma, please seek out the help of a therapist.

They do great work. They can work right alongside your coach or not, but this is helping you to get to the root cause of the trauma that triggers your anxiety to begin. All right. Let’s bring Sarah back one last time to share what her life looks like now as a transformational nutrition coach, you’ll find out how she got past her fear of starting and what her biggest moments of six tests have been since launching her coaching business.

[00:19:19] Sarah Joy: So now I coach women also suffering from thyroid conditions to help them restore their health, happiness and lives in my 90 day program, energy for life. And I was very nervous. I’ve never been a business owner. You know, I’ve never been a CEO and I didn’t know, I really, I’m still learning how to run a business all the way.

And you can’t let that stop you. If you have a passion for helping changing people’s lives, serving them. If this is your calling, you can’t hold yourself back. You got to get out of your own way and you have to do the uncomfortable things. Your strength is really on the other side of your affairs. I never knew that becoming a CEO.

And coach was going to set me on my own path of personal discovery. Since I launched coach Sarah joy in March of 2020, this path of overcoming my insecurities, imposter syndrome, money, lack and more has been the greatest blessing in my life and my clients. My biggest moment of success up until this point has been signing three new clients and one week, or having a $9,000 a week.

My second biggest moment of success is always having the pleasure of watching my clients get better and their symptoms subside there, nothing better to me than helping people restore their glow. Honestly, that has been pre.

[00:21:18] Cynthia Garcia: Now for Jane being able to identify the trauma that calls this anxiety, she can now have tools on how to identify it. If it comes up in the. And then how to process and move through it. She understood that she had never fully let herself grieve the loss of her friend. You know, like so many of us, she just put it behind her.

She said, no, no, no, I’m fine. It doesn’t bother me any. I mean, sure. I’m sad, but it doesn’t really bother me anymore. And the fact was. After spending some time just being able to be with those feelings to acknowledge that it was traumatic, then she was able to move forward and take the next right steps to overcome her past and transform her anxiety for.

So, like I said, we’ve got a whole episode dedicated to trauma. I talk about all the different responses. You can have to trauma how you can work through it, what trauma even is, and many, many, many other details. Again, that is episode five. You can go back and listen to that. If you want to learn more about this topic, if you’re interested in becoming a coach at a modern day school that tackles these tough topics like mental.

And trauma and a school that realizes that you’re fed by way more than what’s on your plate. And now is a great time to become a student at ITN. We just launched our brand new limited time success series, where we are releasing free masterclasses that teach you how to become a successful coach fast. So you can see all the details on our site at transformation or nutrition dot.

Slash enroll. And don’t forget, you can see all of the show notes and other resources for this episode over@transformationornutrition.com slash episode 0 2 5. Thank you so much for tuning in with me this week, and I’ll see you right back here next week for a brand new episode.

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