In the second of my interviews this IBS Awareness Month, I have a chat with Chloe Brotheridge, a hypnotherapist, anxiety expert and author of new book The Anxiety Solution: a Quieter Mind, a Calmer You.
From recognising symptoms of anxiety to understanding its root causes, Chloe takes an in-depth look at anxiety in today’s crazy world and the steps we can take to manage it. Whether it is social media pressure, perfectionism or fear of failure, she’s out to show us how to regain control of our lives (and in a best friend who’s got your back kind of way).
After meeting for a lovely lunch and book swap I devoured The Anxiety Solution in just a few days. Here’s a bit more of an insight..
What made you want to start Calmer You, and then write The Anxiety Solution?
Having had my own experiences with anxiety in the past and then learning a lot about how to manage it – I wanted to help others to do the same. Through my work as a hypnotherapist I would see clients who were dealing with the same kinds of issues; perfectionism, not being able to switch off and never feeling good enough, and I wanted to write a book that spoke to young women and addressed the specific anxieties they have.
What are common (or maybe not so common) signs of anxiety?
Symptoms of anxiety can be really varied, but they are essentially feelings of fear, dread, nervousness and worrying. There are often physical symptoms too, including have a racing heart, shaking, tummy issues, and restlessness.
What is a myth you would like to clear up about anxiety?
That anxiety isn’t rare! It’s actually very common; 22% of women feel anxious all or most of the time according to the Mental Health Foundation.
What would you like people to feel when reading your new book?
Like they’re being spoken to my a good friend, one who’s been there and who knows her stuff! It’s a very practical and hopeful book and I know people will feel inspired by reading it and come away with actionable tools that will make a big difference.
You mentioned that you’ve tried the Low FODMAP Diet?
A few years ago, I’d been over working and pressurising myself and developed IBS. I was bloated and uncomfortable and loads of foods just seemed to disagree with me. I have a background in nutrition so I decided to try the FODMAP diet for 6 weeks. It worked a treat and my digestion has gotten so much better.
IBS can be a nightmare, as you’ve experienced. What’s your experience of the link between IBS and anxiety?
I work with a lot of clients in my therapy practise who have anxiety and IBS. Anxiety and stress can often affect the digestive system because they make you tense and the added adrenaline in your system makes you go to the loo and can make your tummy more sensitive. Managing any anxiety symptoms could well help your IBS symptoms too.
Do you have any key tips or actions that sufferers can embrace straight away to help with their anxiety?
It’s often the simple, small changes that can make a big difference. Meditation is one of the most effective things anxious people can incorporate into their lives. It isn’t simply a relaxation tool; it actually changes the brain to make us calmer and more in control of our emotions. I practise TM http://uk.tm.org/, but apps like Headspace are good introductions. Exercise is a must to burn off the extra adrenaline. And don’t keep your feelings to yourself, talking really helps – there is absolutely no shame in having anxiety.
As a food lover, I have to ask… your favourite dish?
Buckwheat pasta with vegan pesto!
Get a FREE relaxation MP3 when you visit www.calmer-you.com/free.