Not to toot my own horn but as a fellow type 3 I recommend you visit my profile for advice on sleep, nutrition and stress management. All of the information I wrote in related topics is available for you to use freely as add-ons alongside the training recommendations CT gave you. I don’t get anything out of it, I simply want to help you because I’ve been there and I truly believe some of the insights I share will benefit you.
Like you, I’ve also lived my whole life trying to cope with anxiety. 6 years ago I had my first official burnout and 2 years later I developed depression as the aftermath from being chronically stressed out and tanked dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin levels. My body became insensitive to adrenaline which made me feel weak in the gym and the low dopamine/noradrenaline had me feeling low on mental energy/concentration/motivation pretty much most of the year.
However, I did find ways to get out of this state and imo the answer does not lie in nutrition (including supplements), training or sleep. Sure, they are all critical and very helpful to make sure your wellbeing does not decline further. When applied correctly, they can actually help you to not only cope with anxiety but also to feel a lot better and regain quality of life. But they only adress the symptoms of anxiety, not the root cause which is almost always related to trauma and unprocessed emotions which are holding you back from living your best life.
You might not agree with this, certainly not if you consider yourself as someone who is not emotional at all but don’t be fooled: we all have them and when they work on a subconscious level you can spend your whole life not knowing where your issues come from when you choose to surpress or ignore uncomfortable feelings that are actually key to understand where your anxiety comes from. A common misunderstanding that is shared amongst men is that trying to acknowledge and understand one’s emotions is the same as being emotional and mentally weak. That’s not the case at all and this kind of thinking actually limits your progress in finding out who you really are.
After almost 6 years of dedicating my life with a vicious obsession to literally thousands of hours of research, books and high quality courses on sleep, nutrition, training and stress management I finally accepted that there was no real cure to be found in these 4 pillars of health unless I added a 5th one: emotional health.
Anxiety is physiologically explained as a state in which neurons are firing to fast, which gives you that sensation of a racing mind. What’s more important though is why this happens.
Psychological stress is expressed by intense, physical stimuli and behaviors that are mainly driven by subconscious thoughts and emotions. They are often a reflection of (subconscious) beliefs/memories, stored in your limbic system (hippocampus to be specific), which may or may not be triggered by your external/internal environment.
While they can be unpleasant and sometimes irrational, it’s important not to ignore or surpress them, which is especially difficult for men because again, the word emotion is wrongly but strongly associated with being feminine or weak minded. This is a big mistake (caused by socio-cultural factors) because you can consider them as sources of information to learn more about the reason(s) behind your restlessness, which regularly fall(s) back to a basic need that has not been met for too long or a basic need that you want to protect.
For example, they tell you how you feel about a certain person, thought or situation and you can find out what that says about you. I’m not suggesting that from now on you have to try and explain every emotion/thought you’re experiencing. That would defeat the purpose and make you even more anxious.
It’s about learning to be more attentive and self-aware of recuring patterns in your thoughts and emotions when it matters, for example at times when you are under immense pressure or whenever something/someone triggers you.
When you don’t perceive them as futile, embarrassing or something to be afraid of and you can see the connection between your emotions and needs, you can gain great insights about yourself. You will be able to better understand why you react so strongly to external or internal stimuli.
When you’re experiencing anxiety, you have less access to your prefrontal cortex, the youngest part of your brain that is responsible for self-control, logical thinking, planning, problem solving, etc. Your behavior and your actions are therefore mainly controlled by your limbic system.
This system processes information from your body/environment that enters via your senses or thoughts and analyzes whether or not this information poses a threat to you by making associations with your (subconscious) beliefs/memories that are stored inside your hippocampus.
When the analysis is complete, it is followed up by corresponding behavior and determines how you react to the received information. Although this process is very efficient to protect you from danger/harm, the downside is that you can feel anxious for no apparent reason because the treat that was once real, doesn’t exist anymore but you haven’t processed it so your brain still perceives it as real.
However, if you understand why this happens, you can figure out where your stress is coming from. This allows you to regain some of that lost access to your prefrontal cortex and makes it easier to become your calm self again.
In other words, you can use your thoughts and emotions as a personal guide during stress to determine precisely which need is not met in your life or which need you think is being threatened by a person/situation and if that threat is actually real or not.
Once you have identified the need(s), you can learn to regulate your anxiety by looking for a solution to satisfy or protect these need (s) in a constructive manner so that you no longer experience the same amount of stress. For example, having the confidence to do or say things that are an expression of who you are at your core without fearing social judgement or focussing more on building great connections with your social environment (for example finding friends who truly understand, support and accept you for who you are) or walking in nature (which is a great second coach, especially for people with anxiety who need more calming environments) are ways to build up your life the way you want to live it.
Off course your need(s) could also be related to sleep, nutrition and training and you need to make the appropriate adjustments there. But imo you don’t develop anxiety solely from a lack of sleep, nutrition or movement. There are other factors involved.
Type 3’s tend to overthink and overanalyze everything, which keeps you stuck in your head and your toxic loops of trying to figure out ways to battle anxiety. This will never work unless you learn how to listen to your intuition too. Type 3’s usually have very good introspection. You just need to learn how to use it to your advantage. Also, try to practice letting go of perfectionism and ocd like behavior. This will take a lot of pressure from your shoulders and allow more freedom, spontaneity and flexibility in your thinking which feels weird in the beginning but will make you happier later on.
In short, my biggest piece of advice to you is: use your head to think about solutions for your problems or to calm yourself down by knowing what your triggers are, but trust in your intuition to make the right and final decision. The more you choose to do what feels right and what is in line with who you really are (use common sense off course, sometimes you have to make compromises), the less anxiety you’ll experience.