So, todays post is about anxiety. This subject is vast and at times complicated, however, I’m going to use my own experience of anxiety (of which I have a great deal), to try and help you with your experience.
Anxiety is surprisingly common, and to some extent, a normal part of life. It becomes an issue when it starts to take over your thoughts, and stops you from enjoying things you were able to before, or makes you fearful of trying anything new.
I think anxiety has always been with me, but I dealt with some tragedy and loss in my teens which amplified the feelings of worry and stress, and if there’s one thing we know about anxiety, is that it feeds off stress.
I don’t want to make this post about trying to explain why any of us are anxious, because everyone has their own unique experience, and levels of anxiety vary greatly. Instead, I would like to give you tips on managing anxiety, and for some of you, how to beat it into submission.
- Don’t try to own anxiety, and by that I mean stop labelling it as yours. Don’t attach it yourself like something you carry around. We do this by saying things like ‘my anxiety’. Its just anxiety, it doesn’t belong to you and it’s not who you are.
- Invest in a good guided meditation app. My personal favourite is Headspace- that’s what works for me. YouTube has some great meditation resources, and again I like, ‘The Honest Guys’ and their various meditations, sleep talk-downs and mindfulness exercises.
- panic attacks are uncomfortable and terrifying, but NEVER life threatening or dangerous. I went through a period where I had attacks everyday-now they are few and far between.
- Recognise your panic triggers and face them. For such a long time avoidance was my technique of choice, and so much of life passed me by. By facing our triggers and inviting the panic, our body stops fighting against the sensations and they pass a lot quicker.
- Once an attack starts, accept that it is happening, and tell yourself that it will pass. Tell yourself that although you are scared, you are not in danger. Above all else, focus on that breathing.
- Understand that breathing really is the key to managing anxiety. You want to breathe in and inflate your belly, much like a sleeping baby does. Try this: Breathe in for a count of four, then hold for a count of four, and then slowly breathe out for a count of eight. Repeat this until you feel calm and relaxed. This technique isn’t just for panic attacks, you can use it whenever you have some quiet time to yourself.
- Try to let go of negative emotions such as anger and guilt. These feelings feed anxiety and they don’t change the situation you’re in, they are damaging and unhelpful.
- Make time for people you enjoy being around, and for things you enjoy doing. It is not selfish to put your wellbeing and needs at the top of your list sometimes.
- Stay true to yourself, stand by what you believe and live your life according to who you are, not what others need you to be. It is impossible to sustain that for too long and it makes you bitter.
- Finally, be grateful for everything you have. Appreciate people, places, possessions and time. Everything is temporary, so enjoy it and be present in the moment. Stop thinking about the past or worrying unnecessarily about the future
I hope this [practical, tried and tested advice helps you, like its helped me. I honestly try every day to live by these simple but effective guidelines and its changed my world.