Anxiety is a well used word these days, it’s a pretty versatile word too and with the rise of mental health awareness it’s now a word and a topic that’s being spoken about more and more. It’s true, the more we speak about mental health the more we can help tackle it head on no matter how it may be affecting your day to day life.
I began experiencing Anxiety a couple of years, back then it wasn’t so visible. I don’t what triggered it off and to be honest I didn’t even really know that I was suffering with it until the end of last year. What have I learnt though is that no experience is the same, everyone experiences Anxiety in their own way and you should never think it’s not worth talking about because someone else appears to be more affected than you.
For a long time I ignored the doubting thoughts in my mind, I noticed that I was beginning to doubt almost everything I was doing and every decision I was making and the more I noticed it, the more I knew this wasn’t my normal feeling and thought process and the more I began to worry even more. I was becoming and morphing into a different person I used to know and started to avoid certain situations, mainly social ones so that I wouldn’t worry about people thinking I was acting differently or not being as inclined to talk and mingle as I usually would. Other situations I found myself in would stress me out more than usual – mainly work related, and the care free, laid back outlook that I’d always tackled life with began to fade away. It then progressed to my daily routine and if something unexpected cropped up, it caused mental chaos in my brain because I was having to jiggle my routine around for change and this was when I noticed the mood swings. Eventually, after the build up of mental torture I then began to feel physical pain and sensations. My chest would tighten up and my breathing and emotions would become hysteric – it didn’t happen often but for the times that it did and the situations that caused these attacks to come on I started to piece back together this puzzle and I became more aware on where these emotions had stemmed from.
I’m no mental health expert nor am I qualified in anyway to distribute professional advice about Anxiety but what I can do is share my experience in living with it and also share how I’ve found a much happier place for my head to be in on a day to day basis.
Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
Mindfulness is on the rise and I hope that 2018 is the year for it to shine! Taking 10 minutes each day to check in with myself and focus on my breath is the most calming and collective thing I can do for my mind and my body. It helps me to assess how I’m really feeling in that moment and has progressed into me being able to use breathing techniques if I do feel anxious. Meditation is extremely accessible now and it doesn’t have to be sitting crossed legged in a quiet place, you can do it when you’re walking or even when you’re eating – I use the app Headspace.
Prioritising Tasks and Setting My Day to Day Routine.
To save me from getting overwhelmed with every day tasks, in work and my personal life I began to make a to-do list of errands and tasks that I had made mental notes of doing. By physically writing them out in front of me or typing them up on my notes app, I could look at what I needed to prioritise and get done sooner and what I could leave for another day. This instantly bought clarity to my mind because not only did I have more time to get fewer things done, my productivity levels shot up and I can also enjoy my days instead of stressing out about getting through a huge list.
Cutting Down On My Coffee Intake.
Now, it took me a while to talk myself into this one because I am a coffee FANATIC! But, hands down it has been one of the most effective things I have done to reduce my stress levels and level out my gut health. You gut is like a second brain for your body and it feels emotions, have you ever wondered why you get butterflies when your excited and nervous? Or when you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut when something negative impacts you, we’ve all experienced the ‘nervous runny belly’ when we’re feeling anxious right!? Caffeine also raises your heart rate, so you can imagine for someone who deals with Anxiety on a day to day basis – the gut feelings and raised heart rate doesn’t help at all! That’s not to say that I have cut it out completely but I’ve reduced my intake from 2-3 per day to 2 coffees a week maximum – they’re more like a weekend treat now! What’s better is that I don’t even miss having my daily fix like I thought I would because I saw such a drastic, positive impact in such a short space of time.
Taking Time For Me.
I love my friends and my family but it became evident pretty quickly that to help me feel more in tune and balanced within myself, I needed to find some time where I could focus on me and no one else. This doesn’t mean that you’re being selfish and ungrateful towards your loved ones, it just means that you’re taking some time to give yourself some TLC and self love. I now make sure that I schedule in a yoga class at least twice a week so that I have some me time and something I enjoy to look forward to. Taking a walk and listening to some music or a podcast is another great way to unwind, or maybe have an evening in and switch off your phone and read a book. Whatever it is that you enjoy, make sure you make some time to enjoy it and let your mind switch off.
Speaking About It.
It’s not as easy as it sounds for a lot of people and it’s the one thing I struggled with facing the most. It took me a long time before I started to open up about what was going on in my head and it wasn’t until I started experiencing the physical sensations that I forced myself to get some help. This is when I found Reiki, the heaviness on my chest began to lift and I started to find my voice again and began speaking about the way in which my brain was operating. Just saying it out loud made me realise how I should have spoken about it sooner and that of course it’s not normal to let worries rule your day to day life. Again, everyone is different and some people may find it easier speaking to someone that they don’t know or maybe even writing it down helps you to release what’s feeling trapped inside of you, taking that first step is always the hardest but the rest follows and it’ll free you. – A problem shared is a problem halved. Reiki was my starting point to opening up emotionally, if it’s something you want to know more about check out my post about how I now heal myself using Reiki.
I am fully aware that people live with Anxiety on much more extreme levels that I have experienced and I’m also aware that some people may feel that they don’t suffer enough with it to speak up and reach out for help and advice. Checking in with yourself is a great habit to get into because it reduces stress levels and helps you to feel more in- tuned with your body so that you can identify when something isn’t resonating with you. Don’t suffer in silence, there are plenty of resources that you can visit for more support and if you’re not sure where to look Mind is a great place to start.