This topic is something I feel a strong need to share with everyone because it has helped me through the worst anxiety waves of my life. However, I am not a doctor or anything so what works for me may not work for you, although I highly recommend you try some of my tips.
How I have learned to deal with my anxiety has come from years of trial and error. I have tried so many different things because I was desperate, but nothing seemed to stick. I would feel better for a day, two days or a week, then I would find myself ridden with anxious thoughts/feelings again and felt really discouraged, hopeless. Lets just say, I know how it feels to think your going to be stuck in the vicious cycle of anxiety forever. But you can break that cycle and feel peaceful, happy and whole again.
Anxiety can be a scary thing that we feel we need to run and hide from. I mean it makes sense, anxiety is our bodies flight/fight responses kicking in, telling us there is danger when there really is not. Just pretty much our minds playing a trick on us, coming up with crazy scenarios that are most likely never going to happen. I used to fear going actually crazy, losing my mind and winding up in a mental institute because my mind was telling me the wildest things. Who else can relate?
Anyways, getting to the point here, I’ve tried things like herbs, supplements, essential oils, exercising (this is important, but it never got rid of my anxious thoughts/feelings when I was at my lower points), I tried positive thinking, replacing my negative anxious thoughts with positive ones, or happy scenarios, herbal teas, sprays, you name it, I probably tried it. I thought about going on medication for anxiety numerous times, but I’m the type of person who tries to stay away from medications. I understand people do need it, but its something that I was terrified of and actually gave me more anxiety because I was worried I’d get addicted to them, have bad side effects, etc. SO, here is what has worked for me:
- STOP RUNNING FROM IT – I did this for a loooooong time, and I don’t want this for you. The more you bury your thoughts and feelings, push them down, and run away from them, the stronger your anxiety will get. I always compare this to sleep, the more you try and get to sleep, the further you are from sleeping. The more you try and fight your anxiety, the stronger it is and further you are from healing it.
- Face your anxiety, be curious about it – This kind of goes hand – in – hand with the no running from it. But if you actually just pause for a second during an anxiety episode, even a panic attack, and just face it all, allow it to come and go, allow yourself to feel every single part of it, you start to realize its not so scary. Yes, its uncomfortable as hell, and easier said then done, takes practice like I said, but actually feeling your emotions and allowing those anxious thoughts to race around in your mind without trying to control them, allows you to heal properly. When I first started doing this, I actually felt really, really uncomfortable and felt more emotions for a while, because I was feeling everything that I have buried down, and it was all catching up to me. But this is VITAL to your anxiety healing process
- Don’t take your thoughts seriously, let them be – Also really important, kind of mentioned it up there ^, but this was something I really struggled with and this tip really cured my anxiety. Every crazy thought that popped up in my head I believed, and man your mind thinks up some weird stuff sometimes. I would try so many thing to stop my thoughts from coming, but like I said before, it only made them stronger. So next time you have an anxious thought, don’t believe it! Go about your day, and just let it go. The more you do this, the more you realize, “hey its just a thought, thats all it is, not scary at all”. Thoughts are only scary if you believe them to be scary and pay attention to them. If you don’t pay attention to them, go about your day…….AH HAH! You realize it was you fuelling those anxious thoughts all along. I mean think about before you developed anxiety, whats the difference? You would go about your day to day life, thinking crazy thoughts but never notice them. Why? Because you weren’t taking them seriously, and just kept going about your day.
- Nourish your body and get some exercise. – This is so important especially when your starting to feel all of those emotions and your body is healing, you may feel blah, tired, foggy (I had the worst mental fog with anxiety), depressed. I can’t emphasize enough how important nourishing your mind and body is. My tips for this is to stay hydrated, eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits & vegetables, non-processed foods that may cause inflammation and make you feel even more like crap. Eating consistently throughout the day is important, if your skipping meals your blood sugar is likely to drop, making you feel more jittery —> fuels anxiety. The gut/brain combo is very important since a large percentage of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. So probiotics and having a healthy gut can be beneficial in treating anxiety. Get outside, get some fresh air, spend time with nature, do some yoga or light stretches. I am a gym girl and love lifting weights, but whenever I have anxiety I give my body some rest, do more of a light exercise outside, which helps me relax.
- Journaling – Really useful tip when you have so many thoughts bouncing around and don’t know what to do about them. What I did was write all the crazy thoughts I was having that scared me, and looked at them on paper. At one point I actually laughed because looking at my thought written down, was ridiculous and definitely did not seem so scary anymore. Again, this may not work for everyone, but its a useful tip to try out!
- Be patient and kind to yourself – Last but NOT LEAST, be kind to yourself, love yourself, don’t push your body to do hard things, don’t beat yourself up. Anxiety is a natural body respond to fear/worry, everyone experiences it from time to time. For your body and mind to heal, by doing the above steps ^, it takes some time, so be patient. Your mind and body have been out of whack and wonky for a long time, so you cant expect to recover overnight. When I started practicing mindfulness, letting my thoughts and feelings be, and stopped running from my anxiety, it took me a few months to heal and feel normal again. Everyones different, but you will feel better I promise, just live your life, and nourish your body.