Anxiety. If you’ve ever lived with it, you know how crippling it can be. If you’ve ever lived with it without knowing that it was anxiety… you may have found yourself wondering if you were losing your mind. Questioning if there was something wrong with you, wondering if you’d ever be able to breathe again without feeling like a sumo wrestler was sitting on your chest.
Luckily, there are about as many ways to overcome anxiety as there are causes. The secret is taking the first step to overcome it, which isn’t always easy.
I’ve dealt with mild anxiety off and on throughout my life, it wasn’t until a few years ago that it started to affect my life. I live with hyperadrenergic POTS, so essentially, my body tends to dose me with catecholemines (our body’s natural speed hormones), putting me in a state of flight or fight, when it shouldn’t. That was the cherry to an anxiety sundae!
When symptoms are at their worst and my anxiety gets high, it can be tempting to completely shut down. Tempting, but as most of us know, shutting down doesn’t help anything. There’s a difference between taking some time for yourself and shutting down. It’s important to be aware of the difference and learn to be gentle on yourself during these times, but also, as I like to say, be kind to future you, not leaving a mess for yourself to have to face in the future.
I’ve found meditation can have almost instant effects when anxious. It only takes a few minutes and doesn’t cost a thing! Even consciously slowing and deepening your breathing can be a huge help. If you’re new to meditation, don’t worry! There are tons of guided meditations out there to help ease you into it. Stress Free Naturally has a lot of free meditations you can use to get started.
What you put into your mouth affects your emotional and mental state even if you aren’t directly aware of it. During times of anxiety, it’s especially important to be mindful of how you are nourishing your body. Sticking to whole foods will reduce the stress your body is under, you’ll also want to watch your caffeine and sugar intake as it can drastically increase anxiety levels.
It can be tempting to soothe your nerves with food, but in the long term, it will only make it worse. You’ll thank yourself later if you find a healthy outlet instead.
Nothing soothes anxious feelings quite like aromatherapy. Smell has a powerful effect on your emotions and can be one of the easiest ways to combat the uneasiness. Whether it’s through diffusing them or just putting a couple drops on your hand and inhaling, this is another way to find some instant relief. Better yet, if you use a high enough quality (pure vs. fragrance), you’ll get the emotionally soothing therapeutic benefits as well.
Some of my personal favorite oils to use when anxious are Patchouli, Lavender, Balance Blend, and a mixture of the Forgive Blend and Motivate Blend. You can get essential oils here.
I once heard someone say that anxiety occurs when we are wandering into the future and it makes sense. Usually anxiety is centered around events to come, real or not. Regardless, keeping structure is helpful in keeping anxiety at bay. A daily routine paired with a regularly maintained day planner can do a ton of good! Sounds simple right?
Keeping structure in place will keep you on track. It takes that stuck and overwhelm feeling out of the equation. Kind of like your own personal daily compass!
Reflection can help to uncover any hidden sources of anxiety you may have. It doesn’t have to look like your teenage diary, under lock and key. It can simply be a notebook you jot down the highlights of your day in. Be mindful of feelings that arise as you reflect and you may be surprised to find your source of anxiety isn’t what you originally thought at all. This will make it so much easier to deal with.
Finding a way to be active, whether through exercise, a hobby, or just dancing around your home, can help to release anxious energy that’s built up in you. It may feel like the last thing you want to do, but trust me on this… a few minutes in and you’ll be in a completely different mindset and feel a ton better! Plus, regular activity can lessen anxiety overall.
Getting feedback, support, or even just talking out your feelings with another person can help in many ways. Whether it be a trusted friend, family member, support group, or professional, there are a lot of options. An objective third party can see things you can’t since you are obviously emotionally attached to your life and your feelings. It can feel scary and vulnerable, but the benefits are worth it.
Making sure your needs are met seems like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how quickly you can push yourself to the wayside when life gets busy. You definitely aren’t alone and luckily, it only takes a little bit of time and practice to get back on track. Find things that really set your soul on fire. Things you love. Things that drive you. Treat yourself like you would a cherished friend.
If you need a jump start, the I Love Me Challenge is 5 days of intentional self-care and self-love. It’s free and will get you headed in the right direction. You can sign up below.
What are your go-to tricks to beat anxiety? Share them in the comments below!
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