I like to consider myself a bit of an expert when it comes to anxiety because I’ve lived with it my whole life. Of all the low-vibrating emotions, anxiety is my go-to. And much like the best addiction counselors are ex-drug users, I am an ex-anxious person who has some real-life solutions for dealing with anxiety, reducing its severity, and understanding it in a way that many others cannot. It is exhausting and often paralyzing. It keeps us stuck, it lies to us, emphasizes the things we don’t like about our self, it makes us irritable,… and it usually starts in childhood. This revelation is sometimes met with confusion, many clients stating they didn’t start feeling it until early adulthood, however the programming and past experiences are often the root of the relentlessness. Easy answer, I know, but by tapping into our subconscious and dissecting messages and lifelong habits, we can find the root cause. And it doesn’t take months or even years in my space, as it does in traditional therapy. Its just a matter of being in the right mindset and tapping in. These revelations are Step One to soothing anxiety. I am human and so it would be delusional and dishonest to say I don’t still have my days. Like I said, anxiety is my go-to emotion when things aren’t “perfect”, so I’ve become quite good at managing my anxiety. Here are some of the ways I manage my anxiety on a day-to-day basis:
1)Get To Know Your Triggers It can be really hard to believe that you’re going down the anxiety hill until its too late sometimes. Anxiety makes small things feel really big. Anxiety can start slow like a frog in boiling water. Anxiety can tell us we are worthy of punishment and negative self-talk. Become mindful of the who/what/where/when/ and how’s. In other words, is there a person that triggers anxiety in you, which then grows for days? Sometimes the anxiety takes a bit to build. Is there a place that makes you feel irritable or grumpy whenever you’re there, that is possibly a side-effect of anxiety? Is there a part of your anti-self that you need to work on? Ask a trusted loved one if they have spotted any triggers in you, and be willing to think about their answers for a few days. Understand your triggers so that you can manage them.
2)Eat A Nutritious Diet This is just so important. The mind-body connection is real my friends. I could reference a thousand studies showing the link between mental health and diet, but a simple Google search is already at your fingertips;) Check it out. I have noticed huge declines in my mental health when eating poorly, it’s a consistent trigger for me. If your body doesn’t have the tools it needs to be healthy, you will feel it mentally.
3)Limit Social Media Again, both personal experience, and scientific studies show that social media is bad for mental health. Sure, we all know its bad to compare, that it’s all illusion, that it messes with our brainwaves and emotional responses, but it does more than just that. It enforces a habit of looking outside of the self for validation. It causes constant spikes in adrenaline. Its addicting. Truly time yourself and see how much mental space you give to these illusions daily. Its rarely based off any kind of reality, this is stressful to the cognitive mind, and no matter how mindful you are, we all get sucked into that illusion after too much time on. People who uses social media even moderately have been shown to spend significantly less time doing the daily chores that often bring our mind into a meditative and grounded state. Less time cooking, cuddling, walking the dog, dusting, painting our nails or building that shelf. Less time in our own little world. After going down to only 1 social media platform(which I keep deactivated half the time as well now) I have noticed a big difference in my self-esteem and satisfaction of daily life.
4)Give Up Coffee! I’m sure now you hate me! But it had to be said. I started drinking coffee after my second child. Drank it for years. Not even a lot, just a cup or two a day. I already had my anxiety pretty well managed a few years ago, but there was always this underlying panic feeling I couldn’t put my finger on. One day a friend, who almost never drinks the stuff, decided to enjoy a coffee her co worker brought her after a long few days. He also brought her one the next day, which sparked anxiety in her, a feeling shes not accustomed to. She immediately recognized the energy as one she witnessed in me, and had me over the next day to talk to me about it. She encouraged me to try going without for a month and it has honestly changed my life. So I researched the subject, and although there are studies talking about possible benefits, ultimately I discovered that the way it changes and effects the brain is scary. It is a narcotic. It was introduced to make people work harder, while thinking less intuitively (my intuition is consistent and always available now, whereas before I had to do quite a bit of prep to get there) Caffeine is literally a natural pesticide, killing cells it comes into contact with. MRI images show a decrease in blood flow to the brain by as much as 45% after having a coffee (http;//abcn.ws/2ipmLj7) Coffee causes degradation of the brain. Coffee gives us energy by putting us into a fight or flight state of mind, which triggers the lower IQ centers of our brain, meaning our higher learning parts of the brain are suppressed. Coffee is proven to cause or contribute to several diseases, dysfunctions and defects, mental and physical. It creates significant & measurable sleep disturbances for WEEKS after just 1 cup. The list of harm coffee does goes on and on, but the point here today is that coffee is really bad for anxiety.
5)Create A Schedule This may be more useful to some than others, but typically speaking those prone to anxiety don’t like unexpected situations, and tend to feel more comfortable when on a schedule. A daily schedule with some wiggle room can take a lot of mental strain off, and help make the unexpected more manageable. If you stress about something specific, such as work, know this as a trigger and re-train yourself using a schedule as well. Get all your work things ready at a specific time (for me it’s the morning of the day before, as that’s when I start worrying about work) and I remind myself that its not time to worry about work yet, that I will worry about work on the day I work, and that everything is already ready now. This allows me to go the day without worrying about it, everything’s ready and I have nothing to mentally “go over” When you know a specific time of the week gives you anxiety, you’ve recognized a trigger and can now re-program yourself using a schedule and soothing self talk
6)Nature, Get out There Sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones we don’t do. It’s like we feel things must be difficult to be effective. There is something magically harmonizing and soothing to the Soul that I just don’t have the ability to intellectualize when it comes to the healing power of Nature. Find a favorite trail, tree or park, and just get out there. Like, often. Make it part of your schedule. Spend some of that time you used to on social media and replace it with Nature.
These are my every day, anyone-can-do-it, no professional help needed tools anyone can use to manage their anxiety. In my practice I do teach people how to meditate, re-parent programming and positive self-talk, setting goals and managing the anti-self to further the healing, but these are really the foundation. If you don’t put effort into managing your anxiety, then don’t expect improvement. These tips aren’t painful or hard, they just require you to try. I’m not shy in my belief that those who heed the call of anxiety, who listen to it and understand it, who make honest effort to manage it, always find healing. And those who make excuses or say “That wouldn’t work because” or ‘I cant just do that” will remain in the struggle. Everyone can manage their anxiety.