It’s no lie that many of us are consumed by anxious thoughts every now and then. For anyone who is suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder like me, life is all about learning to live with an anxious mind and finding ways to control it. Over the past ten years or so, I have learned how to train my body to respond proactively to anxiety. More often than not, I let anxiety WIN. I choose not to look at that as failure, but as another lesson learned. Through each bad battle with my own anxious mind, I learn how to respond, how to cope and how to come out on the other end with a smile on my face.
I haven’t talked much about this issue since my original GAD post last year. I figured now was a perfect time to dig deeper and share a few tips I’ve learned through my own personal experiences. Recently I had an anxiety attack, the first one I have had in a while. With so much happening in my life right now, I was expecting a flair up at any moment. I think I handled this one as gracefully as possible, but like I said above, I learned something new like every time before.
Again, these super personal posts are not for glorification or sympathy. I hope my insight sheds light on a very important issue and brings comfort to anyone reading. This site has an open book policy, and I am fully aware that it creates room for both praise and criticism. Neither of which I care for, I simply want to speak the truth and I pray it reaches someone in need.
1. TAKE A VERY DEEP BREATH
Photo | Anxiety Cure
Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply. Close your eyes and remove yourself from the current situation. If you must, go into the bathroom and slow your breathing. When anxiety flares up, your breathing is impaired and you aren’t taking in the right amount of air your diaphragm needs to keep things flowing. Your chest can become muddled and tight and your airways feel clogged. The number one key to stop the anxiety from winning in the first phase is to just breathe. I know often I feel like I can’t swallow and my heart is pumping way too fast. If I can catch my breath, I can begin to calm and settle down.
2. WRITE IT DOWN
PHOTO | ETSY
Get out a pen and paper and face the fear or thought by writing it down. What’s really bothering you? Put it on paper and read it back to yourself. If you’re in the car or somewhere that this step isn’t possible, say it out loud. Hear yourself say what’s bothering you. Sometimes when I realize what it is that’s getting me all worked up, I end up laughing it off because it seems so silly once I’ve put it on paper. Like really? Who cares? I can’t count how many times that has been my reaction to an anxious thought. This step allows you to get it together and step back into reality.
3. WORK IT OUT
PHOTO | EVERYDAY HEALTH
Sometimes a little sweat does the job. When I have had a really anxious day, the best thing to do is to get outside for a long walk or run. You are able to release so many negative thoughts, ideas and emotions when you are working out. Whether you prefer to lift weights or take a zumba class, it doesn’t matter. Put your mind on something that gets you active, moving and your blood pumping.
4. TALK TO SOMEONE
PHOTO | PERFECTLY AMBITIOUS
Even if it’s your poor cat who doesn’t give a flying crap what you say, talk to someone or something. If you don’t have someone you can talk to, there’s a bigger issue at hand. Everyone who suffers with the slightest bit of anxiety needs an outlet and resource that they can rely on and trust. I generally will try the first three steps before I pour my thoughts onto someone else, but when I’ve reached my limit, I pick up the phone and unload on my mom or my best friend. I find it super important to talk to someone who understands. Someone who has never dealt with anxiety doesn’t really comprehend that the smallest, silliest thing can cause you to panic. My fiance has a way of keeping me very calm and my mom just gets it. My best friend speaks the truth and always brings me back to reality. If you are searching for an outlet you can trust, I’ve found several resources HERE that are super helpful.
PHOTO | SHE READS TRUTH
It doesn’t really matter if you are religious or not, or what higher power you believe in, prayer is so peaceful. I may pray differently or to something / someone different than you all, and this is not a push for you all to be something you are not, but it’s helpful to me. I recently started a daily devotional HERE that has taught me so much about prayer and putting my trust in the Lord. This is a constant and daily reminder that someone much greater than I is in charge. I should put my worries and trust in him and know that he is God and thy will be done.
Feel free to reach out via email with questions: email@example.com or leave a comment below.