Do you ever tell yourself “stop!” wishing that little voice in your head would just listen and bring those racing thoughts to a halt?
Yeah.. that doesn’t work. There are so many things to stress and worry about these days, aren’t there? Work, relationships, family …and if you watch the news on regular basis, you probably find yourself feeling anxious all the time. Sometimes, you might find yourself feeling anxious for no reason.
I’ve been crazy busy at work lately, and you probably noticed that at the beginning of April I wasn’t as active here on the blog as I usually am and that’s because I’ve been feeling extremely anxious. And I have no idea why. Yesterday, as I got home from work I felt my hands sweat, my heart started beating faster and I felt a panic attack coming. I just felt this disabling anxiety, and couldn’t understand why- because as there are many things to stress about, I think there are even more things to be happy and excited for.
After freaking out for a few minutes, I took a few deep breaths, went for a run and prayed that I have some ripe bananas at home.
One of the ways I’ve always dealt with anxiety was distracting myself from my racing thoughts and trying to stay busy. Trying to be still was extremely difficult for me at first, because I was terrified of silence and stillness. I didn’t like being alone with my thoughts and constantly searched for a distraction. I’ll never forget the very first time I tried meditation, which happened to be right after I had an anxiety attack. It was a guided meditation and once it was over, I felt so good, so happy, so calm and relaxed that I started to cry and thought to myself “wow, I want to feel like this all the time.” It was such a strange feeling, but at the same time, it felt so good. Ever since then, when I start feeling anxious, I do my best to become still. Burn your favorite candle, put on some soothing music, close your eyes and take a few minutes to be still. Relax your body, quiet your mind. You can also try one of these 5-Minute Meditations (backpack meditation is my favorite- I practice it at work a lot when sometimes dealing with difficult clients, or whenever I start feeling stressed) although I like to meditate for about 20 minutes.
When I feel an anxiety attack coming, this is the first thing I do: take a few full, deep breaths. Mindful breathing can be the quickest way to make yourself feel calm. Close your eyes, make every breath count and try practicing yogic breathing. I also love using positive reaffirmations while practicing deep breathing at the same time.
Caffeine can exacerbate your anxiety- I learned this the hard way. Some of my worst panic/anxiety attacks happened to me after I consumed a lot of caffeine. Caffeine increases stress hormones, it can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat and if consumed in large quantities, it can also cause sleeping problems and you might find yourself feeling jittery and nervous, which is the same thing that happens when you’re anxious. I love coffee- although I don’t drink it everyday- but I always stay way from it when feeling anxious because I know that it’ll make me feel worse.
This is something I say a lot, I know, but it’s probably because it works. Whether it’s a long walk (that fresh air does wonders!) a quick run or an intense workout session- any type of physical activity can help relieve anxiety as it produces endorphins. Exercising can be a very healthy coping tool.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
I have quite a few apps from Andrew Johnson who is a clinical hypnotherapist, and I love them all. If you suffer from anxiety, I highly recommend you try Don’t Panic with Andrew Johnson. I absolutely love his voice and the apps basically send positive and motivational messages while you’re put you into deep relaxation. I love using them last thing at night. Another cool app that I recently discovered is Let’s Create! Pottery app. In this app, you will create ceramic pottery items, picking your own materials, design and colors. It’s so calming, relaxing… and a little addicting.
DO SOMETHING CREATIVE
Creating something can be a powerful tool for reducing anxiety (which is probably why I love that Pottery app so much). It can be drawing, writing, photography, or even cooking. All of these things can be very therapeutic and can also help you calm your mind. It can be anything, really. I personally love cooking. My husband knows that if the house smells like banana bread when he gets home, it means that I had a stressful day. I love putting on some music and getting busy in the kitchen, once I’m done, I always feel better and more relaxed. And, I have something delicious to munch on, which in my book is a big bonus.
Whatever it is that you feel anxious about, your job, your family, your relationships, maybe you find yourself feeling anxious for no reason, at times (like I do) it’s important that you find a calming routine that works for you and stick to it. If you tend to feel anxious a lot, meditate daily, make it a habit. Don’t distract yourself too much, recognize your anxiety and find a coping system that works for you.