A while back, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. An anxiety attack. The specifics no longer matter about the cause, it only matters to say that it started to profoundly affect my life. I always thought that I was “cool as a cucumber” (there’s my reality shattered).
I have always had stressors in my life (who doesn’t?) and I have always handled it, with what I thought was good coping skills (maybe rethinking that philosophy). I went to my doc (they were nice, declined to agree that I needed the looney bin) but did think that some medications (that is always the answer) and some counseling (ugh) would be in my future. I do have some stressors (real and imagined (Anxiety Girl) 😉 in my life but as I said, we all do.
So I started to think BEYOND the above listed methods (meds and therapist). What else can I do?
I found some great ideas to help deal with anxiety and the daily stressors we ALL deal with. Here’s a list that I try to lean on a bit when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.
- Get rest: 7-9 hours is doctor prescribed 😉 This isn’t always easy to do and it seems the more anxious you become, the more sleep evades you. Do your best to get sleep as lack of, is a vicious cycle. Try melatonin or other OTC medications if you need help with rest (or contact your doc if you’re really struggling).
- Smile (or straight up laugh). Find a friend, a family member or co-worker that you know can get you to chuckle. Find something funny to watch, a quick 2 minute video is sometimes all it takes! ⇓⇓⇓
- De-clutter the brain. This can be difficult to do but sort out what you need to REALLY worry about and what is simply the garbage that can be tossed out of the brain. I find myself focusing on the dumbest, most unrealistic outcomes for a scenario that I’ve literally made up in my head (I have an AMAZING imagination!).
- Express gratitude. We focus so much on the closed door that we do NOT look at the door that is open to us. Find the things to be thankful for (they are there and plenty), if you’re breathing, you can be thankful!
- Eat healthy. We hear it all the time but in our fast paced lives we tend to eat on the run and that usually means fast food and unfriendly to the body. Grab an apple or carrot. Eat a salad. Healthy sprouted grains and a good mix of healthy food choices.
- Learn to breathe. I do this every morning again with Adriene and my yoga. I had fallen of the wagon after surgery last month (it’s easy to not do it) but take that time to focus on body and mind. You don’t have to do yoga, just sit and focus on your breathing for a few minutes every day. Calm the mind and body.
- Meditate. This is hard to do. It requires taking the time to sit, in a quiet place and reflect on YOU and release the stressors in your life.
- Play. Go for a walk. Go for a bike ride. Jump on the trampoline. Go for a swim. Walk the dog. Play with the kids, they are the best people to be around at playtime.
- Be silent. Disconnect from all electronics.
- Plan ahead. (This one is for me. PROCRASTINATION is my killer anxiety provoking thing. I am forever running around looking for my keys, backpack, purse, shoes, whatever last minute!) Set out the things you need for work. Have a designated spot for items you need daily. And give yourself 15 extra minutes for your commute (yeah, I need to learn this one!).
- Visualize positive. Whether that’s a vision board, a positive book or movie. Visualize it.
- Smell something relaxing! My sister had me do this with lavender, it does help. Sometimes I just grab the bottle and sniff it straight (it’s my drug). Basil and Chamomile help as well.
- Hang out with family and friends. Sometimes when we get overwhelmed we tend to internalize and turn away from that support. Get out and meet with (positive) friends and have fun, laugh…it does a body (and mind) good!
The takeaway? In a perfect world, it would be stress free or at least we wouldn’t make up things to worry about. Those made up things, in addition to the things that we actually have to worry about can make things, at times, overwhelming. We are human however, and so we will inevitably worry. These tips can hopefully help us change our thoughts, calm the brain, relax the body and get back in the game! If not, see your doctor (they won’t send you to the looney bin) if you need a little extra help tackling a bigger anxiety issue. Basically, don’t feed the b(F)ears!
Hey, just do the best you can!