Anxiety affects almost all of us at some point in our lives, in fact, it’s near on impossible to go through life without experiencing some form of anxiety. Defined as ‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome,‘ anxiety can be seriously crippling and much more than a simple case of unease.
A few years ago, I was in a job that I really wasn’t enjoying and I felt in a permanent state of worry and unease about it. I felt that anxious that my heart would pound, I’d feel shaky and scared, and sometimes, I’d even have to pull my car over on the way into work to be sick. What’s more, I developed a stutter and found it hard to simply just exist around other people. My levels of anxiety got that bad that soon, I wouldn’t even go to the shop on my own. If I had to talk to anybody outside of my family, I’d avoid the situation. If I had to call at the chemist to pick up a prescription, I’d shake and stutter away and make the situation much worse.
Today, I still suffer with anxiety, but it doesn’t have even a quarter of the hold over me that it used to do. I wanted to share this post today to let you know that anxiety is normal and that anxiety can be overcome. Everybody will deal with anxiety in their own way, but today I wanted to share the things with you that helped me along the way and tell you how I overcome my anxiety when it strikes.
1. Talk about it with your friends and family
This is something that I found really hard to do at times. Some days I’d just sit and cry and couldn’t understand why I felt so sheltered from the world and so afraid to even leave the house. I told my mum how I felt and she found it hard to understand – she felt like I just lacked confidence and that I needed to get out and about more. She refused to come into shops with me or even accompany me places at times which left me terrified. I was angry at first because I didn’t feel like she was helping me, but in the long run, being forced to do things by myself and realise there wasn’t anything scary about it actually did help me. It was hard at the time, and sometimes I’d get that worked up I’d sit on a bench texting her and crying because I felt that faint and panicky, but soon, the feeling began to ease.
2. Keep getting out and about
For me, I felt like it was important to make sure that I still got out and about rather than hiding myself away. The best way to get over your fears is to face them, so for me, going places and being the person who paid at the counter or ordered the food was my way of facing up to what scared me.
3. Take time out
As important as it is to keep getting out and about, I also craved my downtime alone. Some days, I’d get up in the morning and spend the whole day in the house on my own with the big garden gate bolted, the doors firmly locked and the blinds slatted safe in the knowledge that I was safe in my own little bubble and nobody could get inside to bug me. I’d spend the day giving myself beauty treatments, putting on my favourite fake tan, reading my books, doing yoga or catching up on Netflix. Afterwards, I’d feel truly replenished and recharged and ready to face the world again. Another important factor is to make sure that you get enough sleep – rest aids recovery, and you’re more likely to feel ready and able to face your day if you’re fully rested.
4. Take up yoga or meditation
Doing yoga at home or even in a class is an amazing way to both clear your mind and condition your body gently. It’s great exercise and really helps you to release those niggling inner thoughts and leave you feeling replenished, healthy and clear minded. I’ve taken yoga both as a class and on my own at home and found both to be equally relaxing, but a proper yoga teacher can also help you with the correct breathing techniques to really up your routine.
5. Pamper yourself
A big part of anxiety for me was to do with my own confidence. If I felt ugly or my hair was a mess, I felt even more anxious. Dedicate a little time in a morning to make yourself look and feel great. Whether you love a full on makeup routine, or simply enjoy just a simple skin cleanse and a touch of moisturiser for the day, taking some time and pride in your appearance can really help you to walk a little taller and feel a little more confident.
6. Try positive affirmations
Anxiety can make you feel inferior, weak and even annoyed with yourself. One of the most important things you need to realise is that you are none of these things and anxiety is completely normal. I started saying positive affirmations out loud each morning and evening and the difference they made was astounding. I love these affirmations that I found on the Huffington Post – say them out loud, say them with conviction and feel the difference in your confidence grow.
7. Cut toxic people and negative circumstances out of your life
I found that a big part of my anxiety was the negative circumstances I was getting dragged into, and the toxic people that created them. It took me a while to cut these people and situations out of my life, but once I did, I took a deep breath and felt the weight lift off my shoulders.
8. Eat a good diet
While sugary foods and highly caffeinated drinks might sound appealing, they’re great stimulants for triggering anxiety, panic attacks and causing dips in your energy and mood. Sure, treat yourself now and then, but eat clean as much as you can and feel the benefit on your mind and body.
9. Embrace the things that you love
Indulge in your favourite things to do from reading, to walking your dogs or even going to the cinema. Do the things that make you happy and that make you fall in love with life all over again. Life is all about learning and new experiences, and new experiences help us to grow mentally and spiritually.
10. Learn to let go
One of the most important things I learned when going through the worst of my anxiety was this – learn to let go of the things you cannot control. There’s no point sitting and worrying about something that might never happen, and there’s no point in worrying about something thats imminent either. I’ve started to firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and what will be will be. I find it helpful to write my worries or thoughts down in a journal or even on my phone notes as it helps me to feel like they’re off my chest and out of mind, then I can settle back down with a weight off my mind and continue on with my day.
I hope that these tips help you out a little with your own anxiety. It really can be so different from person to person, so make sure that you listen to your own body and ask for professional help and tips if you’re struggling with anxiety and unsure of where to turn. Visit Mind for more helpful tips and useful contacts.
© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2016.