It’s no big secret that sometimes life is hard. We are currently living in a time of high stress and worry that can often lead to bouts of anxiety. Prescriptions to help ease anxiety are selling through the roof, and many of us have no idea what we can do to ease the symptoms without resorting to these costly and unhealthy medications.
Like many others, I suffer from anxiety, but I have done everything I can to find other outlets and resources to help me maintain my health so that I do not need to turn to prescription medications. The very first thing I did was give myself the opportunity to realise that I am not alone. So many in this world are dealing with anxiety and allowing yourself to feel alone only makes it worse. I had the benefit of having a job at a county mental health facility for 8 years. It astounded me how many came through the doors each year suffering the same problems I had. They felt helpless and alone.
Also, you can dress like never before, look elegant and feel good about yourself. If you think you don’t have a body that impress others try using shapewear to make your body curvy. Having self-esteem is important when it comes to anxiety.
If you have to you can attend groups but the sooner you recognise that there are many feeling the same way, the sooner you can let go of the stigma that many feel. Mental illness is rarely discussed and can often make us feel like were crazy and ostracised even though it is extremely prevalent throughout many societies.
Now, not all anxiety is chronic, sometimes we have a day or two here and there where we just feel low or a bit off. In these times there are little things you can do to help yourself relax until the unease passes. Occasionally the anxiety can come in the form of a panic attack that lasts just a few minutes. In these cases, it can be important to just give yourself the chance to be silent.
If you’re with others, it might be helpful to explain to them that you just need a minute. Taking deep controlled breaths like you would in meditation or yoga be helpful as well as counting. I have found counting to be helpful as it draws my mind away from whatever is causing me stress and forces me to focus on the repeated numbers instead. For myself, I repeat 3, 2, 1 – 3, 2, 1 over and over until the attack passes. On other occasions, I will draw on colours and repeat blue, red, green. The point is the focus so you can select whatever works best for you.
One of the best activities to focus on when you’re having trouble with anxiety is overall self-care. This can be a wide range of activities or other things you enjoy. Do you like to read, take a long hot bath, or do yoga? Is there a particular sweater or blanket you love? For many relaxations can come from items that are tactile. Think of the feel of a baby bunny or something else that is soft. Spend some time petting your dog or your cat and be amazed as your spirits are lifted. It does not need to be massive, sometimes it’s the little things that can help. In some cases, you want to consider making yourself a care box. In the box, you can put together a group of items that help you when you’re struggling with your anxiety. You can put in a favourite relaxing cd, a perfume you love the smell of, a piece of fabric that you like the feel of, anything that you like. The box is completely personal, and all you have to worry about is filling it with items that you gain comfort from.
Outside of a self-care box and simply giving yourself the time you might want to work on education. Everyone has heard the saying that knowledge is power and it is 100% true. For many anxieties comes with a secondary fear of not knowing what is happening or why it is happening. I was able to help myself through some of the hardest times of my life by picking up a book that helped explain anxiety to me in terms I understood. If you don’t want to buy books, you can do research on the internet or even visit a local library. There are lots of books out there discussing anxiety and its various symptoms and how you can help yourself to work through them.
Many of the books available actually have worksheet type tasks that can help you lessen or even completely remedy your anxiety. However, the best part of the books is gaining an understanding of how anxiety works in your body. A lot of anxiety comes from irrational fear and the sooner that we learn how to handle these fears in a more productive and helpful manner the sooner the anxiety can subside. There is also the benefit of understanding how anxiety effects the body from the neurotransmitters within the brain. It is not only helpful but also interesting.
If you do occasionally suffer from anxiety but are not currently there are things you can do to ensure that it stays away. Being aware of what causes anxiety for you is helpful but so is keeping a generally healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise can be a great component for preventing anxiety. Through exercise, you release the stress of the day and give your body a boost of mood-elevating endorphins. These same endorphins that make you feel great after a long run also keep the anxiety at bay. Eating healthy foods give your body nutrients and vitamins it needs to stay illness free. Anything you can do that helps you stay in top physical shape will also help keep your mind happy.
Remember, not everyone has anxiety all the time. Sometimes anxiety will come with a tragic event that you have trouble working past, or maybe a particularly stressful time at work. The best thing to do is recognise it for what it is and allow yourself the time you need to deal with it.