Killer Anxiety: Calming the Storm of the Mind
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Anxiety is something everyone unfortunately deals with at some point in their life. Anxiety shows up differently for everyone. Life isn’t exactly easy, and sometimes it can be too hard to cope with all of those thoughts and feelings that come with hardships. In the moment, it feels like the walls are caving in and your heart will beat out of your chest. Anxiety can affect all parts of your life, such as your physical health, your relationship with others, and the responsibilities you may have. One thought may also snowball into a bunch of other thoughts, causing an endless cycle of worry. There are ways to help this feeling before getting crushed by the weight. Try out some of these tips if you find yourself stuck in a rut of anxiety.
Meditation is simply a practice used to focus on a particular subject or thought. It is a way to connect with your mind and organize (or calm) your thoughts. Almost like decluttering your mind. It can be done either for religious practice or to remain calm and collected. There are no “rules” to meditating, but you’ll want to make sure you are in a comfortable enough environment to truly focus on how you feel. During this, you’ll want to focus on your breathing. Your breathing matters a lot when calming yourself down, to prevent hyperventilating. Meditation helps gaining control of your mind and body when it feels like it becomes out of control.
Grounding is a technique used that can be considered a subcategory to meditation. To ground yourself means to rely on your five senses. Look around and observe what you see, what you smell, taste, hear, and most importantly, touch. This helps you not be so trapped in your mind, but instead allows you to be present in the world around you. When having anxiety, we fixate on our thoughts and the way those thoughts make us feel emotionally. To calm that down, we have to come back down to Earth. Grounding is a quick way to handle anxiety attacks in the heat of the moment, especially if you are in public or too busy to dedicate time to meditation.
Journaling puts your mind on the paper. This is personally my favorite way of handling anxiety, because it allows me to organize all my thoughts and feelings. Simply writing how I feel and why I may feel that way, even with no solution in mind, can ease the stress. It’s a way to get those thoughts out of your head and put them elsewhere, somewhere that you feel safe putting them in. Seeing the cause and effect of my anxiety allows me to notice patterns in what may trigger that anxiety, which makes it easier for me to find a solution.
Therapy is daunting, but it can be a huge help! Sometimes we come to the realization that we know how we feel, but are not equipped to deal with it. We may know the problem, but the why or what to do is a mystery. Therapists work hard to ensure a comfortable, safe space for people to discuss mental obstacles, and give them help on what they need to do to be happier. It is their job to help you, so never feel like a burden for needing one. Therapy has helped me for years. I have been able to develop better coping mechanisms that allow me to recognize my anxiety before it can attack me.
Medication can go hand-in-hand with therapy. Sometimes we feel anxiety even if nothing is specifically triggering it. This can be for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is our brain not producing enough dopamine or serotonin, the happy and calm chemicals. If anxiety or depression gets so bad to handle, medication can help you get through your day. However, consult your doctor. Doctors are licensed with the knowledge and equipment to aid you in your health. It can sometimes take time to find the right medication for you, so remain patient and observant on how these medications affect you.
It’s no surprise that mental health can impact physical health and vice-versa. Anxiety can cause one to refrain from eating, working, staying hydrated, and even getting out of bed sometimes. It can make us go into flight mode, too stuck to want to do anything. Letting anxiety win though can hurt your body. Just as not taking care of yourself can cause an increase in anxiety. They work together! So, if you want to help ease your anxiety, do the opposite of what your anxiety is telling you to do. Don’t want to drink water? Drink water. Don’t want to go to the gym? Go to the gym. Pushing yourself will pay off. You have to be willing to fight back your anxiety before letting it get stronger.
Do what you love
Devoting time to the things and people that make us happy can always soothe a soul. When I feel an overall sense of anxiety, I like to pet my dog and let him cuddle up with me. I will also eat my favorite foods, read my book, or take a nice bubble bath. You can also visit family, watch a favorite movie, or spend time with a friend or loved one. Sometimes anxiety can trick us into thinking that there is little joy to life, or that we will be stuck feeling this way forever. These things will remind us of the good things in life. There is so much beauty right in front of us that we fail to see because of our anxiety, so we need to remind ourselves of the things worth living for!
Anxiety is a completely normal feeling. There is no shame in feeling worried or stressed because at one point or another, the person next to you has felt the same way. What matters most is fighting against it, and finding ways to cope with that anxiety instead of allowing it to swallow us whole. There are options out there to help you, and solutions to be found. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, or try different things that may ease your anxiety. We are the master of our minds, our minds are not the master of us.