How To Be Gentle With Your Anxiety
Anxiety is something I’ve struggled with for years. I used to think I was alone in feeling like a crazy person, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone and there’s others out there that might struggle with anxiety as well.
One of the best ways I’ve found when I find myself feeling anxious is to be gentle with my anxiety?
You have a choice. You can fight it, struggle with it, deny it… but will that make it go away?
Some anxiety and stress we can’t avoid. I’m not talking about the kind of stress and anxiety that’s a quick fight or flight in the moment thing. I’m talking about a kind of prolonged acute stress that is linked to a specific thing, but lasts for a few days, or even weeks. It’ll go away eventually, but in the moment you feel awful.
What can you do to gently deal with this and not let it take over your life?
My Story With Anxiety?
I’ve been through a stressful year. I lost both my grandfather and my mother in law, who I was very close with, and then I’ve dealt with debilitating headaches and other health issues (doctors think fibromyalgia). How did so much pile up in such a short period?
I know. I’m working on it. But anyway, they took a serious toll on my mental and emotional health, and my body.
It doesn’t have to be a death in the family for it to happen to you. It could be a school or work thing, something with relatives, a personal struggle, stress over symptoms. Anything that makes you feel specifically anxious or stressed, and you can’t let it go.
For me, my cortisol (the stress hormone) goes through the roof. I eat! I turn to food. I have a hard time focusing and my heart feels like it’s living in my throat and I’m simultaneously exhausted and ready to fight a ninja-dinosaur with a laser on its head. It’s incredibly difficult to just ‘be’.
But, I’ve been through this before, I know the drill, and I’m going to share with you my tried and true techniques for making it through periods of unusually intense stress.
No, they won’t take away the pain, fix your problems, or make you feel like a million dollars. Time will do that. These are just ideas to help you use this transition time in a healing, healthy way.
Go For A Walk
Walking is an excellent way to deal with stress and anxiety. It works on both the mind and the body, if you do it in a calm and focused way.
While I walk, I give myself permission to worry, stress, and dwell on what’s bothering me. All the feelings, emotions, and events that upset me and stress me. Essentially, the things I don’t want anymore. Then, I spend the second half of of the walk ONLY thinking about what is good in my life, what I want to bring into it, what positive goals I have and how to reach them.
This leaves me feeling like I have listened to my negative feelings and given them some time, but also not allowed them to dominate my whole self or future. Walking while feeling the negativity adds movement and purpose to my thoughts, and makes it easier to let them come through.
Veg out. Seriously.
Turn on Netflix, watch your favorite movie, sip some coffee, wrap yourself up in your favorite blanket and just relax. No, you shouldn’t constantly escape the pain and worry, you do have to deal with it, but a little escapism is fantastic. If you can find something to laugh at, even better.
If you’re like me, when you’re in this kind of stress response, you just can’t let it go. Your mind constantly worries the topic, thinking of things you want to say, wish you’d said, and so on. Sometime crazy things, things that undermine your self-esteem, or are totally irrational. These thoughts are ok! They are fine. You aren’t these thoughts… but they do need a place to go that’s not public. So, journal them. Get it all out, no matter how weird.
And save the journal. Next time you feel something similar, look back on it and see that you got through THAT, you can get through this as well. It’s actually pretty awesome to read back on something you thought was the end of the world at the time, but now is just a tiny bump in your road.
CLICK HERE for part 2!