Over the years I have dealt with varying levels of anxiety. Sometimes it would be an average manageable amount and other times it would clearly be not. There was actually about a four-month period where it impacted every aspect of my life. I couldn’t eat, sleep or function like a regular happy and healthy human being. Thankfully, I have not experienced that level of anxiety since, but after going through that tough time I will forever be aware that it could happen again.
I managed to deal with my anxiety without medication, although it was offered to me by my doctor. At the time I was so consumed by my anxiety that I was anxious about the anti-anxiety medications side effects. That’s anxiety in a nutshell right there. I battled my way through my acute anxiety period with these techniques below and by the grace of God or whatever it was I came out the other side a much happier and calmer person. I hope if you’re dealing with any level of stress or anxiety you will be able to take something positive away from this post.
I know, I hear you, it’s the last thing you want to do when you’re in the grips of a potential panic attack. But trust me, it is the absolute best way to squash that anxiety energy that is threatening to overwhelm you. Your mind will have a hard time obsessing when it has to worry about putting one foot in front of the other instead.
I find (if you’re able) a really sweaty, intense session is best. One that involves some coordination, so your mind can’t run away from you like it would if you were just running on a treadmill. Personally, I like timed sessions with a wide range of body weight exercises and free weights. Exercising this way will give you structure and a clear and defined goal to accomplish. Allowing no time to lolly-gag and fret about your worries. And by the time you’re finished and lying in a sweaty puddle you will feel significantly better. Trust me.
I’m currently mixing up my workouts between boxing classes and an exercise e-book I purchased for the busy summer months. The e-book is by Sarah’s Day an Australian fitness You Tuber. Over the last few months I really got into her YouTube channel and her philosophy behind her healthy lifestyle. Her workouts are all timed (made even easier with her helpful app) and are all bodyweight only exercises. Meaning the workouts can be done anywhere! Click the links to check out her channel and website.
What if you just can’t face exercising or you’re at work and can’t peace out? Not to worry, there is still a quick and easy way to stop an anxiety spiral before it starts. It may sound kooky, but alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhan Pranayama has helped me out in a few public situations, like in an airplane bathroom for instance. As the fancy name suggests this technique has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga. It’s thought to harmonize the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in balanced physical, mental and emotional well-being.
It’s really a very simple technique where you’re essentially just taking nice long deep breaths through one nostril at a time. When I first tried it I was amazed how quickly it calmed my whole body down. My heart was no longer pounding out of my chest and that anxious buzzy feeling was practically gone.
I’m once again going to refer to a YouTube channel (I spend way too much time on there) and direct you to Yoga With Adrienne. Not only does she have a great walk through about Nadi Shodhan she also has a yoga sequence for every life situation possible. Feeling stressed – yoga for that. Cramps – yoga for that. Headache – yoga for that………you get the idea. It’s such a phenomenal free resource to have when you need some guidance.
Usually, once a fear or problem is spoken out loud it loses a lot of power. By releasing it into the world you’re able to let some of it go somehow. It’s no longer that thought that your mind builds scary scenarios about. Now, it’s an actual “out there” problem or fear that may have a solution. And if not a solution, then at the very least you’re taking a step in the right direction to manage it.
A very close friend or family member can help tremendously by being a sounding board and/or sympathetic ear. But, by all means there is no shame in some professional help either. I once met with a councillor who gave me some very helpful advice and techniques for dealing with anxiety after only one session. The best one being the Emotional Freedom Technique. I personally thought of it as an acupressure/positive mantra technique. At the time I used it to snap myself out of negative self talk that would threaten to lead me into a panic attack situation.
That’s right, step away from your day-to-day. Even if it’s only for an afternoon. You’ll be amazed that the people in your corner will actually help you do this. You would do it for them in a heartbeat and they will do the same for you too. All you have to do is ask. I would get myself in quite a state before I would ever ask for help. Which was a big mistake.
After you have the kids and/or your responsibilities taken care of – do your breathing, exercise or take a bath. Most importantly just do whatever you think your body needs to shift your thinking and calm your whole system down. Once alone and hopefully settled take a moment and figure out what worked and what didn’t. Did forcing yourself to go for a run make you feel even worse?But a restorative yoga practice and a bath really helped? This is important information to keep in mind for the next time you feel anxious. Having a solution or a game plan can actually make you less likely to have that next bout of anxiety in the first place. Because now you have some tools to fix it.
Much love to all of my readers! If you’re dealing with stress or anxiety I hope you can take away something from this post that will help! xo