Overcoming anxiety is easier said than done and I definitely have a long way to go. At times, I felt I was an outsider. A modern day Alice living in my own version of Wonderland, questioning all that is real. Slowly, I began to realize I am not alone and I needed to take control of my life as everything felt as if spinning out of control. It has been 12 years since my journey began with anxiety and I am currently medication-free, hoping to live a natural and healthy lifestyle. I wish I could go back in time to write this article for that young girl, hug her and tell her everything is going to be alright. I would probably also tell her to take out those piercings and ditch the cigarette. Oops. Here are some tips on overcoming your anxiety disorder!
antimonocromatismo, portrait by agnes-cecile
No, you are not crazy or ‘going insane’. You are sane and you are not alone. Having anxiety comes with irrational thoughts, unwanted images and always thinking the worst. If you were to literally go insane, you wouldn’t even know it and you would think everything is fine. Weird, right? Embrace those thoughts, allow them to pass through your amazing brain for a few moments and then watch them leave. Bye Felicia. Saying positive things to yourself such as “everything will be okay” and “I am strong” are simple and effective ways to start re-wiring that anxious mind of yours.
Yes, I have a slight obsession with Kristen Wiig. If there is one thing I can promise you, it is that you are not going to pass out from anxiety, panic, and worry. In the many years of my constant struggle with anxiety, I have not passed out. For me, symptoms ranged from being lightheaded, shaky, feeling nauseous and being extremely tired. My symptoms become worse when I am not taking care of myself. In a way, anxiety has shaped me into a way healthier person. If you truly want to get better, you will fight for it and take the steps needed to beat it. Remember to tell yourself that anxiety is just that, anxiety. Not a million other health problems.
Trust me, I know it is hard to sleep when you are having racing thoughts. I put instrumental music or a calming station on my iTunes Radio, it helps me to get out of my head and relax. Tea or supplements containing L-theanine (passion flower), Valerian root, and Chamomile are pretty awesome and help me to feel more calm and sleepy. Sleep deprivation can make anxiety symptoms a million times worse, so finding a natural supplement that works for you is so important! Sleeping pills can lead you down a dangerous path and I believe trying non-addictive sleep-aids is a smart and cheaper option.
When my anxiety level is turning up, I take my exercise down a notch. I do things that are stress relieving and easy on my body such as Yoga. The great thing is you can practice in or outside the comfort of your own home in a quiet and tranquil spot. Get a Yoga DVD or Google some stress-relieving moves and learn them…it’s better than sitting around and worrying! I recommend the Warrior I and Warrior II poses. These poses make me feel strong, confident and like I’m ready for anything that comes my way…even the Anxiety monster.
I love, love wine. Wine pairing, wine tastings and wine Netflix. Okay, I made that last one up. I had to cut almost 90% of the wine I used to drink out of my life, because it was a short term solution and made me worse the next day. If you are drinking to alleviate feelings of nervousness, sadness, or sleeplessness you should cut back. Drinking to rid these emotions will only leave you waking up to the same unresolved issues. I know everyone is different, but I also know a lot of people with mental illness self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. I have had my own experience with drinking and drugs when I was younger to make my situation feel better, but in fact I was making myself feel worse. For me, only having a drink when I’m feeling happy and healthy is ideal. Besides, a glass or two of a good, full red wine is good for you once in awhile. Don’t forget the cheese!
Get rid of them! This is your beautiful life and you get to choose which awesome people are allowed in it. Anywhere from a job to your closest circle of friends is your choice and only yours. If you are surrounded by negative and toxic people at work or at home, you need to fix it. It can slowly but surely, be very harmful to your well being. I am definitely an empath. I soak up a lot of emotions from other people and if you are reeking of negativity, I’m going to feel it. Ridding these toxic people is hard at first, but when they are gone a weight lifts and you’ll begin to heal.
I can’t push this topic hard enough. Seeking out an educated individual to guide you along the way of your recovery is crucial. Talking to someone who understands your mind more than most is like a wave of relief. The great thing about a therapist is they WANT to help and they usually can relate to you. Why do you think an anxiety specialist chose to help people struggling? A very special person in my life was a therapist when I met her and if I wouldn’t have been introduced to the help a professional can provide back then, I don’t know where I would be today!
I hope some of these tips help anyone struggling with anxiety. I wouldn’t wish mental illness on my worst enemy and I know the feeling of being in a prison of your own thoughts. It’s time to set yourself free. Remember to think positive even when you feel it’s impossible and most importantly, have faith that you can and will get through this. May anxiety never linger about you, my loves.