For anyone experiencing anxiety, it can be a momentary worry to a deeply debilitating time. Yet, much of how we go from there is largely misguided. Making it harder to seek the right help at the right time to enjoy life without being burdened and overconsumed by chronic anxiety.
‘’Feeling Anxious or Worried? Don’t shut it out. Acknowledge it, Breathe, Become Aware of your Body and of your Environment. ‘’— Nerissa J. Persaud
We have a largely misguided understanding and relationship with anxiety and this is a part of the problem.
For the most part, when thinking of anxiety it is often attached to shame or lacking in some way. We see it as something to be controlled, soaked away, blocked out and eradicated. We see it as a problem to productivity levels and a menace in our relationships. We see it as the lesser and the weak. We view ‘anxiety as the cause and not a reaction.
Yet, in all our efforts containing anxiety, we missed one simple thought — Anxiety is an emotion and the body’s natural response to stress. It is the first indicator of underlying thoughts, feelings and physical changes and for the most part, it is trying to tell us when something is off internally and externally.
By pushing and suppressing our thoughts, feelings and changes around and within us, we do more harm than good. We make ourselves susceptible to chronic states of stress, panic, depression and ultimately, burnout.
Trying to block anxiety can become chronic with constant suppressing or substituting mental wellness tools (such as meditation) with the aim of ‘eradicating’ anxiety instead of developing a healthier relationship to coexist in our skin and within our environment.
Here are a few tips and resources to consider if you are feeling anxious, worried or uneasy at any moment. You’ll also notice that the tips below aren’t filled with candles or bubble baths but are meant to help you acclimate with yourself and learn more about yourself and how you coexist with your environment. Awareness is key in developing a healthy relationship throughout life. Anxiety is a part of reality.
1. Focus on Your Breath
All things come back to the breath. It is the one system we can control when the body goes into high alert. Take smooth and steady breaths. Try the Breathwrk App. It calibrates breathing for different states of mind from Calm, Awake, Panic Button, Unwind, Recharge and more.
2. Download the Headspace App
Connecting with the right type of mindful resource is a very important step to filter the noise of ineffective and misguided teachings and programs. Headspace is a tried and tested platform with leading experts from around the world that have made anxiety, mindfulness and coexisting with the environment their business. With tons of resources on Breathing, Focus, Movement and Sleep to help align your relationship with your daily life and the environment around it.
3. Practice Mindset Moments
Take a minute to scan your body and the space around you to reclaim your awareness of where you are and what you are doing. Deep inhales and soft exhales through the mouth to calm the mind and body.
4. Cut out Coffee and Alcohol
Coffee and alcohol? For many reading this it may seem a bit extreme but it really isn’t a lot. While coffee drives up adrenalin, alcohol puts the body in a state of unnatural rest which can trigger imbalances in hormones and brain activity levels. A constant pull of the two can have adverse effects on the body’s ability to metabolism making it harder to wake up energized and fall asleep at night. A person struggling with chronic anxiety may find it more difficult to allow mental, physical and emotional space to work through feelings and changes if they are already on edge.
5. Know Your Body and Nutrition
Talk with your family doctor or wellness expert. Get a better understanding of your essential vitamin levels to ensure you are well supplemented and that you’re not running low or deficient in any way. Vitamin deficiencies are less talked about when working through anxiety and are often the root of panic attacks, chronic pain and unrest in the body. For instance, deficiency in Vitamin D can prompt panic attacks and cause intense nerve pain throughout the body. Failure to understand how nutrition influences our everyday movements can create more problems with misdiagnosis and unnecessary neurological altering prescriptions. Taking an interest in how your body functions and what it needs to function well is your #1 priority. Take care of it, it’s the only place you have to live. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and question the efficacy of the treatment you receive on the basis of treating cause vs suppressing symptoms.
6. Map Your Changes and Symptoms
One of the main ways to understanding our anxiety is to know what’s changing within us and around us. Are you feeling physical pain? Lethargic, shaky or other. Are you grieving a loss or managing some difficulty in life? Write it down. A simple table with symptoms/changes and dates can help your care professional see patterns and may even help you to realise the cause(s) for increased anxiety and allow you better analyse your environment and how you approach obstacles.