Anxiety doesn’t have to rule your life: 5 ways to take back your life from anxiety!
If you’re like most people who suffer from anxiety, you could wake up feeling completely normal, then BAM a random thought or an event triggers a horrible feeling.
Logically, you know you shouldn’t worry, but you just can’t get your mind to understand that. No matter how hard you try, your emotional mind won’t listen to your logical reasoning. At that moment, your mind has been hijacked.
We’ve all been there I know I have at least; even after an attack there is still this feeling that I can’t pinpoint that keeps me on guard. At times, anxiety can be so bad that you are no longer living, only surviving and that is no life at all.
There is healthy anxiety as well, just enough to propel you and to keep your mind active but, when there is too much then that becomes the problem. Being afraid of everything is a job itself. We must find a healthy balance.
I wanted to share with you a few things that helps me when my mind starts to wander, and I need to reel it back. There will be times you may just have to let the feeling ride out and recover but I find that these have been helpful in my journey:
Understand that you are not your thoughts- On average people have about 6,200 thoughts per day. Wow, that is a lot of thinking! We have been conditioned from a very young age, many of the thoughts we have are not our own. We must understand that a thought is just that an idea or opinion it is not fact. I find that acknowledging the thought and letting it pass by like a cloud in the sky helps me tremendously; not attaching an outcome to the thought or making it one with myself. When intense emotions overflood you, they replace your thoughts; They make small problems seem like big problems and big problems seem like impossible-to-solve problems. It really feels like you’re under attack and that there really is an enemy that needs to be defeated. The only enemy is your mind, and your thoughts are fluid they are not set in stone, the good thing is we can change our thoughts. I treat them as a visitor; I ask questions that I pretty much always find an answer to eventually. You are not your thoughts, you only think you are.
Breathe!- As humans we go through our day thinking about so many things. If you’re a mom like me, as soon as we open our eyes, the thoughts start. I must get the kids up, get their hygiene done, feed them, figure out what the day is going to be on top of taking care of myself and doing work at home. Whew! There is no time to breathe and even though it is an automatic response, it is normally shallow breaths and we aren’t getting the oxygen in our bodies in the right way. I find that if I just get up 15 minutes before everyone else and do some deep breathing exercises it helps me a tremendous amount. I’ve even scheduled for my smart watch to alert me to just take one minute to stop and breathe deeply throughout the day.
Identifying your triggers- A trigger is anything including memories, experiences, or events that sparks an intense emotional reaction. For some people, anxiety can cause panic attacks and extreme physical conditions such as chest pain and tingling and tightness in the face. Triggers are different for each person, sometimes, a person can be triggered for no apparent reason at all especially when they have dealt with debilitating anxiety for multiple years. Some triggers can be caffeine, medicine, thoughts or memories that were harmful to you what ever your trigger is it is super important to identify it because if we know what makes us feel a certain way, we can combat it more easily. I highly recommend seeking professional therapy to help you try and pinpoint your triggers, sometimes we need additional help to sort through the noise in our brains.
Writing down our thoughts- writing /journaling is a great way to sift through our thoughts and feelings getting them down and looking at them from different angles. I find that majority of our thoughts in our minds seem much much bigger than they are and that way you can logically go back and think about and process what has transpired. There are also some great apps that can be downloaded to use as well.
· Being honest with ourselves- Anxiety can cause so many negative thoughts and poor self-assessments which can make identifying our triggers that much more difficult. Be patient with yourself and counter your thoughts with questions like, “why do you think you are feeling this way?” or “what makes that thought true?” When you are honest with yourself there will be things you find that you have done that you are not thrilled about and that is ok. Acknowledging that we are not a perfect people but continuously wanting to be better for ourselves should be the goal. Own what you have done, that way no one can make you feel bad about it. Remember, we are not the sum of our trauma, past, or our disabilities we are constantly changing and evolving owning our mistakes and learning the lessons.