It’s amazing to think how much time we spend on our physical health, and how little time we spend on the health of our mind. If there’s one thing I’m notorious for, it’s not understanding my internal emotions. I think everything is solved with 30 minutes of cardio and a lot of people have that same issue, it’s completely normal. Recently, I was driving home from work and I felt a sudden intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about a situation in my life. It was overwhelming to say these least and it peaked into a 30 minute crying session. I felt like I was going insane, why was this happening to me? I later realized that sensation was a full on panic attack. I have always denied having anxiety, relating my issues to just being stressed. However, what I didn’t realize is that anxiety is ultimately caused by stress.
Now I most certainly haven’t cured my anxiety, I don’t think it’s ever fully curable. Although the first step is starting to recognize and accept these feelings. You’re not going insane, you just have to catch these sensations before they develop into something as bad as a panic attack, insomnia, and depression. One thing I have recently learned is that mental health and physical health are two separate areas that we need to take care of daily. Keeping up with fitness does release endorphins however, it’s a temporary solution. It’s no better than an alcoholic drinking to feel happy.
To work on your mental health you need to look pretty deep internally, and that’s a bit scary. I have always put this off and dismissed this. It was a new area for me and I’m still learning how to deal with anxiety because I ultimately didn’t understand it.
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
I was feeling a lot of these symptoms and you probably have as well. I’ve tried to relate it to other issues such as poor diet and exercise habits, but those are just excuses. I wasn’t looking at the possibility of it being a problem of me not focusing on healing my mind. I know myself as a generally stable person, so this was a hard concept to grasp. Nat Lue once said that anxiety is often your body’s way of seeking reassurance that you have your own back. We all have things that trigger anxiety and it’s different for everyone. The key is to not let it overwhelm you.
Here are some ways I have began to focus on healing my mind and getting back to the happy and healthy version of myself:
Now anyone who knows me, knows how much I hate to sit still in and be in one place but this has helped me significantly. Now I’m not saying sit cross-legged and kumbaya, but I have recently discovered the Headspace app. This app gives you easy 5 minute exercises to clear your mind and they’re guided so if you have trouble sitting still, like myself. You can also find 10 to 20 minute videos on YouTube as well. Take sometime when you wake up and before bed to meditate and you will feel a significant difference in your head space everyday. I stand by this.
Now I know I said they’re different, but you still need to workout and eat a balanced diet to balance out your hormones and energy levels. Your body is a temple and you only get one so don’t fill it with crap and take care of yourself. I mean drinking and smoking as well, sorry I know none wants to hear this but sometimes you just have to cut back a bit. Make sure to have a consistent workout plan something as simple as a 30 minute walk will do. Muscle tension is a huge release as well that falls into this category. I’m telling you splurge on that massage homie, you will not regret it. Alleviating tension is huge, just make sure to drink plenty of water to flush all those toxins that end up being released out of your body.
3.) Challenge those Pesky Thoughts
Practice confidence and self-love. Talk to yourself the same way you would talk to your friends. It’s okay to mess up, don’t beat yourself up. Celebrate your success and learn from your mistakes. If you start to talk down about your accomplishments, negative thoughts will continue to persist. Break that cycle, challenge those thoughts, and learn to love yourself. You have to be comfortable in your own skin. It’s the one thing you can’t change about yourself. You might as well learn to love it because you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life.
4.) Talk to Someone
Expressing your feelings out loud is such a great release. Now I would be careful who you share your most inner struggles with but this could be anyone. I don’t like to stress out my friends with my internal battles, but sometimes I will talk to myself out loud, and call me crazy but my cat knows ALL about my issues. The best part of that is she isn’t going to run and tell anyone. Or you can be a normal person and go to therapy.. that works too.
5.) Learn your Triggers
Pay attention to the places, people, etc… that make you feel tense and anxious. Learn to avoid those places, and look deeper to understand why you feel that way around them. Chances are it’s a past trauma you haven’t dealt with. This goes back to that Nat Lue quote earlier, your body might naturally be sending you anxiety to prevent you from experiencing a traumatic event again. Sometimes you just have to let go of certain situations and people, living a stress free life is more valuable than anything someone can give you. Move on and don’t be afraid to make your mental health a priority.
I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any other tips for dealing with anxiety, please do share them with me. I always love to hear the experiences of others, and your stories! Ciao for now!