I wanted to write a follow-up to yesterday’s post. I was very open and honest about what I go through when my anxiety rears its ugly head. Today was a much better day. After lots of prayers and an evening run, I was even feeling much better last night. I felt the need to say that because if you or anyone you know suffer from this, then I want you (or them) to know that this does not have to be a life-controlling thing. Although at the time it certainly feels like it is.
I have learned a lot about anxiety over the last year and a half. More than I ever thought I would (or would want to). Having said that I thought I would post some things that I have learned and that work for me and they may work for you or someone you know that may have problems with anxiety. But honestly, it could work for anyone who tends to worry or just needs some improvement in different areas of their life.
So here goes:
1 – Obviously, I have made it clear that faith and trust in God is the most important thing. Praying about everything you are feeling is a big help. Even the smallest or silliest things can be brought to God in prayer. I often tell Him that I am freaking out (l really say that!) and I would just like some peace at the moment. Then the calmness washes over me long enough to get my bearings, so to speak. I will then thank Him and praise Him. He likes to hear that : )
2- Exercise. This may seem like the last thing you want to do when anxiety, panic attacks (or even depression that has creeped in) have taken a toll on you physically. But it is important to stay in motion and rid yourself of all the nervous energy that your body is storing for no good reason. Walking, running and biking are awesome ways to get moving. Start slow and build up. It will make you feel so much better. I promise!
3- Caffeine. (The lack of.) I had to completely stop drinking caffeine. This was a hard one. I love sweet tea…McDonald’s sweet tea to be specific. Oh how I love it! But it wasn’t helping my body at all. Caffeine causes rapid heartbeat and restlessness. Not really what an anxiety sufferer needs. It was hard and still is at times. When 3:00 in the afternoon rolls around and I just want to take a nap, a boost of caffeine would help. But I have learned to adjust.
4- Positive thinking. This one seems like a given and it is. But it is also the hardest to achieve. With anxiety comes a lot of scary thoughts. Thoughts about your health and safety and the health and safety of your family. When the “what ifs’ sneak into your mind, you have to learn to shut them down. When you are worried and faced with a dilemma or decision, instead of thinking about what could go wrong say to yourself, “what if I put a different spin on this?”. Takes practice but it can be learned and is a great help.
5- Breathing techniques. Another one that has to be learned and that I have to practice often. I would find myself sighing heavily or constantly trying to take a deep breath. I would feel as if I wasn’t getting enough air. I then learned that I was actually getting too much air and that my body was releasing too much carbon dioxide. When this happens it can cause a lot of different sensations, such as dizziness, headache and tingling in your body. Learning to breathe evenly will make a huge difference.
6- Learn. Read everything you can about anxiety and panic disorders.. Knowing more about the symptoms of anxiety and the many effects that it can have on your body can be comforting. The more you know, the more prepared you are to help yourself overcome it. I would suggest reading success stories about people who have won their battle with these disorders.
These are just a few of the things that I have found helpful. The most important thing is to remember that this is a very common thing. There are probably a lot of people you work with, go to church with, etc. that suffer and you would never know. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Just remember….
Keep the faith and the positive attitude and get movin’!!