I never gave this a second thought before. Sure, whenever I was angry, I took a few deep breaths and did my best to remain calm. I never had to go through these steps I’m about to share with you.
I was not going to write about this topic because I felt that my anxiety controlled a big part of my life. I felt like I didn’t have enough experience to write about how to stay calm when I struggle with it myself. Something happened on a Saturday morning that left me writing about what happened. I needed to let it out and make sense of what I was feeling and how it happened.
You all know I have been battling stomach issues and something happened that triggered my anxiety on an extreme level. I felt a giant weight on my chest and a knot in my stomach. I felt like I couldn’t breath and I was having a difficult time controlling my thoughts. Everything just felt scrambled and I had a very difficult time gaining control of myself.
I realized that my jaw was clenched, my breathing rigid and shallow. I felt like it was never going to pass. Two hours passed before I began to feel more like myself. Every situation is different and this was definitely the longest it has taken me to reach a place where I felt in control.
As you know, I turn to my breathing exercises whenever I feel anxious. I breathe in deep from my stomach and exhale slowly from my mouth. About 90% of the time this helps. If I still find myself struggling, I focus on my body. I make sure my hands and arms are by my side, that my feet are planted evenly and that my shoulders and neck are loose. This helps me relax my body and release any tension.
In this case I was still struggling. It was like everything I knew how to do just blew out of the window. So, I called Eric. He is always my last resort. I told him what was going on and he is always able to make sense of my rambling. He helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings.
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to someone about it. Sharing your feelings can help you make sense of your thoughts and help you gain relief. Let people in because at the end of the day your pride will not be good company. By trying to tough it out and keep it to yourself you end up secluding yourself. Communicating what you are going through helps you release negative energy to make room for good instead.
Once you have done this your work is not done. I call it work because it does take energy and focus. It is so worth it because at the end you feel more like yourself.
After you have spoken with someone, keep breathing and start cultivating those positive thoughts. There are several things I like to do to help me with this.
- Get yourself some good distractions! Go on social media or watch funny videos. Make sure to watch things that are positive and encouraging. Doing this interrupts your train of thought and helps release pain relieving chemicals called endorphins. Overall this helps you create more positive energy as you begin to come back from your anxious feelings.
Try not to use this as a way to conceal your struggle. This is a helpful and productive way to lower your anxiety to help you regain control. Don’t let this strategy become a way for you to stay in denial. When you feel positive and strong, it is important for you to grow and accept your truths.
- Read. I like to read ideas that can help me battle my anxiety and gain better control of it. This helps me stay informed and not feel so alone. There are other people who battle what we go through and knowing that helps create a safe feeling.
- Lastly, smile. I know you will not feel like it because I never do but, this is such a mood changer! As you breath in and out add a smile at the end of each breath. To make it easier I like to smile at someone and ask how they are doing. This helps me take any negative energy or focus from myself and turn my attention to others. This is such a game changer because people’s vibes rub off on you and your entire mood will shift. In a way it’s like you are playing pretend. By talking with others and ‘pretending’ you are feeling great helps you reach that state in reality. It’s like you mind and body catches up to your actions.
It is about being in a mental state of growth. Once we feel overcome and hopeless we have to remind ourselves that we are not done. This is not going to be our story for the rest of our lives.
I tend to beat myself up because of my anxiety. I know I shouldn’t, believe me I do–it’s just something I haven’t learned to push through. I see my blessing and having this weight on me has me feeling like I don’t appreciate my life. I hope with each day we will begin to understand ourselves better and not feel ashamed to live a life with anxiety.
Here are a few tips I have learned to help keep me balanced day in and day out. Everybody is different and we all experience anxiety in different ways so apply what you think will help you.
- Get enough sleep. This is a must for me. I find myself battling more negative thoughts and emotions all day if I didn’t get enough sleep. Feeling rested helps you stay clear minded and ready to enjoy the day.
- Eat lots of fruit. This tastes delicious and helps me feel hydrated and light. Fruit is not hard to digest so your body is not having to overwork. Eating my favorite fruit has me feeling happy and healthy throughout my day. Instead of eating food that makes me feel heavy or groggy I am gaining more natural energy.
- Try your best to stick to a routine. This will look different for everyone. Realistically, everyday is not going to be smooth sailing–there is no such thing as perfect days everyday. Creating a routine will help you feel more in control and helps you stay focused on what is important. Which includes making time to take care of yourself– your non-negotiables that leave you feeling good and anxious free.
At the end of the day taking care of yourself makes the biggest difference in how you perform throughout your day.
Let me know what you do to help you feel calm and less anxious.
Please feel free to share this post to anyone who you think needs it.
Until next time,