I have lived with anxiety most of my life, at varying levels, and I know a lot of you do too. I manage it more than it manages me these days, but it hasn’t always been that way. There was a time when Clive (what I named my anxiety monster) ruled the roost around here.
Sometimes he stopped me from exercising. Sometimes he stopped me from doing the grocery shopping. Sometimes he stopped me from going outside.
And although I manage my anxiety really well now, I think it’s important to get all Terrorist Watch on its arse and remain alert. Because it’s when you relax and think it’s totally gone that it rears its head again.
And I like to bang on about it regularly too, because I think:
a) it’s important to acknowledge that it’s possible to live with anxiety and still get on with living a fuck yes life, and
b) sometimes anxiety makes you feel like you’re the only one, and it’s nice to know there are others who are dealing with that shit too.
To that end, I thought I’d share some top tips on dealing with anxiety that I have gathered over the years:
My best tip is to move your body. I know that when I exercise regularly, Clive gets tinier and quieter. But it’s that tiny, quiet voice that gets me out of bed and into my running shoes at 5:20 am in the middle of winter when it’s dark and cold. Because I know if I don’t, he gets bigger and louder, and I’m the one that starts to disappear.
I also asked some awesome ladies I know who are nailing this anxiety gig to share their best tips. The thing about each of them is that, from the outside, they all look like they have got their shit together. It’s important to remember we’re all just humans doing the best we can, no matter how it looks to everyone else. Here is what these wonderful women had to say…
I have found positive affirmations help me when I am filled with disaster thoughts which is often at times of high stress. At first I would simply say to myself “touch wood” whenever I had a bad thought about something catastrophic happening. The only problem is that I’d often found myself nowhere near wood, so it freaked me out. So then I started saying “touchwood, touch wool, touch all”. “All” being my heart. Sounds a little loopy, but I am.
A couple of years ago, I simplified even further by tattooing a little love heart on my wrist. When I am filled with anxiety that something bad is going to happen, I touch it. It makes me feel better. It helps me calm my thoughts. Obviously, not everyone’s going to get a tattoo, but it is something that’s helped me. I can feel my pulse when I touch it and reminds me I am alive and to stop living in fear. Anxiety is a real knob and impacts people in different ways. Find the thing that helps you and stick to it. Believe in it. It will help. Bianca Wordley, Big Words Blog
I have a little collection of things I do regularly to manage my anxiety levels. These include talking about how I’m feeling, sipping a cup of herbal tea in a quiet spot, going for a brisk walk, cleaning and writing lists. All of these things help me think more clearly and quiet the chatter in my mind. They also make me feel calm, rational and on top of things. We may not all suffer from anxiety, but I dare say we all experience stress and I think it’s important to have coping strategies in place to help us through these tough times. Sonia Styling
1. Breathing properly can be as effective as a Valium. Truly. I was cynical until I tried it. If you’re in the midst of an anxiety attack or having troubles sleeping, breathe in for a count of four seconds, hold for a count of seven, and breathe out for a count of eight. Keep doing it until you feel better or fall asleep. It works. I promise.
2. Distraction. Distract distract distract. Keep busy. If you’re feeling highly anxious watch one of your favourite shows on TV or the iPad. Read one of your favourite books, websites or magazines. Listen to music. Talk to someone. The brain cannot focus properly on two things simultaneously so the aim is to crowd the worried thoughts out of you head. Kerri Sackville, author of The Little Book of Anxiety (or check her out on Facebook)
I told EVERYONE. I was suffering from depression and by telling everyone (I even wrote about it on my blog) I suddenly had all the support I needed. Trust me, your husband needs to know. And who gives a fuck if your in-laws judge you? You are more important than that.
Over the years I have learnt to deal with my dark side. I can see the warnings and have learnt the tools to counteract them. I have been happily taking medication for a few years and I can see the sun through the trees.
Please talk to your husband TODAY! PLEASE make an appointment with a GP today. You do not need to be living the life that you are trapped in. I KNOW BECAUSE I WAS YOU. Mrs Woog from her post Start the Conversation