There it is again, that word. I already get anxiety when i read the word anxiety.
2021 is a funny time to be alive. We all get anxious without knowing where it's exactly coming from and the intake of xanax and other kinds of short term 'reliefs' is increasing with the day in the states. So basically we're all a bunch of anxious millennials, now what..?
It seems like we still haven't figured a way to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling quite yet.
To burst the first bubble real quick, unfortunately there is no such thing as getting completely rid of anxiety. It's part of our growing process and it's just there sometimes.
But we can however change our view on it, which can make a big difference!
What is anxiety exactly?
This is different for everyone, it can be a feeling of severe panic, a fear of separation from loved ones, places and people. It can be a chain reaction of negative self talk, self doubt and confusing intrusive thoughts. Or it can be the overwhelming feeling of fear once you've made a big decision or new steps for your future. And in some cases it could be linked to severe trauma. Once you become aware what the anxiety is and where it comes from, you're already halfway dealing with it.
When you know for a fact it's fear putting fake worries in our head, you can feel more safe to just let it go. Suppressing the anxiety makes it worse. It also makes you attract exactly that what you were so worried about, because well, the law of attraction is not a joke!
What to do with which type of anxiety?
Productivity anxiety- Anxious of doing a certain task on your to-do list: Just do it, (I know, easier said than done) but you'll realise you have been making it so big in your head all this time for nothing. Don't avoid or procrastinate these tasks, this will only increase and pile up which causes outbursts of emotions and stress which isn't necessary. Do them first! And reward yourself with an easier task afterwards. The more often we do this, the more our brain gets used to the process (neuro training). But that also applies if we choose to continue the procrastination. So choose wisely (: Read more about procrastination on the lifestyle coaching page
Anxiety of which direction in life you're headed- You are in control of your life. Just read that again for a second. Repeat it until you believe it until you feel calm again. Then focus on the tools, the people and knowledge you already have. Say thanks for them. Then maybe start making a realistic and attainable vision board for yourself. But from a grounded place first. Don't make any decisions or steps while you're having an anxiety attack: choices based on fear will never have a good outcome.
Period/ hormonal anxiety (yes, it's a thing!)- We tend to have lower blood sugar right before your period, in the luteal phase, also known as the pms phase in your menstrual cycle. In case your anxiety goes hand in hand with acne, fatigue, insomnia, cravings etc than this may be a sign your hormones are off balance! I dive deeper into this right here.
- Lying anxiety. Be honest!! When we lie, we aren't in touch with ourselves: when we lie to others we lie to ourselves. You've ever seen the guilty person in the movies being asked question while sweat running across his face? That's because lying or playing pretend is stressful and a low vibration. When we put actions with our words and live them, it already lowers our likeliness of stress because we stand in our power. When we speak our truth it only brings us closer to ourselves. When you have nothing to prove, nothing to keep up, then there's no burden to carry around.
Anxiety in general- Meditate. Not only is meditation the best way to detect anxiety and gives it a place, it also helps you with so many things in life: Nope it's not sweeping your problems under the rug. It's the opposite: you fully feel the discomfort. Now I know that doesn't sound very inviting to try, but man is it necessary sometimes.
- Breath work: Breathe deeply in and exhale a bit longer than you'd normally stop. Breathe from the stomach, instead of the chest which causes shallow breathing and increases the heart rate. Now repeat that a couple of times. Nice isn't it? It brings us in our bodies and out of our heads. It increases your productivity, clears your mind and gives you a better view on your thoughts, and perspective. To really observe and become aware of your anxiety or thoughts in general.
- wonder what is in your control. Ask yourself if you're doing the things you can do about the matter, and what's out of your control. Release any worry about the things you can't control.
Bonus tip: Try imagining this big round circle around your stomach and a smaller inner circle being your belly button. From the belly button you inhale a bright green light that expands and reaches all the way to the bigger circle, and as you exhale it decreases back to it's the smaller dot, colouring the circle light blue.
Inhale green, exhale blue.
So instead of getting overwhelmed by the feeling of anxiety, feeding into it, and drowning in it, just simply pause for a second to breathe. A lot of people think they can't meditate, or it's not for them, or they don't do it right. Meditation is for everyone! And you can just search on youtube any guided meditation, or download several apps like 'calm'. My favourite app to use is 'headspace'.
Go for a jog or a workout. Exercising releases endorphin hormones that decreases stress levels and boosts little chemicals that can shift your entire mood. Yesss.
And if you don't have the access to a workout just literally start moving! As soon as that feeling arises, shake your arms, wiggle your legs, get out of your head and into your body!
Grounding can be meditation but it can also mean: literal grounding. Uncross your legs and place both feet flat on the floor. Is the floor cold? If you're wearing shoes, do they feel tight around your feet or loose? Or come to a seated position with your legs crossed and place the palms of your hands on the floor and just connect.
-Writing down the little worry loop thats has been on repeat gives you clarity whether it's actually worth worrying about or not. Especially writing down the things you're grateful for. Gratitude remains nr 1 repellent for depression and anxiety.
The 3 s(ense)'s - sight, sound and smell.
You're experiencing a feeling of anxiety: stop and ask yourself:
Sight: What 3 colours do i see right now? (for example: The car that just passed you, red. The girl that walks in front of you wearing a brown coat. Blue, the sky above you.)
Sound: Anxiety still present? 'Which 3 sounds am i hearing right now?' ( the blue car that passed is accelerating. Birds singing. People's chatter)
Smell: And the last one: What smell can i smell right now?
When all the above doesn't work: Distraction
Now I'm the last one to advise distracting ourselves from our 'problems' but when you tend to have a perfectionist, self-improving mindset, sometimes soothing the mind is all we need.
-Listen to a podcast, read a book, watch your favourite tv show or play some music.
Once you become aware, once you realise 'oh hey, my mind is running like a 70's washing machine again' you can decide to let it run its course for a bit, then take control by some of the tips above. Just pause for a sec, tell yourself 'Hey! stop....there we go' pat yourself on the shoulder, laugh at yourself and at it (the anxiety). Don't take it too serious!
I hope this really helps for anyone out there struggling with this uncomfortable experience, and I hope you remember yourself that probably everyone around you is dealing or has dealt with it in certain times. Speak up, start moving, write, express and share your thoughts, you'll be surprised how many are in this with you and relate.
You got this!
Written by Mazarine Henninger