Touches us all at some point in our lives in varying degrees.
This is just a little part of my story and thoughts that created some of my anxiety's and few things that changed my life, living beyond the fear of anxiety.
Anxiety comes in many forms, and the severity varies from person to person. From the frustration of sleepless nights, simple overthought and worry to full-blown panic attacks or just mild concerns, it affects us all at some point in our lives in different degrees.
In the last 12 months, the world has been in a situation that has created some feelings and a whole lot more because we haven't experienced times like this before, and that scares some of us because we don't know what we don't know and it brings up all sorts of sensations in our minds and bodies.
It's the fight or flight mode of the sympathetic nervous system in action, helping to keep us safe?!
Mmmm, for me, and I am speaking only from what I have lived through and talking to my clients and their experiences. I am not a health professional.
I know for me and those I've spoken to, it's held us back from the life we wanted to live and create.
Yet, it gave us something.
I understand that sounds really harsh right?
Nobody wants to feel the possibility of horrible panic attacks or sweats and terrors! Vomiting gastro like events not being able to breathe!! Nobody should have to feel this way, and I wish we didn't.
I wish everyone could learn a way that we didn't feel these things or everyone find a tool technique or skill to lessen the severity and, in time, have it disappear!
In my life, I've felt all of these feelings below and more. I wonder if you have felt some of these too?
Yes, I've had many moments feeling like the above and now continually use practises to help reduce the feeling at the moment. With mindful breathing and anchoring meditations, it works for me, and I hope you find a technique that works for you.
For me, I now know that all of these feelings, no matter how scary they were, no matter how they held me back, in some strange way kept me safe, in my comfort of not getting out there because I didn't want to get hurt or feel stupid and "Nobody needed to hear what I had to say" Did want people to leave me and yet I felt I had no control either. It was cruel, and I didn't understand why?
It also comes from the past experiences in our lives and childhood memories when we had a fear or worry from an event and the various stories we have told ourselves about that moment. It lives with us.
You may have something big, or like I was totally unaware because I never knew, I hadn't felt I had a bad memory of an event. Yet I did!!
For myself, I have uncovered many moments; here's a few I will share...
Without going into too much detail, I created a crazy amount of stories that aren't even true, and it affected all my reactions in my relationships to the point now. It surfaced in a coaching session. A significant person left my life when I was 3. I had a story of those that love me leave! So I reacted with some form of anxiety in fear. Thanks to my awareness, I have lessened the severity and know if anyone left, it was me. I pushed them away to keep myself safe from being hurt!!!!
I don't respond well when I hear loud voices are yelling from a moment in my childhood and hearing the voice yell back that my thoughts did not need to be heard! Yep, I fear speaking up, speaking out, and standing up for myself, and I react with anxiety.
Strangely enough, my fear and anxiety reaction over the years turned to anger. At the point of hearing anger, I also yell back, so now I step away and practise my breathing and meditation.
And the last I will share was a fear of driving and even more so with passengers! I've been in several car accidents, none of which were bad and none of which I was the driver, one a girlfriend and I were bloody lucky, both as passengers. I also had a partner that always had me drive home from events, and it was never a nice experience. I worked at home and hardly drove, and then it got to the stage. I was seriously gastro like event sick I'd shake and sweat my breathing was fast and shallow, every time I had to go somewhere, I even had my shopping delivered.
Yet I was capable of driving my kids where ever they needed to go! I could do anything for my kids.
One day I had a reason the drive through the city and hours past the other side to get to where my heart wanted me to go.
I DID IT. I WAS SO PROUD OF MYSELF. Have I completely beaten my fear? No, not YET!
Only when I am going somewhere new I "feel the fear and do it anyway," I ask myself, what's the worst that can happen?
Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it— just as we have learned to live with storms.”
A few things to start noticing and try...
Notice your breath. Are you breathing shallow into your chest or belly? Is it rapid?
Start mindfully deep breathing. I breathe in. I breathe out.
6 deep breathes often esp. when feeling overwhelmed. Just keep saying, as you breathe, I breathe in, I breathe out.
Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
Movement and exercise daily. If possible, with nature and observe all the natural beauty, breathe the fresh air.
Watch caffeine and alcohol intake. Keep hydrated.
Eat well. Don't skip meals and eat good wholesome foods to fuel your body.
Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, be proud of all your achievements, acknowledge them.
Accept that you cannot control everything. Only with time we can learn to help our reactions.
Find ways to introduce some fun. Dance, sing, find something to have a good belly good laugh goes a long way.
Try for a more positive attitude. Make an effort to acknowledge your negative thoughts and introduce more positive ones.
Find something you enjoy doing. It gives you a break from everyday stress and finds happiness and enjoyment.
Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to someone a Dr a health professional, a coach, or a counsellor.
The more we notice, the more we acknowledge, we can learn to find a way to respond in a way that works for us. Maybe try a journal and record what you noticed at the start and how you felt at the end. Find your pattern, learn what helps you move past the feeling and moment.
“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.”
Find what works for you.
I started with the breath, a mindful technique of an anchoring meditation (like a breaking of state) which I do where any stage and at any time, and it takes my mind away from overwhelm and the fear into a beautiful memory of peace and calm, "my happy place." and it even brings a smile to my face. I journal and do a little gratitude every day.
Please share your thoughts and feelings; don't keep them locked inside. You may find that although our journeys to this point are different and what we experience is different, we are not alone in our feelings, and together we can help each other. What we found helpful to us might help others. It helps give insight into other possibilities, for me gaining the awareness of the past and the stories have been a game-changer and baby steps into the fear and out of the comfort zone and knowing I had the opportunity to flick my switch to what I was thinking and my reaction. WOW, just WOW.
I would like to know what works for you? Have you found a way that changes your levels of Anxiety? If you would like to share or add something that may help someone else, That would be amazing and if you've read this far, Thank you. I hope it gave you some value and hope that you can and will find the right thing for you.
“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale
"Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety; after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.” – Ali Ibn Abi Talib