After a less-than-positive day, I wanted to use my personal struggle with anxiety issues as a basis for this post.
Today was planned to be a very productive day, and from the moment my eyes opened this morning, I knew it would not be going according to schedule.
Anxiety of any form makes life incredibly difficult. Most days it is undetectable by others that I am struggling. And then there are days where it is out there, at it’s worst and available for the whole world to see.
This isn’t going to be the story about my past issues with anxiety, or a deep description of how it feels on my worst days to battle such a illness. The truth is: if you suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, you already know what it feels like.
I wanted to take what I have learned about harnessing my anxiety issues. I use the word ‘harness’ as that is exactly what we need to do – take the reins of the thing trying to control our emotions and our body and steer our anxiety to a safe place.
This is one I am sure you’ve heard before during moments where someone else can recognise you’re feeling overwhelmed. However, if you learn how to breathe for relaxation purposes, it can be incredibly calming.
There are YouTube videos which can help you with learning how to focus on your breathing during anxious times as well as an amazing app which I have been using for the past year. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of your day to (try) and centre yourself, your thoughts and your mind can really effect your overall wellbeing positively.
2.. Time Out
Not everyone has the ability to drop everything and take a sick day. However, taking time out during your day to be alone can be extremely helpful in clearing your mind and recharging your body. Whether it’s taking an hour in the morning to read, or spending some time in the evening watching an episode of your favourite TV show; doing ‘nothing’ and isolating yourself for a small time can really help defuse an anxious period.
3.. Write It Down
Having a place to write down how you feel on a daily basis can be really cathartic and also very helpful in the event of seeking help from a professional as you have your thoughts/feelings written down for reference. Don’t be afraid to be honest with how you feel on a daily basis, even trying to write down what setting/event you may have been exposed to during moments where your anxiety is heightened. Just as important, write about times when you’re feeling better, and how you might have been able to get your anxiety under control.
4.. Work Out
Now, I’m not one to tell you to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes, followed by a pilates session every morning…but, sometimes moving and working out does help with releasing tension, focusing on yourself and gaining some endorphins from whatever makes you work up a sweat. Try and find 20 minutes a day to go for a walk outside (fresh air does wonders for the soul), or put on a work out DVD or find a video on YouTube to follow which might be entertaining to try.
5.. Talk To Someone
As much as the thought of talking to a complete stranger about our anxiety and personal issues seems frightening (and, well, it is for the first session), getting help is sometimes exactly what we need to find a better path for us to continue learning about ourselves.
Speaking as someone who has seen a counsellor before, sometimes all you may need is someone you don’t know to tell you that how you are feeling is okay. Knowing that you are not the only one feeling the way you are can be comforting and also can be incredibly beneficial when you are seeking help.
If you are after someone to talk to over the phone, whether it’s due to an urgent matter, or you don’t wish to be seen face-to-face, there are also phone helplines which are designed to speak with people any time of the day or night (and they are usually a free call, too).
Your mental health is important. How you feel on a daily basis is important. My hope is that the next generation are able to speak out about their anxiety issues with more support and understanding that the generations before us.
You are never alone in your struggle and please remember that it is never too late to reach out if you think you need a helping hand in harnessing your anxiety issues, no matter how big or small they may seem.