A couple of months ago, I had a really bad anxiety attack.
The kind that froze me up, put me on the floor, and had me scrambling for anything that would take the blanket of panic off of my body.
I was wrapped in a towel, lying nearly under my bed, and listening to “Calming Sounds” radio on Spotify.
If I’m being honest, I don’t know how long I was there.
I don’t know what put me there…
and I don’t know what got me up.
It caught me so off guard; I hadn’t experienced that feeling in quite sometime, probably since college.
In my earlier days of being told I had issues with anxiety I was given pills to “take care” of the problem.
I don’t know about you, but I really like the idea of being able to wake up in the morning and take my vitamins and not feel like I am having to take chemicals in order for my mind and body to function just right.
Obviously it wasn’t like that at first, I ran through my anxiety medication and while it helped me feel better right now… it didn’t force me to find out what could really help long term.
I wasn’t coached on breathing exercises, ways to pull my mind out of the situation, foods to avoid, exercises to try… none of it.
I was told to take half of this pill when I feel the panic coming, a whole one if it’s really bad.
Let’s get one thing straight, I am not bashing medication or trying to hate on the health care system in America. That is a conversation I am neither equipped or willing to have.
I am, however, pointing out that if you are like me and you struggle with feeling guilty about your anxiety and you want to find a better way to coach yourself through those situations… then maybe some of my tips will help.
I didn’t have a prescription filled at the time of my last “moment” as I will call it, but if I did I would’ve taken them. Still, I calmed myself down and managed to get back on track without them.
So, let me start by saying that I am not claiming to be a medical professional in this field or a guru in any way. The things I am about to tell you are discoveries that I have made throughout my journey with anxiety.
**If you are prescribed any medication and are wanting to come off of it for any reason, PLEASE consult your Doctor before doing so, please and thank you.**
Think about the following:
- Are you getting in some form of exercise everyday?
- What kinds of foods are you eating? Processed? Any whole foods?
- When was the last time you took a stroll by yourself?
- Are you happy with where you are in life?
- Do you surround yourself with positivity? Positive people?
- Do you do any daily meditation?
- How long has it been since you’ve done something that you genuinely love?
- How often do you change up your environment?
- What is your attitude when you wake up in the morning?
- How much sleep do you get at night?
- How do you approach stressful situations?
Before you stop reading, I promise I’m not a hippie and that this is going somewhere. lol
Not that there is anything wrong with being a hippie, I’m just not one.
When I started implementing a healthy diet and exercise it helped my anxiety A LOT, but it was still there.
These issues don’t come with a “one size fits all” solution. Even with medication, it’s trial and error until you find the one that really works for you.
Are you finding that maybe some of these questions are poking you a little harder than others?
Use the questions to provoke thought, not to make you feel guilty about anything you may or may not do.
I think what it is for me, and why I’m putting such an emphasis on happiness, is because I have a bit of a temper. For someone who gets angry easily and also deals with anxiety it is super helpful to use some of the techniques I’m going to share.
But you have to figure out what it is for you. You don’t need someone else to tell you.
Ask yourself those questions over and over.
And then when you get an answer, ask “WHY?” or “HOW?” over and over until you get to the root.
What is your attitude in the morning?
Why isn’t it great?
– Because I don’t like my job.
Why don’t you like your job?
-Because I’m not going anywhere and it’s not what I want to be doing.
Why don’t you do something that you like to do?
-Because I feel stuck and can’t risk losing my job.
How are you working to fix it?
-I’m not really doing anything to fix it, it’s just the same thing every day.
(And then keep going until you slap yourself with a bucket of insight on your own life.)
Do you see where I’m going with this?
This scenario can play out 100 different ways on every question for every person that reads this.
It doesn’t happen overnight. Investing in yourself is something you do for long-term benefits, so put in some effort for a little self discovery.
Like I said, you don’t have to have it figured out in one day.
Some of you might have one big stressor in your life right now that’s causing you some hard core anxiety.
But don’t just settle with that, try to understand a little bit more about yourself.
Even if you aren’t struggling with anxiety, it’s very healthy to get in touch with these little things about yourself maybe you forgot about or didn’t realize was there.
Believe it or not, there is more to this than just breathing.
What I call “focused breathing” (I’m sure someone else calls it that too) is so important for those of us who tend to snap back a little too quick with our words when we’re feeling heated.
Also for those of us who feel a little anxious or even a serious meltdown coming on.
There are simple guided breathing meditations out there, so I’ll recommend the app I like to use, also. Those will give you more of the in depth calming of your body and mind.
But this is a quick technique I like to use for when I’m feeling overwhelmed, flustered, hateful, anxious, or straight up pissed off.
First just take a big ol’ deep breath. In through the nose and out the mouth. Like uncomfortably deep.
Give me 5 of those.
Here is where it turns into more than just breathing…
Close your eyes.
Focus on each breath.
Focus on breathing slow and feel how your chest expands when it fills up with air.
Keep the rhythm of in the nose and out the mouth.
(1) In the nose
(2) out the mouth
(3) In the nose
(4) out the mouth
(5) … and so on.
When you get to 10… start back at 1. Don’t lose focus. If your thoughts run away to laundry or work… reel it back in and only focus on air moving through you.
Do it until you feel better or feel peaceful again.
Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
I use this to help me fall asleep when my head won’t stop rushing with thoughts. Or when I overreact in traffic when someone cuts me off (without closing my eyes). Or when I just wake up feeling trapped and like I physically cannot get out of bed.
You’ll be surprised how much this can help.
I’m not going to give you all the reasons raising your heart rate is good for your physical and mental health. I’m just going to tell you that doing something that makes you sweat everyday WILL inevitably help you be in a better mood.
Ladies- there are thousands of women -INCLUDING moms- across the world that do their makeup and hair everyday and don’t want to mess it up by a little sweat session.
BUT THEY DO IT ANNYYYWAYYYYY (Martina McBride reference)
3. DRINK MORE WATER
4. EAT MORE WHOLE FOODS
I’m not saying eat AT Whole Foods. Eat. More. Whole. Foods.
Think more veggies and fruits and less Doritos and gas station roller hot dogs.
If you want some more information on this, here’s more about what to eat (and what not to eat) if you struggle with anxiety
If you’ve made it this far, I’m guessing this is what you came for. Several months ago I made a post on FB asking if anyone would be interested in my meditation app I use & LOVE.
So many people showed interest but I wanted to give this topic it’s due diligence so I’ve held off until now to share it.
Don’t assume this is some profound form of healing.
But also don’t assume that it won’t have a significant impact on your life, because it may.
The app I’ve been using for awhile is called Insight Timer – Meditation App.
The reason I like this one VS some of the others I’ve used is because it has a lot of different people who upload meditations. You can go through and choose one based on your preferences.
If you’re new to it, I recommend just going with something short and introductory.
I also use the Spotify Radio “Calming Sounds,” it does the trick when I need to hear something soothing but not annoying. Some of them are like laying in the middle of a field and just listening to nature. So peaceful.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions on this!
6. GO OUTSIDE
Even if just 15 minutes, get you some Earth up in those nostrils.
*Bonus points* Go outside and do a BREATHING MEDITATION.
That’s almost a triple whammy.
7. ESSENTIAL OILS
Hop on the band wagon and invest (Here’s a best seller on Amazon On sale $22) in a little diffuser and fill your living space with scents that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
There are blends that you can get that are specifically for Anxiety Relief, Headache Relief, Sleep, etc.
If you want to really get into this, here’s an article from Dr. Axe on The Top 7 Essential Oils for Anxiety.
This may or may not contradict what experts say to do.
My dad and I share the burden of anxiety, and I recently got to talk to him about it and for some reason it really gave me a sort of peace to share that with him and for him to share his struggles with me.
There’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone, sometimes.
If you don’t have anyone to talk to… you obviously have my information. I’m here.
9. BELONG TO SOMETHING
I think this one is overlooked as something that can help people with anxiety.
But I am really loving how this is affecting my life.
What I mean by this is find something you really enjoy and find a group or something to belong to.
I belong to a gym and just signed up for a 60 day challenge where I have to do weigh-ins every week. While I’m a little nervous and definitely out of my comfort zone, it’s good to expose myself to new environments and new challenges.
It keeps me out of my own head.
I HIGHLY recommend taking up a yoga class. Yoga is also something that I have found to be awesome for relief from anxiety.
But it doesn’t have to be fitness related, find your thing.
10. TAKE A BATH
Sitting in some hot water and letting your muscles and your mind unwind can sometimes be the key ingredient to a reset.
Add in some lavender scent for extra relief.
(11.) Bonus *Chase’s Note*
“When I get really anxious and overwhelmed, I like to think of 3 things that I’m thankful for.”
To wrap it up…
Once you have your leg up on one of the big assholes of life, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.
When it’s a good day, let it be good. Try not to sweat all that little stuff that gets under your skin. Once you can see clearly try to breathe, and move on.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read todays post!