Anxiety hit me like a depth charge in my mid-twenties. Unbeknownst to me it was something that ran in the family. At first I was utterly terrified and still, to this day, I feel like I’m constantly on edge but as I began to learn about anxiety, reflect on my past, and took a rational, logical approach to coping with it, I had attacks less frequently.
Those of you know what it’s like when you feel anxiety coming on and as it washes over your being:
· Your body begins to feel alien
· Your mind begins to race
· Your heart feels like it’s going to burst
· Your hands tingle
There is a real sense of dread but even though you know that it’s anxiety, you can’t stop your mind from wandering to the worst case scenario. You usually hop on a medical site and begin to worry more because all of these symptoms point to the worst (which isn’t helping any).
It’s terrible. I know it. You know it… but it is all in our head.
I’ve spent the last few years working my way through a variety of techniques to calm my mind and body when these events happen. I don’t know if you’re reading this and feeling fine or if you’re currently feeling anxiety but either way I’d like to share a few tactics that have substantially helped me handle this terrible affliction:
Tips to Manage Anxiety:
A. Go see your primary care doctor
A big concern with anxiety attacks is that you assume you’re having a heart attack (fast heart rate, tingling, soar chest, etc). What has helped me tremendously was making sure that I would see my primary care doctor regularly to do checkups especially when it came to heart health.
My doctor reassured me that my heart was in great condition; I had nothing to worry about. Now, whenever I feel this dread coming on I run those words through my head – I remind myself my body is in good condition and that it’s not the end for me.
B. Invest in products that help you relax
I like to call them my “rock” because it holds me down in reality so I don’t drift off into an illogical state of mind. For me the item that has helped the most are my full-sized headphones because it feels as if someone is holding onto me (as silly as that sounds); mix in ambient and chill-out music and my anxiety cuts down very rapidly.
You may need to explore what works for you.
A simple squeeze ball to relieve stress may do it. You may want something that encourages more full-body relaxation, such as a specialized chair in which your significant other can give you massages to calm down. If this sounds good to you, visit www.massagetableoutlet.com and browse through the different varieties of massage therapy products.
Or, it may be a favorite book or movie that instantly takes your mind off the matter.
C. Practice creating a calm mind
Say what you want about meditation but it really does help when you are experiencing bouts of anxiety.
You don’t have to associate it with the whole spiritual thing; I only say meditation in the sense of stopping what you’re doing, focusing all your attention on a single, positive thing, and relaxing your body. You don’t need to do any poses – simply lying in bed with your eyes closed will do it.
What also works for me are breathing exercises because it forces you to concentrate on the actions rather than allowing your mind to go all haywire. There are a few different ways to do breathing exercises but my preferred method is to close one nostril with your finger, breath in deep through one side, close that one, and exhale through the other. It’s slow and calming.
There are many more suggestions I would recommend you reviewing but I also want you to try to find two or three that works for YOU. I know it sucks but next time you have an attack – experiment with just one technique to destress – the anxiety will eventually dissipate and you’ll have learned something new about how to manage and cope with your anxiety.