When we look at another person you can’t see what is going on in their head. To us, it might look like they are the happiest person in the world; they have a great job, a wonderful family and a house you’d dream to own. Little do we realise that each day is an inner mental battle, full of worry, anxiety and stress. Welcome to the life (that was) of yours truly.
To lots of people I look like I have it all. Newsflash I don’t. I have anxiety issues and only now am I starting to learn how to deal with them properly. I struggled for years and years, which partly was escalated due to me not knowing I had epilepsy, but anxiety and worry is deep routed in me regardless. Depending on whether I’ve been looking after myself properly really determines if I’ll have spike in anxiety, but I found methods to ease it.
I can literally get myself into the most ridiculous worry loops. I over analyse how people perceive me, I go back over in my head conversations – did I offend anyone? Did I do something stupid? Do they hate me? I also put things off because I would get anxious. I’ve tried everything from seeing specialists, reading self-help books, going to hypnotherapy and of course CBT. I used to basically be a bit of a mess until a few years, ago when I started to realise how I could make my anxiety stop bothering me so much. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always there I just seem to have more of a handle on it, so I’m sharing my advice on what worked for me.
My story is a tiny bit different because I had a lot of epilepsy related anxiety – I didn’t know I was having absence seizures and therefore the aftermath made me anxious. Once diagnosed the anxietyotmeter dropped slightly. This new lease of life encouraged me to try more things, to really put a lid on this annoyance.
Classical Music | This was such a great thing I got into. I would find that instead of listening to songs that would trigger certain emotions; love, anger or sorrow, classic musical somehow calmed me and my brain would stop going into overdrive. Often at work I’ll pop my headphones on when things get too much and I’ll listen to some classical music
Cutting Back | What do I mean by cutting back? Cutting back on sugar and caffeine. Both really sped up my anxiety, not initially as I’d be on a buzz but I’d crash and that would make it really hard. I switched to decaffeinated coffee, and slowly eased eating too many sugary goods and processed foods. My body is a temple, as my Mum says, you have to look after it with what you put in it. Switching to fruit tea was great for me, I have lavender tea and chamomile tea to keep me nice and relaxed.
Reading Time | Switch your phone off. I’m terrible for doing this, I could sit reading through Twitter until it was bed time, but that is bad because my mind would races and give me weird dreams. I would also trigger insomnia too. I try (as much as possible) to have a cut off point, tricky when you’re a social media addict, but it meant a lot. Not only did I reduce any anxiety, fatigue or tireless from bad sleep, I was far more social with real people. I strongly suggest investing in some reading time. Find some light hearted, easy reading books to quiet your mind.
Yoga Practice | Best thing I got into, well, this and meditation. Forgive me for sounding a little bit hippy, but both really helped me focus within. You can centre yourself in the moment. I recently got into meditation and when I find myself getting into an anxious fluster, I try to centre myself.
Me Time | I actually found sometimes it was nice to do my own thing. I like a quiet pace sometimes so I would take the dog for a walk on my own over the fields, or I’d give myself a long lavender oil bubble bath, or a face mask. Basically something that was all about me, on my own and something I loved to do.
Good People | People that make you feel less of a person in anyway shape or form, make me anxious. Best thing? Get them out of your life. Fair enough sometimes these people are family members or work colleagues, but just be polite and keep your distance. I’ve had so many people in my life that have given me anxiety attacks. That hideous pit in your stomach feeling from speaking to someone, regardless, is not worth it. Options either include removing yourself from social activity or confronting them about how your feel. This might spike your anxiety, so I would tread with caution. Whatever way, just remember life is too short for people who make you feel anxious, so if in your job that is happening? Find something that works for you.
Talking | Talking to someone can help. Personally I found I didn’t want to dwell on what made me anxious, it was almost like reminding myself that I was anxious. This then made me anxious, it was a vicious loop. I just used to talk to people, about anything but anxiety. Getting some exciting plans together and talking/listening with other people. Not avoiding the problem, but not making it worse by giving it too much attention.
Anxiety doesn’t need to rule your life, it can be tamed. I found that when I kept over thinking about it made me worse, but by accepting it and working out ways to keep it quiet, worked for me. Just remember life is too short to be doing anything that makes you feel like this, so change it. I still have dodgy days, but I know if I do any of the above I can help ease the feelings that anxiety gives me.