Have you ever been playing in the ocean and suddenly out of nowhere a bigger than normal wave comes from nowhere, no pre-warning? You find yourself knocked under the waves power, and tumbled around until you can finally resurface and catch your breath.
For a few moments you feel completely out of control. You wonder what is happening? You wonder if you will resurface. You are desperate for a peaceful breath to enter your lungs. For a moment you may question wether you will ever find that sense of calm, and happiness again.
That is what anxiety can feel like. Like the wind has been knocked out of you. You may experience waves of confusion, nausea, the sweats, sore stomach, cramps, tiredness, or like you just want hide from the world.
Anxiety is a normal, yes I said a ‘normal’ feeling. We all need it in order to survive and protect our selves from real danger. For example, if we were about to jump in front of a car we should feel anxious, and for the good reason that it is actually dangerous to do so! Anxiety stops us from putting ourselves in dangerous situations. The problem is not anxiety, it is when we become anxious of seemingly normal events. It is when we fear things that we do not need to fear. If anxiety stops us from leaving our home, from meeting people, from having a job, or living an active, healthy, and social life where we can interact with others, then it becomes something that needs to be addressed.
First an foremost if you feel like you may be affected by anxiety you should seek advice from a professional. Please never feel embarrassed to speak up, and don’t feel alone. Anxiety is one of the most common conditions we have in our society, yet so many people feel they have to hide it. You do not have to hide it, so please ask for support.
Here are a few helpful tips and habits that you can adopt to help you live happier, and experience less worry.
- Writing, or using art to express your feelings. Getting your feelings out in a creative way is a wonderful way to release stress and reduce our anxiety levels.
- Take a time out. Take a moment, place your hands on your chest and breathe! Slow your breathing by trying to focus on something you are grateful for in your life. Try to direct your thoughts to a moment, or a person that makes you smile, and breathe them into each breath.
- Practice gratitude daily. This will help you focus more easily on the good things in your life next time you start to feel anxious.
- Question it. Don’t accept it as reality. Often anxious thoughts are irrational. They might start off from something real, but we build them up and make them worse. Really look if the evidence is there to support the worry.
- Be in the present moment. Don’t project thoughts or fears of the future into the present moment. What is happening right now? Don’t allow you self to play the “what if” game!
- Is it actually even about you? Is your worry about what is happening to someone else? Don’t let other people’s worries become your own.
- Eat well. if you are having a bad week emotionally, try to nurture your body with some yummy, healthy foods. Go out and eat a delicious meal, or cook some homemade soup! It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it will make you feel better.
- Talk to someone you trust. Can they can just listen, can they take your baby for an hour or two so you can sleep, can they just give you a hug?
- Exercise, I know you know this one, but it is true! Get moving!
- Fresh air will do you wonders.
- Water, another one I am sure you know, but drinking water will help flush out those negative toxins.
- Accept you can not control things! Life can not be controlled. When you are anxious you often feel it is because things out out of control. The truth is we can not control others, or the way people see things. We can’t control the weather, we can’t make the traffic move, we can’t control if our baby is unwell, so surrender your control, and accept that with somethings we can only do our best.
- Face your fear. Often the things we are avoiding end up being OK. If the fear is not rational (again examine the evidence), then why not face it? If you are avoiding a job interview just go for it, or avoiding talking to your friend about a disagreement, just open up and be honest.
- Volunteer. Helping others can make us feel happier, and more productive too.
- Mindfulness, Yoga, Meditation. These can all be amazing tools to cope with anxiety. There is an abundance of information about these on the internet, just look them up! There are also some great apps for mindfulness you can even download onto your phone.
- Be kind to yourself! Sometimes we just need to be a little more gentle with ourselves. We all deserve a rest! Do something nice for yourself more often!
I hope these tips help.
Remember if you know anyone with anxiety, or anyone suffering mental illness, show compassion. Mental illness is VERY real! It is not something people can just snap out of so do not expect them too!
We need to break down the negative stigmas and show support. If you notice a loved one withdrawing, no longer showing up to social events, or work, or avoiding answering the phone, make sure you ask them if they are really OK? Be their lighthouse.
If this post speaks directly to you, please speak up, and let others support you.
Thanks for joining me, love Mac xx
Have you heard of my new Instagram Hashtag Communities? #livingfearlesslyauthentic is a tag you can add to pretty much any Instagram photos you post! It is all about sharing photos of our ‘real lives!’