Anxiety and I are old friends, it likes to come and visit me every once in a while. Even though feeling anxious is familiar to me, I am baffled by my need to worry each time. It’s panicky nature is smothering and I wish I knew the secrets to mastering it and banishing it from life for good.
There are bound to be lots of other folk that experience this surface level anxiety that just sort of lurks with you for the whole day. It’s like I can’t access that calm relaxed feeling, where I know everything will be okay. Currently, it’s more common for me to have a fluttery tummy, feelings of unease, sweaty palms, cotton mouth and a panicky feeling in my chest.
There are certain things I can pinpoint that are likely to be causing me more anxiety than normal, but generally everything seems to be making me feel anxious at the moment, and life is a little overwhelming.
One of the reasons my anxiety levels can be so high, is down to my wild imagination. It’s one of the things I am so thankful for as it feeds my creativity, however it is also the cause for me imagining all sorts of fanciful things happening and going wrong.
Another source of my anxiety is letting myself be vulnerable, which I understand is unavoidable if you want to live a creative and wholehearted life. Some of it is habit… it’s so easy to slip into old patterns. Every time, I have to relearn how to distance myself from the worry and remember how to feel calm and centred.
My husband pointed out something to me when we were chatting about this the other day; the anticipation of not being able to cope with something is a great source for my anxiety, and often causes more stress than the actual event itself.
When you are thinking with a clear head, it is crazy to be worried about the perceived threat of something. Plus these things are all in the future – a great reminder that living in the present moment really is such a gift and key to a happy life. Also, most importantly, history has proven that I have coped with all the things that life has thrown at me. I might not have coped with as much grace and ease as I would have liked but managed I have.
It’s also important to remember that when life hands you a difficult phase and things start to feel hard, that it is a great opportunity for growth and change.
One thing that really helps is focusing on my breath and allowing that to wash over me like a wave of calm. By breathing through my anxiety, and being really mindful of where my thoughts go, I’m just about managing to navigate this anxious spell.
Here are some things that help when I am feeling anxious…
- One day at a time – By just focusing on what’s happening today it helps bring my mind to the present, and avoids any worries about future events.
- Time with loved ones – Spending time with Bailey, and my husband, and lots of extra cuddles and hugs reminds me what it is to feel safe.
- Deep breathing – This is really what saves me when I am feeling really panicky. Dropping into my breath slows down my thoughts and takes me out of my head and makes me aware of my body. Again it brings my focus right into the present moment.
- Healthy snacks – Regularly snacking so I don’t get hungry really helps me. Leaving too long between meals makes my anxiety worse.
- Time in nature – Once again, nature works wonders for my well-being. It helps me feel grounded and helps put everything into perspective.
I know I have to be better at trusting that it will all be okay and allowing myself to surrender to the ride that is ‘life’. But boy, that is hard to do. I would love to hear if you have any secrets for mastering anxiety; What works for you? What do you do when you are in the middle of an anxious spell?