Several years ago due to having stressful situations in my work life, social life, and personal life I developed terrible anxiety, which led to panic attacks — resulting in loss of sleep, problems with eating, which in turn affected my overall health.
I went from a very social person to someone that hardly left the house. At one point I thought I would never recover which only fueled my anxiety.
Today I would like to share the top 7 ways I used to overcome my anxiety.
1. Remember to Breathe
Pay attention to your breathing. Most people take their breathing for granted. Breath is by far the most important of all the steps, as we breathe in a completely different way when anxious than we do when calm.
So if you breathe in a way that calms the body, nature will do the rest.
When we are anxious our ‘fight or flight response’ is triggered — originally named for its ability to enable us to fight, or run away when faced with danger physically.
Fight or flight was essential for our ancestors, but now it’s activated in situations where neither response is appropriate, like in traffic or during a stressful day at work.
Symptoms include dry mouth, fast breathing, heart pounding, tense muscles, and slow digestion. These symptoms create more anxiety which leads to an anxiety loop. Anyone that has had anxiety knows how quickly this anxiety loop can lead to a panic attack.
Remember to breathe
When you begin to feel anxious, do some diaphragmatic breathing. When people are anxious, they take shallow breaths reducing the oxygen intake. Diaphragmatic breathing takes in maximum oxygen which signals to the body that the threat is gone so it will return to normal functioning
To check if your doing it properly simply put a hand on your chest and stomach while breathing. When you breathe in your stomach should rise, as if filling up with air, and when you breathe out the stomach will fall.
2. Move Your Body In Any Way You Can
Walking, running, riding a bike, dancing, swimming or Zumba. Step two is also linked to breathing but has the added effect of taking your mind off your problem or worry. Step two may lead to more of step three.
3. Sleep You know You Need It
Studies show that sleep loss is associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety—but it’s not completely clear if anxiety keeps you up at night or if dealing with insomnia increases your risk for anxiety. Either way, the vicious cycle can put your brain on edge.
4. Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine can exacerbate anxiety as it acts as a central nervous system stimulant. It is making your body more aware of the feelings of anxiety. Plus, caffeine keeps the body awake which can affect sleep, which is essential to help overcome anxiety.
5. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
6. Expand Your Social Support
Social support is a core component in managing stress and coping with anxiety. So, reach out, call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. It is all about connection.
7. Stay away from drugs or alcohol
Perhaps they work in the short term, but they often do the opposite in the long term.especially with panic attacks. Talk your doctor if you feel you cannot stop using.
Having suffered from anxiety myself, I highly recommend diaphragmatic breathing, more exercise, more sleep, and less caffeine.
The main lesson I learnt in my recovery was patience.
We all want instant results, but like learning to drive a car, you don’t just jump in and drive. You take lessons and the more lessons you take, the better you get.
Similarly when you want to recover from anxiety, after a few days using the above tips you might not see that much change, but after a few weeks, if you record your progress in your gratitude journal, you will see a massive difference.
I wish you all the best on your journey.
Thanks for reading.
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