Updated: Feb 15
Anxiety is one of the worst feelings. It stems from us anticipating that something fearful is going to happen. It can leave you feeling helpless, vulnerable, and like you need to avoid situations or can’t cope with them, so you might hide. Unfortunately, this behaviour rewards avoidance. I know this from first-hand experience, and to this day I still fight with the voice inside my head when it tells me that I could get hurt.
In the society we are living in right now, people are suffering more strain and stresses, especially because we are still going through the Covid-19 pandemic. Life seems to be leaving more and more people anxious and unsure about what their future has in store for them. Even after all the years of inner work that I’ve done, I still found my own anxiety going through the roof at the start of the pandemic. In my experience, the more you try and fight anxiety, the more tense you become. This can come out as anger- at least, it did in my case.
So instead of going back to my old ways of coping, which was drinking and taking anti-depressants, I found other ways to handle my anxiety:
Exercise - My first step was to get my old kick boxing bag up for exercise and to get my mind focusing on something else. Exercise is one of the best natural anti-anxiety solutions out there. Physical activity raises the serotonin and endorphin levels, helping us feel emotionally better. If hard exercise isn't something you can physically do, try walking, yoga, dancing- whatever you can do. Just get up and get moving.
Mediation - The mind cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. I found taking 10 minutes per day to focus on my breathing calmed my mind down. This cleared my thoughts, freeing up my mental space.
Say NO - Know your limitations. Our brain only has so much capacity and we only have so many hours in the day. Saying no isn't selfish. It reduces overwhelming feelings, which is paramount to combating anxiety. We all need to look after our own inner strength. We can’t help others if we are falling apart ourselves.
Sleep - You are not a robot- get plenty of good sleep every night. We need several stages of sleep to function or we become sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation affects the body in so many ways, such as memory loss, lack of concentration, weakened immune system and mood changes.
Cry/Talk - I was taught from an early age that crying is a sign of weakness, that talking to others shows vulnerability and leaves us open to being hurt. This left me isolating myself. In fact, it also allowed my aggressive side to take charge. If I was aggressive, no one would get close and this left me feeling alone and unloved for so many years. Since I started my personal development journey, I have learned that while the above may have some truth in it, but also stops the great people coming into our lives. I've since found that crying and talking about how I feel has allowed me to release pent up emotions, strain and a hell of a lot of pressure.
Journaling - Reflecting has been a fantastic and priceless technique for me. I started this just after I lost my mum in 2018. I had so many things to cope with and do, but my anxiety started to get the better of me- I was anxious about how my biological father and his girlfriend were going to react to the fact that my mother wanted to be buried with her late son. If you exaggerate your thoughts, that will affect how you feel, which will then show in your actions. Monitoring them all through journaling, has been a life changing experience for me and it can be for you too. You can read more about journaling here and here.