Have you ever felt as though you were no longer in control over your own body? Like you are a puppet on a string and someone or something else is deciding your every thought, emotion, and movement? Well, you are not alone. Battling anxiety daily can be exhausting, debilitating, and crippling. And, contrary to popular belief, anxiety isn’t something you can just get over or let go. Rather, we learn how to manage our thoughts and regulate our emotions to gain control of our anxiety instead of anxiety controlling us.
Anxiety can look vastly different for different people. For me, I begin to feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest and my heart begins to race. My whole body begins to tremble, and I feel an almost outer body experience. As if I am floating and looking at my body from the outside; disconnected from the world around me. For some, anxiety may look like extreme exhaustion after completing a small task. It could be trouble falling asleep or staying asleep; like you are full of nervous energy and cannot get comfortable. Whatever anxiety looks like for you, in all cases it is not something anyone looks forward to battling or facing each day.
Over the years through tons of research and lots of advice, one common trigger is our thoughts. While I, like many others, do not even realize how our thoughts have affect us. The way we perceive ourselves or “talk” to ourselves can trigger an anxiety attack or help calm our bodies. Below are a few ways that may help you calm your anxiety.
- Journaling- Keep track of your thoughts each day. Oftenthere are common triggers we may not notice. Having the ability to go look at how various events affected us helps us to recognize a trigger before it occurs and helps us prepare our minds before the event. For instance: due to past experiences, being around certain family members can send me into a full-blown panic attack. I used to think it was social settings, but after looking at my journal, I have discovered it isn’t social settings, but rather certain people in those social settings.
- a. Try the 3 P method. Peak (best part of your day no matter how small or meniscal it may be), pit (the hardest or lowest part of your day), positive affirmation (identify something positive about yourself).
2. Be kind to myself- Like most people, I tend to point out my flaws or areas in which I feel like I am not good enough. During one of these moments, my mother stopped me and said, “Would you tell your daughter or your best friend the things you’re telling yourself?” This stopped me in my tracks because of course I would NEVER tell my daughter or best friend they aren’t good enough, so why on earth am I being so cruel to myself? Daily positive affirmations help to see ourselves and teach ourselves to focus on our positive attributes and claim those over your life!
3. Give yourself grace- It is okay to not be okay. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Don’t run from them or burry them as this will only intensify these emotions next time. If you need to cry, cry! If you need to scream, scream! If you need to be held, find someone to hold you! But whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to stay in the low point. Get up and remind yourself how powerful and brave and courageous you are!
4. Self-care- Find time frequently to take care of yourself and invest in yourself. Figure out what makes you feel happiest or the most relax and make time to do it. Don’t neglect yourself because like the saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You are important! Treat yourself as such!
What does anxiety look like for you? How do you manage it? Talking about it can help others find ways to face it and take back the control. We all need someone to talk to and build a tribe of people who understand and validate our feelings. Let the members of the ‘Hive Bee’ your tribe! We love you and are here for you.