A post or so ago, I introduced you to my struggle with anxiety. It was an overwhelming step. Why? Because now I have to write about it. I can't brush it off. So, today, I want to talk about the helpful things. These four things have helped me greatly. I hope they help you.
Talk. Tell someone you can trust about your anxiety. Talk about it. Go get a counselor. This is the most important step. Once I started mentioning anxiety, I discovered so many women around me struggling with it also. You are not alone. The first step for me was talking to my mom. She's a wealth of wisdom and has walked through hell and back. Then I started mentioning it to other people in my life and found that I wasn't alone and that was freeing. Free yourself. Talk about it.
Be Present. This phrase is one of my mantra's. I'm an introvert and a thinker. My mind can roam like Lewis and Clark on a slow day. It's ceaseless in its moving. When I started becoming curious about my anxiety, I realized that attacks where directly related to what was happening mentally. I could feel completely relaxed, listening to music, or reading and it would hit me. I discovered that the majority of the time I wasn't present. I thought my mind was focused on Birdy but I was really thinking about grad school under the surface. I wasn't aware of the depth of my thoughts. I only noticed the surface. So I started practicing all I had read about mindfulness and meditation. I will dig into this deeper in another post (if you'd like to learn before then check out this podcast and this book).
Work it. That's right. Run. Do yoga. Work out. Physical exercise has been key to me. I've always been an active person. I can't sit inside for too long or I start to get antsy. I hate running. I'm not good at it. But, I love the way it frees my mind and releases energy. My favorite workouts are core and legs (I've been collecting them on Pinterest here).There is a direct correlation in my life between anxiety and a lack of physical activity. If you cannot workout for health reasons, walk and stretch. Just don't sit on that couch.
Become a foodie. Eat healthy. My mom is a cancer survivor and my family has grown into quite the group of food nuts. I love health food. In college I craved it. Ask my friends, my house wasn't the place to come if you didn't like hummus or kale. Granted, I have an equal love for sweets but moderation is key. Start eating good food. It has to taste good! One of my good friends said he thought eating was like mediation for me. It is. When I eat good food I am present. I am content. Nothing else matters.
As I said before, these things take time. It's not going to be an overnight change. It's taken me months. I constantly have to remind myself to be present. I find great comfort in knowing that by starting this life now, at 26, I'm giving myself tools to get through whatever life throws at me in the future. Anxiety has forced me to discover myself and press into the dark areas of my being that I wanted to disown. It can truly be a gift. It doesn't feel like it. But it reminds me that I'm alive. A few weeks ago I read "How To Be Here" and in it, Bell says that butterflies are good. They tell us that we are taking risks, moving, and actually attempting something with life. Now when I feel anxiety creeping in, I thank it for reminding me that I'm alive and feeling. It's empowering.
As always, I love to hear from you. You are a large part of why I write. Please comment below or contact me via social media.