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Let’s be honest, anxiety is a real bitch. And what bother me even more is that the term is used to loosely now by so many people. This isn’t to say that they aren’t experiencing it, but when I think about anxiety, I think about the real dark stuff. The racing thoughts, panic attacks, avoidance of people & places, and the feeling of impending doom.
You might be thinking, well thanks Linds for making my day a little more grim. I promise this has a happy ending. Let’s dive into a little background story of my relationship with anxiety.
I never thought of myself as someone more prone to developing any type of anxiety “disorder”, but apparently really sensitive kids are more likely to get triggered later on in life. This usually happens when something emotionally traumatic occurs in your life. I don’t have a diagnosed disorder, but I sure went through the ringer for a couple of years until I got a handle on what was really going on.
The short version of what happened to me was that I was deceived by someone I really thought I loved, and I bottled up the resentment, anger & sadness for to long. That was it. I held all of my feelings in, and stewed on them for months, and that led to my first anxiety attack. This happened right before my first year of University, and would continue to happen (less and less frequently) until now.
I made a few changes along the way after I had my daughter to help alleviate some of my symptoms, because I really believed there was a natural way I could deal with it. Not that I don’t believe in people taking medication to help aid themselves, but the end goal is to always rip off the band-aid and really figure out what’s going on to heal the wound underneath, so that is what I always knew I would do.
Change #1: I took a good hard look at my diet
This is the obvious first step, isn’t it? Wrong. So many people don’t realize that a lot of the foods that we are eating are actually doing them more harm than good. Here is a list of foods I cut out in order: Caffeine, alcohol, grains/gluten, highly-processed foods, sugary treats, fast food & most dairy. This is not to say that these foods are causing you anxiety, but they sure as hell aren’t doing you any favours. After I cut out these foods, my panic attacks became a little less severe and not as frequent.
Change #2: I started to work out on the regular
I had always been active, but after I had Blaize, I knew I had to get out and start moving again. This is where I started Crossfit. Being really active got me out of the house, gave me endorphins & made me feel confident. I was pushing myself to a whole new level, and it was extremely rewarding. I think that making a point to moving your body with a purpose for 30 minutes a day is enough. You don’t have to start an extreme sport or become a sponsored athlete to start feeling good inside & out.
Change #3: I surrendered to fear
Think of fear as a passenger in your car. It is perfectly fine as the passenger. You shouldn’t let it drive your car, and you should not try and throw it out of your car. The thing is, fear is exactly what fuels anxiety. The more you try and push it away, the faster & stronger it will come back and completely overtake your life. The key here is to surrender to your fear. We all live with it, you are no exception. Instead of trying to fight with it, accept that it is a passenger, and move on. A part of surrendering is to face your fears. Once we see that our fears are not always completely rational or even scary, we are no longer controlled by them.
Change #4: I grew my mind muscles
I can’t think of a time in my life where I ever just sat down and tried to not think. I was always the girl with a million worries running through her head. I seriously don’t know why they don’t teach children how to meditate in school. Don’t be intimidated by meditation. I was SUPER anxious about doing it, because my biggest fear was being alone with my own thoughts. I think this is pretty common for most people with anxiety, and this is exactly why meditation plays such a crucial role in the healing process. I recommend 5 minutes a day of trying not to think about anything. I use a free app called “Calm”, and it allows me to use free timed meditations and it tracks my total hours and days I missed. This isn’t only to face your thoughts, but it is also developing a muscle you have probably never used before. It will allow you to cope easier, ease your mind, and if you’re like me, diminish your panic attacks all together. This isn’t to say I never have moments where I might be feeling a little antsy, but I know I can center myself at any given moment and calm myself down in a healthy, reliable way.
Change #5: I got hooked to personal development
Expanding your mind and becoming self-aware is so crucial. Learning about how you work, why you think the way you do, and identifying any bad habits or mindset blocks brings you one step closer to moving forward with your life. Books, podcasts, audiobooks, Youtube videos… there are endless cheap & free resources you have access to that will help you grow and expand. I love having mini aha-moments. For people who have had serious trauma in their lives, or even struggle from time to time, personal development can be a great resource to turn to.
I hope this helped most of you. I am inclined to say that I am not a doctor, physician, therapist or registered dietician. This information is not meant to replace the advice of a doctor, therapist or licensed practitioner. This is what I personally did to cure my anxiety. If you feel the need to talk to a licensed professional, do so. What are some of the things you have personally done to cope with your anxiety?