Relax…Nothing Is In Our Control

Having anxiety for most of my life, the worst possible advice I got was “relax”. Ummm….how?! The idea of relaxing confuzzled me (side note, I make up my own words. Confuzzled (adj.), a blend of being confused and puzzled). My mind was always racing and thinking of the millions of possible outcomes and scenarios to a situation or problem. These “what ifs” toyed at my mental ease and lead me to severe anxiety. Studies have linked worry to high intelligent individuals, so there’s a silver lining to my struggle. Actually, I have gotten much better, and have made huge strides of worrying less ever since last year when I started my recovery process. I still do worry, but not as much and not about little things that were hypothetical situations I made up in my head of things that hadn’t even happened yet. I have sort of come to this realization, through retraining my brain, that there are events that happen in life that are just beyond my control. I just have to let them be and realize that everything in life happens for a reason. I am learning to remove the worry and fear that has been in control of my mind for so long, and have taken back that control, conquering and taming my anxiety. It wasn’t easy, and it isn’t over, because overcoming a mental disorder isn’t easy (another side note, I hate the term mental disorder. We are all different, as are our brains. It is just a struggle/life hurdle some of us have to go through). Here are some great tools I used to help ease my anxiety:

WAYS TO REDUCE ANXIETY

1. Mindfulness-Through stopping and being aware of myself and environment, I am concentrating on living in the present rather than inside my head. I have practiced mindfulness through meditation, yoga, and just sitting in a quiet spot out in nature to listen, watch, and engorge my other senses.

2. Listening to Music-Another one of my posts discussed the benefits of music. One of these benefits is to decrease depression and anxiety. Rocking out to your favorite jam can lift your mood and forget about your worries.

3. Question your thoughts-Debate yourself when you start to worry. Ask yourself, is this true? What is the likely-hood of this happening? Why am I worrying about this, and what steps, if any, can I do to ease my worry?

4. Exercise and eat right-Studies have shown that cardiovascular exercises, such as running, can help reduce levels of anxiety. Also, your diet is important too. Eating foods with Vitamin B has been linked to reducing depression and anxiety. Also, eating complex carbs and whole-grains helps regulate our levels of serotonin, otherwise known as the happy mood regulator.

5. Deep Breathing-Learning to take long, deep breaths when we feel anxious can help calm us down through the extra oxygen our brain is getting during these stress-inducing times.

6. Do relaxing activities-It’s good to unwind and declutter your brain. Focus on activities that shift your attention away from your worries, such as hobbies or even pampering yourself to a lavender scented bubble bath (the scent of lavender has been linked to reducing stress).

If you have any other healthy ways that help with your anxiety, feel free to share!

Peace and love

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2 thoughts on “Relax…Nothing Is In Our Control

  1. you describe a good mix of mindfulness, CBT and self care in your post 🙂 I would add another which is acceptance. By acceptance I don’t mean resigning yourself to the fact that you’ll be this way forever, that isn’t true. I mean when the anxiety comes, remind yourself that right now, you have anxiety and perhaps panic, and that’s ok. Being ok with anxiety requires a shift in our perception but ultimately it leads to less anxiety and panic. That’s because when we fight the anxiety, it stays longer and gets stronger. When we say to the anxiety “welcome, do what you need to do, in the meantime I am going to continue with my life” the anxiety reduces. We forget or aren’t taught that anxiety is simply part of the range of emotions that all people experience, it’s just we have learnt to fear it and hate it. By focussing on the individual symptoms of anxiety, we allow ourselves to get caught up in the vicious circle and it is hard but not impossible to break out of that. Like you say, trying to relax when anxious can feel like an impossible task, because we are trying to do something to make the anxiety go away. The key is to do whatever is going to soothe you, but not to get rid of the anxiety, we are doing it in spite of it.

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    • You make a very good point! Anxiety is just another feeling we have, and we need to allow these “negative” feelings to come and go as well. The challenge I think a lot of us deal with is letting this anxiety pass instead of dwelling on it, which allows it to fester into a “disorder”. We need to realize that it is okay to feel these feelings, just to not let them control our lives.

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