With the rise of awareness about mental health, many of us are learning that we suffer from anxiety. Growing up, I would have these moments that I would describe as feeling overwhelmed. I would worry about things I couldn’t control. I’d be afraid that someone would break into our home, or that I would get fatally sick (none of which ever happened). When I arrived to adulthood I became very time sensitive. I would overplan my day, to make sure I didn’t waste time. For a while, it was hard for me to take naps, because I always felt like I could be doing something more productive with my time. I always had major stress points before big events, like weddings or holidays, afraid that I would be late. It wasn’t until I switched my major at University from Nursing to Health Science, that I learned about what it meant to live with anxiety.
THE TRUTH ABOUT ANXIETY & OVERCOMING
Anxiety is a pretty common nervous disorder that most people experience at some point in their lives. It ranges from having moments of excessive worry to full blown attacks. Anxiety attacks may look like sweating, trembling, or having chest pains. You may feel anxiety while you’re waiting for test results, or waiting to find out if you got a job offer. While anxiety is seen as normal, and a part of human life, there are ways to cope. The more I studied, the more relaxed I became in moments that would normally trigger me. Incorporating a few habits into my daily life has diminished so much of my anxiety, and I want to share them with you, pretty birds.
WHAT ARE YOUR TRIGGERS?
The first thing I did was identify my triggers. Triggers are components that offset your worrying and stress. Triggers for me were large crowds, major events, time frames, and failure. Triggers look different for everyone, but when you identify them healing becomes easier.
Being aware of the very moment your mood switches from calm, to overly anxious is how to identify the shift. Who are you around when you feel triggered ? What is your location when you feel uneasy ? Is your heart rate accelerated ? Are your palms sweaty ? Is your mind jumping from scenario to scenario ? Do you feel defensive or insignificant to your surroundings ? Are specific topics that you aren’t comfortable talking about being brought up and making you uneasy? If any of these things are happening, you are most likely having a triggering experience.
PREPARATION IS KEY
After I identified my triggers, I realized that preparation was the next step. There’s no way to control the way the world operates around us. The best thing we can do is be prepared to cater to our triggers. I created the habit of going to bed and waking up earlier to cure my relationship with time anxiety. I even start my days “off work” early to give myself a fair shot at my weekend to-do list. I am rarely late because I wake up in more than enough time to fulfill my commitments. I am more confident when I arrive to destinations because I took my time glamming and perfecting my look for the day. I am well nourished and hydrated because I woke up early enough to have a light breakfast. Once I prioritized my rest and earlier rising, it made all the difference in my life.
Preparation also came in handy when dealing with major events. Have you ever waited until the last minute to find an outfit to wear to a party ? There you are, in the shops frantically searching for a bomb dress hours before your friends bridal shower. I began to buy thoughtful gifts in advance and scout outfits ahead of time for special occasions. Preparedness is inviting abundance and grace into your world. Being intentional in everything I do has taken away a lot of worry and anxiety. It is very hard to stay on top of this, but with a planner anything is possible. If you suffer from anxiety, you have to prioritize your healing. Being prepared will make you feel and appear to be more confident.
ADDRESS YOUR DEMONS
Fear of failure is the trigger that took the most time for me to cope with. After preparation, the next step in my healing was to reach back into my past. As media addresses dealing with what we call “baggage”, professionals suggest seeing a therapist as a collaborative effort to find the root of your trauma. The popular phrase for this is called “doing the work”. Doing the work is digging into yourself and figuring out where you inherited certain feelings and fears. Look into your childhood, past relationships and experiences that resulted in how you react to life.
Investing in a therapist is a great option, however I, myself, could not afford professional help so I turned to self help books, podcasts and all things self-improvement. I learned that my fear of failure stemmed from wanting to impress my family. I am the oldest sibling, so being a good example meant a lot to me. Disappointing myself and not reaching my highest potential was a big fear of mine.
LET THE HEALING COMMENCE
My favorite self-help coach Lavendaire, got me through many days of anxiety and self doubt. She creates the most tranquil podcasts and Youtube videos that can navigate you through healing if you don’t have the resources. She speaks a lot about how to manage stress, the law of attraction, and building healthy habits to enhance your quality of life. I really enjoy her Instagram for quick inspiring mantras and positivity. Something she said that really stuck with me is: “Your thoughts create your reality. Everything—your life and your perception of the world—begins with how healthy your mind is.” I am sharing my strongest tool with you and I know you’ll learn something from her.
After years of journaling, meditation and checking in with myself, I grew out of fear of my past and future. I learned to be grateful for the present moment and began to accept my experience in each day. I learned to be grateful that I could smell, hear, taste. I learned to find joy in the small things I’ve been blessed with like having food and a loving environment. Eventually I began to trust my decisions, and become best friends with my intuition instead of battling with my inner critic all the time.
ACCEPT WHAT YOU CANNOT CHANGE
The last step to healing from major anxiety, for me, was acceptance. Learning to accept when things didn’t go as expected. Learning to accept things you cannot control, is a major step in the process. For instance, if you are on your way to an important meeting and an 18 wheeler is flipped over in front of you on the freeway, that is out of your control. Instead of immediately letting your mind dart to negative thoughts, instead think: Maybe everyone else is running a little behind too? Maybe that could have been you in the wreck had you left any sooner? Maybe you were being protected by the universe? Therefore, you are not late. In fact, you are right on time.
MY PERSONAL PRACTICES TO HEAL MY ANXIETY
Practices I’ve incorporated into my life that support all triggers & anxiety levels :
- Eating a balanced diet
- Resting when my body needs it
- Talking to friends and loved ones
- Moving my body and getting exercise a few times a week
- Finding a creative outlet or hobby (writing, painting, planting)
- Saying “no” to things that make me unhappy or uncomfortable
The truth is, none of us are exempt from anxiety. But. if we have the right tools, we can overcome it. I challenge you to make a list of your triggers. I challenge you to do the work, and find your way to an abundant life. In this day and age, it is so easy to have anxiety. The climate of our earth can be so scary and unpredictable. I really hope my habits give you a headstart on facing your anxiety head on.
Image credit: Justina Blakeney