Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by anxiety!
Most of the people who read my blog will understand the relentless, raging storm that anxiety can bring. It can feel near impossible to feel in control and to regain a sense of calmness, especially when you have no idea why the hell you’re actually feeling anxious in the first place.
So, I’ve put together my top 3 top tips on how to OWN your anxiety.
When anxiety strikes, your body can naturally go into a fight or flight response. We don’t recognise the physiological effects that anxiety can give us as much as we should, when in fact it can increase our stress levels even more. Symptoms may include a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath and shakiness. If uncontrolled, this may result in a full-blown panic attack. So control it. OWN it.
My best advice to do this would be diaphragmatic breathing – also known as belly breaths. The purpose of this is to help your body calm down and tell it you are safe.
Lay down flat and put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Inhale slowly through your nose as your stomach rises, then exhale through your mouth as your stomach flattens. The hand on your tummy should be moving up and down as you breathe, while the hand on your chest should be still. Don’t rush, and try your best to focus on each and every breath. It may feel a bit strange at first if you’re used to breathing from your chest. It’s a bit like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. The uncomfortable sensation will soon pass.
When you’ve suffered from anxiety for so long, it can be easy to class yourself and your anxiety as the same thing. Where you end and your anxiety begins has always been an incomprehensible enigma. However, if you untangle yourself and externalise your mental illness, you’ll be able to view it from the outside and see it a lot more clearly.
My best advice would be to name it. Call it Sally or Dave if you like – anything as long as you’re able to call it out on its bullshit! You and Sally are not the same person. You are two separate entities competing for control, but you CAN be victorious. Recognise that you are NOT your anxiety and tell Sally to get her shit together and bugger off.
Talk about it
Carrying the weight of anxiety can be exhaustingly heavy, so let someone help you. Unload yourself and tell someone. Anyone. Your parents, your friends, your partner, your therapist, a helpline, your cat or even your goldfish if that helps. (Although I hear they’re not much of a conversationalist).
I can’t promise that sharing your inner dialogue will be easy or that it will ‘fix’ you. However, what I can say from my experience is that by telling someone about your anxiety, it will exorcise it from your brain and loosen its grip slightly; allowing a little extra breathing space.
Everybody is different, and if talking isn’t something you can do just yet, then try writing it down in a diary. Write about it, draw it, take photos, or use one out of the endless list of anxiety busting apps there are nowadays.
Any creative outlet that works for you is a great medicine for your mental health.
What are your tips to own your anxiety?