How To Own Your Anxiety

How To Own Your Anxiety

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.

Regain control

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.

Externalise it

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?

 

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14 Comments

  1. 21/08/2017 / 07:50

    This is a great post. I have never thought about naming my anxiety and therefore making it seperate to me as a person. Going to try it and see how it goes! Thank you for the idea!

  2. 14/05/2017 / 13:13

    Great tips – passed these on to my daughter who is very stressed with university and boyfriends!

  3. 17/04/2017 / 15:04

    Fantastic post! I’ve suffered from anxiety for a good 5 years now and I’m proud to say I am definitely in control of it, rather than it of me. It’s important to recognise the symptoms it gives you and when to recognise when there’s an actual threat, or whether it’s just your anxiety. It’s also important not to see it as an enemy.

  4. 14/04/2017 / 08:29

    This is such a great blogpost, I will definitely start to try using these tips!

  5. 13/04/2017 / 00:15

    Thank you thank you thank you! This is a superb blog post and I really needed it! I really do keep feeling trapped by my own anxiety and often forget how to win against it! Such brilliant advice and tips, I will definitely be using (and sharing with others!) xx

    Victoria | VictoriaaHelenn

  6. 12/04/2017 / 20:28

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING! This is fab advice and I’m just getting more comfortable with my mind and how I handle things so posts like this really help thank u xx

    Kirsty | The Monday Project | themondayproject.co.uk

  7. 12/04/2017 / 20:25

    I don’t have anxiety, but I definitely get anxious. I try to write it down, sometimes it helps out to get it all out, even if I’m not talking to anyone!

  8. 12/04/2017 / 19:53

    I love this post, I feel like I’m gradually getting in control of my own anxiety. I think your tip about externalising it is really useful and it definitely helps in taking away some of it’s power. x

  9. 12/04/2017 / 19:46

    My hand is up high in the sky!! Anxiety is something that I struggle with, but I found this post really helpful! I really like the idea of externalising your anxiety, rather than seeing it as a part of you! That’s a great strategy and something that I need to start doing, I’m sure I’d find it therapeutic!

    Abbey ? http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

  10. 10/04/2017 / 14:12

    Externalizing it is so brilliant! I love that idea, since it makes anxiety seem a lot more palatable. Almost like a friend I can scoff at. Great post here, and I love the gif at the top too. It definitely gave me a good laugh!

  11. Lulu Blue Ⓥ (@LuluDigitale)
    09/04/2017 / 20:44

    Great post once again Meg!
    I can relate, as you know, because I also suffer from social anxiety amont others. I find your tip of externalizing a great idea, and I love the humour of both “telling to bugger off” as well as talking to the non-conversationalist fish, LOL.

    I agree, we need to find someone to talk to and get support, possibly getting accompanied at first until we can face our anxieties alone.
    The belly breathing isn’t option for me due to scoliosis. However, I know that most anxiety sufferers recommend one form or another of breathing, and I intend to try some when I can get my normal breathing ok (deviated septums and hay fever add to my difficulties).

    Thus far the best help I found are to retire from a situation, or this chapstick that my wife melted & added lavender essential oil in it and put the entire thing in a small portable container so I can either smell or put a tiny bit under my nose. Lavender is a bit strong, but it’s a great soothing plant and I love using it. It helped during a panic attack in Paris subway in summer 2016.

    When alone retreating has been my choice, but now I do that less, or for a shorter duration. Instead of going home, I move aside, let it pass and when I calm down, go back if possible.

    Exposures set with my CBtherapist have helped to gradually learn to face more and more complicated and anxiety situations and I can now face a lot more than 10 months ago. The right therapy & the right therapist can be primordial to (re)learn our social skills to reduce the anxieties and thus, we can face them with less emotional onslaught and this is a goal to try reaching, I think.

    I’m still searching for more tools as well & started a blog entry about it a couple months ago.

  12. 09/04/2017 / 19:02

    This is such a good blogpost Meg! So proud of you for writing this and sharing your experiences with us. This is really great advice and it helps me a lot already, thank you!

  13. 09/04/2017 / 18:38

    Great post. Many of us who suffer from this can feel so trapped in our own minds because it feels like no one understands. Thank you for posting and sharing your experience.

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