Anxiety: The big elephant sitting on my chest
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
The first blog I want to share with you is about anxiety. Anxiety is something I lived with for a very long time without knowing it had a name. Because I didn't know better, I just assumed that this overwhelming feeling of anxiety was a normal human condition.
What is anxiety? Well, as it is with most things, anxiety is described and felt differently by different people. I will tell you my experience. Anxiety at its best felt like a nagging feeling that I carried with me, EVERYWHERE, telling me that something was not okay; at it's worst it felt like there was a big elephant sitting on my chest. Some of the words I could use to describe it are uneasiness, restlessness, confusion, and exhaustion. Others experience it differently; for instance, some peoples' anxiety leads them to have panic attacks which come with physical symptoms like shortness of breath and feeling LIKE you're going to have a heart attack.
While anxiety most often has underlying causes, I want to share with you three coping skills that you can use if you, like me, have battled with anxiety.
Take deep breaths
I know, this one sounds too easy and almost dumb, but I promise you it works! Taking time to take deep breaths is the easiest and fastest way to get grounded and begin to feel instantly lighter. Breathing does not cure anxiety but it gets you to focus on something other than whatever is causing you anxiety. There's a lot of breathing exercises on YouTube, you can start by searching for the 3 minute triangle breathing exercise. Simple enough.
Writing is another natural and powerful tool. I have been blogging for a long long time and it took me a while to realize how therapeutic it was. Writing helps get you "outta your head". It helps you feel relief. It also helps you identify thoughts that might be causing you a lot of anxiety.
Taking a walk, doing push-ups, going to the gym, going to the park, doing a hike - all are amazing ways to feel less anxious. It does the same thing as the two above, it helps you get out of your head and into your body. It also comes with several other perks, if you're working out it helps release happy hormones. When we exercise, endorphins, serotonin and dopamine are released and are known as the 'happy hormones'. Physical activity can also help you feel good about yourself because you're taking care of your body.
There are many other tools for anxiety. I'll take this moment to clarify that If the anxiety has progressed to severe anxiety, these tools might not be enough and you might need more support. That's okay, we can help with severe anxiety too, it's just going to take more than a blog. The bottom line here is: you do not have to live with anxiety. Reach out!!