Anxiety literally sucks the energy from us.
Many nights I laid awake, unable to move my body or rid my mind of irrational thoughts. What I failed to understand was that the more attention I gave my anxiety, the bigger it became and the stronger it grew.
Every emotion I experienced was pounded by anxiety—I weakened, temporarily disabled and out of control.
I was afraid to go places, speak to people, make telephone calls, wear certain clothes, eat certain foods. Anxiety touched me in places I least expected and quite often, I never even realised that it was anxiety that was making my decisions.
And I was allowing it.
Anxiety lurked in the darkest corners of my mind and at the slightest chance it would pounce.
Aside from putting my life on complete hold for long periods, on numerous occasions, it has also caused dizzy spells making me to pass out in the middle of the road, putting myself in immense danger.
There was only one way back, I had to discover what was causing the anxiety, understand it, understand myself, then arm myself, prepared to fight the battle with knowledge by my side.
Figuring out how anxiety works was the strongest weapon I had. Then, I had to prepare for the fight of my life—because anxiety had taken away much of it already. And I was not willing to allow it to consume more.
Anxiety can warn us of pending danger and alert us that something is wrong. It can prepare us for fight or flight. However, it can also debilitate us so that we feel powerless to take any action at all. We then become in a lose/lose situation.
With no strength to fight, we succumb to anxiety, having no will left to protect ourselves.
Until we remove ourselves from anxiety’s suction, it can be very difficult to see things clearly and take whatever steps needed in order to remove whatever is causing the anxiety in the first place.
The first step to ridding ourselves from anxiety is by understanding it.
Unfortunately, it can become an addiction, a habit, something that feels familiar. Its energy grows until we become overwhelmed, deeply submerged and frozen with fear.
I realised that to understand my anxiety—I needed to confront it head on—face to face. I needed to stir the demons deep within and be willing to listen to what they were telling me. I knew it was no use doing this when I was in an anxious state, my mind was never calm enough and anxiety would be at it’s strongest.
I needed to summon anxiety when it was least expecting it—in the same way it takes control over me.
But first, I needed to prepare.
So, I researched and discovered more about anxiety. I learned that it begins with a small seed of emotion.
The more energy we give it, the more powerful it becomes. We feed it and we feed it until it is no use for anything other than to weigh us down. The benefits of it have all gone and what is left behind is a system over-flooded with adrenalin and a brain unable to function effectively.
Now, instead of a clear mind to consider our options in times of troubles, we have a mind racing a hundred miles an hour with extreme and ridiculous thoughts. The mind becomes overactive and in order to process anything rationally it is absolutely essential to discover ways to slow things right down and to stop feeding into the attack.
One of the easiest ways to combat anxiety is to alter our way of thinking.
Anxieties are often fear based. We need to stay still, calm the mind, concentrate on our breathing and recognise what is causing it and train our minds to think differently.
It’s like breaking a bad habit.
We become so used to responding in certain ways it starts to feel natural to continue this way. We need to unlearn what we have been doing and relearn positive and beneficial techniques.
Simply telling ourselves to stop worrying won’t work.
When we are in an anxious frame of mind, we are ready for danger.
Focusing more on the anxiety will just add to its energy.
I find the quickest way out of an anxiety attack is by changing the picture in my mind completely. I focus on something positive, something loving.
Then, when things have calmed, I tip toe back to my anxious thoughts and gently probe what was causing them. I listen, decide to take whatever actions might be needed to deal with the worries. Figure if there are legit concerns and if not, I make the decision to dump the remaining rubbish left behind.
I don’t dwell and I don’t stay with anxiety for too long, I take the messages it’s offering and then I leave. Gently.
Meditation is one of my greatest allies.
Through meditation I have learned to quiet my mind.
Stop the endless chatter and ramblings that would hurry through at great speed stirring up trouble along the way. The more I practice meditation, the easier it is to calm my mind when anxiety beckons.
Yoga, dietary changes, cutting back on caffeine, breathing practices and regular exercise can all help to reduce anxiety levels.
I appreciate that it is not just a case of mind over matter, it can also be caused by chemical imbalances and it is also thought that it is passed on genetically. So, I no longer give myself a hard time about anxiety.
I use loving tactics when fighting it and I am gentle with myself.
Plus, a small amount of anxiety is great, it gears me up for what is perceive as imminent trouble. And as long as I retain balance it can serve me well.
I would like to say that my anxiety has gone, completely, however, it has not. It still creeps in when I least expect it, hoping to engage in toxic action once more, especially if I have insomnia.
The difference now is that my anxiety has become fearful, it knows I have taken my power back and it is too weak to stay around for long.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Alex Sandra Myles
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock