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Hello beautiful Dope Souls.
I hope this week finds you happy and free of anxiety, however with all of the tensions in the world right now it may be likely that you have your little anxious Annie or Adam hangin’ out in your mind a bit more often than usual.
If this is the case for you, you are not alone. With the overall unrest of the world being thrown into our faces at every turn, whether it’s through social media or the news or even a friendly (socially distanced) get together, it’s no wonder many of us are feeling anxious.
Here’s the thing I want you to know: Anxiety does not have to control you or your life.
Now, you may be thinking, “Trish it’s so much easier said than done,” or “Yeah right. Easy for you to say.”
Or if you’re like the nonbelievers who have recently commented on my published post that says, “What if the anxiety you are feeling is a nudge from your soul reminding you to nurture yourself,” and you’re thinking, “Don’t romanticize anxiety. It’s disrespectful.” Or even, “What if anxiety is a disorder?” Both valid opinions and I can see their perspectives, but they missed the point of that line and that post.
The point of that line is that we should listen to our bodies, because we just might find the key to calming our anxiety. Anxiety may be a disorder, but it doesn’t mean that we are powerless over it.
We can gain power over our anxiety.
Here are five ways to coach yourself through an anxiety attack:
1. Breathe. Taking deep, purposeful breaths will slow down your heart rate and regulate your nervous system. I recommend counting your breaths from one to ten. For example: breathe in on one, breathe out on two. The inhales are odd and exhales are even. Continue counting until you get to 10, then start over again at one.
Keep doing this until you start to feel calmer and a little more centered. This helps by bringing your mind’s focus on the breaths, instead of the anxiety—allowing you to become more present in your body not so consumed in your head.
2. Awareness. Now that you have focused on your breath and soothed your nervous system, it’s time to become aware of the sensations in your body. This awareness allows you to listen to your body and your anxiety. What does the anxiety feel like in your body right now? Does it have a color or a texture? Is this a familiar or new feeling? Where are you holding space for the anxiety in your body?
By becoming aware of the inner sensations of the anxiety, you begin to familiarize yourself with it in a curious way, instead of a fight-or-flight way. It is likely still there, but instead of fighting it, you are facing it. The more you fight the anxiety, the more you feed it. Take that power away from it by becoming aware of it.
3. Converse. Have a conversation with your anxiety. Why is it there? As I mentioned in my last article, treat your anxiety like a scared child. What would you ask a child who was going through this? How would you approach the conversation? Give yourself the permission to ask the questions and to receive the answers in your mind. The answers will come up as thoughts. Those are thoughts are your intuition speaking to you.
4. Be compassionate. Self-compassion is the most important thing you can do for yourself during an anxiety attack. Now is not a time to be hard on yourself or judge yourself. Remember that you are one of 40 million people who suffer from anxiety, so you are definitely not alone in this moment.
Give yourself the permission to have anxiety and to love that part of yourself. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s something that makes you who you are and guides you to the lessons you are meant to learn in this life.
5. Rest. Anxiety takes a lot out of us. It can increase your heart rate and your blood pressure. It can cause digestive issues, migraines, and fatigue. These are not all in your head. These are physical responses to anxiety in your body. When you have an attack, give yourself permission to rest.
Take a nap, read a light book, or watch something lighthearted on Netflix, but give yourself time to rest. Allow your heart rate and your blood pressure to go down. Pay attention to the way your body feels when it is in rest. The pile of laundry will still be there. Work will still be there. If you have little ones around you, tell them it’s quiet time and put on a movie they want to watch. It’s okay to slow down and nurture yourself for a minute (or 15!).
There you have it: five ways to self-coach through anxiety.
Of course there are the popular methods, like meditation, exercise, and healthy eating. All of those also work great, but they should be practiced daily, and used more as a preventative to anxiety. However, some of us just don’t have the time or the drive to do that on a daily basis (it’s a lifestyle habit that needs to be created and takes time to cultivate), and that’s okay.
In the meantime, these self-coaching tips will help you develop a healthier relationship with your anxiety, allowing you to coexist. Remember, your anxiety is a part of you. It’s there to let you know when something is wrong.
Right now there is a lot going wrong in the world so the anxiousness may not subside for a while. It’s up to you to take your power back from it.
An estimated 40 million are diagnosed with anxiety every year and those are the ones who have actually been diagnosed. There are probably many more who live with it silently. If you suffer from anxiety, it does not have to take over your life. Talk about it.
Having anxiety is nothing to feel weak or shameful about. Reach out to support groups and others that have had it. It helps to find a community of support. You are stronger than your anxiety and can get through it.