I was trying to think of a catchy title for this post, but really there's not much to expand on with Anxiety. Just the word can make you feel anxious.
Looking back over the past 29 years of my life, anxiety has always been present. Sometimes it's been so loud I've not got out of bed and sometimes it's been so quiet that I've forgotten how twisted and strangled the feeling of being in an anxiety spiral can be.
Recently I went to visit a friend who I haven't seen in years. I knew that the impending visit would make them anxious, but equally knowing that I would just rock up on their doorstep unannounced made me bubble with anxiety.
So a friend took me. No, I didn't take them, because I was incapable of making that decision.
Anxiety is a mess in your brain.
Anxiety is forward thinking about the future so much you freeze.
Anxiety is many things...comfortable it is not.
And so walking up my childhood friends doorstep, I chose in that moment to feel anxious excited, not anxious scared. I trembled with each step, nervous chatted and laughed for the first moments, and then sank, deeply into thoughtful conversation and the anxiety left me. It settled, calmed by our stories and feel asleep.
Later into our chats I brought it up. How anxiety was so prevalent in our lives and the actions we chose. And it was such a beautiful conversation. To bring anxiety to the forefront, to label it, put it on the table and giggle with the incredibility of its power. And how that power diminishes once it's acknowledge.
Should you experience anxiety, I want you to know so do I, and so probably does the person next to you in line at the grocer.
Beyond Blue Organisation reports that 26.3% of Australians aged between 16 to 85 have experienced an anxiety disorder. This is equivalent to 4.96 million people today, or 1 in 5.
I find once the anxiety is upon you there's no use in doing the preventative measures, like meditation, reducing coffee and sugar etc. It's simply too late. And so if you find yourself in an anxiety spiral here are some practical, in the moment things that can help.
Most of them encourage getting warm and feeling grounded, physically and emotionally.
- Get warm; particularly your feet.
- Go for a bare foot walk on the grass or in a river/ ocean
- Ground yourself with Childs Pose
- Remind yourself to breath, deeply, into your belly, like a wave up into your chest. Hold for a second and then release. Repeat 3 times.
- Eat warm foods with root vegetables and plenty of spices. Try this vegetarian curry.
And then there's the daily grind, what are some things you can do to manage anxiety? Interestingly a large part of reducing the onset of anxiety can come from your blood sugar levels, keeping them and your stress hormone cortisol level in turn helps you feel level.
Try two of the following:
- Eliminate as many decisions as possible. Notice how I said try two of the following? Be specific to reduce indecision and overwhelm. Drive the same route to work/school. Listen to the same radio station or decide the day before what podcast you are listening to.
- Keep your blood sugar levels stable with a low sugar diet. This includes starchy carbs like bread, rice, cereals, pastries, cakes etc. When you are on the roller coaster of sugar and carbohydrate dependancy
- Have a routine both morning and night. This calms your nervous system, reduces decisions and overwhelm and helps your nervous system feel safe.
- Plan ahead; again to reduce decisions (seeing a pattern here?)
- Reduce caffeine. Swap to organic coffee; conventional coffee beans are heavily sprayed with chemicals that are then concentrated in the brewed results. Too often I'll have a client walk through my door with anxiety and a huge sensitivity to caffeine that then goes away after going organic. Sometimes it's not what you eat but how it was grown.
- Go organic; herbicides and pesticides sprayed onto conventional produce work on the nervous system of the bug to kill it (so it doesn't eat the produce). When we consume that produce we are also consuming the chemical, which acts on our nervous system (the system involved in anxiety).
- And finally, get to know common triggers for you. For me it's lack of routine, too many choices, and old belief patterns that are triggered such as "I'm not good enough" or "I did something wrong."
If you'd like further assistance with managing your anxiety, get in touch for a consultation :)