I've spoken about anxiety a lot in this space. Probably because it has always been present in my life. But there have been large portions of my life where anxiety isn't there. At all. Those moments, have been blissful, yet not devoid of challenge or hard either.
So how do we begin to understand our own anxiety better?
Personally, I work with a psychologist regularly, even when things are going great! It helps me to unwind my thoughts and provide a different perspective, some insight and things to ponder on. I've found it just as beneficial in the good times as in the challenging ones.
A few things I've learnt along the way I will share with you below, in the hopes that in providing my insight, you might be able to find the space amongst the chaos that is anxiety, and life.
However the caveat here is that you have to, like I have, do the work. And sometimes, this is really hard and painful. This is where seeking personal guidance and help can be so healing.
So here we go (in no particular order):
Learn your triggers.
By this I don't just mean the actual 'event' that instigated the anxiety. I mean what is the underlying belief system underneath the event that triggered the anxiety.
.It could be a fear of death, of rejection, of not being good enough, etc. During your life time you've collected these beliefs through your individual experiences, and these beliefs were initially designed to protect you, to keep you safe. But sometimes they no longer serve you. Diving into them and unpacking them can work to ease the anxiety (This is always best done with a professional to guide you) .
When you meditate, and really get into the no-thing-ness and no-where of it (I know I'm there when I check in on my body and I can't figure out if my palms are face up or down. Everyone has their thing) it works to unravel the belief systems we just talked about.
The key to meditation is not to think nothing, but to become the observer of your thoughts. Can you watch them without attaching to them? Can you shush them, and quieten them? Can you observe, and pick out themes that are presenting in your thoughts at the present moment? This is where you can begin to learn patterns, and underlying belief systems that are propping you up.
And if your meditation doesn't go to plan a very good friend once told me this:
"The Meditation starts when you finish the Meditation." Essentially, you'll be able to become the observer during your eyes open hours.
Can you find any particular cycles or patterns with your anxiety?
Sometimes it can be a result of hormonal changes within a women's cycle, i..e after ovulation, or just before you get your period.
Or it can be a result of poor gut health; for instance you get gastro/ bloating/ loose stools and then experience anxiety in the next day or two.
Other times it can be as a result of a food intolerance. When our body doesn't digest food well, it ramps up inflammation in the body which affects blood sugar levels and changes the microbiome of your gut. All these factors have shown to create inflammation and exacerbate an anxious mind.
Eat extra well when you're in an anxiety spiral.
Certain foods and food like products can lead to a rollercoaster of blood sugar levels, feeding inflammation, anxiety, depression and poor gut health (which in turn also feeds the latter).
Eliminating the following foods during anxiety and reducing them when you're in your 'bliss frame of mind' means you're not pushing the barrel uphill, you are supporting your body with the foundational biochemistry to come back to homeostasis, which means balance. Foods to reduce include:
- Foods you are intolerant too
- Non food ingredients like E numbers, preservatives and packaged food
Get some specific supplementation into your body
Nutrients like Magnesium, B vitamins and Zinc support the production of GABA, which is our only inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means it's the one that calms, soothes and has an anti anxiety affect in the brain.
With any supplementation make sure you get some specific guidance on it. Taking the wrong dose, or taking it with certain medications can render it either ineffective or harmful.
Before I sign off for the day I'll leave you with this wonderful quote:
“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.”
~ Mary Anne Radmacher
Big Love and Happy Day