Tightness in your chest/stomach?
Ups and downs?
Struggling with change?
Needing to mentally prepare yourself for each and every situation???
Wanting to cancel social events?
Confused with simple decisions?
You might be experiencing anxiety.
Anxiety is a form of stress that takes over our body and mind before we can recognize how or why. It’s unseen and can creep up on you in the most unexpected times and places. It can’t be measured, and sometimes can’t even be identified, let alone accurately diagnosed. Other forms of anxiety related stress states include post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive thinking, and even heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes all accelerate with the presence of stress.
Anxiety is clearly on the rise, and it’s not hard to see why. Advancements in technology increase our use of “things” and minimise our connection with ourselves, our environment and other people. This, in turn, creates a disconnection which is hard to regain without the right amount of focus, time and attention required. Time is a huge factor in our lives, with the rapid rates of change we experience, we struggle to find the time to actually sit down quietly and recalibrate.
This lack of time we find to focus on ourselves lessens the capability to find a true connection with life (and joy) and results in an unsettling and isolating feeling, our outlook on life gets a gradual haze and suddenly we find ourselves completely lost and in the dark. As the natural developments, advancements and changes in our lives happen, we fall even more behind and more disconnected.
Early symptoms of Anxiety include irritability, unusual mood swings, changes in eating habits, loss of weight, gaining of weight, lack of motivation, loss or decline in communication with loved ones, social withdrawal, overthinking and negative internal dialogue.
The best thing to do if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms is to reach out. There’s no negotiation on this requirement. You must talk. You must find someone who can listen to you with an open ear, heart and mind. This could be a counsellor, a friend or a family member. Anyone who you feel is a trustworthy and safe source.
Apart from talking it out with someone you trust, there are so many other ways to combat and lessen symptoms of anxiety. It’s all about quietening the mind and finding presence in the moment. Yoga and meditation are big ones. As is exercise. But sometimes, even these tasks become too much, too overwhelming to start or even begin to prepare yourself for. This is where you need to get really personal with yourself and peel back the barrier layers you’ve built up to get really clear on what works for you.
Ask yourself, when was the last moment you noticed your own breathing, heard a bird call or watched a stream of water dance the trickle of gravity?
Where were you the last time you were able to make a big full sigh, a breath of relaxation relieving your lungs and muscles of the stress of the day. Was it in the bath, reading a book, in the garden or making a cup of tea?
Try to take yourself back to a place you know, or think you could find some peace or joy or quiet and start to re-enact that in your mind. Ask yourself gently to let go of everything else, and go back to that moment. Now, take in what qualities made that moment enjoyable, was it being in a quiet room and shutting the door behind you, lighting your favorite candle or letting the stream of thinking go to focus for that moment? Whatever it was, take notice and make a list of things that take you there to that place. This will begin your mental training to recognize positive feelings against the negatives ones that take over in an anxious state.