Managing anxiety.

Managing anxiety.

I discovered last month that after battling chronic stress and anxiety over a period of 19 years, I had developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder, which went unnoticed for a long time. There was Life to deal with. Earlier, it was MIL’s illness and her passing away, followed by my pet dog’s illness and his passing away, and then, last year, hubby’s illness and many other unimagined, unexpected events that turned my world upside down.

It is only so much that a person can handle without getting intensely affected by the events that take place in his or her life. But, when the stress, the fear and the exhaustion gets unbearable, it is sure to affect a person’s mental health.

I am glad I sought professional help when I realised I couldn’t take it any longer.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be managed provided you work on yourself and your thoughts that cause you the anxiety. And, yes, also seek medical help.

So, after a few sessions of counselling and medicines that help in controlling the anxiety and its thought process and get an 8 hour uninterrupted sleep (ah, sheer bliss!), I have been handling my anxiety much better. I have learned to distract my mind from thoughts that cause the anxiety to escalate; I have made a few changes in my daily life to help me loosen up a bit, relieve the stress and learn to live in the moment that makes things a lot easier for the mind.

Today, I would like to share the ways in which I manage my anxiety and am in a much calmer space despite the chaos around. Well, chaos is omnipresent, isn’t it? It’s always going to be your companion in Life!

ANXIETY:

Anxiety is a feeling we all experience in our life. Some anxiety is even necessary for us to be able to face and deal with any situation that comes in our life at every turn. However, when this anxiety takes over our mind to such an extent that it becomes difficult to deal with everyday life, we ought to seek professional help. There is no need for any embarrassment, really. Our body will function to its optimum only if we are in a healthy frame of mind.

So, if you do feel your anxiety and fear making life difficult for you, then:

  • Consult a mental health expert,

  • Seek counselling, and

  • Take the prescribed medications.

  • And sharing a doctor’s advice :

    Try and understand the thoughts that cause you the anxiety and look for solutions. Journaling helps. Write down the thoughts that cause you anxiety and find ways to tackle those issues if and when they do arise.

Most of the times, people with GAD imagine the worst case scenario which causes extreme anxiety. Know, that whatever happens, you will be able to face it, cope with it. Diverting your attention won’t help in the long run. But, assuring yourself that you can and will deal with the uncertainties in Life will arm you with the strength you need.

EASY AND EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MANAGE ANXIETY:

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS:

An easy way to practice mindfulness is to make it a goal to be followed for a particular number of days. Say, for a week or so. Every task you do, make sure your mind is in that very moment a 100%. Grab your mind by its collar when you feel it wandering and bring it back to the present. it isn’t easy, mind you, but you need to do it for yourself. Just do it a few times, while cooking/working/walking, and you will notice how it relieves the mind.

BREATHE:

Breathe. The one process our life depends on and the one process we often neglect. We aren’t even aware whether we are breathing correctly.

Sit cross-legged on the floor, or a chair; be comfortable and then inhale slowly and deeply, for as long as you can. Then, exhale the same way. Focus on your nostrils as you take in the air and let it out, or focus on your stomach as it inflates and deflates as it takes in the air and lets it out. Do it just for 10 counts, initially. And, then, do it whenever you are sitting idle, lost in thoughts. Bring your mind to the moment and begin to breathe. And, FOCUS on your breath. DO NOT let your mind wander.

SLEEP:

An uninterrupted sleep is so necessary for our body and mind to recover from the day’s exhaustion, to repair itself and to rejuvenate.

Switch off your gadgets–phones, laptops and TV–an hour or half an hour before bedtime. Carry a book or the newspaper to bed and read or solve puzzles. Within ten minutes of doing this, you are sure to feel drowsy. This is because there isn’t the blue light emitting from the book/newspapers, neither is there any movement on a screen in front of your eyes to keep your mind alert. Sudoku and crossword puzzles work for me. Find out what works for you.

DIVERT YOUR MIND:

Each time I used to travel in the car with hubby at the wheel, I would panic. So much so, that I used to beg for divine intervention to come and save me. I am mortally scared of speed. I feel at ease only when the vehicle runs at a speed of 60 Kmph. Slower than that is also welcome!

Now, thankfully, since hubby learned about my GAD, he drives real slow. And, if by chance, there is a nutcase driving like a maniac and hubby tries to veer away from his path, I hold on tight to my bag in my arms and go away to some far away fantasy land. This works like a charm. Although, what I do need to work on, is to tell myself that I can cope with the speed and assure myself that whatever happens, I will take care of it.

TAKE A WALK/PRACTICE YOGA:

Any form of exercise, when done with complete concentration, helps distract your anxious mind.

I practice yoga for 30 – 35 minutes in the morning and go for a 40 minutes walk in the evening, without fail. And, while doing these activities, I do not have any app guiding me or recording/calculating the number of steps or calories burned. I just stay in the moment. I breathe, take in the scenery, or concentrate on the asanas. That’s THE way to enjoy your workout!

LISTEN TO MUSIC:

Music is therapy for the mind and the soul. Agree?

Just put on some music of your choice while working or doing chores and feel your mind relax. It is, indeed, therapeutic. I have made a habit of listening to music at least once a day–morning or evening–and it leaves me feeling so fresh!

COMMUNICATE:

Talking things out with your close ones helps tremendously.

I have marked days of the week when I call up my close friends and cousins and have a heart to heart talk with them. I have set alarms in my phone that remind me of which day and at what time I am to talk to which person. Amusing, I know, but this helps me stay connected with my close ones and have my support system when I am in need.

INDULGE IN FRIVOLOUS ACTIVITIES:

Absolutely insignificant stuff like looking for matching accessories for your clothes, deciding what clothes you will wear for which occasion (even if there isn’t one anytime soon), pampering your body with a spa treatment at home, preparing face masks or body scrubs from stuff in your kitchen cabinets–it is super fun, I tell you! These things, though frivolous, push out the anxious thoughts that often find a snug spot in our mind. Try it. It’s silly, I know, but it helps.

READ:

Fiction, especially suspense-thrillers are my go-to books when I need to divert my mind. Self-help books seldom help me at such times, coz I don’t want any gyaan; all I want is some adventure to read about or some murder mystery that grips my attention like nothing else can.

PURSUE A HOBBY:

My favourite is art, and especially, the Zentangle. And, these days, I am bitten by the Mandala bug. I can forget the world and its hundred worries when I sit down to make a mandala.

Anxiety is a feeling that will always be lurking somewhere in your mind. Life is such. But, you need to show your anxiety who’s the boss!

Take care…

Love,

SHILPA…

P. S.

Do read my friend Sanch’s comment below. She is a psychologist and has shared some much-needed advice for us.

Thank you so much, Sanch! πŸ’Ÿ

Love,

Shilpa.

Anxiety can be managed well, if we seek timely help.

 

 

 

26 thoughts on “Managing anxiety.

  1. Thank you for these excellent tips, Shilpa. I’m glad your anxiety has improved. Insomnia has been a life-long affliction for me, but I’m used to it and am most creative in the midnight hours. πŸ™‚ I should try what you suggested and see how it goes. And yes, music is the best therapy! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Insomnia must be troubling you no end, Debbie.. How do you get sufficient sleep?
      I know, the hours we stay awake, we can use creatively , but then we also need our sleep, isn’t it?
      I hope some of the info here helps you.
      Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad to hear you’re managing your anxiety better. Mindfulness helps for sure even though I don’t do well with mindful meditation. I prefer mindfully doing activities or noticing my uncomfortable emotions and thoughts. Exercise works wonders for me. Challenging some of the irrational beliefs is another helpful way or else accepting that you cannot control a lot of things.

    Can I be a pain-in-the-arse psychologist here? Diverting your mind/Distraction is actually not really a beneficial way to manage anxiety in the long term because it’s avoiding anxiety/the uncomfortable feelings. Mindfulness is about experiencing the feelings – discomfort and all – while still doing what’s anxiety-provoking. So that would mean, your husband still driving above the 50 kms while you tolerate the uncomfortable feelings until you realise you can cope with it and/or nothing bad will happen or that even if it does, you will cope. Obviously it’s about doing this gradually, so maybe starting with 5 minutes then 10 and increasing it. We automatically try to avoid what makes us anxious but avoidance only makes anxiety stronger.

    GAD is one of the tougher anxiety disorders to treat/manage – it doesn’t really ever go away. It such changes in intensity/severity based on life stressors {I can vouch for that personally and professionally}

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Sanch!
      I am now working on my thoughts, trying to give myself positive affirmations that I can cope with stuff that happens, and yes, it can be tough at times, but we need to keep working at it. It’s a life long process!
      ❀

      Like

  3. You’re really going through a lot dear girl. The good thing is that you are aware of your symptoms and are facing them head on rather than bury your head in the sand . I’m sure you’ll be able to deal with this as deftly as you Zentangle. Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience because only the wearer knows where tha shoe punches .
    All of us have to face anxiety inducing situations and it is good to know these tips for coping .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do suffer from extreme anxiety when thoughts drift away from my own self, getting into an imaginative mode. I have never consulted a therapist but plan to do it sooner. It’s quite a task, upsetting the mental balance, I know. The tips offered are very helpful, Shilpa. Maybe I should write about them in the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Agree with all the tips shared here, Shilpa. Managing anxiety isn’t easy but it is possible with some practical and professional help at the right time. I hope you manage it well and overcome it when the time is right. Much love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you got help.. I have a friend going through something similar and she has been undergoing therapy for a while.. I see big difference in how she handles situations now and super proud of all you folks out there!! πŸ™‚

    Sanch’s comment was insightful as well..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the therapy that has helped, Aarti. It helps me think better, and consciously avoid thoughts that make me anxious and tense, as well as find solutions to those issues that could cause me to panic.
      Thank you so much for the visit!

      Like

  7. Thanks for these fabulous practical tips, Shilpa. So glad that you sought medical help and it is working for you. I like that picture quote you have shared. I tend to use the my imagination in the second way. Need to change that. Thanks for the nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I definitely use music on the daily to calm myself down during an anxious mindset. I’m trying to use journalling as well but it isn’t really sticking with me at the moment…

    If you would like to, you can read my own struggles with anxiety: https://ayeshaquadri.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/my-own-anxiety-story/

    I also wanted to ask you if you had any tips or advice for new bloggers? I’m very new to the whole blogging scene and any help I can get will help lessen the anxiety I have about it.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all are a slave to our mind, Natalie. And. more often than not, the mind only conjures up scary images and thoughts that rev up the anxiety.
      I won’t say I am completely in control of my anxiety. I have moments when for no reason I get panicky, like this morning, I just couldn’t figure out what the hell was wrong with me. The fear hit me so badly, I broke down while talking to my sis-in-law. Then, I also spoke with my mum and then felt a bit better.
      So, there are times, when I feel I am going to hit anxiety in its butt and get over it for good, and there are times when it wins and pushes me in a corner, where I lie in a mess.
      Being aware of my thoughts, bringing myself to the present and deep breathing helps me a lot. But, at times, I forget about it all. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I absolutely love the photo saying the best use of imagination is creativity and the worst use is anxiety – because I have lost my creative ways for so long and I suffer from anxiety. I should start channeling anxiety to creativity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, you ought to do that, Saba!
      Our mind is the most powerful part of our body and if used in the right way, it can take us places, but if misused, it can only send us down the abyss of anxiety and fear.
      Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

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