Relieving Anxiety Opens Well-Being
I’ve struggled with anxiety issues for a few years now. I can still clearly remember the first time that I experienced physical symptoms as a result of my anxiety. My mom was driving my friend and I to my high school graduation ceremony. My palms became extremely clammy, my face got a numbing, tingling feeling and my heart started racing out of my chest. Over the years I’ve experienced a few anxiety attacks. Additionally, a precursor to anxiety is nervousness, and I usually experience this on a daily basis; a small buildup of little feelings that might come to a head after a miniscule event—like dropping a plate or getting a burn from cooking.
Why do I become nervous and anxious to the point of sometimes getting physical symptoms?
In an earlier article about millennials and work; I talked about the anxiety of meeting society’s expectations of having all the right things after college graduation, including a good job. Getting the job is one thing, but how you deal with that responsibility on a daily basis is completely different. All of the pressures I put on myself have a strong effect on my well-being. Although I’ve never been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, many Americans have and seek treatment from medical professionals. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. Some of these include, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder (PD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The research from this association states that anxiety can affect multiple layers of life. From health to wellness, anxiety can—if left untreated—have a debilitating effect. However, every person’s health and well-being journey is different. Some people see qualified doctors while others utilize home remedies.
The lesson that I’ve learned through my journey with anxiety is that I must make a pointed effort every day to work on my well-being.
This is a place and space that re-grounds me in the moment to realize I am and will be definitely alright! I’ve learned that I can live with these feelings of nervousness and anxiety through steps taken to reign it under control. Below are my four keys to helping reduce anxiety. Perhaps they can also be helpful to you.
Take a breath and stretch
This is a quick and easy solution that can be done almost anywhere. And it’s as simple as it sounds. Maybe you’re having a sudden anxiety episode at work. If you can, slip away to the restroom and take 10 deep breaths. Meanwhile, start stretching out your arms. Then, perhaps lean against the sink and stretch out each of your legs. Finally, stretch your neck (where I usually store a lot of tension) by rolling it clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Even if you’re not in a place where you can get a bathroom you can still do the stretching if you feel comfortable.
Eat some stress-busting foods
This doesn’t necessarily mean reaching for a slice of pizza or your go-to guilty pleasure. There’s actually a bunch of foods that may stabilize your blood sugar—which may in turn bring some stabilization to your emotional state. Leafy greens like spinach are always good to have in your fridge. Oatmeal and yogurt are perfect for those early-risers who never skip the most important meal of the day (parfait, anyone?). Even dark chocolate—in small portions of course—can help reduce stress hormones like cortisol. Good thing I always have a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Minis next to my bed!
Keep a travel size of your favorite lotion
There have been numerous studies about how helpful and effective aromatherapy can be in stressful or anxiety-ridden situations. If you subscribe to that notion, then I recommend carrying around a travel size bottle of your favorite lotion, cream or essential oil for when an anxiety episode strikes. One of the symptoms I experience during episodes of anxiety over a period of time is a type of eczema that I get on my hands and fingers. Because of that and my sensitive skin, I tend to opt for hydrocortisone cream. It isn’t scented but contains aloe, which is my definition of soothing. I carry a small tube in my purse and backpack for when I get breakouts and it always calms me down immediately.
Have a playlist of your favorite music handy
Music has such a soothing feeling for me. When I hear my favorite artist come on the radio, it kicks my endorphins into high gear. I like to compare my feel-good songs to what I call “walking songs”. I get the same feeling when I hear them on the radio as when I’m walking down a street; everything just opens up and I feel as though I’m walking down a runway in New York City. So I always have a music app on my phone that I can access at any time when I’m feeling upset or nervous. It never fails to put a smile on my face. By taking small steps every day—like listening to my favorite playlist or applying a soothing lotion—I can keep my anxiety under control. Taking a deep breath during an episode of nervousness focuses my core and re-centers my mind. Listening to my favorite songs with headphones makes me feel safe, especially when the outside world is too chaotic.
Every step I take now can be pointed towards shaping my well-being to be the best that it can be. Of course my tips are no substitution for a doctor’s visit or diagnosis, but I hope they help you in a time of need. We need to constantly keep our well-being in check so that it can flourish.
What are your tips for dealing with anxiety? I’d love to know what works for you so we can keep the conversation going!