You know how it is with anxiety, you have great days where you don’t even think about being anxious, not worrying a lot, not distracted and you feel almost normal. And then BAM! One of those awful days hits, heart pounding, feel nauseous, worried and your frustrated because just yesterday you felt totally calm and collected. Well guys, I used to get so frustrated with this particular issue until I did enough research on anxiety and realized that IT’S A NORMAL PART OF HAVING ANXIETY!
That’s right, some days you feel great and other days you feel crummy. At one point though hopefully when you start feeling better and gaining control over the anxiety, you will get more good days than bad days. I have a secret to tell you all: I used to get panic attacks even in the shower. I had such terrible panic attacks and anxiety that I couldn’t even take a shower without symptoms of anxiety, my heart would race I would start feeling dizzy I couldn’t even take a hot shower because the steam would make me feel like I couldn’t breath and thus reminding my body to start feeling anxious all over again. It was like my body was PRIMED for panic attacks. It took a lot of work and a couple of years to feel normal again, and now I definitely enjoy hot showers again!
Today, however, was one of those days where my anxiety level was higher than usual. Actually lately I feel more bad days than good days. I am going through some life changes, family issues, money issues and changes in general. Whenever you are feeling more anxious, take a look at what is going on in your life. Big move? Pregnancy? Money is tight? There seems to be a pattern for me (and I’m sure for a lot of you) that when you have new things happening in your life good or bad, it may increase your anxiety level. Well today I decided I would not let anxiety win. I will share with you what I did to embrace the anxiety and not let it control me.
I WENT OUTSIDE IN NATURE
This is so important you need some fresh air when you are feeling anxious. It should really be a prescription. Trees swaying in the wind the smell of flowers in the air or even in the crunching of snow under your boots in the winter or the smell of wood burning fireplaces. Nature has a proven track record to calm your nerves.
I MADE SURE TO STAY HYDRATED
As soon as I feel anxiety rising I make sure to have a cold glass of water and to keep myself drinking water all day long. I used to get panic attacks thinking that I would faint. Drinking water instantly made me feel better and I felt like at least if I stayed hydrated I wouldn’t faint (that’s what I told myself and it worked). So make sure you keep hydrated and don’t drink caffeine…DRINK WATER!
TOLD MYSELF ITS OK
As I was walking in nature with my son in his stroller I was thinking about how I was feeling. Heart pounding, tingling, nauseous, headache- the works. Then I thought, you know what FEEL EVERYTHING AS YOU FEEL IT, IT’S OK! Go with the feeling. Maybe you are excited about something or channel it into a thought about what you will be doing with all this pent up energy today.
DID SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE
Along the lines of what I was saying in the previous point, do something with all that pent up energy. I decided to wash all my floors. A lot of the time you will find that you get most anxious on the days where maybe you have more time to think about anxiety or you have less that you have to do. Its feels like a balloon is about to pop, now, do you want it to pop or do you want to make a small hole and release the air slowly? I don’t like loud noises or surprises so I choose the latter (lol). Releasing the air slowly is a great idea. Get some exercise, cook a great meal, clean out the fridge, organize the bookshelves, vacuum the house. Do something so you don’t feel like your day was wasted worrying and feeling anxious all day long. It turns a negative into a positive. Win!
TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY
Get something engrained in your head, anxiety-sufferer. Just because today was a bad day, doesn’t mean tomorrow will be. This was THE KEY for my path to a better place in my mind. When I was in the throws of my anxiety disorder, when I had a bad day I would always assume the next day, the next month, the next year will be just as bad. NOPE. ANXIETY DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY AND THAT IS HOW IT WANTS TO CONTROL YOU. Take the control back. Tell yourself, ok you are feeling anxious today you had a bad day but you will not have a bad day tomorrow. And if you do happen to have a bad day tomorrow, that’s ok the next day will be better!
I think the most frustrating part about anxiety is remembering that you weren’t always like this. At some point you felt normal and you were functioning well and even having fun in life. Where is that now? I used to feel like such a failure when I had a panic attack. I used to feel like giving up, like I will never feel normal again. I never thought there would ever come a time where I would enjoy life again. But slowly and gradually I came out of it and I did so by not taking every feeling or sensation so seriously. I realized that some days are good and some days are bad and you have to just ride the wave! One great thing that PANIC AWAY taught me is that you have to roll with your anxiety, almost like a roller coaster ride. Once I started doing that I started living again. Yes I still get bad days, as you have just read, it happened to me today! But I decided to let the anxiety wash over me like a wave instead of fighting against it and it gave me the POWER back. It may seem counterintuitive but it works. Now the ball is in my court again. I got on the rollercoaster today and you know what? I SURVIVED. And you will too! Try my tricks and let me know how you did on your bad day.