Anxiety Tips, Help and Advice
Listen to your body
When we first experience anxiety, it is, in most cases because of a period of stress and worry. Our body cannot take any more so it sort of shuts down; it has reached a breaking point and has said enough is enough. This may lead to feelings of anxiousness, feelings of panic, the feelings of detachment. It does not matter what the symptoms are; your body is saying ďI can take no moreĒ, which is where the word breakdown comes in, because that is really what it is. Now all your body is asking for is a rest and time to rejuvenate itself. Do we give it that time? No, through no fault of our own, we then worry about these symptoms, worry that we are going mad, wonder why we feel so anxious, so emotionless and this puts more worry and strain on our already tired body. We may begin to feel worse, we tell ourselves we must get a grip of this thing, so we fight it and worry even more. Well I think you can now see why these symptoms persist.
This is exactly what I did for all those years while I suffered. In fact I was worrying because I had been ill for so long and my days were filled with fighting and worry. This is what I am forever telling people. In order to help yourself, do not fight to feel better. Do not worry and obsess about how you feel. You need to give your body the break it so craves.
Step outside and take a walk, go for a bike ride or a swim. Try not to sit around indulging in self-pity at the way you are feeling. Getting out of the familiar surroundings that you find yourself in every day can refresh your mind and really give it another focus apart from yourself. This is a very good way of helping your thoughts become more outward instead of inward.
Exercise is also one of the best physical stress-reducing techniques available. Exercise not only improves your mental and physical health it also reduces stress. It relaxes tense muscles and can aid sleep. Exercise also burns off all the stress chemicals and creates a release for all the anxiety and worry that can build up in our day.
Stop fighting your symptoms, tensing against how you feel, trying to push your symptoms away. Don't spend everyday going round in circles trying to figure it all out. This just adds more stress and anxiety to how you feel. Worrying just makes your mind more and more tired, more and more detached from everything around you. If fighting worked you would be cured by now so why not try the opposite. Recovery is never a 'I must rid myself of these feelings', it is all about not doing. Some people try and control how they feel day in, day out, they worry and fight their way through their day, trying to get the better of this thing. Imagine the stress this puts on that person, the body wants and needs a break and it gets the exact opposite. When you go round all day trying to physically and mentally control how you feel, do something about it, keep a grip on yourself, you are doing everything wrong, the exact opposite of what you should do.
However you feel, just accept it. Fighting your symptoms and trying to push them away just adds more tension to your already anxious body, it just adds to your feelings of anxiety and this is why this condition stays with you. You can never hope to recover this way. It is human nature to fight something, it is all we know to do. But with anxiety it is the very last thing you should do.
Embrace your fears
Start to move towards your fears, as you may now know avoidance just does not work. By avoiding you are telling your body you are in danger, this then becomes a learnt behaviour and forms your new habit to run away from how you are feeling.
The best bit of self help advice I was given was "Avoid your fears and they begin to grow, move towards them and they dampen" This may not be easy at times, but this is the way to de-sensitise. Invite your symptoms and fears, shake them by the hand, let them be there. They hate been invited as they have no fear to feed on and this is the very thing that keeps them alive.
Forget the miracle cure
Just like I did, too many people like spend too much time searching for that miracle cure or the new magic pill that is just going to make it all go away instantly, that cure that so many people falsely promise. They also may be convinced they have missed something and that the answer must have eluded them so far. I tried every so called cure available to me, until I realised the cure must come from within. Recovery comes through the correct information and a little patience. The best way to help yourself is not to spend every day trying to rid yourself of how you are feeling, but to be willing to work with the feelings there. This is the way to give your mind and body a break. Worrying and fighting daily just adds to your feelings of anxiety and panic and keeps you in the cycle. Nothing is achieved overnight, but with knowledge, comes less worry, less fear and this helps give your mind and body the time and space it needs to recover. In the end it was a realisation that I had to let recovery come to me and not to spend hours each day chasing it.
Stop the 'What ifs'
Today is a good day to stop the 'What if' thoughts.
What if I never get better?
What if itís not anxiety, but a different mental problem?
What if my old self is lost forever?
What if there is something else wrong with me, brain tumour?
What if I can't breathe?
What if I have to live like this for the rest of my life?
What if itís just me that feels like this?
What if I'll never be able to enjoy the things I used to?
Thoughts like this are a waste of time and they usually amount to nothing.
All they do is keep your anxiety alive. All this worrying puts a tremendous burden on your body. Recovery is not about resting the body as much as resting the mind. Thrashing it daily with worrying thoughts only increases your feelings of panic and anxiety. Since recovery, I have found that worrying is the single most useless emotion we have. It serves no purpose whatsoever and is only counter-productive.
The next time you have one of these ' What if ' thoughts, just let it go. It's just your habit to worry - understand this - realise it will serve you no purpose and just let it go.
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