Calming your mind and body simultaneously is tricky. I’m a pretty chill person in general and I rarely get angry or upset but when emotions or anxieties disrupt my zen I really freak out. I started getting anxiety half way through university and at the time I thought I was just really physically sick, I had no idea it was anything to do with my mind.
I’m no expert whatsoever in mental health, but I have tried an assortment of methods to help reduce my anxiety over the past three years (defusers, yoga, tea, essential oils, adult colouring-in books and literally ANYTHING that’s labelled as ‘calming’ I’ll buy five of). However, these are the techniques I always find myself going back to…
I really enjoy working out at the gym, I love having control over my body, I love seeing it change and become stronger and ultimately in the long run it really helps to reduce any panic inside of me. When I’m having a bad spell of anxiety I usually end up getting really stuck inside my head and I become quite self-absorbed but when I go to the gym it allows me to not only burn off a few calories and gain a little muscle, but also to work off some of that crap inside my head too. Exercise doesn’t always work though, my anxiety is 90% physical which means I’ve almost always got chest pains, palpitations and other pain around my body so I’ll have to take a break from the gym every now and again.
Green tea and bubble baths are my thing. And I LIVE for face masks, skin care, scrubs, body lotions and the rest. Working for LUSH Cosmetics means I’m around so many beautiful products every day that make myself and others feel shiny, pampered and brand new. After a long week (especially if I’ve been feeling pretty anxious) spending a Sunday washing my hair, scrubbing my body, putting some fake tan on and painting my nails makes me feel recharged and ready to tackle Monday. My favourite pamper-session recently is running a floral bath with loads of bubbles while listening to my ‘Bath vibes’ playlist (featuring lots of Fleetwood Mac, Dixie Chicks and slow country jams).
Accept what’s bad for you
This could be a person, a habit or just anything that adds fuel to the flame of your anxiety. A few years back I realised that alcohol was a huge contributing factor to me spending days feeling hysterical, anxious and just all round shit about myself, so I decided to cut down on my drinking. I still love a beer and I almost definitely drink too much rum on a night out but I’ve established my limits and set myself some rules of what I drink and how often I do so and I feel a hell of a lot better for it.
Counteracting bad thoughts
I try my hardest to not only counteract my own bad thoughts (which I think I’ve gotten pretty good at) but to counteract other peoples negativity too. Sometimes when I’m speaking to someone and they’re being particularly pessimistic or they say something quite negative out of the blue it really hits me and I can’t stop thinking about it for days. I feel like I’ve just taken a blow. So from now on I’m going to try and counteract it in the moment. I know that people hate being told to ‘be positive’, no it’s not going to cure your depression or anxiety and it’s not going to change all the bad stuff that’s happened in your life but it’s worth a try and you have nothing to lose by doing it. I’ve started seeing life in a different way and I’ve felt a lot lighter since.
Talk to others
Sometimes just simply saying to a close friend ‘I’ve been feeling really anxious recently, my anxiety it pretty bad and I’m not sure why’ can make me feel so much better. The more you talk to people about your anxiety, the more people will talk about theirs and the world becomes a whole lot more comforting when you realise that you’re not the only one that can stay up until 4am worrying, shaking and finding it hard to breathe.
Prayer and/or meditation
Whatever your beliefs, I think that spending a small portion of your morning, evening or any time in-between projecting your thoughts, worries, confusions and especially what you’re grateful for is never time wasted. Above everything, this is what helps me the most. Some days you can go all day without having a meaningful conversation, a breather, a little moment to yourself but by sitting down, closing your eyes and taking the time to breathe and clear your mind is so effective. I find that meditating doesn’t have a 100% success rate for me. It seems like there’s an art to it (one I can’t master) and I get really agitated and uncomfortable. But praying to whoever is out there helps me a lot, I think I just much prefer to speak out loud than sit in silence.
I’d love to know which techniques you use to help with your anxiety!