Jul 11, 2014

Anxiety is a Monster

Anxiety is a monster and for those of us who have suffered from it, you know what I am talking about.

Some of the symptoms include hot flashes or chills, shortness of breath, feelings of chest being crushed, nausea, choking sensation, trembling, palpitations, dizziness, sweating and more.  According to WebMD, generalized anxiety disorder can include at least 3 of the following symptoms:  sleep disturbances, fatigue, muscle tension, personality changes (like being less social), difficulty concentrating and irritability or explosive anger.  http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/anxiety-attack-symptoms

Living in an environment like this can be toxic and can create additional dysfunctions of the body and mind.  It can disturb a person’s social life, their work and their personal life.  Most of the time when situations worsen, people go to the doctor and obtain medication for it.  It usually helps the person feel a sense of calm and keeps the symptoms at bay.  According to WebMD, panic disorder affects about 2.4 million people in the U.S. and women are twice as likely as men to develop it.

Evidence shows it may run in families and a lot them will abuse alcohol or drugs.
Anxiety is a topic for this article because I experienced anxiety and had never been an anxious person.  I could never understand why people would ‘freak out’ over silly things.  Like crowds or social events.  I could never understand why friends or family would get all worked up over something so small.  Until I had it.

At first I did not know what was going on but I was nauseated every day, all day and it got worse when I would eat.  I thought I was eating something that upset my stomach and began eliminating foods.  I went to many doctor’s appointments only to find out nothing was wrong with me.  Then I began to experience the accelerated heart and sweating that came along with it.

Let me rephrase, I was sweating profusely and my heart rate felt like I ran a marathon -then the palpitations started.

Before I knew it I was having panic attacks over nothing.  I was waking up with anxiety and if I thought a situation was going to escalate (that happened frequently at work)  I was anxious.  I even anticipated getting anxiety. My chest would be tight and I was cranky a lot.  It was very difficult for me to understand because I am a super happy person and I firmly believe we have control over our own happiness through attitude.  So how was this happening to me?  And why couldn’t I get over it?  I felt so out of control and helpless.

What a terrible feeling to be out of control of your own life and now I could understand how others experienced it.

Around this time I knew a lady who had adrenal failure.  She had a lot of things going on in life and this was a result of the stressors she was experiencing.  She told me of the many complications developed as a result of it.  She had extreme shortness of breath, heart palpitations and a dramatic reduction in weight to name a few.  A couple months later she had a heart attack and passed away.  This really hit home to me because I could feel my heart acting in a manner that was out of order in reference to rapid heartbeat and it was erratic.  I am not saying this was going to be me or that it will be you but why let it rule and take over my life or yours?

I was frightened – I needed to get this under control and right away.  I began to consider medication but I am against that.  I am very much into health and fitness so I prefer doing things the natural way.  I had talked to people about the anxiety I was experiencing and a gentlemen talked about breathing and being grounded.  He suggested focusing on breathing and meditating as well as being grounded which is a great holistic approach to being anxiety free.
Being grounded is a way of being well balanced and to do this the body and mind must be at peace.  This creates an overall feeling of euphoria and happiness occurs easily because the cluttered mind is free of the thoughts that jumble it.  Many of these thoughts are non-productive worries about anything and everything.  This prevents the flow of positive energy and adds to the emotional baggage created by anxiety.

Have you ever noticed that you are by far more productive when you are happy and in the moment of enjoyment?  Have you ever noticed that when you are happy more good things happen? And vice versa, when you are not happy that unfortunate or bad things happen?

This is all due to our mental state and what is being ‘attracted’ to us.  We have all heard of the law of attraction and it is true.  We attract what we think and in order to even begin to eliminate anxiety we have to ‘attract’ happy thoughts and attract the idea that we will be anxiety free.

Getting started on being anxiety free

I began setting aside 5 minutes each morning before work.  Ideally, this should be 15 minutes but I found I was not waking up early enough to get 15 minutes so 5 minutes had to do and then I continued on my way to work and again after work.  I lay on the bed, listening to relaxing music on a low setting and concentrated on breathing slowly.  I concentrated on feeling my body relax with each breath I would inhale and exhale.  As I focused on this I would breathe out anxiety with each exhale and each inhale would be positivity filling my body and mind.

Anxiety free
I did this for a few breaths then each breath out eliminated self-doubt and each breath in was self-confidence and happiness.  So every time I would exhale I imagined the self-doubt and anxiety leaving my body and each breath in I imagined positivity, confidence and happiness filling me.  The next few breaths in, I focused on having a good day at work.  Each breath in I imagined how fantastic today would be.  (it does not matter if I believed it, I imagined it would be and did not allow any other thoughts to enter my mind)

I focused on being thankful for all the things I have.  Thankful for having a job and working with great people, for my health and that I had use of all my limbs.  I was thankful for my family and grateful that I was able to put food on the table.  For you, it may be that you are thankful for your kids, pets or just having a roof over your head.  We all have things to be grateful for and some of them are minimal but they count!  I thought about all the little things I was lucky enough to have and I did not allow any other thoughts to enter my mind during this time.  Just feeling my body relaxing and my mind slowing allowed me to be at peace and rest my mind.  The mind is a powerful thing and it can make the body experience good or bad things.

This prepares the body and mind for any unpleasant situation that may arise and helps slowly free you from anxiety.  It does not happen overnight but it works.  If you are having trouble with this, try praying during the 15 minutes because it is during this time that you are talking to God, whoever your God may be, and you are not thinking about anything else.  They key is to spend 15 minutes every day doing nothing but that.  No distractions, conversations or any other activities during this time…. It’s only 15 minutes!

Constant meditation, grounding and serotonin releasing techniques will help you to be calm and serene.  Serotonin is a “happy” hormone naturally produced in the body and can be released by listening to your favorite music, working out/exercise, feeling the touch of a loved one, and even talking to pets.  I have found that my favorite music is too fast and a slower paced music works for me and, again, this should be music you enjoy –this way you will actually listen to it.

Focusing on freeing the mind from constant thoughts, especially negative ones, will free you from anxiety.  Paying attention to the good things in life will bring awareness to happy thoughts and they will begin to occur on their own.  Again, combating anxiety. Setting aside 15 minutes daily will allow you to work on the serenity that your body needs to be free of anxiety.  It is something you will probably always have to work at but it is worth it.  I noticed a change after about 1.5 weeks and about 3 weeks later I realized I had not had anxiety in a while.  Every once in a while it comes back and I realize I have not used the breathing/meditating techniques and once I get back to it I see immediate results. I love being free of anxiety- it is so cruel and I know anyone suffering from anxiety would also love to eliminate it from their life.  Try these simple steps and you will find out for yourself that it IS possible!  It is something you will probably always have to work at but it is worth it.  CLICK HERE to find out WHY meditation works.

What do you think?  Does it work?  Can it work?

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  1. Great Post! As someone who was diagnosed with panic disorder and social phobia I can completely relate to what you said. It can be very scary to be in a panic attack. I deal with anxiety on a daily basis. Some days it is worse then others. I was on meds but am no longer taking them. I've been thinking about going back on for myself. But, they did not (for me) completely rid me of my anxiety. I do meditation and yoga and it does help. When I am getting anxiety I try to just deep breath and tell myself positive affirmations. It does not completely rid me of the panic but it helps so I don't end up with a full blown panic attack. I am glad you are getting your anxiety under control.

    1. Hi and thanks for stopping by! I am glad you are able to get yours under control and I hope you keep practicing your techniques because the symptoms will gradually get better and better.

  2. Anxiety can manifest itself into so many different symptoms too!!!! Just a terrible thing to go through!

    1. I had always heard how dangerous stress can be to a body but the reality hit hard when I told the story of the lady.