Anxiety definition : a feeling of worry or fear, typically about an imminent event or something with an unknown outcome. Other words to describe anxiety would be panic, agitation, tension, stress, suspense, fear, nervousness, and angst.
Anxiety increases when you begin to physically feel it’s blow, the chest pain, the headaches, maybe shortness of breath, nausea, cold sweats, eye twitches, stammering, forgetfulness, irritable bowel symptoms, inability to perform in regular activities and feeling intense fear.
The DSM- 5 a psychiatric diagnostic tool. It uses specific criteria and rules for diagnosing anxiety. It states that a generalized anxiety disorder is excessive worry or fear occurring more days than not, over a 6 month period that involves a number of events or daily activities such as work, school performance, socialization etc.
“Now is the age of anxiety.” – W. H. Auden.
What causes Anxiety?
Life is a beautiful gift. We are all here breathing but we don’t intentionally use those breaths. Much like breathing, experiencing anxiety is apart of life. Life comes with many changes through out the years and some of those changes can leave us feeling a bit unsettled. Change of course will come with some natural anxiety. Even good things come with a small amount of anxiety from time to time. For some people there is no true root cause of anxiety, they are born anxious. For others anxiety has many causes. Some very logical relevant causes to anxiety can be relationships, work stress, school performance, health conditions, traumatic life events, raising a family, and poverty. These things can weigh heavily on a person and rightly so. Often anxiety and depression accompany one another, playing an ugly game in a person’s mind. Anxiety is often known to run in families. If your family members tend to get anxious easily you may be more likely to be so yourself, it makes sense too because a lot of our behaviors in life are learned from our family. Drugs and alcohol abuse can cause anxiety. Withdrawal from anti-anxiety medications can cause anxiety. Social media can cause anxiety, comparing yourself to others and not having what other people have can lead to you feeling anxious about your life. The Depression and Anxiety Association of America produced an article about how much social media effects a persons mental health and anxiety levels it’s pretty astounding article.
Can I get better?
We can always better ourselves it’s one of our best human traits. When we put our mind to something we can achieve it! You will get better! Seeking the right treatment and making the right steps and starting immediately is crucial in your success for treating anxiety. Don’t allow it to build up. Recognize the warning signs of stress in your body. Are your shoulders tight? Are you getting tension headaches frequently? Are you having digestive problems? How are you sleeping? Are you feeling anxious? Are you feeling overwhelmed? What are you doing for self-care? What are you doing for mental health breaks daily? You can get better you just need to begin. Do not stop trying once you get started. That leaves you with the question we all ask, where do I start?
Where do I start?
Step one: You need to begin breathing. When you find yourself in an overwhelming state of mind. Find intentional breath, not even meditation at this point. Just focus on the in and out of your breath. Tell yourself ” I am breathing in, I am breathing out”. Close your eyes if you are in an area you can do so. Start there. Simply be for a moment. Check in with yourself. Ask yourself 1. How do I feel in this moment? Get used to being in the present moment. Lots of times anxiety comes from living in the future. Our thoughts are not in the present. We are concerned about what may occur in the upcoming moments, months, weeks, years in the future etc.
Step two: Daily movement. You may have a job or school schedule that takes up a good portion of your day. Your mind is tired but your body is not necessary tired. There is stagnant energy that is surrounding you. It’s fueling your anxiety. Daily movement will improve your health by calming the mind, lowering the blood pressure and improving focus, if you are doing activities outdoor you will be getting vitamin D which is a great natural source of happiness and mood boosting qualities.
Yoga : Take a class either at a yoga studio, gym, online, or on the TV ( amazon prime has some great teachers) Audible app also has guided classes that are great! Even a few moments will give you benefits.
Walking: Getting out doors for a brisk walk daily will help you clear your mind. Even walking on a tread mill and taking that time to listen to a positive podcast or active meditation/intention setting podcast is a great way to not only improve you mood but work on yourself mentally. If you are walking outdoors maybe bringing a friend to vent to about life and share your stories with while simultaneously getting fit together!
Martial arts: The practice of self-control through movement and energy release! A perfect combination for some one who has anxiety and perhaps some anger issues as well. (No you don’t learn martial arts to go beat people up.) It’s about learning an art form and releasing energy through a practice of self-control and respect for others. Karate, Tai chi, MMA, Ji Jistu etc.
Running: I am sure everyone has heard of a runners high. Running boosts endorphins. Running is something you can set either pace goals or distance goals for yourself. You can use apps like Nike Training Run app that tracks you distance and has free coaches that inspire you and give you positive pep talks along your route as you run your specific distances and a paces! Running is great for the anxiety/depression combination. Great for the goal setter personality!
Weight lifting: Lifting weights either by following specific training guide lines by in app purchases like BBG, or doing your own thing in the gym, preparing to compete in body building competitions, crossfit or powerlifting. Weight lifting can be very therapeutic for people as they refocus their energy to specific goals they set for themselves.
Zumba: Dancing is a great way to get out there move your body and raise your endorphins, relief anxiety, reduce your blood pressure and get a great fat blasting full body workout in at the same time while having a ton of fun. Studios, Martial arts studio, online/ tv workouts, community centers and gyms all offer a variety of Zumba classes.
Barre: Traditional Barre workouts stem from the beautiful art of ballet, they are upbeat and offer a full body workout that is challenging and fun. On average you burn a total of 500 calories each workout! There is also a floor barre option that is usually fused with yoga, it offers uplifting principles and offers an atmosphere that totally reduces stress! You literally sweat it away!
Pilates: A great way to build lean muscle and gain control your core. If you know one thing about someone who practices Pilates regularly they are in overall great shape! Developed by Joe Pilate, Pilates integrates breath work that differs a bit from yoga but it does reduce stress all the same. Gives a full body workout and it’s a lot of fun! Great for spine and core health! Catch a class in studio, online, on tv or in a community center or gym. So many options.
Biking: So many options here. Outdoors! Yes! Indoors at the gym! Yes! or take a very upbeat competitive soul cycle class or jump on your bike in the gym or at home and take a class in the comfort of your own home, tour Italy! There are so many options! It’s lots of fun! Your mind will get lost in a good way!
Step three: Meditation. I was too jittery and had too much anxiety for meditation. I used to be the person that would roll up my mat before the end of a yoga class and run out before the final resting pose savasana. I could not bear the silence and being alone in my own thoughts. In yoga savasana is often said to be one of the hardest poses. All you are doing is laying flat on your back in relaxation. My anxiety in the silence was overwhelming to me. My thoughts raced. Even closing my eyes was too much. I would just skip it and leave immediately, if I ever did go to yoga back then. Once I was in yoga teacher training many years later, the importance of mediation practice was explained to me. So many thoughts are entering and exiting our minds constantly throughout the day. How do we know which ones are important? My giving ourselves a few moments of clarity. We allow time for our thoughts to clear and once they re-enter we have time to re-evaluate which ones are important.
How to start mediation practice as a person with anxiety.
- I move first, before Fibromylagia really took over my energy levels with chronic fatigue. I used to have lots of energy that was stagnant. I needed to move first. I would exercise or practice power yoga first, then mediate. My bodies nervous energy was released and my mind was more clear and ready to receive the practice.
- I do guided mediation on my worst anxiety days, If I leave myself to guide my own practice on a really overwhelming day the likelihood of success is not very high.
- My goals are small, it’s really daunting to aim to practice 30 minutes of mediation in one sitting a day. Especially if it’s not your practice. Start with 5 minutes a day! If you find that successful increase it each week by 5 minutes or however you see fit to pace it. If increasing by 5 minute increments is too much, try 2 minutes instead.
- Time! You have the time trust me! Stop endlessly scrolling through your phone. Set your timer and breath. Down load insight timer on your phone, down load audible get some of their guided mediations and DO THEM!
Step four: Pick up a hobby. Try starting a hobby like reading, painting, sewing, knitting, weaving, flying kites, doing puzzles or collecting bottles. A hobby can be very therapeutic and keep your mind in the present moment.
Non Pharmaceutical Anti- anxiety medications!
Cannabis: My favorite supplement for anti-anxiety! My Soul CBD oil drops! As I had stated before anxiety sometimes runs in families. My sister and I are both using My Soul CBD for our anxiety. I am using it for many other reasons as well but, she is also using it for her anxiety management. The CBD oil is organic, third-party tested for quality assurance and it’s THC free! The CBD tincture is flavored with essential oils and they taste amazing, the flavors include peppermint, orange and lemon lime. Lemon lime has been my personal favorite so far. If you are buying the 1500mg bottle 0.33ml equals to 16.7mg of CBD isolate. My current regime is 50mg of CBD oil daily. I take 16.7mg under my tongue at 10am, 2pm and 10pm along with my seizure medication at 2pm and 10pm daily. My sister purchases the 500mg bottle and takes 1 full dropper daily equally to a total of 16.7mg of CBD isolate daily. I have Epilepsy and Fibromylagia so my needs differ from hers as far as dosing goes. My Soul CBD just released a sleeping aid that has 25mg of CBD isolate along with Valerian root, Passion-flower and Pepper and 5mg of Melatonin. If you’d like to try this product, I have an affiliate link you can go to under my resource section to shop this great product!
Kava Kava : Is a herb sold as a tincture, tea or capsule. People often use it to boost their mood, calm anxiety, improve sleep and reduce pain. Some have described its effect as euphoric much like the effects of alcohol. Kava kava has been known to be more effective for women than men, more effective in younger patients and more effective for people with severe anxiety verses mild.
Valerian root: Similar to kava kava, sold in the same form, tincture, tea or capsule form. Most often used for sleep and often mixed into teas that are made for the function of improving either sleep or mood. Valerian roots action on the brain is increasing the Gamma aminobutryic acid (GABA) receptors, this regulates nerve cells and calms anxiety. The pharmaceutical drugs Xanax and Valium play similar roles in the brain with GABA receptors. Interesting right?
Chamomile Tea: Healthline produced an article that states ” Chamomile is commonly regarded as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer”. My mom used to prepare Chamomile tea for me as a kid with a little bit of honey and it would give me a great nights sleep. Even as an adult pouring a cup of Chamomile tea has a very relaxing benefit. Anything that makes you feel relaxed enough for sleep of course is a win. Try pouring yourself a cup when you are feeling overwhelmed. The tea taste delicious. Chamomile reduces inflammation in the body and improves digestion, its non habit-forming. Very inexpensive and readily available to use. Overall a very safe to try.
There are numerous options when it comes to prescription anti-anxiety medication. Just remember from the beginning when I stated that even anti anxiety medication can cause anxiety. Two issues are at play here when I mention withdrawal. Withdrawal anxiety is when you no longer need the medication and wish to get off the medication. The weaning process may produce more anxiety for you or an upswing of symptoms. Or withdrawals due to a habit that is being formed from taking the medication either by abuse/ over use or the body is becoming dependent. Talk to your doctor about the severity or risk of habit forming potential of the drug you are trying and about your family history. My Neurologist had prescribed me Xanax for anxiety and it caused me more harm than good. My seizure activity increased, I was heavily confused and had severe memory loss the times that I took it. After trying it 2 times, I discontinued using it. I do have Ativan which is for seizure rescue use and I use that on rare occasions to get cluster seizures under control. Ativan is also used by many people as an anti anxiety medication. I kept in contact with my doctor how I felt the times I took the Xanax. She knew right away it wasn’t for me. Always communicate to the doctor prescribing you medication on how you feel about a drug and do not just accept that is how you should feel, if it’s past a certain point and you should start feeling better by this time and you aren’t then it’s possible this isn’t the drug for you. Not every drug works the same for everybody. You may need to try a few medications first. Always use a medication as prescribed by your doctor. Exactly how it is prescribed! especially anti-depressant, anti anxiety or mood stabilizing drugs, I can not stress this enough! A doctor can not determine if your medication is working or not if you are not taking your medication properly. In nursing we are taught the Right’s of medications. The right patient, the right time, the right dose and the right route.
I always encourage people to get the help they need without fears of stigmas. If you have never been a medication person or you have fears about what others may think of you for needing anxiety medication. Firstly it’s your private medical information, you don’t need to share if you don’t want to. Secondly if you need to take medication to get well, that is what needs to be done. I recommended talk therapy and counseling to everyone with and without medication use who struggles with anxiety. If you like alternative medication. Medical Marijuana and CBD oil are now being prescribed by doctors all over the country, look up the laws in your state and see how you can obtain your medical Marijuana card. The chemical component THC in Marijuana can sometimes have a similar effect on the brain ( depending of the Marijuana used) that may cause more anxiety like some people on anti-anxiety medications. Finding the right medication is a science. It may take some time. Be patient.
You can also cut out all the personal medication trials if you are doing the prescription drug route and look up a company called Genesight. Genesight offers Genetic testing to provide you and your doctor the best information available to you based off your bodies genetic response and tolerance to medication without having to go through the hassle of trial and error. This is available to not only anxiety medication but also behavioral medications and antidepressants. Information will be provided in the resource link. I heavily suggest taking this extra step for your mental health.
Talking to a family member or spouse may not help when your anxiety has come to a point that it’s overtaking your life. Perhaps outside help is necessary. It’s also good to have someone to talk to that is not emotionally involved in your situation in any way. They can give some feedback and suggestions, offer a set of listening ears and some compassionate support. A therapist is also a professional . What you speak about together is completely confidential, if you have had difficult experiences in the past or present and you are having a hard time with them. Your sessions are completely private. The only time your information is shared is if you are a threat to yourself or others. In addition to one on one therapy many therapy offices or mental health clinics offer group therapy sessions. I suggest both talk therapy modalities. One on one is good to get your personal story shared and perhaps somethings you wouldn’t want a group to know or be involved in. Obviously the point of having a group is sharing but sometimes we can all be a bit shy or have fears of over sharing. Group therapy shows you that you are not alone. Everyone struggles. Life is messy and we all go through different problems. We can all connect on some level to each other through these problems and circumstances. Perhaps you can even be there to support someone else through a tough time every once in a while!
Find the right anti anxiety medication through genetic testing with Genesight
Take advantage of My Soul’s THC free non habit-forming CBD oil! Reduces anxiety, helps with insomnia, decreases pain and inflammation
More benefits of Chamomile Tea
More benefits of Valerian Root
More Benefits of Kava Kava
All the information I have collected is only to share my personal opinion and story in order that it may benefit you personally. I was not asked by any of the companies I listed to mention them or was compensated in any way. I do have an affiliate link with My Soul CBD oil, I was not asked to mention them here on my blog.
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I hope you find this blog beneficial and uplifting ~ Namaste~