This post is not directly connected with nutrition, but I felt like I needed to write up something on this topic of anxiety. I think this topic of mental health is not talked about enough and I feel like taking the time to make sure that you are well cared for is important.
I am not sure if you have ever struggled with anxiety. The crazy thing about emotions is that they feel so different for each one of us. The same is true with anxiety. We can all feel anxious or worry about things in different ways. Those concerns can manifest in different ways. Even for the same person, those anxious tendencies can show up in different ways depending on the stressor. I think the key is becoming familiar with yourself and understanding how your body handles stress.
For me, when I feel anxious my entire body reacts to that stress. I get butterflies and my stomach starts to feel nervous. I become nauseated and then from there my body tenses up and my body starts to ache. I normally lose my appetite and can’t eat anything. I have a dry mouth and can’t really consume much besides water. If these feelings persist for an extended period of time then I normally end up getting sick. Thankfully these episodes don’t happen super frequently, but when they do they totally wipe me out for at least a day. The crazy thing is some times I have no idea what the trigger is. For example, I could wake up at that 4am with a queasy stomach and have no idea my I am feel nervous. My body is just obviously stressed and starting to get worked up.
Over the years, I have learned how my own personal anxiety cycle works and that has been helpful in managing it. I can probably count on two hands over the last 20 years the number of times these episodes have happened, but they are never fun and definitely frustrating. Maybe you have similar tendencies when it comes to being anxious or maybe your feelings manifest in a totally different way. The key to managing this stress response is to be embrace it and not to be scare of it.
Managing Those Anxious Feelings
Deep, calming breathing. This has been the most helpful at night when I find myself worked up about something. Long, deep breathes in and out (just like in yoga) are helpful to help remind your body to calm down and snap out of that “fight or flight” response.
Don’t fear the symptoms. I hate throwing up and that is one of the symptoms with my anxiety that I experience if I get really worked up. I keep having to work to not fear that symptom and just embrace it and then move on.
Focus on other things. Often taking that focus away from myself and looking to care for others helps. Those anxious feelings are centered on you and your responses and so when you pull yourself away from that focus and turn that outwards it can help break that anxiety cycle.
Pray. This has been very helpful for me. I am religious and believe in God and praying for help, support and calming has been very helpful to be over the years. Believing in someone bigger than myself, looking after me, is very reassuring.
Understand and love yourself. Even if you dislike and are frustrated by how you handle your anxiety, you have to learn to love yourself. Even those parts of yourself that you wish were different. Embracing and loving yourself is key to helping to overcome your worries and concerns.
Have your support system. Have those people around you who can love you, hug you and remind you that it is ok. You are not alone and these worries shall pass. Those people who you can be honest with and tell them that you are struggling and they can help support you when you need that love.
In the end, no matter what you are amazing and if you struggle with anxiety that is fine. Embrace that part of you, learn how those feelings manifest in your life and work to better control your responses to stress. So much of life you can’t control and the only person we have control over, is ourselves. We all have good days and bad days. In the end, the goal is that those good days far extend the number of bad days.
I wanted to share this to let you know that none of us are perfect. We all have our struggles and you aren’t alone. Whether you work to control your anxiety on your own, if you see a therapist, if you take medication, all these tools can help you be the best version of yourself. If you ever need to reach out and a person to talk to … let me know.