Welcome back to Girl Talk! This week we’re going to tackle the topic of anxiety. What is anxiety? What causes it and how can we deal with it?
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress. That overwhelming feeling when your heart suddenly starts pounding faster than you can count. Everyone has different triggers and identifying them is an important step to learning how to manage it.
What are the signs of an anxiety attacks?
– Feelings of danger, panic or dread
– Nervousness or restlessness
– Increase heart rate
– Trembling or chills
– Tiredness or weakness
– Difficulty concentrating
– Hyperventilation (heavy breathing)
– Gastrointestinal problems
Often times, anxiety attacks can be confused or even followed by a panic attack. These are the symptoms to look out for in a panic attack:
– Fear of dying
– Feeling no sense of control
– A sense of detachment
– Heart palpitations
– Shortness of breath
– Chest pains or tightness
– Lightheaded or dizzy
– Feeling hot or cold
Identifying triggers requires time and self-reflection. However, here are a few things you can do to ease anxiety:
If your anxiety is getting in the way of your focus or tasks, there are some quick natural remedies that could help you take control of the situation. If your anxiety is focused around a situation, such as being worried about an upcoming event, you may notice the symptoms are short-lived and usually subside after the anticipated event takes place.
1. Watch your thoughts
If we’re not careful, negative thoughts can overtake your mind and actually make the situation seem far worse than it actually is. Ask yourself if what you’re thinking about it rational and true or just your imagination running wild. Most times, the scenarios we make up in our head are far from reality. The fear we created causes the anxiety.
2. Practice focused, deep breathing
I remember one night I had an anxiety attack, and as I mentioned in my previous point, it was a scenario I created in my head, and when I look back now it was far from reality or the truth. At that moment a friend of mine told me to “just breathe” and “count til 5, focus on one object, do deep breathing” I thought it was stupid, but I did it, and it helped! Don’t underestimate the power of breathing, when you have an anxiety attack, close your eyes breathe in and out, inhale, exhale, and think of something that makes you happy. This will slow down your heart beat and as a result, ease the anxiety.
3. Go for walk or a jog
Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to walk away from the situation. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety.
4. Write down your thoughts
This is one of my most effective coping mechanisms when I battled with anxiety, I would write and write and write. It calmed me down and allowed me to reflect on the situation at hand. Writing down what makes you anxious, gets it out of your head and out in the open, even if you’re the only one reading it.
If your anxiety is a little more severe, here are 6 long-term strategies for coping:
1. Identify and learn to manage your triggers
You don’t necessarily need to see a therapist to identify your triggers, you can identify it on your own. Find out if it is a person giving you anxiety, a work situation, financial stress, studies, or uncertainty about the future.
I made a list of general triggers to help you identify it:
– A stressful job or work environment
– Driving or travelling
– Genetics (it runs in the family)
– Withdrawal from alcohol or drugs
– Fear of crowded or open spaces and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
– Chronic illness
– Relationship stress
– Depression or other mental illnesses
2. Changing your diet
Supplements or changing your diet is a good long-term strategy. There has been research done that certain supplements or nutrients can ease anxiety. Have a look at these:
– Green tea
– Dark chocolate
– Omega-3 fatty acids
3. Keep your mind and body healthy
Believe it or not, exercise and having a good healthy diet really plays a role in your mental health. Focussing on getting in shape for example, takes the focus off of whatever is causing anxiety. For me, I’ve recently been into walks and jogging, hopefully running soon, haha! I encourage you to try it, find a good sport or exercise that you can do and stick to it.
If you are battling with it, you can overcome it. Anxiety should not run your life. Share this blog with friends that may be battling with anxiety. Let them know that they are not alone.
You got this, sis!
Insecurities can often lead to anxiety. Learn how to deal with them here.
Tell us: Do you suffer from anxiety? How do you cope with it?