Anxiety has been a part of our lives forever as it has been used for ages to help us protect from the dangers. Our brain has been designed over millions of years to help us survive and defend against the threat. It’s actually a great capability of the rain, without it most of us wouldn’t be even be getting outside of our homes, walking on pathways, driving, conducting business or doing anything for that matter. But we don’t need that level of triggering of brain chemicals which we needed hundreds of years ago to protect yourself and families from dangerous wild animals or to hunt for a living.
In today’s world, we don’t have to deal with similar threats but still, anxiety is overpowering our life. The adrenaline rush, clinching in stomach, dizziness and nausea are common symptoms we all go through before we have some fearful or undesirable situation to face.
If Anxiety is troubling you once in awhile, it’s ok but if it’s overtaking your life and making you miserable then certainly it needs to be fixed. But how? How can we fix something which seems to be an automatic response? These were exactly my questions when i first started to experience anxiety.
There are some common psychological patterns that we all follow which makes us feel good or bad. I am not condemning some serious chemical disturbances which leads to an anxiety disorder or acute anxiety situations. Since, i myself have been suffering from it, i do know it’s no joke. It really is very frustrating and can lead to depression. Medical help is needed in severe cases but that is not the solution. Our thinking patterns, extreme stress, overly competitiveness, low self-esteem, guilt, emotional abuse are some of many reasons of acute anxiety.
I figured out major breakthrough points if focused or implemented can help a lot with your anxiety.
1. Don’t Run Away from It!
Anxiety is never going to kill you. It’s not a deadly disease so first of all don’t look at this as one. The more you get afraid of having anxiety or panic attack the more your brain will trigger it again. So, when the episode comes, just focus on your breath and become mindful of your being alive. As long as you are breathing, you are not going to die even though it appears scary like hell with heart palpitations and dizziness. You simply “Welcome Anxiety”. let it work on your body but you just focus on your breath. When you know you are alive and nothing can kill you, you are giving signals to your brain of being “Fearless” which means brain doesn’t find it relevant to continue sending anxiety signals to you and eventually anxiety fades away.
Remember, the brain is not your enemy, it’s your friend, you just need to know the ways to make it work for you. Brain simply passes on anxiety or panic signals by taking commands from your subconscious mind to protect you. So you can exactly reverse the process through the conscious mind.
2. Look for the Reasons.
Why is it happening even at first place? What is triggering that? Am I doing something wrong? What am I so afraid of? Ask , Ask and Ask.
When you will ask, you will get answers. Self Introspection is majorly important if you are suffering from regular anxiety. I figured out from my own introspection that I suffer anxiety due to high expectations from myself in majorly every department of my life. Also adding up was my loneliness after the failed marriage and facing tougher and stressful situations`in a new country.
Highly driven people also usually attract anxiety and depression as they don’t want to left behind others in the competitive world. So, What are your reasons? Find them out. For self awareness, one needs to be real to “The Self”. No fear of judgements. Be detached and see yourself as a being who is not flawless. Once you figure out what makes you fearful or desperate, you will know how to replace that with better positive and healing thoughts.
3. Start to Live in “The Present”
All we really have in this life time truly is the moments. So far we have lived millions of moments, some of them full of joys and some with sorrows. But they are already gone and what greets you is “a new moment” right now right here. Each and every moment is inevitable. If we pay attention to the inevitability of each moment, we will be living it fully rather clinging to the pains of the past experiences. What keeps on letting living on fear is our past experiences or future expectations. We are really never living this moment with utmost pleasure as we are either living in past memories or future dreams and we miss the most of the present.
4. Be in-tune with Universe
Everything is this Universe happening for us and not against us. Trusting the fact that life brings a series of challenges for us to grow mentally, emotionally and logically along the journey of our lives. We are interlinked deeply with Universe and sometimes moving with the flow is the best for our mental health as it opens us to the new experiences and dimensions of our own hidden personality.
How would we learn to care, share and be compassionate to others if we ourself don’t suffer? When we let the Universe play it’s role and we remain in tune with it, we easily let go of the resistance to change and cause less pain to ourselves. Letting go of heavy emotions such as anger, frustration and guilt reduces anxiety and depression and lead to a more joyful life.
5. Practice Yoga & Breathing Exercises
What connects us to our being is nothing but “our breath”. Learning how to use our breaths to relax our minds is the most important as it can create wonderful deeper inner experiences. Yoga, which basically means union, is a practice that allows to create a space where you combine your body, mind and spirit with your breaths. It produces profound relaxation by increasing oxygen to your brain and all muscles which in turns helps you to relax deeper. I simply can’t live without it anymore after experiencing the numerous benefits on my overall health.
I can’t describe enough in words the benefits of deep breathing exercises. Inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly can calm down the noises in brain and uneasiness in your gut in a few seconds only. It’s amazing to know that our breaths are the controlling mechanisms to our minds. We can deviate from a turbulent and panic induced thought or expression of anger by simply putting the focus on our breath. There are various Indian yogic techniques in like Pranayam, Anulom-Vilom and Kapal Bhati which are very powerful and totally healing.
6. Unwind More and More.. Specially before you go to bed
Our subconscious mind is always operational, even while we are asleep and it works on tons of memories, good or bad feelings we have experienced in the past, our fears and aspirations and other visual information. Once we are sleeping our subconscious mind takes control and gives us its impression in terms of quality of sleep, dreams we see and how we feel after we get up. I had most of my panic attacks while i was in the middle of sleep and woke me up with a jolt. Most of us can check on the health of our subconscious mind by evaluating how deeply we sleep and the kind of dreams we experience.
Feeding our conscious or active mind with positive and healing thoughts consistently helps a lot in channelizing our subconscious mind towards calmness, love, peace and safety. Unwinding your pressures and day to day stress especially before going bed is extremely helpful.
Think and write about any negative feelings you experienced and then start to focus on your top three wins for the day, things that you are thankful for and set up your goals for the next day. While we all go through negative feelings since we are humans, but the good thing is if we train our conscious mind to start focusing more on smaller wins, little pleasures and optimism, it in turn trains our subconscious to work in accordance and make us more happy, stable, full of positive energy and very productive.
7. Guided Meditation- Guide your Mind to Ease
A man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Autocrat of the Breakfast Table
Our minds can’t stop working. All we can do with them is to channelize them effectively so it works for us and not against us. We have heard about the benefits of meditation on our mental health and it’s effect on the brain chemistry. After studying some of Buddhist monks brains’, scientists were able to prove the structural changes in the brain due to the continuous practice of meditation.
These changes affect their response to stressful events, a sense of calmness and level of concentration. Most of us have tried self meditation but couldn’t derive the effective results. To my personal experience, guided meditation is a great way to start and it’s an effective way to guide your mind on what it should focus on.
There are numerous resources available as DVDs or on Youtube that could be a great support in your journey towards being a meditator. After practicing it for some time, you will see an automatic change in your brain conditioning and you will be able to relax yourself more and more anywhere anytime.
Some of the resources I use are available on Youtube. You can check further more links and choose what works for you.
Knowing what generates a good mental health and what harms it is the first thing to work on while dealing with the monster of anxiety. It’s really not any illness but a signal that is depicts our inner lives and thinking patterns.. A healthy mind is a source of abundance, high productivity and joyful experiences. We have to remember this one fact that our brain is subordinate of our mind and we can change the functioning of our brain by changing our mind’s energy and direction.
Life is a journey, not a destination. So don’t be hard on yourself. Breathe Deep, Play a little, Joke on yourself and simply pay attention and enjoy the miracles that unfold every day in front of us.