Eliminate Daily Anxiety

If you feel anxious every day, you know how much that can limit you in your life. Not only can it make you feel overwhelmed, and negatively affect your mood, but it can also limit the way you show up for those you love and even damage your physical health. The good news is that once you have tools to help you at the moment, these daily anxious attacks can be put to rest for good!

Anxiety can make your body feel uncomfortable, we feel it in our chest, our gut and tingling or heaviness in our limbs. It's an unpleasant feeling and if left untreated can elevate into a state of overwhelment. This can look like breathlessness, a sense of doom or dread and even physical pain. When we feel anxiety, our body systems are not able to function optimally. This is because this state elevates our stress system, a system that is perfect for fighting or fleeing in times of extreme danger, and can save our lives in such moments, however, when activated consistently and regularly can have significant, negative health consequences. Not only is our health at risk when anxiety goes unchecked, but our relationships are constantly put under strain. The way you treat those you love (or anyone for that matter) when you're in a highly anxious state is often harsh and unnecessarily unkind. It makes sense because our ability to control our emotions is reduced and even our brain areas that deal with problem-solving and emotional stability are reduced. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the negative effects of anxiety on your life. Anyone who has felt this emotion in its extremes has suffered its consequences. What's more important to focus on is "now what?" What do we do if we feel this emotion daily?

There are several tools people use to take back control of their anxiety. You would have heard about them all! But how many people that have anxiety, ever actually practice these tools? They say knowledge is power, however, it's not! When we don't use that knowledge to take the right actions, then it's redundant. We must DO the actions that we know of in order to get change. In the moment of an anxiety attack, the best thing to do is to take control of our physiology. That means, taking back control of our body. Breathing deeply is a massive tool to help in the situation. If we were being attacked, you would not be able to consciously tell your body to breathe in deeply and breathe out deeply. When we're having an anxiety attack, often we've (unknowingly) trained the body to react like we're going to die at a moment when we are, in fact, very safe. We might be in a room, sometimes even by ourselves, and we aren't in any physical danger. If we were, this response would be extremely appropriate. It turns off some of our higher-level reasoning and allows our brain to work more animalistic in order to stop over-analysing and either "fight or flight" to save our life. All our systems, the "why we do what we do" are for a reason. Our body is infinitely intelligent. However, we have a mind that can override these genius systems (free will) and often we use it to harm ourselves. We can tell our bodies that we're in a life and death situation and bring about anxiety, even when we are very safe. This is what we're doing every time we feel intense anxiety. The body doesn't know what's real or not, it believes whatever you tell it. So if you look at a bill that comes in and gets panicked about how you're going to pay it, you can make yourself feel as sick as if there was someone in your house trying to kill you. There are obviously many issues to this, however, if we simply focus on just one - how we feel - this reaction is NOT serving us. Feeling this anxiety doesn't make the financial issue go away, in fact, it shuts off our problem-solving centres of the brain remember, so it actually inhibits our ability to find a solution. But more importantly, it makes us feel horrible! In that moment of overwhelming, if you consciously take a few deep breaths, you are telling your body that there couldn't possibly be any physical danger around you right now and allows the heart, muscles and breath to relax. Once your body is relaxed, you can easier get back control of your mind.

How easy is breathing in deeply and letting it go slowly? It couldn't be simpler, yet people don't do it! If you don't do the work, then you don't get the results. It's that simple. Physiologically, it's not a magic bullet, it takes practice and takes effort, especially at the beginning. With constant practice, the body soon learns that when we feel anxious, we stop and take deep breaths to calm down. It's like training a puppy in some ways. This is the first step. The next step is the most important. Prevention. We need to practice something that prevents us from ever getting into the state of anxiety in the first place. This can look different to different people, which is why I always recommend getting a professional coach or talking to someone in the health care world about it. I've suffered from anxiety in the past and have developed a program that helps people understand their bodies and emotions and what they can do to take back their power. My personal philosophy is that this type of personal exploration can be fun and simple. It doesn't have to be full of pain and complex processes and I find you don't have to tell me about your past and dwell on why you get anxiety in the first place (although for some people this can be helpful), I find it's simply not necessary in order to get great results. I say, let's start from where you are, we don't need to go back to where you've been.

How can you start to take back control of your anxiety to prevent it from coming on? The number one thing you have to do is recognise your triggers. That is, what happens before you feel the emotion? What thoughts do you think triggered that emotion? Awareness is the first step. It's like a cascade of things. I know that I'm more prone to anxiety if I've not slept well. Straight off the bat, if I wake up and I've had a bad sleep (which doesn't happen often, and I'll write an article on how to optimise your sleep one of these days!), I know I'm more at risk that day of feeling anxious. So, I then take action to make sure I support myself. I don't just go into my day the same way each day! I'll skip my morning coffee, or get a decaf. I'll double my meditation time, I'll pay attention to how I'm feeling throughout the day and if I need, I go off to a private space and take a few deep breaths just to keep relaxed and remind my body that I'm okay. I make sure I avoid processed and sugary foods. These things destroy our hormones and increase inflammation in the body. When we're already under stress, why would we choose to physically put our bodies under more stress? If you added even one of these tools into your day, do you think it could help? This is where people feel it's "too hard." They think they have to do everything all at once, however, that's not how we make the change. Often just adding one, simple change into our life can produce massive results. I always recommend just starting with the breath. It's simple, you can do it anywhere, it's easy and it's effective!

Even if anxiety doesn't seem to be a massive issue in your life, we can always work on relaxing the body and setting it up for more success. Reducing general anxiety will not only make you feel better emotionally, but it will also help protect your body from unnecessary inflammation, which is the root of all diseases. I set you up for a monthly challenge, each morning get up and take 3 deep breaths. Do this at lunchtime and before bed and notice how your body and mind feel. After all, what have you got to lose?

Sending you all lots of love,


TOP Minds

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