Some days when I experience a moment of anxiety, I look normal on the outside, but what I’m feeling on the inside is my racing heart, my shallow, stunted breathing, my shaking hands, my flushed skin, a slight twitch to my neck and an inability to think and sometimes speak clearly. It was a few years ago when I started to pay attention to the moments when I was most anxious; who am I around? What’s going on around me? What’s the underlying feeling? How can I cope with this if I cannot leave my situation?
Varying levels of anxiety would present intermittently throughout my day or week, however when I started to pay more attention to it and with the help of a professional, I started to identify the limiting belief(s) and feelings underneath the anxiety. When I am anxious these limiting beliefs come up for me:
I am wrong/bad.
I am not enough (good enough, smart enough etc.).
Something bad is going to happen.
What are the feelings and limiting beliefs underneath your anxiety or feelings of unease? When do you experience anxiety or feelings of instability? If we get curious about our anxiety without judgement or shame, we can discover that there’s some healing to be done.
When I feel anxious, this is how I cope with it:
- Deep, belly breaths – this helps me shift from the sympathetic (fight or flight) into the parasympathetic nervous system which helps me relax.
- I say to myself, “this I know to be true…” and then I list all the things.
- I quickly start jumping or moving (if appropriate to the situation I’m in) – this helps to move the energy. Anxiety is simply energy in our body and by moving, I am able to move the anxiety out of my body in a physical way as opposed to letting it build inside me.
- I talk about it with someone I feel safe with, this takes it out of the darkness of my mind and body and shines a light on it. By bringing it into the light, it doesn’t feel so big.
At some point, everyone feels a little unsteady. I hope you consider applying the above tips to help you stabilize and ground yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed by your emotions.
All of your emotions are a clue for exploration. Your emotions can show you that there’s healing to be done. I encourage you to face your anxiety as opposed to turning your back to it; the only way to heal is through.
I will also say this, if you are emotionally or mentally suffering, please reach out, to me, to a mental health professional or to your doctor. You are not alone. You do not deserve to suffer alone and there are people out there that want to help.
You are stronger than you think, and sometimes the first step is reaching out. I’m here if you need to talk.