Anxiety- More ways to feel better

From my own experience, here are more ways to help you to cope with your feelings of Anxiety as well as some thought provoking different ways of looking at things.

Things don't need to be perfect.

One of my own personality traits is that I have always try to over achieve and be the best that I can be at everything. This put enormous personal pressure on me as when only perfection is good enough anything else felt like failure. This always left me at the mercy of stress symptoms and Depression.

Through my own times of  Anxiety and Depression I learnt that I didn't have to win all the time or achieve perfection or put pressure on myself, I learnt to relax more and accept that less than perfect was ok.

It is ok to be who you are, keeping pressure on yourself to be cleverer, richer and have more material things than others just to prove that you are something is self defeating in the end and will make you very unhappy.

Often the people in life that have very little in comparison to others are the happiest people.

You don't have to prove yourself to anyone but yourself.

Be who you are and you will attract the right people to you.

Let go of the need to be better than others  and perfect and you will release the pressure you have put yourself under, leaving you free to adopt a calmer attitude in general with a much happier outlook.

You no longer need to multi task.

Multi-tasking all the time may not seem like it is related to Anxiety symptoms But it does contribute to feelings of Anxiety. When I look back I constantly overloaded myself with impossible targets that I could never achieve in the time I gave myself. I never prioritised my tasks and I was always trying to multitask. There was never enough time in the day.

I often felt overwhelmed and unable to cope and it had a massive effect on my motivation and ability to enjoy life.

Feeling that you must stay busy all the time eventually becomes a need and can become a way of avoiding a busy mind, when you do stop an there is no real ability to relax, that then leaves a great void for Anxiety to set in.

So learn to focus on just one thing at a time and you will naturally feel less anxious. Give yourself assigned time to do everything and make sure that you slot in time to relax.

It is not about being busy all the time, it is about being able to stop and be ok.

Stop the pattern of avoidance.

A driver for keeping Anxiety alive is avoidance. Anxiety Disorders are commonly known as "Avoidance Disorders".

It is interesting that most people whom are suffering from Anxiety /Panic symptoms will do almost anything not to feel their anxious feelings, so they tend to develop avoidance techniques or behaviours that diminish or give short term relief. What this is doing though is making the panic go down in the short term, but it keeps you constantly avoiding your feelings and developing new safety behaviours and avoidance techniques to keep this short term fear down. This  limits your life more and more until eventually you do nothing at all. This just makes the long term fear greater and makes symptom remission much harder to achieve.

You are focusing on the symptoms and thoughts, which I call the spaghetti, rather than the bigger cycle going on. You're doing nothing wrong, this is your natural instinct to protect yourself, but ultimately it is self defeating in the end. When you focus on the bigger cycle going on and see your thoughts and feelings as a symptom of the condition, you begin to see that yes your avoidance is eliminating your short term feelings of fear, but you are remaining firmly stuck and totally at the mercy of your feelings. What needs to happen is that your short term fear goes up in order for your body and mind to realise that there is no danger in normal situations, in doing this your longer term fear will go down and remission will be an achievable goal.

To achieve this, avoidance must stop.

Go towards your fears, gradually face them and realise that you must trigger this fear response in the short term to lose your fear and panic symptoms in the longer term.

You have to prove to yourself that you have the resilience to do this yourself.

The most important realisation for me was that this avoidance was not just about avoiding a situation or a person, it meant not avoiding myself because while I was avoiding feeling these feelings and emotions I was bypassing them and not allowing my feelings to process. They became suppressed and stuck and festered within me.

Find a new healthy passion, obsession or hobby.

To stay anxious takes real dedication and practically all of your focus and time. Anxiety needs to be your only focus to survive, it needs you to think about it all the time, self monitor, limit your life and feed it with new fears or doubts from research that you have done online or from books or articles. It needs to consume you and take away all your quality of life, till there is nothing left but it.

Anything that you can do while you are experiencing Anxiety symptoms that will engage your mind and move your focus away from the way that you are feeling even if it is only for a few minutes, Is a good thing. It is important to understand that even if you do make effort to bring your focus onto other things and find that you do not enjoy them when you do, the temptation is to give up believing that everything is hopeless.

Do not give up, it is normal to feel differently while doing things that you used to enjoy when you are suffering Anxiety, you must keep going even if you feel bad. Enjoyment will come in time. What is important is that you move this focus bit by bit onto positive more healthy obsessions and habits, while learning once again to live without your Anxiety.

If you want to return to normal function, you must live as if you have normal function, taking your Anxiety with you.

During my own recovery, my new healthily obsession became cycling.

Daily cycling really helped me gain control over my thoughts and feelings over time. It provided me with relief from my symptoms and I felt the wind in my hair, all that pumping of the pedals really helped burn off any excess adrenalin I had and helped calm me back down so my panic reached cope able levels again.

Some days I felt dreadful, some days I enjoyed it, but I never missed and understood the importance of keeping it going. 

Cycling became an essential part of my own recovery, and had additional benefits of burning off my excess adrenalin, getting me out and about and into nature, keeping me fit and helping myself image and esteem.

Let go of what you cannot control, focus only on what you can control.

Whether you like it or not , there are certain things in life that you cannot control despite our best efforts.

We can look after our bodies by exercise, healthy eating and  taking vitamins , but that does not mean that we can absolutely protect ourselves from getting ill, nor can we control such things as other peoples thoughts and opinions, what other people say and do, the weather or the economy.

It is the need to have that control that generates inner feelings of resentment, irritation, agitation, frustration, anxiety, and anger, which stay suppressed and eventually begin to do you harm.

In any given situation you have only two choices:

1. Change it

2. If you cannot change it then you can change the way that you think about it.

So if you do not feel in control right at this moment, then you cannot change that, but you are in control and can make the choice about how you think about it.

Life sometimes will throw you a curved ball, but if you spend all your time worrying that curved ball is coming your way at some point in the future then all you do is begin to fear life and stop enjoying the now.

Live in the moment, try to enjoy as much as you can and let things be. It's a choice.

By letting go of trying to control the outcomes of everything, you remove a lot of un- helpful stress and anguish from your life.

Control is an illusion, letting go of control is a liberation.

Your perception is not always reality.

Each of us see's the world according to our own beliefs and perceptions. Our Beliefs and perceptions are formed by the people who are around us or have influence on us as well as the experiences that we have in life.

They are your beliefs however that does not mean they are correct. You also set your own parameters telling yourself where you are safe and not safe.

For example three people can enter a shop and all three will have a different perception of the shop, even though in reality the shop looks the same.

Play around with your perceptions and check out the number of different ways you can think about or see a situation. This helps you to begin to see things differently and you realise that you can change your perceptions, thoughts and feelings.

This really helped me look at my approach to reduce my own panic and helped me to change my unhelpful thinking habits and behaviours and adopt newer and healthier ones.

Say no to anticipation.

Anticipation anxiety can sometimes be more bothersome than Anxiety as it creates and strengthens Anxiety.

Anticipation Anxiety is where you worry about an upcoming event or situation, what it will be like and what will happen when you get there. It can start weeks in advance of an event or meeting and can be so strong that you end up not going at all.

When I was in the midst of my own Anxiety issues, anticipation was a real issue for me. Day after day I tortured myself when thinking of upcoming appointments, meetings with friends, in fact any place or situation that I was involved with. I was so good at creating catastrophic scenarios that I was lucky if I could find the courage to go at all.

Normal daily life became filled with "ordeals" , I began to dread everything rather than look forward to things.

I was anticipating that each time I entered a situation that I could not leave invisibly as I wanted to, I was going to be at the mercy of a terrifying Panic attack.

I played the scenario in my head before I went and what I created was so awful I just did not want to go, it made me want to avoid everything about it , the trouble is that one situation very quickly becomes lots of situations until I limited my life so much to avoid my feelings that I barely had any life left. My quality of life was gone. This was the main cause of my Agoraphobia as I had taught myself to avoid anything and everyone, that I no longer had the ability to function. All because I believed my thoughts and feelings relating to panic which in hindsight were not reality or not dangerous.

The funny thing was that when I actually started to work on my recovery and re enter the situations I had previously avoided, It was never ever as bad as I had played out in my mind. EVER.

One thing I did do was change the way I looked at it, rather than not go I went and  created a mantra that I still live by today which was:

"If I get there and the worst happens, I will deal with it at that time, I will just go anyway and deal with it when and if it happens"

But I went. Always.

You can not be in the present moment if you are worrying about the past or future. Think what is actually happening now in this moment, do not listen to anticipation about a future that has not even happened yet.

Start to delay your reaction.

Panic symptoms are all about the build up and reaction. It is your reaction to a panicky feeling or panic attack that will turn it into an Anxiety Disorder. It is difficult not to react in any way to a full blown anxious feeling as it does tend to feel so overwhelming, however there is a way to diffuse it slowly while still feeling like you do have an escape route.

We must not tell ourselves that we cannot react, however we must not allow ourselves to react right at that moment. It is not the anxious feelings right to dictate when you can or cannot react, It is yours.

You can therefore start to delay your reaction.

The point in which you need to delay your reaction is when the panic has built to its peak, when it feels like it is going to overwhelm you and you have to react.

When panic strikes, everything speeds up as our bodies prepare to "save us" from the perceived danger we are in by activating the flight, fight or freeze response. We go through a moment of confusion as the panic temporarily robs us of our ability to think straight and it's this that makes the attack peak and irrational thinking set in making our reaction so fast.

By delaying your reaction even if it's only a few minutes, you can begin to learn that once panic does reach a peak it dies back down. You can regain balanced thinking and work out what to do next. You start to learn that you can ride out your feelings on your own and do not need a reaction or behaviour in place to make these feelings more manageable. You make them more manageable.

Look at what Anxiety is teaching you.

I personally could not have gone on with the habits I had, I was certainly heading for disaster with the way I was thinking and perceiving my life.

After going through twelve years of chronic Anxiety and misery, I never lost sight of the end goal TO BE PANIC FREE in situations where they need be no panic.

Over the years I have hated the person I was while riddled with Panic, but panic and anxious feelings are great teachers and over time I began to appreciate the person it has now moulded me into.

Panic has taught be so many good personality traits as well as the bad. I have learnt to be more patient, less controlling, to look after my body and its needs as well as learning to like myself and work alongside my issues. I now use it as my internal warning system, if I ever feel it I am either not happy about something, over stressed and tired or looking at a situation through my old habitual way of thinking. My Anxiety has become my friend and partner.

I began to see my Anxiety as something that has come along to teach me the lessons I need to learn and knew that to be free from my Panic Attacks and Anxious feelings, I had to find commitment within me to make the desired changes to my lifestyle, my work, my hobbies and ultimately my own mind set and perceptions on how the world looks to me.

I knew that only when I had made and applied these changes would my unhelpful levels of anxiety go away.

Learn what your anxiety is here to teach you, only then will it go away.