What is Anxiety?
To overcome something, we first need to clearly understand what is it that we are trying to overcome. We’ve all studied for important tests or prepared for interviews and have been nervous about the outcome–that’s perfectly natural. Anxiety is taking this common nervousness a step further.
When you become anxious over too many things, when thoughts start taking over every waking moment of your life, that’s when it becomes “anxiety”. That’s when you know there is a problem you need to address pretty soon. Anxiety, when left untreated for long periods of time can turn into a chronic problem, which is referred to as an Anxiety Disorder. Of course, for many of us anxiety is not yet a disorder – but it is a problem that needs attention.
The word anxious literally means “Experiencing worry, uneasiness, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” It’s almost always a mental phenomenon.
Since anxiety is a mental problem, we have control over whether or not to allow it to occupy any space in our mind, and we also have control to go beyond it fully. Believing that we are in control is important. The remedies involve common sense, time, and commitment. Read on further to discover several ways of going beyond anxiety.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety manifest in the body…. Check out these signs, symptoms, and effects to see if what you are experiencing is truly anxiety.
You need not have all the symptoms. A combination of two or three of these symptoms experienced regularly is an indication of anxiety that needs attention.
Lack of focus
Have no energy
Get sick easily
Lack of appetite
Decreased sexual desire
How to go beyond Anxiety?
As with most problems, there are short-term “fixes” and long-term “cures”. Short-term fixes are good for immediate relief, but investing in a long-term cure is the best way to overcome anxiety for good.
To get quick relief from anxiety, try one or two, or even all of these tips:
1) If you’re anxious about something that’s going to happen soon, like a test or interview, do your homework, ensure that you’ve reviewed everything pertinent to the test or interview, and make yourself as smart as possible on the subject at hand. Being prepared is one of the best ways to avoid anxiety.
2) When you notice the thought process of anxiousness beginning to happen, stop and take 10 slow and deep breaths by keeping your entire focus on the breath. You can sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths, and if you need more, do this muscle relaxation exercise: Start with your toes and scrunch them tight for a few seconds, then release. Move to your feet and tighten those muscles, then relax. Move on up your body to your calves, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, chest, hands, etc. until you get to the scalp. Yes, you can scrunch your scalp, and it feels good! This breathing and muscle exercise has got to make you feel better. If you need more, read on.
3) If an anxious thought enters your mind and refuses to go away, force it out! Think of a color–let’s say Imagine the color blue in your mind and repeat the word “blue, blue, blue” until your mind is full of blue and the nagging thought is gone. This sounds kind of silly, but it really works!
4) You can even hold your breath for a few seconds; notice that you don’t have thoughts when you’re holding your breath–maybe our bodies get worried that we might not take another breath so the focus turns from anxiety to the breath. Don’t hold it until you pass out, though!
5) Try to identify what it is about the situation that is making you anxious. If you’re trying to make a decision about something, take a pen and paper and make 2 lists; one with positives about the decision, and one with negatives. This will help you get the thought process out of your mind.
6) Don’t worry about things you have no control over. If thoughts of terrorism, world peace, and global warming are making you anxious, sit down and give yourself a reality check. What control do you have over that? If reading about all these “out-of-your-control” things on social media or the news is fueling your anxiety, then stop reading about them. Don’t feel guilty about not reading about them either–you are the one in control of your sanity and if stepping away from the barrage of negative news is what works for you, then by all means, do it!
7) Don’t take on every project that comes along. It’s okay to “dump” things that are making you anxious. It is perfectly okay to say, “NO!”. Get your life into an organized state that makes you feel comfortable.
8) Your emotional state affects your thought processes, and this in turn can cause anxiety. Avoid clutter; clean up your space–it really helps! Have fresh flowers in the room.
9) Do a guided relaxation exercise. There are several guided meditations on the “Meditation” page that will help you to forget the ugly thought monster for a little while. They are 20-30 minutes long and will definitely help you to relax.
10) Go for a walk, get some fresh air. Do what’s called “walking mindfulness”. What this is, is simply walking and paying attention to the walking. Don’t do it like usual and just walk and let your mind wander. Your mind is tuned to the horror channel, and unless you decide what to think about, your mind will play out horror scenes for you. Stay in the moment and notice what is going on around you. Being in the moment will help you to get the control back.
There are several herbs that are great for relief from anxiety. Prepare a cup of tea using chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, or passionflower (or a mixture of them). There are also several ready-made herbal mixtures in the market. How you prepare and consume the tea is just as important as the herbs you use.
Heat the water and prepare the herbs with awareness; that means pay attention to what you are doing! You have no idea how important keeping your mind in the present moment is–it’s everything! Drink the tea from a pretty cup (not styrofoam) and sit in a comfortable space while you’re enjoying the tea.
If tea isn’t your thing, there are several herbs available in tincture form that work wonders to dispel anxiety and uneasiness; Ashwagandha, Valerian root, kava kava, and motherwort. These are usually taken in water, but check out reliable herbal resources for more information.
An herbal bath is also a marvelous way to ease anxiety. Toss a handful of lavender, lemon balm, or chamomile flowers into a warm bath and sink into the fragrance of peace. You could also tune in to our “Music” page for some amazing relaxation music.
Short term relief / long term cure
Dealing with immediate symptoms of anxiety will only provide short-term relief. To be able to reduce your tendency to be anxious over the long run, you need to take a more serious and organized approach to train your mind to quit wandering off to places you don’t approve of.
*Disclaimer: This page offers suggestions for handling anxiety. We do not guarantee specific results and the results can vary.