Welcome to this week’s post.
There are so many ways in which stress can alter your life. Try as we may, the looming presence of anxiety never seems to leave, forcing you into a constricted, helpless place. ”Just get over it,” is common advice which can only make things worse.
There is a stigma surrounding the word ‘anxiety’. It’s often tossed loosely into conversation and overlooked as a real concern. More often than not, it seems easier to roll our eyes and disregard people who say they have anxiety, and I myself am guilty of this. But until you actually experience it, it’s indescribable.
I’ve struggled with severe anxiety (emphasis on severe) for the greater part of my adult life and it took several years for me to learn to cope- and I’m still learning. My struggles are a topic that could be a post in itself, so perhaps I’ll save it for a later date.
For now, I’d like to share some of the things that helped me to destress. These tips are completely subjective and may not work for everyone, but believe the person who was willing to try almost anything to get out of her mind, anything is worth a try.
Exercise in any form:
This might seem obvious, but doing something that boosts your heart rate, especially for an extended period of time, releases those feel good endorphins that help relieve anxiety. In fact, many studies have concluded that exercise is comparable to the effects of antidepressants. I won’t bore you with the details but you can read the journal article here if you’re interested.
A wholesome diet:
My mom always told me this one and I hated hearing it, but it’s true. I’ve personally felt the effects of eating healthy vs. junk and the differences are astronomical. I’ve found my mental clarity is far greater when I eat healthy versus when I eat garbage everyday and particularly sugar. But in general, incorporating more veggies and proteins into your diet, satiating your hunger, and drinking more water will truly help.
Medications can be a sneaky culprit to your anxiety and stress- especially birth control. Again, this is personal experience, but have you ever looked at the side effects of your birth control? For one, I experienced extraordinary outburst of severe anxiety and OCD whilst on a particular brand of the pill. I switched over to a different brand and noticed that in conjunction with that switch and the other tips in this post, my mental dysfunction subsided.
If Yannick reads this, he’s definitely rolling his eyes. But before I met him, I was completely chaotic and Yannick is the most organized person I’ve ever met. I didn’t have structure or organizational skills whatsoever and that’s when I suffered the most. But getting older, having my own home and being in a healthy relationship where I’m encouraged to be orderly has changed the way I deal with stress. The less stuff I have cluttering my space, the less I have cluttering my mind.
This is something that’s helped immensely in my daily life. I personally have a belief in God and I choose to life based on his word and meditate on that. But whatever you believe in, believe in it to the fullest.
If you don’t believe in deities, I’d suggest guided meditation. Yannick and I both use the Headspace app which has helped immensely in our day to day thinking. Plus, it’s really nice to take 10-30 minutes to focus on yourself. We’re often so busy during the day that thinking of taking 30 minutes to mediate seems inconvenient. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and the two often coincide with one another. Without having a sound mind, you’re incapable of performing to your fullest potential, negatively affecting other aspects of your life. Sometimes we need to be selfish and focus on ourselves.
Also, if you do pray, rather than pleading and asking, try giving gratitude and thanks for what you have. Being thankful for the outcome of a situation, regardless of what it is is far more beneficial than constantly pleading for something to go your way.
Facing Our Thoughts:
The idea of this is terrifyingly necessary. I used to try and ignore my thoughts, or I would dwell so much on them that I had a hard time distinguishing the truth in them from what my mind was making up. It’s a scary and hopeless place to be in. But try taking a step back and analyze the situation from an outsiders perspective. Anxiety has no reason- it’s entirely illogical and feeds off of fear. Relax. Take a deep breath and let yourself face ever worst case scenario.
Sometimes we can’t do it alone and there’s absolutely no shame in seeking help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone to seek professional advice because at the end of the day, you deserve to live happily.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I understand that it seems hopeless and frustration is an understatement. But I promise you that it can get better. You just have to put in the work and find the root of your problem. I’m not a medical professional, so take what I say with a grain of sand, but I do know what it’s like to live feeling defeated. I’m always here to talk to you if you need it.
I’ll see you on Monday.