How do you get through the day? Are you popping pills, drinking too much, or are you ready to punch the guy who didn’t say thank you after you held the elevator door open for him?
Life is hard. There are plenty of reasons that make you feel like you want to scream.
You turn on the television to watch Game of Thrones, but instead you find out that there was another blizzard, draught, tornado or fire. Not a great way to end the day.
The never-ending demands and deadlines of the day can weigh you down and drive you crazy. From the moment you put your feet on the floor each morning until the time you put them under the covers at night, your life feels like it’s spinning out of control.
Everyone feels stressed out, overworked and exhausted but the real question is…did your stress turn into anxiety? Would you take an Ativan before heading out to dinner to tell your fiancé that you are breaking off the engagement? Or would you have the strength to face her drug-free?
Modern medicine provides you with a quick fix for anxious times (a 12-hour flight is certainly one of them). Once in awhile it’s ok, but sooner or later you find yourself wanting more, and before you know it you are sitting in the back row of an NA meeting reciting the Serenity Prayer.
Anxiety is a sneaky little creep.
You could be sitting quietly reading a book when suddenly your heart starts pounding.
There are different types of anxiety.
Sometimes anxiety comes from familiar nervous moments; before taking a test, going on a job interview or driving through unknown neighborhoods without a GPS.
There is also the butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of nervousness you feel that could have a good outcome like a successful presentation, a positive pregnancy test or an exciting African safari.
However, these potentially joyful events can also bring on incapacitating anxious thoughts.
Anxiety is a mind trip that attacks the body.
You have to heal both; your body and your mind.
The first thing to do is to visit a doctor. Rule out any physical conditions that might be causing your rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, and hyperventilating dizziness. While you do, follow the next steps and learn how to deal with anxiety without medication.
1. Find your breath.
Breathing exercises such as pranayama and qi gong are easy to learn and can instantly calm your anxious thoughts.
2. Learn 3 restorative yoga poses.
Buy a yoga book or go to a yoga class. Restorative yoga slows down a racing heartbeat and an overactive mind.
3. Don’t get too hungry, tired, hot or cold.
These physical discomforts cause a reaction in the brain that causes anxiety.
4. Be prepared, be on time, stop rushing.
Give yourself time to take a more relaxing route home. Rushing triggers anxiety.
5. Start a conversation with your anxiety.
Hello anxiety! I know you’ve come to haunt me, but I’m in charge today. Identifying anxiety puts you in control of it. You become the captain of the ship, instead of a passenger.
6. Find a good therapist or support group.
Make an appointment with an anxiety specialist, someone you can be honest with as you spill your guts.
7. Meditate five minutes every day.
Sit comfortably. Lock the dogs and cats in the other room. Shut your phone. Count your breaths.
It can’t be that bad if Oprah, the Dalai Lama, LeBron James and Paul McCartney do it.
Note: There are times when medication is necessary. Certain conditions are severe and require pharmacological intervention. Seek appropriate medical attention.