“This too shall pass.”Unknown
Sweating. Heart racing. Can’t breathe. Hands are shaking. Thoughts are bouncing. What the fuck?!
Welcome to the world of anxiety, my friends. It sucks!
If you have anxiety, you know it is a very physical and mental struggle. Your body begins to have its own reaction while it seems like your mind doesn’t slow down. There have been times my anxiety has been so bad, that I hyperventilate and cry hysterically in a corner until the feeling begins to lessen.
And the worst part? Anything can be a trigger. Being in a room full of a ton of people can be a trigger. Having a deadline could be a trigger. Running late could be a trigger. Anxiety truly differs from person to person.
When I can, I try to talk myself out of if or distract myself long enough to help the physical symptoms dissipate.
To be specific, I use affirmations and mindfulness techniques that I learned in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). It is the only type of therapy that helped me from overthinking and therefore being more realistic about my thoughts.
The key is to be present. That means being attentive to what is going on right now without judgement, without overthinking, without invalidating what you are feeling. Yoga is an excellent practice for this. It sounds simple, but it is often very challenging to be present and slow down your thoughts. Sometimes it helps to bring it back to the present – what do you see? what do hear? what can you feel?
The other helpful practice of DBT for me was “radical acceptance” – accepting what is and and not harping on the unpleasant situation. For example: You may find yourself rushing to get to work because you are late. Instead of getting frustrated you are hitting every red light and begin cursing up a storm, try saying “It is what it is. I’ll get there when you get there” — because guess what? That is reality, you can’t fight it.
When it comes to the technique of self-talk, here are ten affirmations you can try:
1. This is only temporary.
2. Anxiety does not define me.
3. I am not alone.
4. I am safe.
5. I am in control of my thoughts and my life.
6. I have made it through before, I will make it through again.
7. I get stronger each time overcome my fears.
8. This too shall pass.
9. I am prepared for change. I am strong.
10. I release any doubts or fears.
There is no exact solution when it comes to Anxiety. Everyone is different; what works for one person may not work for another.
However becoming aware of your feelings and being present with them is an important first step in releasing that negative energy into the abyss. Remind yourself: “I am strong and, just like before, I can overcome this“. You don’t have to live in fear.
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