Not to be harsh, but when anxiety has taken control of your life you feel grateful every time you successfully wake up in the morning and discover you are alive. At least that was my case when it was wreaking havoc in my life.
My everyday life was hampered and I couldn’t concentrate on anything, always anticipating, and ultimately surviving an anxiety attack only to anticipate further and make way for the next one.
In short, I was living my life from one anxiety attack to another.
It was a vicious cycle, repeating itself and gradually taking control of every aspect of my survival.
It was like you are the lead character of a horror film. Every moment you are contemplating something, worrying about trivial things, until the anxiety comes in and knocks on your door for you to willingly open the door and welcome it. You are POSSESSED.
It may be my ego, and I wouldn’t recommend this thought process, but there was this exuberance of confidence amidst all the sufferings, that I’ll be able to take back my control by myself because I was sure of one thing, that it was a condition that was created by me.
And then I started, frantically seeking a solution, tried many things, and over the next few months, came to a conclusion.
The first step of awareness was about knowing the FUNDAMENTALS.
How do anxiety attacks work?
See, when you experience anxiety regularly, you signal your brain that there is danger lurking around in the corner. Now, what happens when you are in the face of real grave danger? well, the brain starts pumping our body with adrenaline so that you have the strength to battle the imminent threat/ danger and makes sure you can ensure your survival.
This is where the catch is.
There is no imminent danger.
You are just making stuff up all along the way.
So, this unused adrenaline ultimately leads you to experience an anxiety attack that disguises in the form of a rapid heart rate(which was already prevalent from the point you started feeling anxious), sweats, feeling of impending doom, restlessness, etc.
To make it even more simple, when you are anxious, you hyperventilate, meaning, you breathe at a faster pace than normal, which causes your heart to overwork(effect of the adrenaline), and when this process happens repeatedly, you start gasping for breath(which should be normal), and adding in all the worrisome thoughts in your head, it leads into and manifests as an anxiety attack(which makes you feel like DOOM is near).
Research more about Cortisol and “fight or flight” if you are a nerd and curious about the biological process leading up to an anxiety attack.
Now, enough about the problem.
You want to know, How to Control Anxiety? Right?
Wait, before we proceed further, let me clear out something first.
Don’t be smartypants, and consult a licensed professional if you are facing uncontrollable outcomes. Anxiety can manifest itself as a byproduct of some other diseases too.
Anxiety or uncontrollable stress has its roots in the daily actions of your life.
Before I deviate again, let’s touch upon some questions that need to be asked.
- Do you have a disciplined or a normal lifestyle?
- Do you eat at certain intervals?
- And, when you eat do you eat nutrient-rich foods?
- Do you get enough rest?
- Is there an established biological clock that your body is used to?
- Do you exercise or jog or run or do any physical activity in your everyday life?
- Do you restrain yourself while talking about your problems?
- Do you smoke?
I know, we live in a stressful world right now. Our lives are based around our money, status, social media presence, junk food intake, binge-watching tv-shows and NO!, I am not implying a picture-perfect life is a solution.
I am just pointing out questions most people don’t ask. They dive straight into the heart of the problem.
See, the point here is, anxiety does not manifest itself in a single day or a year, it is a cumulative process. It builds upon brick by brick like the foundation of any intangible thing.
In the 21st century, the reason for 80% of people suffering from anxiety can be found in their fundamental lifestyle and habits that they have established up until this point in their life.
And, then, you add in the dreaded pandemic in the mixture and its mayhem all around.
It affects different people in different ways.
So you might need to go back and peel some layers and try to undo some of the abnormalities that you have picked up along the way(on a subconscious level). Who knows, in some way or the other it might change your life.
Now, moving on,
Controlling anxiety starts by admitting and being true to yourself.
Before moving to fact-based solutions, make sure you try to draw attention to the above questions and take action by being truthful to yourself.
Always remember, healing starts from the roots.
Without further exaggeration, let’s provide you some tips to control your anxiety.
- Lower your caffeine intake or stop it totally
Caffeine is a mighty anxiety inducer. Coffee or carbonated soft drinks are a major source. By habit, most people consume them on a daily basis. It is infused into their daily routine So, start being more aware and experiment by avoiding caffeine or putting a stop to it.
- Alcohol vs Anxiety
Anxiety becomes such a burden at times that you might feel the urge to have a drink or two to unburden yourself. Yes, it does work in the short term, but as soon as the alcohol wears off, it might make your symptoms worse by changing the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Start journaling
Sometimes, and in most cases, you might experience anxiety for no particular reason, with no such possible triggers. Writing can help as it can enable you to explore things that are in your mind and make you aware of the thoughts that can lead to anxiety. Writing, in general, can ease your mind and make you feel unburdened.
- Use essential oils for aromatic therapy
Lavender oil is well known for its calming properties. While meditating, keeping a bottle of lavender oil can come in handy. Over time, you start associating the feeling of relaxation with that scent, making it more effective.
- Talk to yourself using positive affirmations
This was a game-changer for me. Every day I would repeat a positive affirmation that suits my condition the best. Affirmations can be like, “Everything I am experiencing right now is temporary and, I have survived many anxiety attacks, this one won’t defeat me, and I will take full control of my life very soon.” or “There is light at the end of the tunnel, this is not my permanent reality.” In the long run, it works like magic.
- Talk to people who experience anxiety like you do and is a fellow veteran
Venting out to friends who get your condition, can be quite helpful in clearing out your mind. Sharing each other’s experiences can lift you up and instill calmness within you. If you can’t find such a friend, talk to a mental health professional and see the results for yourself.
- Take a walk/do exercise
When you feel anxious all the time, there is an increased amount of adrenaline surging through your body. This unused energy most of the time is the main reason behind the anxiety attacks that you suffer from. Taking an hour-long walk or exercising can help you drain that excess energy build-up in your body and ease your symptoms.
- Keep yourself hydrated
Often overlooked, dehydration can actually increase heart palpitations and lead to feelings of panic ultimately leading to an anxiety attack. Keep yourself hydrated and measure your water intake if you are forgetful.
- Practice mindfulness by being alone with yourself
Having alone time is essential as it helps you to recharge your batteries. Practicing mindfulness in solitary can lessen symptoms of anxiety and panic.
- Take a bath
A hot bath can relax your muscles which in turn can ease your mind. Taking a bath often helps you to reboot your systems.
- Eat at periodic intervals
In our busy lives, we get wrapped in our day-to-day work schedules, and oftentimes skip a meal or two, without even being conscious about it. Low blood sugar can make you nervous, irritable, and more prone to anxiety. So, make sure to have a balanced meal at periodic intervals, to keep your anxiety in check.
Again, if nothing seems to work for you, and you feel like you have totally lost control, consult a licensed professional before the anxiety is internalized within you.
Controlling anxiety is not an easy game.
It takes time and a lot of trial and errors to figure out how to control it successfully.
I hope this article can somewhat shed light on the control parameters when it comes to anxiety and I sincerely wish you a better life, free from your worries.
And, always remember to be patient and grateful for existing.
Everything is ok.
Everything is all right.
This is just a phase, good days are nearby.
Note: This article is part of an assignment for the Digital Deepak Internship Program. Deepak Kanakaraju is our masterful mentor with more than 10 years of experience in Digital Marketing and one of the most established digital marketers in India. Visit his site for interesting and engaging content on digital marketing. You can also apply to his unique reward-based digital marketing internship program, by clicking here: Apply Link