In this post, I’m sharing my personal story with anxiety and panic disorder – as well as how to deal with anxiety naturally. This dealing with anxiety story is very personal so please remain positive in the comments. Ask any questions – I’ll try my best to answer them based on experience!
None of you know this (many of my friends don’t either) but I have been dealing with anxiety for the past year and a half. I was diagnosed with panic disorder back in February 2011. I’m pretty sure I have gotten it well managed and under control and I have been panic attack free all year (some times, it’s gotten close to one, but I managed to keep it at bay).
Most of my anxiety that I deal with comes from heightened sensory perception. Ironic, huh, since the name of my blog is sensual appeal..
Having a heightened sensory perception basically means that a person is overly conscious of body functions that usually go unnoticed because they are automatic, for example breathing.
When I was in the beginning of dealing with my new-found anxiety, I found it hard to manage. I was overly conscious of how I was breathing, constantly thinking I wasn’t breathing the right way – which freaked me out further, making me think I’m gonna die, which would in turn spiral me into panic mode. It was a never-ending exhausting cycle. It was terrible.
Eventually though, I learned to control it more and more. I am happy to say that I have been a lot less anxious over the past couple of months, which I am also indirectly linking to this blog. It has helped me talk about whatever was on my mind and focusing on being healthy instead of sitting in my head and overanalyzing everything that might be wrong with me.
However, I have also become a hypochondriac over that time and still am to an extent. Google is not helping here, of course. With searching for symptoms and their possible reasons and the diseases that could be linked to these symptoms, anxiety can only get worse, not better.
The reason for writing this post is because I was feeling pretty anxious tonight. I felt lightheaded during my second workout, slow cardio (which I don’t really even call a workout, it’s just a way for me to get more movement in my day since most of my day is spent sitting).
I got home after ending it a couple of minutes early and I went straight to the fridge to make myself food. Food helps. It’s comforting and I have been on a lower calorie range (but not too low) and I thought it might have been because my body is adjusting to the increased movement and decreased calorie consumption.
Thankfully tomorrow is a rest day and I am not planning on doing anything but walking (when necessary). I need the rest.
[2014 edit: this post was written in 2012 when I was still in my chronic dieting mentality. I have since stopped dieting. I do NOT think the behavior I wrote about with twice-a-day workouts is healthy. My blog is now a healthy living blog focused on intuitive eating AND balance]
How to deal with anxiety naturally
So I wanted to share with you guys some ways in which I deal with anxiety, especially when I start thinking about my body reaction and sensations and my hypochondriac self starts thinking I might be having a heart attack/gonna pass out/etc, so that I don’t freak myself out further and therefore not going into panic mode.
Here are some things I do that help me take control of my anxiety in those situations:
- Drink some cold water, making sure you don’t gulp, take small sips instead.
- Breathe in and out… slowly. Close my eyes and slow my breaths out to make them relaxing and soothing.
- Do some calming yoga poses. I usually just do some simple hatha poses and stretches. I especially do forward folds and this pose a lot. Not sure why, it just calms me down a lot. I tend to stay away from child’s pose when I feel anxious because scrunching up in a ball makes me even more nervous. I need to feel more open instead in order to release the tension.
- Make myself a warm cup of caffeine-free tea. There are calming and relaxing tea blends out there as well but I find that any warm tea works well for me. I’ve been drinking Throat Coat tea lately because of its delicious sweet flavor; it’s comforting.
- Smell some relaxing scents. I purchased a relaxation essential oils blend (which includes lavender oil, balsam fir, needle oil, patchouli, palmarosa oil, geranium oil, and chamomile) that I sniff and put a few drops on my wrists so that I can smell it as I go about doing my activities. As far as I know, the best and most well known relaxation scents are lavender and chamomile, but there are many others with calming powers as well.
- Tell myself that it’s just me freaking out for no reason. I’m too young to die and I am too healthy for something to happen (like a heart attack, come on, now, really?)
- Listen to music that relaxes me. Sing along. I usually listen to Lykke Li, the XX, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, or Explosions in the Sky. Pandora mixes it all up well for me. (Hope you enjoy the songs I posted up in here 😉
- Take a GABA supplement
- Take a magnesium supplement
Kammie wants to know:
- Do you ever feel anxious?
- What are some ways in which you deal with anxiety?
Let me know in the comments below!