As we turn the corner leading into the holidays, there is typically a plethora of emotions that many people encounter: dread, panic, fear, sadness and probably one of the most common…anxiety. Anxiety can manifest in several ways: worry, obsession, fear, anger, erratic thoughts, forgetfulness, confusion and panic attacks. The symptoms also vary from rapid heart rate, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, sensation of shortness of breath, insomnia, decreased sexual desire, loss of appetite or even over-eating.
Most people deal with some form of anxiety at different times in our lives so you are not alone. I am always talking about our “stress toolbox” which is a virtual toolbox of different techniques and different supplements to help with situations and anxiety is no different.
READ ON to learn some tools for your anxiety tool box….
Hint…it’s best to have them in your toolbox before you need them because all you have to do is pull it out and use it!!
Here are 10 tips for dealing with anxiety:
- Meditation: meditation can be amazing at calming the brain. If you have never meditated or need help with this then I would recommend attending a meditation retreat or class. There are several resources here in the city. Marni Kennedy has meditation classes, retreats and does private session all the time. Shannon Stephens is also a great resource as the owner of This Land Yoga but is also very involved in the meditation community. There are many more resources so I encourage you to explore them. I would also encourage you to download one of the free APPS that have meditation. My two favorites are Insight Timer and CALM. Personally, I do better when I have something to listen to and if there is a lot going on in my head then a guided meditation (where someone is walking me thru and talking to me) works better. I bookmark my favorites and have different ones for different needs. For example, if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep there is one in Insight Timer that I will turn on and it usually does the trick!
- Exercise: we often forget that exercise is a huge anxiety reliever. The key here is don’t do it too late at night because it can raise your cortisol level and make it hard to fall asleep. When you are anxious even a short 10 minute walk can really reset your focus.
- Planning: often our anxiety comes from worry about something that is going to happen. For example, a test or an interview. The more you plan and prepare hopefully the less your anxiety. After all, you are doing everything you can for the situation.
- Try to identify what about the situation is making you anxious. You might be surprised to learn that the underlying emotion has very little to do with the situation in front of you. Perhaps it is triggering some past reactions and you are actually responding to those. If you agree that many times you are reliving past issues then you might want to explore the book “Radical Forgiveness” by Colin Tippin. This book is a game changer with actual worksheets on how to work thru these issues.
- I have mentioned tapping before in so many toolboxes. I would encourage you to at least try it because it is something that is super useful and all you need are your hands so you can do this anywhere, anytime! Watch a YouTube video to get started.
- I find this tool to be very helpful with pervasive thoughts. When I just keep replaying things over and over in my mind I have to force myself to stop. Some people can quickly shift by saying a single word like your favorite color but I have found a sequence of thoughts really helps me. One of the mantra’s I use has four parts that you say to yourself (outloud or just think it)
- I love me (or I love God or whoever your higher power is)
- Forgive me for…… (whatever is on your mind and stuck)
- I’m sorry… (whatever is on your mind)
- Thank you for reminding me that I am loved *which takes you back to I love me. This is so effective and I have been so impressed how it truly helps shift my though processes!! Try it.
- Breathe! Stopping and taking a conscious deep breath or series of deep breaths can help you refocus.
- Counseling, professional help: Don’t forget this is an actual tool. Talk to somebody and let all that energy out!
- Supplements: When your other tools are not enough and life is just happening around you too intensely then try some supplements to take the edge off in addition to the other tools:
- Theanine – this is an amino acid that can be very calming. I like GABA Trex because it is chewable and rapid acting. You can also get theanine in capsules and take it regularly.
- GABA – Gaba itself can be very calming. There are many good products with GABA including Relaxmax powder.
- Phosphatidylserine – another amino acid that can be helpful when you have high cortisol. There are products you can take during the day like Calm CP or use a higher dose for night time like Cerenity PM (which also has other calming ingredients.
- Glycine & Taurine: Calm PRT is a combination product that has PhosphatidylSerine as well as glycine and taurine and can be taken morning or night.
- Medications: I am all for doing things as naturally as possible but if your anxiety has overcome you then reach out and talk to a psychiatrist about options.
There are obviously many more supplements and ingredients out there that can be useful. Keep in mind that supplements are not as strong as the prescription anxiety medication like Xanax so you have to use these in addition to your other stress busting tools for best effect.
Instead of worrying about what is coming up make your planning list now and just systematically check things off of your list. Work on being present and breathe! Life is a process for sure so start filling up your toolbox now.
To your health,