In high school I started having panic attacks out of the blue. I truthfully don’t know what triggered these attacks, but it was my first introduction to anxiety. I thankfully grew out of these panic attacks, but I would be lying if I said I don’t still suffer from some anxiety. A few things that I get anxious about are tight spaces/no exits as I’m claustrophobic and flying. Even though I’ve travelled the world I still have a fear of flying and get anxious on my flights.
I tend to deal fairly well with stress and unexpected events, but I still have the occasional anxious moment. The feeling I used to get in high school was a tight chest and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. It was scary and often felt debilitating. Now my anxiety is much milder and seems to be caused by very specific situations so I can usually anticipate it and work towards calming myself before I ever get anxious.
I know a lot of people who deal with anxiety and maybe some people aren’t as open to discussing it. I hope this helps to normalize the feeling of anxiety and also helps provide you with some tips that have helped me. Every person is different, and I would recommend you talk to your doctor if you have anxiety. Especially if it feels like it is impacting your daily life. I have not had to take daily medication to control my anxiety but if it got to that point, I wouldn't hesitate to do it. You need to figure out your own health and your doctor is usually a great starting place.
This is something that a friend of mine suggested when I told her I was always anxious on my flights. She recommended this website and I have since purchased a few of their hypnosis recordings. I am sure there are other websites that may even be free. The website that I have used is called Hypnosis Downloads. If you are local to me in Southern Ontario, another amazing resource is a clinic called Willow Glen. Helena is a hypnotist that specializes in helping people to quit smoking, but she also deals with anxiety. My husband went to her to kick his smoking habit and it worked; he’s been smoke free for six years. I went to her many years ago when I was in a transition in my life and felt like her support would be beneficial and it was! I love her and her clinic.
Meditation and Deep Breathing
I try to fit meditation into my life as much as possible. I use guided mediations from the app Insight Timer. My anxiety does tend to be in specific situations (getting an MRI this year for example!) so I listened to a guided meditation and did my deep breathing while getting my MRI and it helped that feeling of claustrophobia so much. I have heard great things about the book Breath: The New Science Of A Lost Art by James Nestor. I haven't read this book just yet, but it's on my list! I try to use deep yoga breath and if you don’t know what that is, a quick YouTube search will give you a great selection of “how to” videos.
Move your body change your mood! I attended a women’s conference in the spring (pre-Covid) and this was a very impactful piece of advice I learnt and still carry with me. If your mood is feeling off, try fitting in a workout. If you don’t have time for a workout, just getting up and dancing or jumping to get your blood flowing can change your mood almost instantly.
Bonus Tip – CBD
This is something that I have not personally tried, BUT I know many people who have and swear by it. I suggest you go to your local dispensary (it’s legal here in Ontario!) and speak with them about what you are experiencing. If it is general anxiety or if you have trouble sleeping for example. It’s worth checking out!
Most importantly I really think the best advice I can give is to talk opening about what you are going through. You would be surprised how many people have that anxious feeling and maybe they have other coping tips that might help you.