Beat Anxiety - You Can Do It
‘I don’t know what to do anymore’, ‘I see no way forward’, ‘I feel rubbish’, ‘I hate feeling this way’, ‘I have no control over how I feel’, ‘I didn’t use to be like this-I hate my life’, ‘why’s this happening to me’, ‘negative thoughts keep on running in my mind and I can’t stop them’.
These are some of the words my clients use to try and explain how they feel when they see me for help with their anxiety and concerns.
Anxiety is a very uncomfortable feeling; if you suffer from anxiety then you may also feel restless, fearful, nervous and apprehensive. You may keep worrying, over and over again, about things that might never happen. You may even wonder if you are going mad.
Even though you’ve tried to push it away, fight it, even ignore it, it just doesn’t happen and the debilitating feeling stops you from living your life to the full, in the way you desire and deserve.
Let me first very briefly tell you a little about anxiety, and then I will share some tips with you that will help you free yourself from this tiring way of thinking and feeling.
All our feelings are good and they have a purpose: to tell us what’s going on inside us. They’re our innate signals, originally from cave-man days, telling us to take action to protect ourselves and/or to fulfil our needs. For example, to face or run away from a danger in our surroundings. What we need to do is listen to these signals, understand their secret language and take action.
Our clever bodies prepare us to face outside dangers by giving us a boost of certain hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, speeding up the heart rate, shunting blood flow to major muscle groups, slowing digestion, boosting the amount of oxygen going to our limbs, giving our body a burst of energy and strength, and so making us ready to fight or run away from the danger. In psychology, this is called the “fight or flight” response.
Although we rarely face such wild threats today we still have this basic survival function and it helps us in many ways, for example, we may feel anxious before an exam or a job interview. This short term nervousness is ok, even helpful, it makes us feel more alert and enhances our performance. But when the feelings of anxiety overwhelm us, when they interfere with our daily life or go on too long then anxiety becomes a negative thing, a real problem and even a disorder.
Heightened anxiety is emotionally painful and draining and it affects our whole being. We can even have very real physical symptoms and find our daily functioning disrupted. The harder we try to fight the symptoms it seems the more they get us down.
I know that if you suffer from the agonies of anxiety you will want to know how to set yourself free of this dreadful feeling. Well, I would love to help you as much as I can here by sharing some tips that I have found helpful when dealing with my own anxiety (believe it or not, we all suffer from anxiety from time to time, even the strongest amongst us).
First of all, I suggest you see your GP, this will give you peace of mind, they will rule out any other condition that might have the same symptoms and prescribe medicine for your anxiety if needed.
Relax your body, since when you relax your body, you send a signal to your brain that, “all is well” and your mind will react to that. You can physically relax by letting go of every single muscle in your body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, letting blood flow freely to all parts of your body. You can also relax by deep abdominal breathing. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose, taking air right down to your abdomen, filling up your lungs. Say the word “calm” to yourself when you breathe in, and imagine that you are taking calmness in to your body and then breath out all the tension and worry out of your body. You need to do this very consciously, feeling the air and calmness sinking deep into your body. Then give your tension a colour and see it coming out of your body when you exhale. Don’t overdo the deep breathing, only three deep breaths should do its magic. If you overdo it, then you may feel dizzy from the extra oxygen!
Replace your “negative self talk” with positive, encouraging affirmations. Never say anything to yourself that you don’t want to hear from anyone else. Be caring, kind and forgiving to yourself.
Look after yourself mentally by living in the moment as much as you can. The only place you can live is in the present. Living in the past may hold regret and guilt and since the future is unknown it may hold uncertainty and fear. Focus on the here and now of where you are and what you are doing.
Look after your physical self by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. Sleeping rests both your body and mind and improves your mood and general sense of wellbeing. Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and junk food as much as possible.
Feel strong in body and in mind. I know it can be hard, but just pretend that you’re a strong person both mentally and physically: just close your eyes and imagine it. Act like a strong person – even if you are acting it will become more natural over time. Feeling physically drained discourages you from being your wonderful self.
Look at alternative therapies, like hypnosis and hypnotherapy. These are safe, quick and natural and have proved very successful in treating anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, stress and other mentally tiring conditions. Seek a fully qualified and capable hypnotherapist who will work safely to break the old negative patterns of thinking, help you release unwanted and unfounded fears and free you from uncontrollable panic attacks.
Keep yourself busy, have a relaxing hobby, socialise with friends and family. Talk to your loved ones about how you feel - get it off your chest.
Above all, please don’t just put up with your suffering and struggles. If you find your anxiety uncontrollable, seek help.
Life is too short, learn to live it and enjoy every moment of it. Don’t let fear or anxiety take your freedom away from you.
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