The first time I remember realizing I had anxiety it was when I was probably 12 years old. I had thought that anxiety was just getting nervous before a test or the first day of school. I didn’t realize that anxiety had real biological and deep-rooted psychological purposes for being there. All I knew was that my brain always felt fuzzy and my heart would race for no reason.
I distinctly remember one time when I was in third or fourth grade telling my best friend I couldn’t go to Chuck E Cheese (yeah, really throwing it back..) because in my mind I was worried that something horrible would happen. Little did I know this would be typical for lil’ anxious me.
You know, some people are embarrassed by their anxiety but I say that’s really just adding to the problem. There are SO many people suffering from mild to severe anxiety all around you, and you may not even know it. You may have anxiety disorder or panic disorder, although the names make them sound more scary than they are. In my opinion it’s better not to even call them disorders, instead I like to think of anxiety/panic attacks as a sign that your body is a little overstressed and confused at the moment.
While talking to many people with anxiety and panic disorder issues, i’ve noticed that people who are susceptible have some very similar attributes. Usually people who are sensitive, high-achieving perfectionists are prime candidates for anxiety and panic disorders, although I recognize that there are so many other kinds of people who suffer as well.
Why is this?
Prolonged periods of stress (mental, physical, emotional) drain our body and stress our adrenals. Over time, if not properly taken care of or if at risk for these disorders, anxiety develops and sometimes panic disorder as well. Sometimes anxiety goes away on its own and is just part of the phases of life, but other times anxiety can become an issue that needs to be dealt with throughout your life. I have dealt with both anxiety and panic disorder in mild to pretty severe cases, so I hope you’ll find some of these tips useful if you’ve been experiencing anxiety too!
1. Self Care Is A Priority.
Anxiety is always a thousand times worse when you are exhausted, drowning in responsibilities, or eating like crapola. It’s super important to do at least something good for your health during your day. Make it a habit to do something such as juicing in the morning, going to bed before midnight, or allowing yourself to drop an activity that isn’t making you happy.
2. Food and Drinks Can Benefit or Hinder Your Progress With Anxiety.
It’s no shocker that caffeine and energy drinks aren’t good for people with anxiety. However, it’s all about finding what works for you. For example, I realized that I can drink 1-2 cups of coffee with soy milk and be fine, but sugary mochas and super sweet caffeinated drinks are a no go. They cause nearly instant panic attacks if I drink them, so I just say avoid them and stick to regular coffee.
Another thing to think about is alcohol or (college kiddies) drugs. Certain drugs can have lasting effects on the chemicals in your brain, and that’s something to seriously avoid if you suffer from anxiety and panic disorder. It’s important to keep your natural biology as healthy and safe as possible! Alcohol can be fine for those with anxiety/panic disorders as long as it is treated responsibly. It’s important to make sure it doesn’t become a crutch for lessening symptoms, and it’s also good to note that those who suffer from panic attacks may really be feeling the symptoms during a hangover. Hangover + Anxiety = Bad Mix.
A GOOD drink for anxiety and panic symptoms is to have green juice in the morning. I swear something in them is magical and really does help throughout the day.
3. Learn To Breathe.
Even after meditating and doing yoga almost every single day, I can still tell when anxiety is creeping in because of how my breath changes. It gets shallow, quick, and hard to get a full breath. When I feel that coming, I sit somewhere quiet and close my eyes and take 5 really slow, calm breaths.
Another thing that’s really beneficial for those with anxiety attacks is to practice something called Alternate Nostril Breathing when you feel an attack coming on. Something about it calms down your nervous system. This one has been a huge lifesaver for me.
Also, make meditation a part of your every day practice. Three minutes to twenty minutes – whatever you have. There’s a million ways to do this.
This is HUGE for keeping anxiety at bay! Look at exercise as your natural medicine for keeping symptoms at a minimum. I find that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and yoga help me the most when it comes to lessening anxiety symptoms.
You’re not a freak for having panic attacks or suffering from anxiety. Contrary to what many people think, it’s not something you can just snap out of or ‘stop worrying so much.’ It’s simply the way your body has been trained to deal with stress. Sometimes it will go away and other times it’ll stick around. Either one is just fine as long as you know how to deal with it and don’t fight with it. Allowing anxious feelings to come up is a huge part of releasing it.
If you suffer from panic attacks, there’s always the worry of ‘what will happen if i have a panic attack while doing [such and such activity]…’ That thought alone can be totally debilitating. I hope it will help you to know that there have been probably hundreds of times where i’ve been having a pretty horrible anxiety attack and no one has noticed. Sure – there’s the ones where you need to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom or leave where you are temporarily, but for the most part, no one will even notice that it’s happening once you know what to expect and are used to them.
I hope if you’ve been experiencing any anxiety or panic attacks that you will take the time to research all the symptoms and causes and learn as much as you can about it! It helps to understand why it’s happening in your body and what can be done to help lessen the symptoms naturally.
Lots of love,