Doing These 5 Things Every Day Completely Changed How I Managed My Anxiety
Being self-employed suits me. But it does mean I have to generate a huge dose of self-motivation. When you're employed, you generally do sort of have to get out of bed and go to work five out of seven mornings in a row.
When you employ yourself, there's often an internal struggle that takes place every morning at about 7:30 am. It sounds a bit like a chipmunk princess in your ear. Five days out of seven, I manage to knock that furry bitch down.
Some of those days, I want to take over the world. On other days, I really can't be bothered.
What's the deal with female hormones? I can literally wake up jumping out of bed one morning, smiling from the inside out, with beaming intentions of productivity and creativity. Then, before I've even put my hand on the bathroom door, I feel like my life is over and like I might as well just give up now.
Well, it's definitely an improvement from a few months ago, when even getting out of bed to go to the bathroom was like "Mission Impossible." I couldn't even blame it on hormones then.
On the whole, I consider myself seriously lucky to have been wired up from birth to be a Positive Polly. The settings switch in my brain always somehow pings back to my default state: happy.
But I haven't totally escaped that thing that tortures most of us on a daily basis: anxiety. Anxiety is such an assh*le.
So, let's talk about it. Feels nice to know we can all just be one giant mess together, right?
I'm not an expert in this field by any means, and I can't claim to be a long-term sufferer of anxiety. But what I did experience intermittently over a period of a few months was this: a feeling of dread churning in the pit of my stomach.
I had clammy hands and inner trembles. I had voices saying, "You're not good enough for that. Who do you think you are? She does it so much better than you. You might as well just quit now."
I had shortness of breath and a lack of drive. I was engulfed in panic. I'm pretty confident everyone reading this has experienced these emotions on some level.
Some of you have perhaps had to deal with this on a regular basis. When waking up every single morning with a dark cloud over your head is the norm, you need to fight it. No one should have to live like that.
But we all say we're fine because on some level, we feel like we should just be getting on with things. Thankfully, it does seem lie=ke society is slowly becoming more and more sensitive to mental illness.
The stigma is finally dissolving, and people are seeing it's OK to not be OK all the time. Actually, I think the more acceptable it is to not be OK, the more OK we will all be.
Anxiety can hold you prisoner inside your own mind. I needed to find a way to get back to me. Getting motivated to do anything was like trying to push a car up a hill.
But rather than wait for motivation to kick in, I found that you just have to find a way to kickstart it yourself. Make one small, achievable change. Put the key in the engine, and feel those wheels start to roll, baby.
I'm not saying every case is the same, or that this is a "one size fits all" cure. But below are five things that, when practiced regularly, personally changed my life. These things have shifted my perspective, instilled a decent amount of inner peace in me and conjured up an instinctive knowledge that everything is going to be OK.
These tips might not contain any new information for some of you. I'm not going for a particularly creative angle here. Sometimes, the simplest things are the most effective. If it's stuff that's been repeated over and over again, maybe that's for a reason. I mean, they might actually work.
This is an obvious one, given that I teach yoga and rave about it a fair amount. At first, I didn't understand how yoga could change anyone's life. How can trembling awkwardly in a headstand calm my nervous system and positively affect my state of being?
The more regularly you practice, commit to presence and tune into yourself, the more good little changes will creep up on you. Apparently, sometimes, you just have to get upside down to see straight.
So, find a class you like – there are so many different styles, but ultimately the goal is the same – and give yourself the time to just be with yourself. Put yourself at the top of your priority list.
People make the mistake of thinking yoga is just a physical practice. The physical practice is only a small part of a much bigger picture, which acts to prepare our bodies for what's to come: the union of the mind, body and soul.
Yoga helps us find the connection to our true selves. Yoga is effectively moving meditation. I also like to spend 15 minutes a day completely still in meditation.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to not only physically change the shape of our brains, but it also mentally molds us into happier beings. It reduces anxiety and connects us to our souls. It awakens our intuition and so much more.
The benefits are actually quite unbelievable. In a world where everyone tries to shout over the other in order to be heard, meditation, I believe, helps us to see that silence often speaks louder than noise.
Make a mental list of all the things you're grateful for. This is a powerful exercise, especially when you find it really hard to get out of the "FML" mindset. The universe loves gratitude.
When we're grateful, we're given more things to be grateful for. It's all part of the universal law that what you put out, you will get back. Gratitude can change your perspective pretty quickly.
Spend five or 10 minutes doing this. But don't just say the words as if performing the task is a chore. Make the effort to really feel the gratitude if you want to feel the effects. It's all about the feelings.
4. Getting Outside
Being immersed in nature raises our vibration. It makes us naturally happier. That's because when we're close to nature, we're closer to truth.
Every morning for about six months, I went for a walk to my local woods. I would just stand amongst the trees and consciously breathe. I would watch them watch me, and I would connect myself to something that I felt was bigger than I was. I would surrender and allow myself to be happy in the moment.
Yes, I'm a weirdo who loves all the trees. It works for me.
5. Positive Audio
This is the first thing I do every morning, for about 20 to 30 minutes while I'm snoozing. The audios could be of anyone from motivational speaker Tony Robbins, to my personal hero, Louise Hay. I listen to anything that's going to fill my subconscious with positive messages.
I guess I see it as the same thing as eating a decent breakfast. I start the day off right, feeding my body with some organic oats, almond milk, nuts and bananas. This sets me up for my day and keeps me feeling full, healthy and satisfied.
If I ate fried eggs and bacon, I would feel sluggish, unfocused and a bit gross, to be honest. Positive audios are my mind porridge.
The news headlines, on the other hand, equal a fried (eggs and bacon) mind. Feed your subconscious with daily morning positivity, and feel the changes over the next few months.
See the above as natural pills. They might not solve any real, deep-rooted problems you might have – that might take some further digging – but they will certainly help to improve your life.
The changes you will experience will be subtle at first. It's about perseverance, faith and commitment. If you can't tackle them all at once, perhaps just try one thing at a time. Then, introduce another when you're ready.
They work for me, but it's all about finding things that feel right for you. I'm not here to give anyone any answers. In fact, you already have all the answers inside of you.
These are just ways to help you access them. Unlock some doors and blow away some brain fog.
I still definitely have off days. But I feel well-equipped to deal with both life and my feelings now. I'm mostly calm and at peace. I trust that I'm being taken care of.
I trust myself because I've worked to connect with and meet ll my real self. I'm learning to release the ego talk. I know it's not really me.
I know I'm not the only Positive Polly in the world. Every single one of us is. Our natural state is joy, believe it or not. It's just about finding ways to get back there.