EASY TIPS TO RELEASE YOUR ANXIETY FOR RELIEF!
Friends used to say, “Tula you don’t need drugs” due to the fact I was always racing. I was actually once told I was in a permanent state of anxiety. I suffered from PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. This began with panic attacks during childhood. By the time I was nearly 20, I knew I had to do something to heal myself. This anxiety spilled over into every area of my life.
It was a daily struggle. It expressed itself physically, tightening my chest and I would experience regular attacks of hyperventilation. That was the catalyst for a personal and spiritual growth journey spanning a lifetime.
They say stress is a killer! Stress and Anxiety however are slightly different conditions. Where stress is circumstantial and passing, anxiety doesn’t subside and can often have little cause or reason that we know of. The impact on life can be immense, rendering one unable to cope with simple everyday events. In fact, most of us are said to wake up feeling there is something wrong every morning.
One of the reasons a staggering 87% of us awake feeling bad is attributed to the level or Cortisol in our blood and low blood sugar. That is why many of us feel anxiety early in the day. When our cortisol levels are elevated for extended periods, they often result in disease of the body.
Our most basic human need is that of certainty, safety. When we feel unsafe, we go into the fight or flight response. We go into fear. It is natural then, that cortisol is released at times of imminent danger. When we suffer anxiety however, this is not usually the case.
It invariably leads back to our early years, between 0-7,
when we didn’t feel safe, then developed a belief that we
cannot meet our own need for safety, perpetuating the
pattern on a downward spiral. This results in a creation of experiences to prove our beliefs.
Anxiety affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men
So, what are the causes of anxiety? Here are the facts according to Beyond Blue, a wonderful resource:
• Family history of mental health, which includes genetics as well as the environment we grow up in.
• Ongoing stress, having to move to a new house continually for example.
• Chronic physical health problems also attribute to depression and anxiety.
• Substance use
• Personality factors
The types of symptoms anxiety sufferers experience can range from difficulty breathing (hyperventilating), hot and cold flushes, a rapidly beating heart, obsessive- compulsive behaviour and negative self-talk. Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms like stomach ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome for example. Anxiety disorders include phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress, OCD and generalized anxiety.
The treatments available to anxiety sufferers are mainly psychological, with cognitive behaviour therapy. In some cases, medication is prescribed to correct the imbalance of chemical messages between neurons in the brain. The problem with using medication is that our body relies on that, therefore ceasing to use natural defences. Often when we stop using the medication, there is a time lapse before our natural defences start working, which is unbearable to many. In many cases this leads to addiction.
Here are some alternative solutions I can attest to:
The first step is not to avoid what we feel, but to process and work with it. There are ways to reduce our cortisol levels and our anxiety, bringing us to a state of wellbeing. People with anxiety have a hard time believing they create their own reality, that they can gain pleasure and not pain.
Know that our thoughts and beliefs create emotions and anxiety.
We have the power to change them.
Here are some ways to reduce your Cortisol levels!
If you practice yoga, you will be familiar with breathing techniques, if not, there are a lot of resources you can find on the Internet. One way to do it is to breathe deeply into your abdomen, filling up your body, then holding your breath as long as you can, breathing out slowly until empty.
Oxygen input is the most vital ingredient in healing anxiety. Getting out of our heads and into our body will quieten the mind, bring us into the present, relaxing us in the process.
There are guided meditations available using left and right brain delta frequencies and positive messages that go into our subconscious to re- program the brain into positive thought. To undo our programming, which has taken a lifetime in some cases, using guided meditation, most days of the week, is very beneficial. Consistency is key here. There are innumerable Meditations you can listen to before you sleep available on You Tube as well.
Exercise burns cortisol and is another great antidote to anxiety. Raising our heart rate with exercise increases our breathing and relieves anxiety as well as releasing endorphins, which make us feel happy! Exercising for 30 minutes per day is all you need do.
Yoga bears incredible benefits. For one, it releases cellular trauma, trauma we hold in our bodies. It promotes deep breathing, reduces anxiety, heals organs and strengthens bones. It brings us into our bodies and gives us balance on all levels! It provides us with a strong centre we can always access, despite any external chaos.
Inspirational material is also very good to listen to. There are many great speakers available readily on the Internet. When we have been fed negative feedback for a long time, especially from our inner critic, we need as much positive reinforcement as possible to counteract negativity and fear.
Diet and Lifestyle choices
There are foods available to stabilise blood sugar and therefore cortisol. Seaweed, whole grains, blueberries, dark chocolate, nuts, pumpkin seeds, Vitamins B and C, chamomile, some. Eat snacks during the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
What to Avoid
When we feel anxious, having a coffee or alcoholic drink and a cigarette is common. Funnily enough, this will increase our anxiety, though we don’t think so. Our bodies are excellent at telling us what feels good and what doesn’t. Sugar, for example will give us a high followed by a quick low. Foods high in carbohydrates turn into sugar when we don’t expend that energy with exercise. Avoid fried or processed food. Therefore, using junk food as a comfort as many of us do, has the opposite effect once again. Feeding our bodies clean, healthy food will assist us in equally great mental health.
Drink lots of water
Drinking lots of water, preferably not tap water full of chemicals, releases hormones and detoxifies.
For many, Isolation increases anxiety. On the other hand, human connections decrease cortisol levels. Love we feel around friends and family increases our feeling of safety and aids in distracting us. At this time, online video calls are a great alternative.
Laugh, have Fun
When we are laughing and having fun, we feel safe! Further it keeps our Cortisol levels down.
A good night’s sleep
Our bodies regenerate between the hours of 10pm and 3am. Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep will reduce your levels of anxiety. When we sleep, we reduce our daily resistance and relax in a state of allowing. Before going to sleep, ensure you are in a good vibrational state. Here a gratitude journal is great, as it brings your focus to good thoughts and feelings.
Release your emotions;
You can do this by writing in a journal, downloading all your negative thoughts. Here I advise you not to censor your words. Be honest and don’t judge yourself, let it go! You can also release emotions by talking to someone, the focus is to release.
A foot rub or massage, the sense of touch is excellent for relaxation, it also reduces cortisol levels.
Listen to music
Uplifting music or music that releases your emotions. Watch inspiring films; Anytime you feel good you feel safe!
Stay away from anxiety inducing exposure
This includes perhaps watching the news, films, series, reading or audio material, or people.
Commit to doing what makes you feel good;
Allow yourself to live on your terms, to be self-loving. Make it a daily practice.
Change your limiting beliefs;
Limiting beliefs plague our lives. We recognise them as being limiting when they are destructive to us. Anxiety is a prime example. When we change our limiting beliefs, we experience peace and well- being. To manifest our desires, there must be a match between our beliefs and the desire, otherwise we cannot attain them.
Changing our limiting beliefs also applies to our Self-Worth. Unless we have worked on our self-worth, we do not escape damage to it between the ages of 0- 7. It is important to boost our self- worth if we are to be kind to ourselves, so that we invest in doing what we need, to feel good. Self-Worth is also directly tied to our ability to achieve goals, so if you ever wondered why some seem unattainable or you tend to self- sabotage, I recommend making a change to change your life.
Anxiety is based in fear and when we experience regular panic attacks, we can often become fearful of the fear itself. Opening our hearts with meditation is a great way to access the love we all have and connects us to our divine source, which in turn gives us access to inspiration and a feeling of well-being.
Tachycardia is one situation where slowing our breathing and breathing deeply does not necessarily slow our heart down. It can often be mistaken for a heart attack. Whenever there is risk of heart attack it is best to be safe than sorry. Seeking a doctor’s advice or going to hospital is the most responsible action. Working on our cognitive thinking is helpful in avoiding overwhelm. It is important not to load our mind with too much. Meditation, inspirational material, soft music and surroundings, a gentle approach step by step is a great way to eliminate Tachycardia.
With phobias, hypnotherapy is often successful, and, in some cases, therapists use desensitization as a tool. Phobias are usually unreasonable (not based on real danger) automatic responses, which over time become a pattern we immediately follow. Unlocking that pattern often lessens the phobia until it can become manageable for us. Our brain is malleable and highly intelligent.
We have the power to change our brain chemistry!
“The brain is actually a supple, malleable organ, as ready to unlearn as it is to learn, capable of transforming vicious circles into virtuous circles, of resetting and repairing its internal communications. Far more than once dreamed possible, the brain can—if not always cure—heal itself. “
Dr. Norman Doidge, in his 2007 bestseller The Brain That Changes Itself
Other life skills, like feeling gratitude and being thankful for all that we are and have, lift us from negative thoughts leading to anxiety. Happiness is a choice, something I am certain many have heard and taken with a grain of salt, feeling helpless to this debilitating condition.
This is where your gratitude journal comes in handy. Even if you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for, at the very least you can be grateful for the life-giving air you breathe...
These are not overnight solutions. They take focus and dedication. They are pieces in the puzzle, complementing each other on the road to recovery. Together they can transform our existence. They have worked for me. I do hope they work for you. “Whatever works” as they say!
I wish you a speedy recovery and amazing Success!