Last week anxiety came knocking at my door.
I was surprised because generally, I don't suffer from anxiety or depression anymore as I spend a lot of time on self-care and looking after myself.
I woke up, and I knew something wasn't right. I had that horrible all too familiar feeling in my stomach that I hadn't felt for a very long time.
It just goes to show that even when we're looking after ourselves and doing all the right things, anxiety can still come knocking.
It's forced me to remember just how disgusting we feel when we've got anxiety. It's revolting. It's like a dark energy throwing flowing through our veins.
I'd almost forgotten the power of it.
I also revisited another sort of realisation that I've had over the years -sometimes we don't know why we've got anxiety, and it's not always useful to investigate the why.
If it's obvious, and we can find a specific reason, then it can be helpful to know the reason.
But if we don't know why, if we're not 100% sure why, and we're overthinkers it's best just to leave it. We don't want to start creating unnecessary neverending negative thought loops.
I don't like the word over-thinker because it's such a mellow word. If you are an 'overthinker', it can be torture. So it's not always helpful to continually ask why.
#1 The So What Technique.
This is a method that we can use if we DO know the underlying reason for our anxiety.
For example, if we're in trouble at work, or we've had a confrontation with one of our friends or if we've asked somebody out on a date and they've said no. These are situations that could potentially make us anxious.
In any of these situations we can start the So What technique:
We think of the things we're anxious about and say them to ourselves, we then reply with 'so what', every single time.
They might think badly of me
My colleagues might not respect me
You get the idea.
If we can't get ourself into the technique, we can ask ourselves the following questions:
Is anybody going to be harmed?
Is anybody going to die?
Are you to die?
Is any physical harm going to happen from this action?
99% of the time, it's going to be a no to any of the above questions.
This is a potent technique because we realise that none of these things matter.
We can use this method on our own, but it's also highly useful if we have somebody that we trust who can do this with us.
We say our anxieties, and our friend says: "so what".
The following techniques we can use when we DO NOT know why we're feeling anxious.
The main reason why we feel anxious is a grave underlying issue of self-worth. We have a low opinion of ourselves. We think ourselves not worthy.
Most people have low self-worth. It's no surprise because we're brought up with with a range of conditions. If you do that, you get this; if you behave like this, you get this. So we're taught to act in a way that isn't true to who we are. The behaviour that we want to display is seen as not acceptable or not good enough.
Furthermore, wider society actively encourages us to compare ourselves to others and that we're not good enough as we are.
# The Allow Method
If we continue to 'fight' our anxiety, we are never going to win. Never.
So we're not going to fight our anxiety, and we are not going to question where it comes from.
- Lie down on the bed or the sofa, or the floor
- Take some deep breaths
- Allow the feeling of anxiety into your body.
- Allow it to flow through you in all it's ravaged glory
This might sound scary, but the second that we allow our body to relax and invite our anxiety in to infiltrate us is the second that it starts to dissipate.
It loses its power.
Using this method, we're not going to feel a hundred per cent better immediately, but we will feel better than we did. There will be a sense of relief.
#3 Specific Affirmations
This technique is based around the idea that anxiety stems from low self-worth.
I recommend using method #2 first and then move onto this straight after.
Affirmations that work really well are:
- I am enough.
- I am safe and all is well.
It sounds too simple to work, but I promise you it does.
- Lie down on your bed and relax.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Repeat the affirmation I am enough either in your mind or out loud.
You will start to feel an energetic movement in your body. If you're not used to working with your energy or even really knowing what that means, watch out for different sensations moving around in your body.
We can add other affirmations if we choose such as:
I am safe, and all is well. The feeling of anxiety is a feeling of fear, so this affirmation works well also.
Remember that everything in our world changes. Everything has a cycle of life and death in our human lives and in nature. Everything changes, people change, feelings change.
Change can feel scary; we don't like change; we want what we know and what's familiar.
But we can use change to our advantage. Feelings do change, and they do pass. There's so much sanctuary that we can take knowing that we will feel better soon.
The other thing that we can do to help ourselves is to put our health first continually. Other things in life are also important, but nothing is more important than our health, whether that's our mental health or our physical health. If these are not okay, then we can't be okay in other areas of our life.
We have to prioritise ourselves. We have to put ourselves first. We have to be kind to ourselves.
I sincerely hope you're not suffering from anxiety. Just remember that it will pass and we do have tools that we can use to help us.
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I'm Hannah Anstee.
A Women's Empowerment Coach & Writer.
My mission is to help women stand-alone and enjoy life as much as possible.