That pounding heart, cold hands and feet, panic of unknown origin feeling – I get that. That’s my anxiety response. Sometimes I understand where it’s coming from, and sometimes it hits me out of the blue. I’ve written about it before, and here I am – at it again.
My anxiety has been higher than usual lately. I go through stretches where it is almost gone, and other stretches where it feels constant. It’s how my mind, and my heart, and my soul work. It used to be almost debilitating when it peaked, but I’m getting better at finding the strategies that work. The ways to manage it without being taken over.
Here’s my top five ways I alleviate anxiety:
- Exercise. Yeah, I know – not everyone loves it. I’m actually one of those people who doesn’t love it. But now that I’m knocking on the door of middle-aged, I’m finally realizing that I need it. And not just a go for a stroll and get moving kind of exercise. I need to push myself. I need to sweat, and pant, and feel like I can’t do any more. Because then I do more, and somehow, I get something out that needs to be released. I get done with a run these days, and I feel like I ditched a heavy weight along the way. And it’s not all girl power poster child – when I’m pushing myself to the limit, I feel this hot, messy anger rise in me. It’s not an empowering feeling, but when I’m done and cooling down, it’s gone. That’s the empowering part – I released something that needed to not be in me.
- Xanax. Yep – I’m a pill popper. Not really. But a simple low dose of Xanax when my mind is spinning too fast, slows everything down enough so I can think again. Because in the middle of the anxiety attack, everything is moving too fast and appears too big and I can’t think straight. I can’t figure out what’s real and what’s exaggerated, and what’s a complete lie that anxiety and depression are telling me. Sometimes I need help slowing my mind down.
- Making lists. Shocking, right – me making lists? It’s my thing. It works for me. When the worries start to take over, I ask myself, “What can I do about that?” Then I write it down on my list. Sometimes it’s something so simple like sending an email, or looking something up online, or messaging a friend a question. And knowing that it’s on my to-do list, helps me to manage and move on, because whether I like it or not, I’m a girl who lives and dies by her to-do list.
- Reading. I just feel better when I read every day. Getting lost in someone else’s story and their written words helps me to get out of my own head for awhile. For someone with anxiety, having a break from their own head is blissful. Inside my mind can be a loud, fast, exhausting place to be, at times. When I am reading a good book, I escape that for a little while. Stepping away from my anxiety for even a few minutes, does wonders.
- Letting go. You’re singing the Disney song, aren’t you? I couldn’t resist though. Sometimes alleviating anxiety requires letting go of my own expectations and plans. It means letting go of the status quo when the status quo isn’t working for me. Letting go of the plan I had, allows me to dream about the new plan. It allows me to stop obsessing over what isn’t working, and creates a freedom to find a new plan and align it with my passion.
How do you alleviate anxiety?
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