Dealing with Anxiety and Triggers
A lot of people suffer from some type of anxiety disorder, though most people don’t really talk about it. As of Jan 2018 about 40 million Americans - roughly 18% of the population is or has suffered from an anxiety disorder. So, if you suffer from anxiety - you are not alone and I personally have suffered from anxiety for years.
I have released old anxieties through practice and time - not overnight and at times it felt like I would never be free of anxiety and it’s grip. My anxiety has changed and shifted throughout the years, but now I know that it takes an actionable method to deal with. Anxiety stems from worrying about an uncertain event in the future, but I find also that anxiety attacks can stem from a trigger from the past. A trigger may be something that reminds you of some battle that happened in the past (usually considered bad or hurtful) that sets off an anxiety attack.
I love teaching through example to show practical methods - and I never pretend to be perfect. I am currently and have been working though my most recent anxiety trigger - driving. After my car accident I stopped driving of course for my recovery period of 3 months while I wasn’t allowed to walk (I had broken my back, pelvis and sacrum). Then after that, I was fortunate enough to have a business that allowed me and my husband to work from home, so I rarely drove at all. If I did drive, it was only local errands that didn’t take me too far away from home.
I went from driving across the country to being afraid to drive down the street. I would get behind the wheel and have an anxiety attack and feel like I couldn’t breathe. If I did drive, I would fear every left turn (I was t-boned while making an illegal left turn - whoops) that I would have to make - my palms getting sweaty. I would play no music and my kids would be afraid to make a peep in the back seat, knowing that I was concentrating so hard.
Now, I have worked on this for the past year and a half and the biggest method that has helped me is developing a mantra in the moments that those feelings of strong anxiety creep up. I had to drive to run errands on my own this morning and the first light I came to an ambulance came rushing through - trigger - I felt those anxious feelings start to bubble up and my skin start to buzz. Then - I leaned on my mantra method “I am safe. I am okay. I am present.” Breathing deeply and repeating this to myself - plus changing my music choice from rap to chill (I have the most random taste in music) calmed me down and brought me back.
Finding a personal mantra and repeating it, coupled with deep breathing has had the biggest impact on not only myself, but all my clients as well. Each persons mantra is personal for them, so you have to find one that works for you, but it should be something calming, makes you feel safe and brings you back to the moment. Music is another amazing method to help during those times because I find that it has such strong emotional ties that it helps shift your feelings. Anxiety stems from worrying about the future, so bringing the focus back to the present is powerful in overcoming this battle.
From there, I chose to force myself to take a route with more left turns and played chill music while keeping myself calm and focused. It takes practice to not freak out and if those moments happen - cut yourself some slack. It is totally normal - just keep working through it. Don’t back down from that battle, just take little steps forward to overcoming and freeing yourself from anxiety and it’s triggers. You are a strong warrior.
Love you bunches,
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