Sometime last year, I got diagnosed with “Anxiety”. I wouldn’t like to call it a disorder, as I no longer think or perceive it as such. Being anxious, is a pre-disposed personality type and that is all there is to it. Generally, those that are more planned, organized and prefer to be in control of situations are likely to succumb to anxiety compared to others.
Yes, it took me some time to come to this understanding or awakening but I am here today, feeling happy, at peace and most importantly, empowered. It’s been the most enlightening and enriching journey ever since.
I have been a person who has always liked to do many things at once and not just do them, do them right and to the best of my abilities coz in my head there has never been a fallback option other than doing it perfectly. The flaw lies in the fact that it “ALL” had to be done right, be it about the kids or work or the house being in order or any other thing that you can possibly think of.
Considering the fact that I am wired in a certain manner, somewhere along the way, it just became a way of life and I suffered panic attacks for which I was rushed to the hospital mistaking it for asthma, innumerable times. Not one doctor suggested me to see a therapist or consider a path to recovery that I didn’t know existed.
Even today, though I see copious articles and campaigns on mental health awareness, people are still hesitant to bring this topic to the fore when its personally about them. I, myself found out at least about 3 of my close friends dealing with anxiety when I chose to talk about my own. All of these years and million tête-à-têtes later, I had been clueless of their internal turmoil on this issue.
I know it can get overwhelming and agonizing. Though it may seem that it is all in the mind but it feels physical. The symptoms at times are all pervasive and rob one of the ability to think better and beyond it.
Surprisingly, for me, my mind processed everything logically. At no point in time, was I ever at sea about what I should or should not do. Unfortunately, my body gave away. The constant weight and heaviness in the chest, the endless lack of sleep, the tingling sensation that ran through the body finally made me realize that there was something amiss. And so, my conscious and mindful journey towards betterment began in the year 2020.
Since I felt that it worked miraculously for me, I was urged to share it. So here are my baby steps in the right direction:
1. Identify your triggers
When I refer to triggers, I do not necessarily mean triggers of anxiety but also irritants. Whether you believe it or not, persistent irritants are often the cause of edginess, which if not dealt with, may eventually lead you to anxiety. It is like a buildup.
This takes some thoughtful consideration and may at times end up having many layers and facets to it. Fortunately, I have been a rather self-aware person and find it easy to understand what works with my body and mind and thus this hasn’t been too tough for me. But it truly isn’t rocket science. It may just require time and patience.
Strangely, one of my irritants was my mobile ringtone. It felt like it rang constantly. From random telemarketers, to delivery boys asking for directions to your house, to the guard below reconfirming for the 60th time if its ok to send the same groceries delivery guy that he sees everyday to come up to deliver the veggies. Phew !
Whilst juggling work and kids online classes and other mundane household chores, one fine day I decided to put my phone on silent.
And do you know, what I realized, the world didn’t stop! I was not the center of their universe. The couriers still got delivered. And the guard figured that there is an intercom to pester my help for the same questions.
Once you know your triggers, half the journey is accomplished
2. Breathing exercises
This is one of the most effective physical prescription that doesn’t need a doctor’s sign off.
Inhale to the count of 6 (belly rising)
Hold to the count of 3
Exhale to the count of 6 (belly contracting)
Anytime that you feel the slightest heaviness in your chest, invest 5 minutes of your time with this and you will feel refreshed and lighter.
3. Practice any form of meditation
Why I say any form of meditation is because I don’t know what meditation means to you. The idea is to achieve the goal of grounding yourself, your body and your mind in the present moment. The eventual idea is to train your mind to be less emotional and perceive the situation with more clarity when a disruptive thought makes its way into your mind.
Since I am a trained pranic healer as well, for me, meditating is focusing and visualizing positivity in everything that breeds and permeates around me. Envisioning the right in the world, healing of the wounded souls, smiles on the face of the depressed, success in the destiny of the yet unaccomplished, money in the hands of the needy, a greener, cleaner planet with humanity in its highest expression.
For you, it could be singing from the pit of your stomach so that the pitch of your musical notes pervades your thoughts so deeply that nothing else matters but that moment in time. It could be dancing that escalates your mind into a meditative state or painting a palette of colours on a canvas or anything else that fancies your imagination.
Train your body and mind to be present in the moment.
4. Learning to walk away
I once read a narrative about a frog in a vessel with water heating slowly.
As the temperature of the water rose, the frog adjusted its body temperature accordingly. The frog kept adjusting its body temperature with the increasing heat of the water. Just when the water was about to reach boiling point, the frog realized that he can’t adjust any further and thus decided to jump out. Alas, he was unable to jump high enough and dies.
The frog didn’t die coz of the boiling water, the frog died coz it couldn’t muster the strength to jump out of the vessel coz it had lost all its strength in adjusting with the rising temperature. It was the inability of the frog to decide as to when it should bow out, that killed it.
Identify that point in your life. Be it work, a person or an unpalatable situation. Recognize it and take the call. Walk away, while you still have it in you.
Not everyone deserves a seat at the table of your life. This privilege should be afforded to a few and you get the honor to decide on who you cast that privilege.
5. Carry your own weather
We will always find negativity and unconstructive behavior and people around that are not within our control. There, the trick is to shield yourself with your sunshine. This too takes practice but once achieved is rather empowering.
Do not let someone else’s tumultuous storm dim your sunshine. Carry your weather with you. Sprinkle your brightness on those around you. Let the glare of your sunshine be so dazzling that it blinds everything negative in its wake.
No one can take away your positivity if you endeavor to hold on to it with your dear life
6. Welcome a sense of balance
This may mean different things to different people. Work out your balance. No, I am not indicating a work-life balance coz I do not know where your sanity lies. That is for all of us to introspect and figure. If your sense of equilibrium strikes with work, then so be it. For some it could be engaging with kids or reading or even doing some mind-numbing activity. Choose what centers you and eggs you on, to look forward to the next day.
I work a lot and I love my work but over a period of time, I am steadily learning to decipher the thin line between “critical” and “critical but not urgent” and that has surely streamlined things professionally a tad more for me.
For the rest, I ensure I take out time to read (fiction, nonfiction, even poetry), it is my stress buster. I love to escape into the world of an author and explore a new world where I haven’t been. The words pouring onto paper take me to places unknown and undiscovered, leaving me rejuvenated.
I also love to tug on my creative sensibilities every now and then, and thus end up signing up varied artistic classes, right from candle making to decoupage to imaginative gift wrapping.
The proportion of time you decide to spend on what reinvigorates you, is up to you.
7. Believe in the power of the universe
Like I mentioned above that anxiety is mostly a manifestation of a certain personality type, its important to learn to let go and leave somethings to pan out on their own and in their own time. No one can take away what is meant for you. We only need the faith to let go with a conviction that it will happen in due course when we are ready for it.
Mind you, that readiness is not for you to decide but for the universe to know.
And of course, a little bit of pixie dust never hurt anyone!!
The power of faith in the universe is liberating.