Lists, Positivity

10 Ways I Deal With Anxiety

10 ways i deal with

Meditation
I believe in meditation over medication. I know that makes me sound like a bit of a hippy but I think that anxiety is something that we can actually control. It’s kind of a case of mind over matter. I have been on medication for anxiety, and while it helped me at the time, it is not something that I would like to go back to. Now, when I’m feeling anxious, I try to focus on my breathing and do a guided meditation. It helps me gain control of my breathing and steady my thoughts. I would highly recommend Jason Stephenson and Dr Aine Tubridy‘s meditations on YouTube as a starting point.

Meditation is something that should be practiced to strengthen the mind too. It’s not just something that I go to in my time of need. A short morning meditation or an night time meditation are enough to keep my focused and feeling in control on a day to day basis. There are many good meditation podcasts on iTunes, as well as some really good apps available. If meditation is something that you’ve never tried before then I urge you to connect with your inner Buddha and give it a go – I swear by it!

Exercise
It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, once it’s something that gets your heart pumping and leaves you feeling amazing afterwards. Personally, I love to go for walks, run, and do classes such as Yoga and Boxercise. I don’t exercise for fitness reasons whatsoever; it is something I do primarily for the mental health benefits that come with it. When I’m feeling anxious, or a bit down, it is so hard to motivate myself to get up off my ass and go for a walk. But when I do, I always feel better afterwards. Getting my heart pumping and the happy hormones flowing really makes me feel good. It has often allowed me to gain some perspective on what it is that is causing me to be anxious and I then am able to deal with the situation in a much calmer way.

Again, like meditation, exercise is something that should be done regularly. By getting out and getting my body moving and heart pumping, I feel that I am releasing any adrenaline that has been building up in my system. It allows me to feel in control, and feel pro-active, giving me a sense of pride in my efforts to take care of my mental health. A brisk walk alone in the mornings before I tackle the day ahead usually works wonders for me, and then, if I still feel like my body needs that little bit extra, I’ll go for a walk or do some Yoga in the evenings. Yoga with Adriene is by far the best yoga channel on YouTube and I would recommend the Couch to 5K app for anyone interested in getting themselves running!

Routine
I find that a routine is really important for me. On days when I’m neither here nor there, you know those days where you find yourself sitting and staring aimlessly at something, or else wondering why you’re always on autopilot, those are the days that I start to get very anxious. By having a morning and night time routine I feel very much in control of myself and my day. I took inspiration for my Morning Routine from Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning  and I also talk about the importance of routine in My Guide to Feeling Good.

Having a good morning routine allows me to feel totally in control of how I face the day ahead, and my night time routine allows me to destress and unwind and get set for a night of good, deep sleep. I listened to an episode of Operation Self Reset podcast recently that also discussed the importance of routine, click here to access that episode and hear what Jake Nawrocki has to say about the importance of routine in our daily lives.

Talk It Out
This can be one of the easiest, but often one of the hardest things to do. When you feel your stomach drop, your palms starting to sweat, and your heart starting to race, we often have no idea what to do next. Something that has really helped me is to be very open and honest with those I love about what I am experiencing. It isn’t very easy to put that fear into words, and there is often the added fear of ‘will they think I’m insane?’, but realistically, the people that love you will want to do anything that they can to support you.

Reach out and ask your friend to meet up to talk about whatever it is that’s making you feel overwhelmed. Tell them that you’re not expecting them to solve your problem, or even understand why it is causing you so much upset, but that you just need a listening ear. Having friends that are willing to go for that walk with you, or meet you for a coffee while you talk it out, those people are irreplaceable. If you have these people in your life make sure you hang onto them!

Something else that I’ve started doing recently is being very direct with my friends/family/boyfriend when I’m worried that I have done something wrong; I will send a message stating that I am feeling really anxious over X, Y, Z, and can they just let me know if I need to be concerned over it or not. My people are amazing and completely understand where I’m at anxiety wise, so when I’m starting to become panicky, and when they receive that text, they always reply and let me know what the story is. And, as you can probably guess, I’ve never even needed to be worried. It just makes me feel good to know that I can be straight with them and say that I’m worried about something, instead of trying to figure it all out myself and becoming even more distressed in the process.

Tapping
This is something that is very new to me. I remember years ago, my mother came home and started talking to me about how she had heard about controlling your feelings/emotions by tapping on your face. I remember looking at her and thinking she might have lost the plot, but she was right. Even though at the time I don’t think she knew the exact points where you need to tap to achieve this, she was onto something that I wouldn’t really learn more about for another 10 years or so.

I came across The Tapping Solution  when I discovered the podcast called Adventures in Happiness – which is amazing by the way! Tapping is a form of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) that focuses on accupressure points on the face and upper body. I don’t know enough about Tapping to explain how it works, but all I know is that every time I tap I feel at least 10 times calmer at the end of it. I’ve yet to read the book written by Nick Ortner, The Tapping Solution, but even without an understanding of the principles behind the technique, it is still very effective.

Schedule Happy Things
This is a big thing for me. I try to make sure that each and every day I do something that I enjoy. To do this you need to firstly sit down and write a list of all of the things that make you happy, the things that make you feel good. By doing this you come up with your own inventory to work from. You don’t have to actively plan including things. For example this does not always require for you to sit down and decide that Monday will be the day where you go for a walk, Tuesday will be the day that you treat yourself to your favourite meal, Wednesday the day where you meet your friend for coffee etc., just that at some point during your day that you ensure that you have done something that you know will make you feel good. Today you might feel like reading, tomorrow you might not! So just go with the flow and do whatever makes you feel good!

Herbal Remedies
This is not something that I reach for often, apart from herbal tea, but when I’m feeling like I need that little bit of reassurance I often find that herbal remedies are the way to go. Sometimes that might be something like Natracalm, or it might be my most recent discovery of Valerian Relax Blend. Again, these are things that I would use as an alternative to prescription medication and they manage to take the edge off for me. Chamomile tea is also great at the end of the day or after a stressful time to help to unwind and de-stress. Never underestimate the power of a cup of Chamomile tea!

Positive Mental Attitude
This is, without a doubt, something that I would have rolled my eyes at before. But hear me out. You need to understand that anxiety is a fear based mindset. By practicing positive thinking, and by teaching yourself how to develop and maintain a positive mindset, you will be able to control your anxiety. I do this by keeping a gratitude journal, using the Happier App, making vision boards, reading personal development books, and listening to podcasts about personal development.

I’m going to assume you’ve heard the quote “Happiness is not a destination, its away of life.” This is so true and so fundamental to this practice. You can’t expect to be happy and in control when you’ve not learned how to overcome the fear mindset. I’ve been practicing this for almost eight years, and although I feel that I am pretty competent with the PMA thing, I always continue to work on it. I like to think of myself as a car. Without fuel a petrol cannot run. These tools that I mentioned above are my fuel; I require top-ups every now and then, I need my engine cleaned and my spirit reignited. I cannot do one gratitude list and expect to be happy forever because of it! Regular practices and consistency is key here! Mind you mind!

Breathing Techniques
While this is something that can be done as part of meditation and yoga, breathing exercises can also be done separately too. There are many different types of breathing techniques that you can try out but these are the three that work best for me:

A) Mantra Breathing
This is when I breathe in and say to myself “I am breathing in calm”, and on the exhale I say to myself “I am breathing out fear.” I repeat this over and over and over again until I start to calm down.

B) Box Breathing
This is fairly simple to remember. Inhale through your nose for the count of four, hold for the count of four, exhale through your mouth for the count of four, pause for the count of four. As your breathing starts to slow down and as you feel more in control, you can up your count to 5, then to 6, then to 7 and so on.

C) Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is by far the most complicated to explain, but it is unbelievably effective!
Extend your thumb, ring and pinky finger (as though you are miming a phone) and place your thumb over your right nostril. Exhale fully through your left nostril, then inhale deeply. Pause. Release your thumb whilst placing your pinky or ring finger on your left nostril. Exhale fully. Inhale deeply. Pause and swap. Repeat for a few rounds.

I’ll leave a video here for you to try out for yourself – I think its easier to follow on a video than a written description so check out the link below! Trust me on this one! It is amazingly beneficial!

Accept It
How is this a way of dealing with Anxiety I hear you ask? I can understand your confusion, but let me explain! You might have anxiety but anxiety does not define who you are. You might suffer from Panic Attacks, but they do not make up everything that you are. You need to sit back, take a lot of time, and just consider what anxiety even is. It is an adrenaline overload. It is not a disease, it is not a label that you wear for all to see, it is only a small element of your personality.

You might be sitting there and reading this and thinking that I’m talking a load of crap, and I can appreciate that, but it’s taken me a long time to get to this point. I used to be really paranoid and embarrassed because of my anxiety. And yes, it still can have that effect on me, but I now try to to look at it in a more positive light. I am a caring person. I try to do everything to the best of my ability. I would never intentionally say or do anything to upset somebody. I am very aware of the emotions of others. Are any of those statements negative things to say about yourself? Not in the slightest. Instead they depict how you are a sensitive and caring person who is often overly worried about these things. Your anxiety does not have to define you, nor should you let it. Accept that you are a worrier, accept that you are your own worst critic, and accept that this is only one part of the beautiful person that you are! When you accept that, you can deal with your anxiety in a much more positive and productive light. It may never go away, but you can control it.

Positivity

Happier

Image result for happierSource

Happiness is a way of life. A habit. A mindset. It is something that we are all hoping to feel each day. When we die we want to look back and know that we have lead lives full of happiness, excitement and joy.

How do we make sure that this is our priority? How do we remind ourselves on a daily basis that we need to focus on the good things and be grateful for the little things in life? Let me share a very special tool with you: Happier.

Happier was set up by Nataly Kogan in 2013. The website shares many different articles about how to incorporate a positive attitude into your day to day life. One element of Happier that I absolutely adore is the theory behind the psychology of colour – something that I have always had a very particular interest in! There is also an amazing, free app which you can download where you can photo-document all of the little things in life that make you happy. It also has many short courses which allow you to explore different ways in which to bring more happiness into your life.

More than 11,000 scientific studies show that developing a gratitude habit helps you feel more optimistic, sleep better, be more creative, productive, and less stressed.

And it’s the smallest moments that have the biggest impact on how happy you feel.

Nataly was a refugee from Russia and truly knows how important it is to keep your head up and strive to do the best you can in life. Watch her Ted Talk below to find out more about this inspirational woman and the journey she has been on.

My advice to you is this; if you want to be happier, if you want to express gratitude, and if you want to recognize the little joys, the little things, then this is an app for you. I often download different apps and eventually get bored and decide to delete them. Thankfully this has never happened with the Happier App. I am so in love with it! It is very user friendly and is such a great tool to keep you looking at the bright side of life.

Take 15 minutes out of your day and watch this video, I promise you that you won’t be sorry!

 

Cx

Motivation Monday, Positivity

My Guide To Feeling Good

Happiness is a state I’ve always strived to achieve. Almost like a medal. Something I would have forever and never have to give back! How wrong was I?!

In 2009, after I turned 21, I decided I was going to change my life for the better. I decided that constantly feeling anxious and down was no longer good enough. I was going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and find the life I had been searching for!

The first thing I realised was that I would never attain happiness the way I had imagined. I had to get rid of my “if/when” mindset and came to see that I had to find joy in the everyday things.

Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way:

My Guide to Feeling Good
1. Get up early!

This is just a recent endeavour of mine but it has made such a huge difference! Getting up early in the morning and doing a few different bits and pieces allows me to set my mindset for the day ahead, whilst also allowing me to have a peaceful and relaxing morning! I always feel very proud of myself too because I know that I’m up before most other people and have already accomplished so much before they’re even out of bed!

Image result for get up early quotesSource

2. Have a morning routine.

Every morning for the last 40 days, thanks to Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning, I have been getting up early and engaging in the following practices: Meditation, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Journaling. Every night as I lie down I look forward to getting up and doing my SAVERS each morning! I feel both energised and calm, knowing I’ve started my day well!

3. Go to bed early!

Getting up early inevitability equates to going to bed early! I get up each morning at 5am (except the weekends which is usually around 7.30 or 8.) Going to bed early ensures I get enough rest and am prepared for the day ahead. I usually aim for about 7 hours sleep.

4. Have a Nighttime routine 

Routines just seem to work well for me! Every night I take care of my skin: I cleanse, tone, moisturise, and apply a serum! I then tackle my teeth; brushing, flossing, using teepee sticks, mouthwash etc. Then I like to go and make myself a cup of chamomile tea, hop into bed and read my book for a half an hour. I follow this with a nighttime meditation and go to sleep!

5. Read every day 

Reading is my passion. I love to read! By setting aside time to read everyday I am able to enjoy my favourite pastime and escape the real world for a while.

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In the mornings I choose to read Self Improvement books and I love how I get to expand my knowledge and better myself in as much as I can!

6. Get fresh air! 

I love to get fresh air. At night we are stuck inside, as well as all day and we generally don’t get any fresh air. We’re stuck inside at work, and for the majority of us, our commutes are the same; stuck in cars, tubes, trains or buses. However, when you consciously decide to step outside, be it to read or walk or sit, you will find that you feel instantly better, calmer and more relaxed. Win/win!

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7. Set little goals 

A little goes a long way. Setting small, measurable, and achievable goals can work wonders! I’m going to use myself as an example here and look at weight loss. Instead of thinking “I want to lost another stone and a half” (which, I might add seems impossible when you’re longing for that weight to be gone!) I will say to myself “My goal is to lose 2lbs this week.”

Setting goals that feel more manageable lead to a more positive mindset. They allow us to see results and monitor progress as well as the final result. If you are someone who beats themselves up over all the little things then I highly recommend this tactic! Lots of little goals such as lose 2lbs this week, go for a walk today, ring Karen… these little goals give us a great sense of achievement! If crossing things off a to-do list gives you satisfaction then I highly recommend this goal setting strategy!

8. Meditate

When I was studying for my Undergrad, I took Psychology as a minor subject. One of my modules was Positive Psychology. That one module set me on the right path. I learned more in that one module than in any other class. It was not so much educational learning (if that makes sense) but life-learning. I learned all about being positive and how to learn the required skill set that would allow me to lead a more positive and fulfilling life.

My first ever experience with meditation was in this class. We meditated with raisins. Yup… raisins. I know it sounds crazy! It was a mindfulness meditation and at the time I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. However, as the term progressed I could see a noticeable difference in my mood after these classes. I approached the lecturer to discuss meditation and the effects it can have on a person and it was then that I realised that I was a highly anxious person, on constant high alert each moment of every day, always afraid of what lay ahead. In the times that we meditated, I was able to leave all of that aside and focus on the here and now. There was nothing to fear in the here and now. I was not a horrible person in the here and now because all I was doing was sitting and breathing. I could not be afraid in the here and now because, again, all I was doing was sitting and breathing.

After this module was completed I decided to take some action and went about seeking help for my anxiety. And I have never, ever looked back.

Here are some meditation podcasts, YouTube channels, and apps that might help if this is something that you would like to try out:

The Meditation Podcast – Podcast
Meditation Oasis – Podcast
Headspace – App
Buddhify – App
Jason Stephenson – YouTube

9. Use affirmations 

This is something I feel I still haven’t mastered. I’ve tried writing affirmations and have felt like an absolute idiot. Telling yourself how wonderful you are can feel pretty strange at first! YouTube can be your friend here! Louise Hay has some great affirmation videos as do many others. I’m going to post a video below that is by Jason Stephenson who I mentioned above. I like to listen to this in the car on the way to work to try to set myself up to have a fantastic day.

10. Plan Happy Things 

I truly believe that you should always have something to look forward to. I’m not talking anything extravagant here. It could be a Prosecco Picnic with your girlfriends or a dinner date with your SO; a walk in the countryside or a DIY Spa-night with your bestie. All it needs to be is something small, at the end of the month, that you have to look forward to!

11. ALWAYS make time for your friends.

I’m talking quick coffees, Whatsapp group chats, nights away, endless FaceTimes, midnight phone calls, work-day ranting, general banting, long car drives filled with deep conversations, and days and nights full of fun and laughter. Once you have your tribe you’ll never be running solo.

Image result for i love my friends quotesSourceSource

I am very glad to say that we are now in an era where women seem to be more empowering to one another than ever before and because of that I feel our connections run deeper than ever. Shout out to all my girls – ye know who ye are and I’d be so completely lost without ye!

12. Don’t Watch/Listen to the News! 

The news… there’s no doubt we’re lucky where information is so freely and widely available but for me, I’ve found that the news makes me really down. Have you ever noticed that the news is always full of negativity?! Always!! There’s always something about war, corrupt politicians, natural disasters, etc. And I’ve just found that listening to this information makes me unhappy. I don’t like being reminded of all the negativity in the world. I need to be shown the good things, the happy things, the inspirational things! So now I just turn down the radio or change the channel! Cutting the news out of your life might sound drastic and might leave you wondering how you’ll find out about the world but lets face it, if it’s big news you’all hear about it anyway!!

13. Unfollow People on Facebook! 

Personally I would delete my Facebook account in an instant if I could! But with so many friends of mine living in different countries it’s not practical to delete it! However, I’ve started unfollowing people who make me feel annoyed, sad, or uncomfortable. For instance, a woman I know kept posting images of animal cruelty. I am all for promoting animal rights but when I’m constantly seeing things such as dogs with their ears cut off it makes me really upset and brings me down for days, so I’ve just started to unfollow these people. It’s meant that I’m essentially censoring my news feed and it’s making me a much happier person!

14. Dance it Out

Meredith and Christina were onto something with this one. When you’re starting to notice your mood deflating, throw on one of your favourite songs, shut the door and dance your ass off. Grab a hairbrush if you want to and sing your heart out! Moving your body releases happy hormones and you’ll soon be feeling better in no time! Have a Happy Playlist ready on Spotify for this one!

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With Love,
C x

Let me know what you think of My Guide To Feeling Good in the comments below! I love to get feedback!

Positivity

Thought for a Tuesday

A colleague of mine came to me this morning and told me that she had found something that she knew I’d love. As she had imagined, I really enjoyed it. So much so, that I would like to share it here with you!

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. 

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions – and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

“If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

“Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit your grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

“Take care of the golf balls first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked. The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend!”


I hope this might speak to some of you and remind us all to spend time on what matters!

With love,

Cx