I was about 33 years old when I started to experience panic attacks and realised that my anxiety had finally out-run me. I was going to need to make some changes, and find tools that could help me live with and manage my anxiety.
Not everyone who has anxiety experiences panic attacks, but the fears felt at the height of an attack feel so real and are so engulfing that it would probably be considered the worst thing about anxiety for those that have had them. You feel like your body almost gets a life of its own and the light-headedness, dizziness, heart palpitations and sweating that can come over you in an instant makes you feel very lost and out of control. In a panic attack you feel as though you are losing consciousness — a very scary thing to feel. Once you understand what a panic attack is though, then understanding the nature of consciousness can be one of the key ways to change the way anxiety affects your life.
In my personal experience, even more frightening than a panic attack itself, was not understanding what was happening to me or understanding what anxiety is. When I started do some research on the subject I was so relieved, and discovered many other people had experienced exactly what I was going through. There is so much knowledge we have accumulated now about anxiety and its management; and many books have been written and tools developed to help you. There is so much for your conscious mind to learn and take in about fear and anxiety that it can put you in a strong position to manage it.
I found the simplest of things have helped. What works most for me are things that give me overall space and peace in myself, so that when faced with a potentially anxiety-triggering situation, I have the space to not react immediately with anxiety.
7 Simple Tips for Managing Anxiety
Each person with anxiety has a deeply personal and unique journey, but this is a list of the most helpful tips and tools I’ve found that helped me to recover from debilitating levels of anxiety:
Accepting the situation is key. Your journey is stalled until you have accepted you have a problem and it needs to be dealt with. Acceptance can be enormously liberating in itself, and is also giving yourself the best chance of healing.
It’s so simple but honestly you cannot underestimate its benefits. Sleep can make you feel much calmer and in control generally.
- Exercise Daily
Yoga has been a most precious discovery. It really is as good as everyone says. Mentally and physically yoga has been a most powerful anti-anxiety tool for calming my consciousness but any exercise would be beneficial.
Like yoga, meditation has been a new discovery for me; and it really is brilliant in detaching from an anxious train of thought. The key is to stop and just remember where you are, and understand that right now there is nothing to fear. The teacher at class I attended said “Your consciousness is like a river and meditation is about getting on the bank.”
- Understand that Anxiety is Transient
Saying “you won’t be here forever” has helped me a lot. A bout of anxiety does not last long. If you can stop your conscious mind and recognise anxiety when it happens, and know that it will pass; you’ll find this enormously assuring and comforting.
Take away the fear of the unknown by learning what you are working with. Learn about how consciousness works and get some insight into the the way that you personally work. Also, talking it through with someone is so important (either a counsellor or someone who understands what you are going through) — it’s very helpful to know you are not alone.
- Give Yourself Space to Recover
This journey will happen in its own natural time. Getting frustrated and pushing yourself is not a good idea and may bring on old feelings of anxiety. Instead, treat yourself as someone you love and care about and develop a routine that encompasses this. Compassion for yourself is the hardest but the most deserved of all.
It’s an ongoing journey but learning about yourself and learning to listen to your body when it’s telling you that something needs to change can be the most rewarding gift of all.