We all have moments of anxiety, but in some cases it becomes chronic. I had my ups and downs, and these were some of the things I have learned in my personal improvement path.

I am not going to lie to you: I am fascinated by our time. Technology, development, everything gets my attention. I many times feel hopelessly trying to catch up, but still, I love it all.

But like a lot of things in life, it is not all pink clouds. We have more means that push us to do more.

I remember at the age of 10 starting with penpals. I wanted to develop my (basic) English skills by getting in contact with other kids my age who lived abroad. The hours spent with paper, pen, stickers and envelopes were endless. By holiday time, there were also cards and it was an amazing world none of my classmates enjoyed.

Nowadays, I find it hard to pick a pen. I recently got myself a (very cute) planner to get back on track. What if I don’t have access to the Internet? I don’t even want to think about it. That is why I keep a hard copy of my calendar and to-dos in addition to online tools.

Even though we have more possibilities (cloud apps and paper), our heart is not more at easy because of that. We feel the pressure of having to deliver more, all the time, under any circumstance. This frequently puts us under a constant “fight or flight” state. One of the results of it is anxiety.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a reaction to stress that has both psychological and physical features. It is not only the fear itself, but the damage it causes to our overall Wellness. You can feel anxious due to isolated events, or it can become chronic, the most dangerous.

Things that make me anxious

I am a perfectionist and a multi-tasker by nature. Everything has to be precise and well-planned. I am not even going to start about how tiring and stressing it is. Add the concerns of society: finance, violence, insecurity and all the rest. I am pretty much a time-bomb waiting for the slightest trigger to explode. Saying I have anxiety disorder would be a stretch, though. But like any other human being, I have my moments.

How I deal with anxiety

There is no perfect solution to free you from all anxiety triggers in the world, but I use the following tricks to keep me sane:

  • Meditation
  • Reiki
  • Yoga
  • Exercising
  • Healthy diet
  • Living

Meditation

For a short time, I did Zazen, Zen meditation, on Sundays. Even though I had done meditation before, it was the first time I was consistent about it.

There are different ways to do Zazen. I, unfortunately, forgot part of its details like hand positioning when walking around the dojo, etc. But the peace of those hours sitting and staring at the wall (as weird as it may sound) did me really good.

There are many ways one can meditate. You can go for 1-hour sessions, or you can keep it short. The most important of all is that you relax your body and clear your mind of thoughts.

Meditation can be done seated or lying down.

Sitting

If you choose to sit, first of all, you have to make yourself comfortable. Whether you use a chair or a small pillow on the floor, you have to be able to sustain the position for the time planned. Watch your back: it should be straight, but not tense.

Lying down

The risk here is falling asleep. It is not something wrong per se, but it is not meditation either. You need to be awake to get the real benefits of meditation.

Reiki

I cannot stress enough how important Reiki is to me.

It all started back in Brazil, without much ambition. I went to a session, two, a couple more. After moving to Belgium, I lost track since I knew no practitioners, and I couldn’t do it myself then.

Once I went through my Level 1 training last year, it has become an important part of my routine such as eating and exercising. Even if it is only for 15 minutes or half an hour, I don’t miss it.

I practice Reiki on myself and others, mainly through Distance Reiki.

Yoga

After surgery, and even after the first months of recovery, I could not train as I was accustomed to.

First of all, my body didn’t let me. I simply couldn’t. Afterward, because of the months of inactivity, my muscles couldn’t handle exercising. My brain and my legs were talking to each other. I had real hard time doing the simplest movements and let’s not even start about balance.

Yoga has been helping me with breathing. I have been struggling with breathing since the beginning of this year. It was probably because of the brain tumor.

It has been great to regain flexibility and balance as well. I have been practicing it at least twice a week.

Exercising

I tried running back in June, but things didn’t go as expected. After taking a breaking in July, August is being the month when I have been able to work out again.

When I decided to go serious about exercising in 2012, all I wanted was a commitment that forced me leave the office at a reasonable hour. An amazing side-effect was the improvement in my sleep quality. Little I knew back then it was not a coincidence.

The benefits of exercising are countless, and they include anxiety relief.

“You are what you eat.”⎜Image source: WeHeartIt

Healthy diet

How many times have you heard that? I am not going to say that by eating cleaning you will be anxiety-free. However, certain eating habits can improve your life quality significantly.

Let’s start with breakfast for example. We are induced to a carb-loaded first meal of the day. When, in fact, adding some protein would be much more beneficial.

The main difference is that protein holds the levels of sugar in your blood stream stable. You don’t experience peaks and your energy levels throughout the day stay regulated. You may even need less caffeine as well which is a win-win situation against anxiety.

 

A photo posted by Debbie Rodrigues (@debbieinshape) on

Another easy tip is drinking lots of water. We tend to drink it only when we are thirsty. The truth is that if you need it, it is already too late. Not only should drink more water, but you must get enough of it on a daily basis.

Also add probiotics to your diet to support gut health and ease anxiety.

Living

Maybe those dealing with worst cases of anxiety might find this one hard. But whether, through medical help or friendly support, one has to keep on moving.

It is hard when this feeling takes over. You are afraid of staying where you are as well as of moving on. Whether you stay or go, frightens you and life becomes more of a cursing. That is anxiety.

You may feel it before a presentation at school or simply with the idea of getting out of bed in the morning. The news doesn’t bring much comfort either.

A lot of people, famous people, live with anxiety. You need to find your way to deal with it.

For me, it works one day at a time:

  • I lifted up the pressure of needing to perform
  • started working on patience
  • accepted I cannot control everything

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Putting it all together

Exactly one week ago I wrote about the new direction I want to give to this blog towards Personal Improvement. Probably because of my experience, I am concerned about the way we are so disconnected with our Essence.

We are always busy and stressed, drowning in appointments. Life passes by, and we don’t even notice it.

Before being great employees, exemplary parents and active adults, we are humans. We need to allow ourselves to breath, to try, to get it right and to make mistakes.

We should listen to other. But we should also give ourselves the chance to talk, to speak up our minds and share our feelings.

Anxiety comes from pressure, internal and external. It is not easy, and I know it because I have to watch myself too, but we have to let it go. Just breath…

If you know someone who suffers from anxiety, check these tips on the best ways to support them.

What do you do when you feel anxiety is taking over?

For more tips of Personal Improvement read also:

Please check the list of link parties I join here.

How to deal with the silent threat of anxiety

Have a fabulous day!

#DebbieinShape

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Debbie Rodrigues
Debbie Rodrigues is a Productivity Expert. She helps busy career women create a productive routine that fits their lifestyle. She does this through coaching, online courses and through the blog debbieinshape.com.