I've heard from several readers that they live in a permanent state of fear, stress, and anxiety. I understand how you feel. I've been there.
The following steps are the ones I took to change my life.
When I was in my late twenties my life was completely “out of control.” I didn't think I could get any lower than I was. There was no sun in my personal sky. There was no light at the end of my tunnel. I was stuck in personal pain. I was unhappy and miserable.
I did several things to change my life.
The first thing was to seek professional help. I wasn't well enough to solve my problems by myself. I couldn't read 10 top tips and take action. I wasn't capable. I saw my therapist weekly, for nine months. I did my "homework" faithfully. This was the single most important step that I took. A Life Changer for me!
I attended a support group. I attended twice a week until I felt better. Then I cut down to once a week. A year later I began facilitating the group. There are numerous support groups both on and offline. Choose one and begin.
I began to journal. I wrote "morning pages" suggested by Julia Cameron, of The Artists Way. Later, I filled my journals with art therapy and gratitude. Finally, I offered journaling classes to women.
I began a spiritual practice.
A spiritual practice made my life easier, calmer, and more loving. Examples include: meditation, yoga, mindfulness, reading spiritual books, chanting, martial arts. Experiment until you find what’s right for you. Then begin.
I took and still take medication.
I was 41 when I was diagnosed with ADHD. I was unable to focus, my behavior was impulsive. The medication that was prescribed for me completely changed my life.
Some experts are against medication. Sometimes the experts are wrong. It worked and it continues to work for me.
If you live in an anxious state 24/7, if you can't keep your mind from racing, if you can't stop negative thinking, if you never feel good, schedule an appointment with your physician today.
Discuss your symptoms. Again, sometimes it's impossible to change on your own. Get over yourself and take action. There is no time to feel sorry for yourself.
You are worth so much more than your pain. You are a beautiful and worthy human being.
Some people are against taking drugs, yet they drink alcohol, smoke pot, etc. It's called "self-medicating." It doesn't work!
I worked in prison for a year, counseling addicts. I often thought if they were on medication they would not have committed their crimes.
If my house was on fire my medication is the first think I would grab.
What do you have to lose? You deserve a good life, a chance to perform at a higher level, an opportunity to wake up and be excited about being alive.
Medication isn't a cure all. You still have to change your bad habits, continue to grow, and learn how to love yourself. But without medication it may be impossible.
The following 10 tips can help you calm down when nothing else works.
1. Stop over thinking. Over thinking is mostly negative. Watch your thoughts. Identify your irrational or negative thoughts. When you catch yourself over thinking, stop! Tell yourself this method isn't solving anything. Answer the question, "What would help me more is ________________.
2. Reboot. When you feel anxious your worried go for a quick walk, a fast run, or a wild bike ride. When you get involved in physical activity, it's like rebooting your inner computer. The endorphins that are released in your body, improve your mental and psychological health. They also help diminish stress and depression.
3. Deep breathing.
When you feel anxious, you can learn to relax by practicing deep breathing. Learn to take deep breathes from your abdomen instead of your chest. Breathe in slowly for four counts, hold your breath for four counts and release your breath for four counts. As you do, carbon dioxide is released and your heart rate slows down. Practice this regularly. Make it a habit.
4. Stop betting on the negative.
Catch yourself thinking about worse case scenarios. Change your thoughts by calculating the best positive outcomes. Make expecting the best a habit. Ask yourself, "What is the outcome I want to happen in this situation?” Put your faith in it.
5. Downtime with nature.
Spend at least five minutes a day outdoors regardless of the weather. Sit on a park bench, take the furthest parking space, or walk to the store or library. As little as five minutes spent outdoors, daily, can be a quick mood changer. Become aware. Pay attention to a single blade of grass, a cloud in the sky, or a flowering breaking through the concrete. if you haven't been outside today, go now! Breathe. Smile. Enjoy.
6. Reach out and connect.
Reach out to someone you can trust, someone who cares, someone who will listen to you. "In the flesh" connection is the best. Nothing can replace touch, eye contact, a kiss, a hug, or a pat on the back. We tend to over exaggerate or catastrophize what is happening in our lives. A friend or family member can help us change our perspective.
7. Caffeine in moderation.
Coffee and energy drinks have become popular over the past several years. Decrease stimulants that trigger the flight or fight condition in your body. Energy drinks, coffee, teas, and sodas can set off anxiety and panic. Cut way back or slowly eliminate them.
8. Physically relax.
A massage, a hot bath, a nap, soft music, or a book of poetry can help you relax your body. Figure out what works for you and make a list. Take action when you feel anxiety take over mind and body.
9. Question yourself.
Notice what negative thoughts or stories you are repeating and believing when you feel anxious or fearful. Ask yourself the following questions.
What is on my mind?
Am I making this issue, fear, or worry something bigger than it really is?
Can I prove myself wrong?
Will it matter a year, six months, 3 months or even one month from now?
How can I see this differently?
10. Inhale Peace. Exhale Love.
Most of the time our thoughts are about the “pain of the past” or “the fear of the future.” Be in the present. Learn to take life one present moment at a time. Learn to pause throughout your day. Slowly inhale through your nose and silently repeat the word "peace." Pause for a few seconds. Exhale through your mouth and silently repeat the world love. Do this for five minutes.
Again, seek professional help.
It takes deep self love and courage to seek out help when you can't cope alone. If you could do it alone, you would have done it by now.
Most people seek help when they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. My daughter's school counselor had a sign in her office that said, "Yougottawanna." How bad do you want a better life for yourself?
With the proper action your life can get better. You owe it to yourself. You are worthy. You are loved!
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