I have never thought of myself as an anxious person, but I must say, in more recent years, I have become prone to bouts of anxiety. What is it that makes us feel anxious? Why are we all suffering from such nervousness? What is that all about? I am hoping to explore some of these ideas in this blog post and come to some helpful conclusions, for you and me!
I think that grief has a lot to do with anxiety. When massive changes happen in your life, you feel like a rug has been pulled out from under your feet and your life has changed in irreversible ways. That can trigger anxiety.
If I think back to a number of years ago when things started going pear shape, the year 2012 comes to mind. It was a very challenging year and the year my Dad died. He was a pilar of strength and stability in my life. Losing him was really tough for me, and not living closer by to him in his final years was also tough. I felt wracked with grief, guilt, sorrow, depression, all the bad stuff! I was torn between many demands in my life at the time, a failing relationship, a demanding job, helping my Mum, and then a sick Dad in another state, 3 hours by plane away. It was tough! And I was spiralling. But I was paralysed by indecision at the same time. I know now what I should have done, but isn’t that the benefit of hindsight? I should have taken leave from my job, and moved to Adelaide temporarily, to help my Dad, hold his hand, and be there in his final days. The problem is the Doctors told us he would have at least 6 to 12 months to live, he died 3 weeks later. I had flown back to Perth at this point, thinking I would fly back again soon, and missed his passing. I was devastated. I was 4 hours late. I had decided finally to pull the pin on my job, fly over to be with him, and he died early that morning. By the time I got there it was too late. I realise now this was a major trigger for me. I loved my Dad so much, and more than anything I wanted to be with him, but he chose to live in another part of Australia, away from me, as he had re-married. It was a tough situation. He was a brilliant Father to me, but sadly our adult lives were spent mostly apart. I wish I could change this, but I can’t. All I can do is suggest to you out there my readers to spend as much time with your family as you can while they are alive. Because one day they will die and that will be it. I know that sounds dramatic but it is the truth.
I think uncertainty is a big cause of anxiety. Not knowing what is around the corner can make you feel really anxious. But really nothing is certain in life and this is something that we just have to accept. I guess there are some ways to make things more certain… like a more consistent job, having a solid relationship, creating stability. I don’t think I have enough stability in my life. But if I look at the facts I have created a lot of stability in my life although in states of impermanence. I value freedom and adventure, and I feel like being locked into things makes me feel even more anxious. I guess it is about finding the happy medium between certainty and not feeling trapped.
Here are some ideas and positive ways to confront and reduce anxiety:
- Exercise. Physical exertion is pretty much the answer to all problems. This morning I felt racey and anxious and dicky, so I jumped on my bike to ride to work. I immediately felt better. I know exercising is good for us, and doing more will help both mental and physical health. Find some sort of physical movement that you like doing and DO IT!
- Drink less coffee. For awhile I gave up coffee. And I felt better for it too. Coffee does for sure give you anxiety, so cutting back or cutting it out will surely help.
- Sleep more. Rest is another very beneficial activity. We need to give our brains and bodies a break from stress and pressure, find ways to rest, and relax. And make sure you get yourself to bed early as much as you can.
- Avoid social media. Reducing your screen time is definitely a helpful solution to many problems. Recently I cut off the internet at home, and cut off Netflix, this immediately reduced my screen time. I have not missed it at all. I also uninstalled Facebook off my phone, which also helped.
- Get into nature. Spending time outside, among the trees, feeling the ground between your toes, always makes me feel better. Getting grounded in nature is the best, and gives you an immediate lift.
- Pat an animal. Now I don’t have any but I know for sure that animals make you feel so much better. I am planning to get a cat at some point in the near future. And some chickens, and a dog, and some goats, I basically want a hobby farm full of animals; one can dream!
- Go for a sauna and a swim. Perhaps there is something about heat and sweating that make us feel better too.
- Don’t over think it. Overthinking is the bane of our lives. Often we come to conclusions that never actually happen.
- Journal write and make lists. Often what really helps me is to write down the ideas running around in my head. It helps to give me clarity, reduces the noise in my mind and generally makes things better.
I hope this has helped you confront anxiety. If it proves to be an ongoing experience you may need to see a Doctor for medical help. But in the meantime, natural methods are also good! Eliminating stress is the best thing to do in my opinion. Taking time out from our busy schedules and demanding lifestyles is one of the idea ways to deal with anxiety.
I am flying out to Europe very soon! I look forward to sharing with you insights from my trip. I am travelling light so won’t be blogging all that much as I go, this time I want to really immerse myself in the travelling experience and keep my eyes off screens!
Take care and all the best to you.