“Before my eyes see the light, my heart pounds.
Before my muscles awake, my blood races through them over and over again.
Chest tight, eyes pinched shut, shoulders up and close, just in case my neck can’t stand the weight of my heavy head.
My stomach turns, telling food to fuck off. It’s fight or flight, no rest, no digest.
Pounding… What’s wrong? Everything, and nothing. #anxietysucks”
This is a poetic Facebook post from a good friend of mine describing how her anxiety takes over at times.
And I totally got what she was saying because that same kind of anxiety grips many of the moms I work with in the Abundant Mama Project.
But why? Perhaps season changes? Perhaps hormones. Perhaps legitimate”life is just stressful” stress. Perhaps our reliance upon technology?
There are a lot of speculations as to WHY so many people and children are feeling more anxious — particularly this year — and turning to pain medications to numb out.
For me, though, there are no easy solutions. And there are no easy answers for the women I work with either.
Gripping anxiety and high stress “seasons” happen and I try to let them ebb and flow into my life and out of my life as quickly as possible — and as naturally as possible.
What are you doing about your stress and anxiety?
Like most of my friends and the women I work with in the Abundant Mama Project, I also am hit with high functioning anxiety at times and it can be such a challenge to deal with — as if our motherload isn’t enough as it is!
But, let’s be really honest for a minute.
- Medication is great, but it often needs to be increased more and more – particularly at certain times in your life or year — and it’s also difficult to stop.
- Anxiety is an extreme reaction to stress and overwhelm. We are stressed some days and weeks more than others and that is OK. Being strong and calm is OUR JOB and we have to learn to do it well. We have to learn that stress is just a part of the journey. Peace is an inside job and begins with US.
- And oils are fine, but they are just one of the many little tiny band-aids that the self-care industry is throwing at you to buy but not really address the root causes of your anxiety. For some of us they are ineffective. And they are pricey.
- Meditation does work wonders … but its affect isn’t long lasting until you truly master it and let’s face it — mastering meditation and mindfulness is HARD and the valley between anxiety and peace can feel deep and dark and difficult. This causes so many to just give up and numb out instead.
For me, the secret sauce remedy for coping through a bout of severe anxiety and stress begins with getting to the root cause of my fears and stress.
Rather than look at fast-acting bandaids, I move through with a set of self-coaching questions that really help me figure out the root cause of my feelings — and then create an actual healing plan around the answers.
Years ago, I would succumb to anxiety and let it destroy several days or weeks. This turned me into a distracted, stressed-out mom. It also made me quick to anger and hard to please.
Now, I sense it’s presence early and take immediate action so that it’s never around for more than a day. And this is what I encourage ALL of the women I work with to do as well. YOU know there are many things you can do to feel better — you just have to make time for them and put them as your priority.
If you want to keep seeing your anxiety return over and over — or even get worse — keep doing the exact same things over and over and over.
But if you want to take it away, you have to get to the root cause. You may have to quit that demanding job. You may have to ask for help. You may have to drop a few balls in your multitasking super woman zone.
The reality is that we just cannot keep operating like machines at a pace of 1000 percent and NOT make a change.
Because anxiety is like bacteria — it grows and expands in the ripest conditions — which happens to be when we are at our most stressed.
So stress begets stress, in other words.
Time for a change, yes?
5 Ways to Stop Anxiety in its Tracks
GET REAL WITH YOUR STORY
Our anxiety can be OUR story. It can be what drives us. Because who are YOU without those burdens, those stressors?
But, seriously, the truth is that you have an underlying fear behind your anxiety and your stress. Whatever that story is needs to be unearthed and uncovered and given some light. Because it DIES in the light.
Ask yourself this: How much of my life story is about anxiety? And am I ready to change that story?
Figuring out what your underlying root cause of anxiety and fear is can take some digging but once you know you can start to do the work needed to change the story you tell yourself.
DEVELOP YOUR POSITIVE SELF-TALK
It’s one thing to say a mantra. I have a lot of mantras I love to use.
But you have to believe it for it to actually work.
And sometimes you have to say enough until you believe it.
But the truth is that words are just words until we actually start to TREAT ourselves with self-love and compassion. Positive self-talk is a way to create a pathway to our own hearts and minds.
So, talk to yourself like you would to your own best friend or child!
And if you REALLY feel like you can’t do that, we can show you how.
TAKE CHARGE OF THE SITUATION
This is by far my favorite and the skill I am best at teaching to women.
Inaction leaves us in a place of uncertainty and stuck in the Land of Bitter and Sour.
Inaction creates chaos and mental instability.
This is where talking to someone — a coach, a trusted friend, a wise online community — can be helpful as well. Reaching out to just TALK about it can lighten our load.
When we finally take action and solve the root problem — even if it’s just baby steps — we start to see the light and shine from within again.
It’s OK to be a work-in-progress — so long as progress is being made.
STOP THE BAD HABITS
The more stressed we feel the more bad habits we numb ourselves with.
This is when you might tend to spend more time on your phone, searching on Facebook or Instagram, or seeking out the next greatest thing to do or make.
But often what happens — more often than not, in fact — is that something triggers you back into your small self — your not enough self.
Perhaps you were left out of a fun social event, or someone else has a beautiful home space and you have a big pile of clutter … or you see someone just SO dang happy and you are not.
This is a setback of the worst possible kind.
Putting all of our bad habits to rest when we are at our most stressed and anxious is CRUCIAL.
This is when you need to put every POSITIVE habit into play as well.
MOVE INTO THE HERE AND NOW
A couple months ago, I had the whole nine yards of anxiety that my friend described … the racing heart, the churning stomach, the loss of appetite.
I woke up with the feeling. It followed me all morning until finally, as I said, I just knew I had to put the entire secret sauce anxiety remedies into action.
So I stopped everything to just MOVE into the here and now and focus on total acceptance of my life as it is.
Being present is a huge part of our Abundant Mama journey … but it’s never easy and we always have to work hard at implementing it.
Sometimes we have to repeat these steps over and over. Sometimes we have to get even more creative. And more often than not we can begin to appreciate the slowing down and going inward that is required to be less stressed.
No matter what we do … doing nothing DOES NOT work.
So what are you going to do about your anxiety?