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Dealing with Anxiety: Using the Strength of an Anxious Mind to Calm Anxiety

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Dealing with Anxiety: Using the Strength of an Anxious Mind to Calm Anxiety

An anxious mind is a strong, powerful mind, as anyone who has tried to rationalise themselves out of anxiety will tell you. An anxious mind can outrun, outpower and outwit rationality and logic any day of the week. What if you could harness the strength and power of that fiercely protective mind and use it to work for you instead of against you? 

Anxiety exists on a spectrum and we all experience it at some level. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. Anxiety is a very normal response from a strong, healthy brain that thinks there might be trouble about, and instantly responds by making us stronger, faster, more powerful, more alert versions of ourselves.

Like any good thing though, too much is too much. When the brain is oversensitive to threat, it puts us on high alert even when there is no need to be. This is when anxiety becomes intrusive and hard to live with. It turns from the gentle security guard who shows up when needed, to the crasher who steals the joy, tells stories about nameless dangerous things, and cozies up beside you so close it’s hard to breathe, think and be.

Why is anxiety so powerful?

Anxiety is there to keep us safe. It is a call to action to fight or flee so we can move through danger. It’s there to keep us out of the way of trouble so the signals it sends have to be strong. The problem is that those signals aren’t always accurate. Anxiety is instinctive and automatic. It’s been practising its moves for thousands of years. That’s the thing about evolution – sometimes it works for us, sometimes it makes us vulnerable to anxiety. 

Anxiety was never meant to get in our way, but rather, to get us out of the way of danger. The part of the brain that drives anxiety thinks it’s doing the right thing. The more we fight it, the harder it will work to convince us that there’s danger and that we need to act. 

So if fighting an anxious mind doesn’t work, what then?

We know that an anxious mind is a strong, powerful mind. What if we could harness the strength and power of that fiercely protective mind and use it to work for us instead of against us? As strong as a mind can be in its experience of anxiety, it can be equally strong in calming it. Anxiety might still show up, but rather than appearing as the wolf at the door and sending your fiercely protective brain into a panic, it can be greeted more in the way of, ‘Oh hey there – I know you. Take a seat over there.’

We know that over time, mindfulness works to build and strengthen a brain against anxiety, but there are aspects of mindfulness that can be used in the midst of anxiety to find calm. With practice, they can be called on at will to turn down the volume on anxious thoughts and feelings, and any other symptoms that anxiety tends to keep company with. 

But go gently …

Changing mindset involves small, repeated steps. Each step builds on the one before it, and this takes time. That’s okay though – there’s no hurry. Remember, your mind has been doing what it’s doing for a while and it will take a while to unlearn its habits.

Those habits have had a good reason for being there. Anxious thoughts and anxious feelings keep us alive. They put us on standby to deal with anything that gets in the way. It’s going to take some convincing to show them that actually, the only thing getting in the way, are them.

Don’t try to do all of these strategies at once. Trying to keep a hold of so many different things will make your mind do the equivalent of throwing its hands in the air and walking away. Instead, choose one at a time and do it for a short while at a time. Small steps, but important ones. If you try to do them all at once, there is the risk of it feeling too hard. When things feel difficult, it is normal to run back to what’s familiar. The way around this is to go gently. Here’s how …

Dealing with Anxiety – Using the power of an anxious mind. 

Anxiety is the power of the mind against the mind. That power is your greatest asset – and it’s an exceptional one. Now to claim it back so you can use it in a way that will build and strengthen you.

  1. Be present. Be where you are, not where your anxiety wants to take you.

    Anxiety works by using a solid collection of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘maybes’ to haul even the strongest, bravest mind from a present that feels manageable and calm, to a future that feels uncertain and threatening. Experiment with staying fully present in the moment. Anchor yourself by opening up your senses. What do you see, feel, hear, taste, know? Stay with what is actually happening, rather than what might happen. If this feels uncomfortable, put a time limit on it, let’s say, two minutes to start with. Spend this time fully experiencing the world as it is around you now.

    Every time you do this, you will be strengthening your ability to pull back from the anxious thoughts that steal you away from the safety and security of where you are. Try to get into a regular practice each day, for however long you can – two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes – it doesn’t matter. There’s no right amount, but the longer the better. The main thing is to keep doing it. The brain strengthens and rewires with experience, and this is an experience that is so strengthening and healthy, your brain will love for it. 

    Try: ‘Right now, I’m here and I’m safe. I see the sky. I feel the breeze against my skin. I hear my footsteps’

  2. Be patient. Don’t be in a hurry to change your thoughts and feelings.

    Thoughts and feelings will come, they will stay, and then they will go. No thought or feeling stays forever. Be patient and know that whatever you are feeling, or whatever you are thinking, it will pass.

    Experiment with being fully present, without needing to push away any thoughts or feelings. There is no anxious feeling and no anxious thought that is stronger than you. However big they feel, you will always be stronger and more resilient. Be patient. Be open. Be curious. See what wisdom lies at the end of your anxious thoughts and feelings if you stay with them, rather than fight them. Let them stay for long enough to realise that you have no need for them today. 

     Try: ‘An anxious thought. That’s okay – you’ll leave when you’re ready.’

  3. Be an observer. Watch your thoughts and feelings without engaging with them. 

    Anxiety has a way of drawing you in and making you engage with every anxious thought that comes in thinking distance of you. It’s exhausting! Experiment with standing back and watching your thoughts as an observer, knowing that when they are ready, they will pass. Sometimes we need to engage with thoughts and feelings, and sometimes we need to stand back and wait for them move on. Try imagining your thoughts and feelings as a bubble, and then watch them float by.

    Experiment with letting them be, without needing to change them, understand them, or talk yourself out of them. Imagine them hovering in the air around you, without becoming a part of you. Just let them be, without holding on too tightly. When they are ready to go, let them go. Think of it like this – rather than standing in the middle of a thunderstorm, trying to change the direction of the wind, imagine yourself watching that storm through a window, knowing that it will pass. 

    Try: ‘There’s a thought about what might happen if it rains on the holiday. Look at that. Didn’t know that was there.’

    ‘A feeling about going to the interview. Interesting.’

  4. Trust your anxiety. Know that it won’t hurt you. 

    There are a lot of reasons anxiety feels so awful. Two of the big ones are because it comes with a bunch of ‘unknowns’, and because the physical feelings don’t make sense. A curious, strong, thoughtful mind will try to put these feelings and thoughts in context, because the idea that they are free-floating and not attached to anything feels even worse. You might find yourself wondering if your physical symptoms are a sign of something more serious. You might wonder if that ‘bad feeling’ means something bad is actually going to happen. You might worry about the worry (this is common with anxiety) – what’s driving it, how to you stop it.  that your anxiety isn’t a sign of something bigger. This is hard to do but the more you practice it, the stronger you will be at calming your anxious thoughts and not believing the messages they contact. Anxiety is there as a warning, not a prediction. Feel the security and safety of what that means for you.

    Try: ‘My heart feels as though it is pounding through my chest. This is anxiety. It’s not a symptom of something bigger. I’m safe.’

  5. Trust yourself. You are strong. You are resourceful. You will cope. You always have.

    Trust that whatever happens, you can deal with it – because you can, you absolutely can. This might not feel real for you at first, and that’s okay. Go with it and see what the experience has to give you. This is a learning process and it will take time. Underlying all worry, anxiety and stress is fear that we won’t be able to cope. Fear of failure, for example isn’t fear of the failure but fear that you won’t cope with the failure. Ditto for rejection, making a wrong decision – anything. You will cope. You’ve proven it over and over. See what happens when you move towards trusting that. If it doesn’t feel real, pretend until it does. From the outside it will look the same anyway.

    Try: ‘Whatever happens, I will cope. I always have.’ 

  6. Meet your anxiety where it is, without needing you or it to be different. 

    It’s paradoxical, but sometimes, the more we try to change something the more energy we give it, and the more it stays the same. (Keep telling yourself not to think of pink gorillas. Try really hard not to think of them. Keep telling yourself to stop thinking of pink gorillas. See how that works?) Anxious thoughts take up a lot of precious head space. They draw on our feelings, focus, thoughts and imagination. The more we try to make sense of them and control them, the more they feed into anxiety. Instead, experiment with being with your anxiety as it is, without needing to change it. Acceptance doesn’t make a feeling stronger or more enduring. It stops giving it energy.

    What you focus on is what becomes powerful. The more you focus on something, the more it flourishes and expands.Try to be with your anxiety without pushing against it. Don’t force it to go or to be different than it is. This will let you understand your anxiety more, which will bring it out of the dark and into a space in which you can deal with it.

    This isn’t easy, but it’s powerful. Try it in little bits and work up from there. Start with letting your feelings be as they are for two minutes, or however long feels okay for you. Sit with them, without needing them to be different. Then if you want to, after that you can give them your attention and try to turn them into something else. When you can, let them be as they are again. See how this feels, then when you’re ready, work up to longer.

    Try: ‘I am having a worried thought. My hands are clammy. My mouth is dry. This is anxiety]. And that’s okay.’

  7. Clear your filter.

    Messages and experiences from the past have a way of changing the filter through which we look at the rest of the world. This is the way it works for all of us – anxiety or no anxiety.

    Try to approach experiences and moments as though you are experiencing them for the first time. Even if you have been in many similar situations before, none of them will be exactly like this one. Notice the differences between what is and what has been. With every experience, you are changed somehow – wiser, braver, stronger, more capable, sometimes more anxious, more worried, more fearful. Be open to the new possibilities that can come from this new experience, because that’s what it is – a new experience.

    For example, if you have had a painful breakup, there might be a tendency to hold back from loving wholeheartedly again. New people and new relationships might feel risky. This is completely understandable, and staying away is a move that will keep you safe, but it will close down the possibilities and promise that are waiting for you to find them. Growth happens when we open ourselves up to ‘what is’, rather than letting new experiences be coloured by ‘what has been’. 

    Try: ‘This is a brand new experience. I’m open to discovering what will unfold for me here.’

    ‘This reminds me of all the times I’ve had to meet new people. These people are different. I’m different. This experience is different.’

  8. Surrender. Let go of the need for certainty, even if it’s just for a moment.  

    The future is always uncertain, so anxiety has a pretty easy time of causing a stir. Not everything will go to plan and that’s okay, but the more we try to control things, the more we tend to realise how little control we have. This will feel uncomfortable at first, so start with surrendering to the uncertainty for a small amount of time. Experiment with letting go of needing to control the moment, the future, the past, or the people around you. The more you are able to lean in to your uncertainty and tolerate it, the less power it will have over you.

    Try: ‘I don’t know what will happen if I have to change plans. And that’s okay.’

And finally …

Think of these strategies like drops in a bucket. The first time you try them, you might not notice much. Same with the second time, and the third time. Eventually though, the more you experiment with them and the more you use them, the more capacity you will have to harness the strength of your wild and beautiful mind and make it work more in your favour. You will learn that you will always have what it takes and that anxiety is a feeling that comes and then it will go, just like a bad weather day. You’re a fighter – you’ve been fighting anxiety and winning for a while now. You’re strong, brave and resilient and you have everything you need inside you to deal with anything that might stand in your way. 

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83 Comments

Marianne

I am a 67 year old widowed (32 years) female with 3 grown children.We all live in the same house but lead separate lives.I do not hold them back from doing what they want.My anxiety surfaces when they want to go on vacation far from home.I do not fly. I do not want them to not enjoy their lives but ,at the same time,I want to shed my anxiety.
I know that I have a fear of being left alone in my old age .This only adds to my anxiety. I obviously haven’t transferred my fears to my children.I am tired of being so anxious.
I do go on road trips.My daughter will take me anywhere I want to go.

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Sophie

I read this and I have tried all of these techniques for about a year now trying not to give up but they are just not working and I’m not sure what to do now. I am 13 years old and I really am on my last limb now. I’m scared and my anxiety has taken over. Please help me.

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Karen Young

Sophie I love that you have reached out and that you are so aware of what you are feeling – that takes courage, and I can see you have plenty of it. Here is an article that might be more helpful for you http://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-in-teens/. I know anxiety can feel so powerful and awful, but it can be managed. Keep trying to find the things that work for you. Mindfulness, exercise, a healthy diet, and at least 8-10 hours of sleep are really important. The article will explain why. Is there someone you can talk to about it? A school counsellor will also be able to help you wish strategies, if you have access to one. Anxiety is so common, and I promise you that school counsellors would have seen plenty of people who are dealing with anxiety. Your brain is really strong, and you have a lot of power to change it in ways that can strengthen you against anxiety. If you can, speak with an adult you trust about what you are feeling, if you haven’t already. It can be really comforting and strengthening to let someone else in who can understand what you are going through. Anxiety is so common – you would probably be surprised how many people you know are also struggling with it. You have it in you to move through this – you really do. Keep going – there will be a way through this. In the meantime, know that you have the strength and courage in you to get there.

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Janet

I have anxiety with doctors and dentists eve simple appointments put me in a tailspin. I just had basel cells surgically removed from my nose. I totally lost control before, during and after the procedure. Now I am stress about getting the stitches out tomorrow and when will this start to look better. Even beyond that I need to make an appointment for a body scan which is anxious about. I have had this all my life but it’s getting worse a I get older. Currently I am almost 59. I will try these suggestions and hope they might help me. I probably need therapy and I have tried it in the past but it didn’t help. This is the worst fear ever!

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Karen Young

Janet I really hope these strategies are able to work for you to help you feel calmer and less anxious. Sometimes with therapy, it can take a little experimenting to find the right therapist for you. It might be worth trying again to find a therapist who can support you and help you to move through this. If this is something that has been there your entire life, it will take some time to ‘retrain’ your brain and body to work for you instead of against you. Be patient though – there will be a way through this.

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Janice

Please go see a professional. You are to young to have to live like this. Best wishes

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Geoff

I am a 65 year old man and I too have suffered most of my life with anxiety sometimes so bad to leave me extremely depressed for weeks on end.
I have tried everything to help myself…CBT, Counselling, Medication. etc.
Is it too late to change? My wife of over 42 years suffers ever time I suffer and I feel so guilty no matter how hard I try to hide it. I have recently read the articles on this site and sometimes something triggers off inside my head and I start to feel like I can make sense of it all but it last does not that long. I will keep trying I have no other choice. I really do feel for people suffering in this way because I know what they are going through.

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Karen Young

Geoff it’s definitely not too late! Two of the most powerful lifestyle ways to manage anxiety are meditation (mindfulness) http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and exercise http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. The exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous – just whatever is safe and manageable for you. There is a mountain of research that has shown enormous benefits of both for anxiety. Something else that’s important to consider is gut health. Gut health is strongly connected to mental health, and probiotics have also been shown to help with anxiety and depression. Here is an article that will explain that http://www.heysigmund.com/our-second-brain-and-stress-anxiety-depression-mood/. If you have tried everything, medication may be another option for you. A doctor will be able to help you with this, but if you do choose medication it’s important to also make sure that you’re also doing the lifestyle measures to strengthen and protect your brain against anxiety, for when it’s time to stop the medication. I completely understand how awful and intrusive anxiety can be, but it can be managed. Not everything will work for everyone, and sometimes it will take a bit of experimenting to find what works best for you, whether that’s lifestyle factors or medication. I hope you are able to find comfort from your anxiety soon, and wish you all the best.

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Rita

I am glad to be reading this. I am 30 years and have struggled with anxiety for the past 10 years. It got worse when my mom got ill and passed away 2 years ago. I have never lived a full life again and deal with anxious thoughts, sweats, burnout and rapid heartbeat often, despite medication and CBT.
One thing that has helped overtime is exercising, however due to my work schedule, it is difficult to keep a regular exercise routine as I am burnt out by the end of the day (even when it hasn’t been a very busy day).
It always helps to know other people’s experiences who are going through the same. Thanks for the tips Karen, I will surely try this out.

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Chelsey

Hello, I’m 29 years old and I am having an incredibly hard time with my anxiety. I am going to use this tips and see how they work. Do you have any advice on coping with change? I’ve been in a long distance relationship relationship for a year now and I decided to relocate across the country to be with him. All talks have been happy and good but now I’ve landed and job and the move date is set and I’m dealing with an insane amount of anxiety and stress. I know it’s what I want, I don’t want to live without him and me relocating is the option that makes sense. I’m extremely close to my family and have tons of friends that I am leaving behind so I have a hard time when thinking about that. I cry uncontrollably at the drop of the hat for no particular reason. It’s just overwhelming and I’m not exactly sure how to get it under control. I do take anxiety meds but they are not something I want to have to take everyday for an extended period of time. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you

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Karen Young

Chelsey change can be really daunting, but remember this will only last until the unfamiliar becomes familiar. Move forward when you can, then do what you can to self-nurture and restore yourself until you are ready to push forward again. Bite it off in little chunks, and remind yourself that it won’t always feel threatening and difficult. Anxiety isn’t a stop sign – it’s a sign that you’re about to do something really brave.

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Anna

I have been struggling with anxiety in the last 3 years. This started when suddenly i felt dizzy. I got terribly scared thinking that i might be having high bp and it might lead to stroke just like my dad. He died at age 55 because of stroke. He was in a public place when he had an attack. i had all labs taken, everything was normal except for a little low blood count. I was then taking iron supplements but even after it got normal. Even then i still felt terribly anxious everytime i feel dizzy or having a headache. The doc checked all the possibilities of whats causing it, all the tests were normal. Until we arrived at the conclusion that I have anxiety. Tried seeing a psychiatrist and the anxiety has gotten worst after taking the medication she prescribed, not because the medication was ineffective, i wasnt really sure because i stopped after learning that it’s an anti-anxiety/depressant and anti-psychotic– the word psychotic made me terribly tense. I was worried that i might have gone crazy.. i talked to some friends who also struggled with anxiety, none of them were prescribed with medication, just tips on how to cope with it.. anyway, iv made my own research, applied the techniques learned including the ones mentioned in this article, lived a healthy diet.. and it worked.. on many occasions, i was able to manage my anxiety until lately, after i gave birth. Things went terribly wrong.. the anxiety is all over me again and i cant seem to manage it this time even after trying to apply all the techniques i learned before..what made it worse is that this time my bp has gone up. I had my pre-eclamsia tests twice.. both were negative. The doc diagnosed me with having gestational hypertension.. with my anxiety, i felt like my computer crashed.. erasing all of my important files and now i have to reformat it again.. the problem is, this time i dont know where to start and what to do as none of the tips seem to work for me anymore. hope you can help me..

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Karen Young

Anna I completely understand how frightening anxiety can be. It’s likely that there are a number of things contributing, including a lack of deep sleep which tends to be the way when there is a new baby on board. It’s also likely that your body is adjusting to hormonal changes, as well as the added anxiety of having a small human to take care of now, as well as getting used to a new normal. But you can do this. You’ve done it before and you can do it again. Sleep when you can – it’s one of the most restorative things you can do. During sleep, your brain sorts through its emotional ‘stuff’ from during the day. It’s why anxiety, depression, and mood generally can all worsen when we’re tired. Try to keep exercising. Exercise balances out vital neurochemicals in the brain that tend to be low during anxiety. Here is an article that will explain that http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. One way to do this with your little one is to walk for about 30 minutes each day. Being outside will be good for both of you, and the exercise will really help to ease your anxiety. The other thing that can really help with anxiety is meditation or mindfulness. I know how difficult it can be to find time to do this when there is a new baby to take care of, but it really can help to strengthen you against anxiety. Here are a couple of articles that will explain how that works http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and http://www.heysigmund.com/yoga-meditation-can-reverse-dna-activity-causes-stress-illness-anxiety-depression/. Finally, gut health is critical. Gut healht and mental health are so connected. Here is an article that explains how that works http://www.heysigmund.com/our-second-brain-and-stress-anxiety-depression-mood/. Including fermented foods, as many different plant foods as you can, or a probiotic supplement can help. A great book to read that outlines the food to eat and the research about gut health and why it’s so important to mood as well as our overall well-being is ‘The Clever Guts Diet’ by Dr Michael Mosley.
Above everything, it’s important to be patient and be kind to yourself. You and your body are going through a massive adjustment. You have strengthened yourself against your anxiety before and you will do it again. You have everything you need inside you to do that.

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Anne

I have not been diagnosed with anxiety, and I know if I do have it it’s not severe, but lately I have been getting anxious about tiny things- loud noises, people talking all at once, talk about the future, and sometimes I’ll just sit there and start to feel nervous, angry, sad, or sometimes like I just need to yell. I’m a junior in high school and I think it may just be stress related from all my school work, but it’s not like anxiety I’ve felt about school before. I also wanted to know if you can get physical symptoms, like throwing up, from anxiety? That happened to me today pretty much out of the blue and I think it was stress related. Any advice?

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Karen Young

Anxiety is all about physiology and it absolutely comes with physical symptoms. This article will explain how that works, as well as some ways to manage it http://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-in-teens/. Everything you are describing makes so much sense in the context of anxiety. I know how awful anxiety can feel, but I really want you to know that anxiety is also very manageable. I hope the article will be helpful for you.

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Walt

Hi Karen

I’m 55 years old and my wife had open heart surgery a month ago. Though she is recovering quite well, I’ve been been having bouts of anxiety about my own health. I have gone to my doctor with pain on the far left side of my chest and they’ve done two ekgs and I even went to the ER just to make sure nothing is wrong and it was determined to be a muscle pull along the chest wall which makes sense since my job is physical to some degree . People are saying that I’ve gone through a lot of stress in the last month and that this is normal. I have an appointment with a cardiologist and also with a psychiatrist. My dad and his brother both had heart attacks and have had bypass surgery, though my dad passed away awhile after having a second heart attack 8 years ago. Ever since my dad’s passing I have had issues with thoughts of my own mortality and occasionally had some mild anxiety about it but it usually only lasted a day. These recent attacks have been very intense and there have been sleepless nights as a result.

I found your article to be very helpful and felt a little better after just reading it and will try and put it to use. If you have any other suggestions, I’d like to hear them.

Thank you

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Karen Young

Walt I’m pleased you’re getting the pain in your chest checked out. If there turns out to be no physical cause for your continual heart pain, it may be anxiety. During anxiety, the heart beats faster to get the fight or flight neurochemicals around the body. The tests you are having, as well as your psychiatrist will be able to help you to understand whether your experience is because of anxiety or because of something else. Here is an article that will explain the physical effects of anxiety in a little more details. I hope it helps and I hope you are able to get some clarity and comfort soon.

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Deb

I am constantly anxious at night. When I wake up to quick or sometimes anything electronic around me. I tend have triggers from past panic episodes. I used to take medication but have not had any for a while. I’m miserable.

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Karen Young

Deb I can imagine this would be awful for you. Memories of past expisodes can certainly be powerful in triggering new episodes – memories trigger thoughts, feelings and sensations and re-experiencing. Try mindfulness and exercise – there is so much research that has documented their positive effects on anxiety. Mindfulness will help your brain to stay in the present when you need it, and strengthen it against it accessing thoughts, feelings and memories from previous panic attacks.

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J

Recently I’ve been experiencing momentary bouts of dizziness. Frequently I wake up at 4am in a cold sweat with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. Today out of the blue, I feel dizzy when I move my head; its like I’m on a boat when I walk. I don’t like it because it’s hampering me when I’ve got loads to do. To be fair my life is pretty hectic, but this is how I like it. Life’s too short. Over the past 18 months I’ve established my own business, doing work that I love, learning so much, and meeting so many new people. I’m a Mum of three amazing children who fill me with joy and fear for them in equal measure. I would say for the past twenty years I have felt sometimes an overwhelming personal responsibility to make sure that everyone is looked after, the bills are paid, and we as a family have good times, share new experiences, and progress. I would say that I’m constantly worried about lots of things, but I’m a hardy Scots lass known for my optimistic outlook. I have a huge capacity for work. I love what I do and providing for my family drives this. Finding myself with this dizziness, and feeling as weak as a kitten today, is a wake up that perhaps I need to do things differently, but how, after so long? Reading your article felt like you understand all of the above, like you placed a warm and comforting arm around me and pointed me gently towards a way forward, and the understanding that everything’s going to be okay. Thank you.

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Karen Young

I’m so pleased you felt the comfort in the article. You are working so hard to make an amazing difference to your family and the world around you – and now you need to find time to rest. I know how difficult that can be – oh gosh do I know! You will absolutely be okay. You have been okay for this long – better than okay – you’ve been resilient, resourceful and incredible. Now is your time to find time to restore your body, mind and spirit.

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gil

Hi , my name is Gil . I am going through a divorce. And have suffered with anxiety for quite a while. Last
Has been the worst ? I am on Burpar and Benzos as needed. Will these practices help me get off off the meds ? I pray that in time this will help. Thanks

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Karen Young

Even if you are on medication it is important to do the things that will strengthen your brain. Exercise, mindfulness, meditation, gut health have all been shown by so much research to change the structure and function of the brain in ways that can strengthen it against anxiety. There is no reason not to try them, but it is important that you don’t wean off any meda without the guidance of a doctor. In terms of these practices, being consistent and practicing regularly is the key. Be patient, if you have been struggling with anxiety for a while, and have been on meds for a while it might take time but bit by bit it will make a difference.

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Brad

This article was really helpful. I have been doing most of these things anyway and it works for me. I am 27 years old and had anxiety for about 10 months. I know it will go one day and for anyone reading this I would say just carry on as normal the best you can, you will surprise yourself with what you can overcome. I’ve had job interviews, started a new job and even spoke at a funeral. The anxiety is always there but just remind yourself that’s all it is and be strong and just let it be.

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Jaime

Hi my name is Jaime and I’ve be having anxiety for sometime now in have 3 child and I’m married I stay at home alot because of my anxiety it get it two times a day and most of the time I am thinking when I get my anxiety I get tired dizzy and I just meant everyone to leave me alone till it passes I feel depressed alot of the time and guilty too I have no idea what to do

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A

I’ve dealt with anxiety for years. Any time some big change happens, it hits me. Right now, no matter what I do, my attacks are relentless. I’m currently on meds which I’ve been on for years. I have just decided today to seek help of a therapist. Trying to tackle this on my own isn’t working. I need guidance. My first appointment is in 4 days. I know there isn’t as easy fix but I truly wish there was. I’m a 40 year old female and can’t live like this anymore. I need to learn how to control it so it’s not controlling me. Reading about others that deal with the same is very helpful to me. It makes me feel like I’m not alone

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Karen Young

You are certainly not alone! I’m so pleased you have decided to reach out for guidance from a therapist. Anxiety is certainly manageable, but sometimes it needs a team. I hope your appointment gives you the strength, hope and support you are looking for.

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Lnjwag

Thank you so much for this! It really has helped explain to me what has been happening to me recently. I have been worried about recent issues with my 15 year old teenager and I believe I have anxiety from worrying about his future choices as he goes through the mess that is this period of time and dealing with high school. I am focusing on the present and doing my best with whatever is thrown at me! If i get that numbing chest feeling that then tells my brain its time to worry (or vise versa) I then go to your article. I begin to switch to the present and slowly become calm again. It is my therapy, thank you so very much!!

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Harry d

Thankyou so much for this article, i have only been struggling with mild anxiety and yet recently i have been feeling like it has been taking over my ability to think straight whereas i would usually be fine. Overthinking and worrying seem to just take over, but reading this article and practising the steps have really helped me realise that ‘anxiety’ is all in my head and i dont have to surrender to it if i choose not to identify with the negative thoughts that pop up. Be positive and live happy thats all it takes, thankyou very much hopeully only good and better things to come

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Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.













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