Alright, so by now you have probably figured out that I have a problem with anxiety. Always have, and probably always will to some extent. It is one of the worst feelings I can imagine, especially for a control freak like me. I hate the feeling of being out of control (a large part of the reason I don’t drink…much), and a panic attack is a truly helpless feeling.
So, thanks to therapy and my own experimentation, I will share with you some of my favorite ways to rid myself of anxiety (or at least keep it at bay long enough for the meds to kick in) – some good, and some less than good:
- Medication – Yep, I am all about whatever meds will make me feel better. I am on a slew of them, and wouldn’t have it any other way. There is NO reason to suffer through this shit. Seriously, there isn’t a badge of honor for struggling through. Now, of course, I am speaking of legally prescribed medications, and not the kind my uncle used to grow in his shed (though, I have, uh, heard, that works too).
- Smoking – Again, the legal over 18 kind. While not great for your health in any other way, it does help take the edge off the anxiety… for a while. Then it tends to make you more anxious. I usually stop then. Usually. (I have been on the wagon for several months)
- Distract yourself – I have several tried and true methods of distracting myself when I feel anxiety coming on. I’m a big fan of coloring books and a great big box of crayons. Yes, I am actually a 7 year old (at heart).
- Journaling – Or blogging. Thank you for reading my ramblings. I also journal about things I would never want to share with others. I learned that in therapy. Ooh… and therapy. That’s awesome. Seriously. I think everyone should be in therapy. Those of you who think there is nothing wrong with you – You probably need it the most 😉
and my most recent phase:
Now, hang on a minute. I know you are like… “What the hell? I have to get up and move around? But I feel like shit!” Don’t I know it, sister. It is hard as hell to do when you are having a full-blown panic attack because all you want to do is crawl into a corner and die, or run down the street naked and screaming. Neither of these are good, healthy options. My shrink recommended yoga and meditation to quiet my mind. I tried. Really, I did. But all my mind does is yell, “NAMASTE, BITCHES” and I don’t think that is healthy. Especially when I say it out loud. In a class with other people. Just sayin’.
But my awesome friend Winnie told me a few months ago about a new workout program she got that she thought I would like because she knows I love to dance. She lent it to me to try out… and it sat on my table for a few weeks. Then, I finally got the nerve to get off the couch and try it. OMG I was in love and wanted to do it! The program I used is Turbo Jam. It is one of the Beachbody programs, like P90X, Insanity, etc. I was hooked. I am a big Twitter fan, so I met a lot of Team Beachbody coaches through that site and one of them convinced me to sign up. This princess never would have thought of herself as a fitness coach!
But, I digress. The anatomy of ANXIETY + EXERCISE = Relief is simple. When you are having an anxiety attack, it isn’t in your mind, as a lot of douchebags would have you believe. Your body has physical reactions called “Fight or Flight”. I won’t bore you with the science lesson, but the fact is this – you have two choices. Run the hell away, or fight. Anxiety IS this reaction. Your body immediately starts shutting down main systems (like digestion) and prepares for battle (thus raising your pulse and blood pressure). It also means that you have a ton of adrenaline coursing through your body. When we curl up into the fetal position, that adrenaline has nowhere to go, so it just drives you batty. BUT if you can get moving… take a walk, run, or do a workout DVD, you can burn off some of that excess energy and your body can finally relax. For example – tonight I did my Turbo workout and burned of 700+ calories in 40 minutes (invest in a heart rate monitor that will track calories burned. SUPER AWESOME!).
Oh, I know it is hard. Believe me, I know. But the Turbo Jam workouts, specifically, for me, are high enough intensity to do that for me. They are also just plain fun! (If you want to know more, you can go to my beachbody site and sign up for a free club membership: www.beachbodycoach.com/lizblessitt I can also tell you more about P90 In-Home Boot Camp (awesome!) and Yoga Booty Ballet (super fun), since I work these programs as well.
Sorry… that wasn’t meant to be a commercial. LOL
The point is this, princesses: You have to take control of yourself in any situation and by whatever means works best for you. I know that in the past I have let my anxiety get in the way of doing a great many things, and probably did a lot to damage my past career advancement opportunities. But the awesome thing about behavior is this – You can literally change it at ANY time. It isn’t like thought or personality, which are slow to change. If you find a behavior that is rewarding – Go with it! Figure these things out and make them work to your advantage! Then you will always seem like the calm, cool, and collected Princess they think you are.