Hey guys! In my last post, I wrote about High functioning anxiety, what it is and how it affects me, so today I wanted to write about how I deal with the effects this has on my life as there are so many AMAZING ways to deal with this, so it’s definitely not the end of the world!
Leading up to this trip, I have to admit my anxiety has been through the roof. Part of this is human nature and completely normal, but it is still a lot higher than I would prefer - especially when I should be overwhelmed with happiness and excitement.
If like me, you are not at the stage that you feel you need to use prescription meds then this little blog is perfect for you to gain some tips as I will go through what works best for me.
Disclaimer - I was on anti-stress meds for about a year and I felt they didn’t allow me to reach any potential during the day and instead of feeling calm, I felt spaced out and not fully with it 100%. Completely my own opinion and for others these may work perfectly for you.
So, how do I cope on a day to day basis?
One of the best most effective ways to calm my mind and reach clarity in times where I feel there is 100 things going on in my head is to meditate. I spend about 10-15 minutes a day meditating and it has changed my life. I use Headspace but I also use guided meditations from the app ‘meditation’ as well as FMTV (If you haven’t already checked it out please do as this website is an incredible wealth of knowledge)
My next lifesaving technique is - psychological acupressure or how it is most commonly known EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping for short).
If you are unfamiliar with this, tapping is a form of acupressure which uses fingertip taps instead of needles. The theory behind tapping is that all negative emotions are caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system and that tapping can restore balance to this system.
When I start to feel any waves of intense anxiety coming on this is when I will start EFT. A single session of tapping can turn off the stress response and significantly reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that wreaks havoc on your health and mental well-being. I feel like I could write books about this but for now I will briefly just touch on this, so you can go ahead and research yourself later.
My best practise that I use daily - Take 6 deep breaths, inhale through your nose and out through your mouth. As you are doing this use your 2 fingers on each hand to gently tap your shoulders. Continue this for as long as you need but I usually find after the 6 breaths I feel a lot calmer and can focus back into what I am doing with a clearer mind.
Rewinding slightly, I found that before I made any dramatic changes in my life I had to start from the inside out. This meant making sure that my lifestyle was in order—I limited my caffeine to next to none, started eating a healthy balanced diet, QUIT SMOKING and joined the gym. Exercise has now become a massive part of my life, and I train 6 days a week taking Sundays off. We cook every night and eat primarily a pescatarian diet. It has done wonders for my mental health in general and cutting nicotine and caffeine is a large contributing factor in reducing my HFA.
Other factors that I have found have helped massively are my sleep pattern. I try for 8 hours a night, that’s 10pm until 6am as you wake refreshed and ready to seize the day. Healthy sleep patterns have allowed me wake refreshed instead of waking up feeling in a panic that I haven’t slept enough or the worry of how lack of sleep will affect my productivity throughout the day. Pointless worry, right? Welcome to the life of HFA.
If like me you work from home, this can be lonely, and I have found can actually contribute to feeling progressively more anxious. I find you are engulfed in your own head all day with no-one there to have small talk with so sometimes the negative thoughts can be overwhelming. SOLUTION? – Podcasts. I listen to so many amazing podcasts throughout the day especially ‘my dad wrote a porno’…if you haven’t heard of it, listen immediately! It is HILARIOUS!!
Overall, there are a variety of ways to calm the mind and ease the anxiety each day, but these are the few that I have found have really helped. Obviously, this is not the cure but day by day even 15 minutes of self-care through mindfulness and meditation can move mountains.
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Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!