Anxiety – what is this? There are so many different levels of Anxiety and some can be so severe that they lead to a panic attack. If you haven’t experienced this, it can be so overwhelming and almost feel like a heart attack.
My write-up this month is to share one of my personal anxiety stories and to help you with tools that may alleviate this condition.
It was our Spanish Adventure August 2017. We used to go on lots of adventures with the family pre-illness and it almost became a ‘MUST’ for every school break, even the weekends in between. We were constantly preoccupied with planning the next trip. It was actually quite stressful and expensive!
August 5th 2017 – ‘I had another form of anxiety attack this morning. We were travelling by train between two cities in Spain, but I had more than four things to do (you might think that’s nothing, but to me it’s an overload.) This was affecting me. I could feel the build-up inside my head, the stress levels increasing. It was just too much:
- Check out of the hotel.
- Eat breakfast.
- Send the suitcases down with the concierge.
- Check that the children’s cases are packed.
- Find out the distance of the train station from hotel.
- Check out (yes, going through my mind again!)
What others fail to understand is that when I have a timed situation and lots to do, this can start to build up inside, becoming stressful and then the coping mechanism seems to fly away. It used to be me: the one who was calm collected and kept everything together. So then I looked to my husband and, even though he knows most of what I’m going through, he doesn’t seem to connect with the fact that sometimes it’s all too much for me and just needs to take control. Any help will help me.’
Thankfully, after telling my family, we had breakfast, children were ready and packed, and Deepak got us to the train station!
My journey of realisation after going through such a life-changing event has led my priorities be shifted. We don’t plan like we used to and we stay home on most breaks now- so when we do go away it is much more appreciated, a new exciting adventure. Now it truly does feel like I’m doing a lot of things for the first time, even though I have travelled over twenty years with my job all over the world, experienced so much culture and life. But now it’s so different. I am looking at the world through a new pair of eyes and it is amazing!
5 Tips to help you when anxiety is building up:
- The first step in overcoming anxiety is to recognize that your job when experiencing anxiety is to make yourself as comfortable as possible while the feeling passes. Anxiety will pass. While you are waiting for the anxiety to pass, remind yourself that this feeling will go away and concentrate on making yourself comfortable physically and emotionally.
To increase physical comfort, find a comfortable position, stretch your muscles, and loosen any tight clothing you are wearing. To increase emotional comfort, continue with the rest of these 5 anxiety treatment methods – starting with positive, calming self-talk.
- Use calming self-talk. Much of what we say to ourselves when experiencing anxiety in fact causes us to feel more anxious. Tell yourself calming phrases such as: “This feeling will pass”, “I will get through this”, “I am safe right now”, “I am feeling anxious now, but soon I will be calm”, “I can feel my heart rate gradually slowing down.”
- Acknowledge and accept the anxiety. Fighting the anxiety makes it stronger. Paradoxically, accepting that you are feeling anxious causes the anxiety to go away. I recommend the following strategy: For 10 minutes, try to make yourself as anxious as possible. Think anxious thoughts. Try to get your anxiety to increase to the highest imaginable level. When your anxiety reaches a 10 out of 10 – good! – now try to keep it there for at least 5 full minutes. You will probably find that you are not able to keep your anxiety at a high level. This is a type of exposure technique in which you face your fears and, paradoxically, they vanish.
- Distract yourself. Distraction is an effective way of putting your mind on something other than the anxiety symptoms you are experiencing and is a surprisingly effective anxiety treatment. It is difficult for the mind to truly focus on more than one thing at once. If you find something to focus on intently, your mind will not be able to maintain the anxiety for long.
- Relaxation techniques. Relaxation is the body’s natural anxiety cure because relaxation techniques actually reverse the stress response. Start using quick relaxation techniques to induce the relaxation response. This will counter the body’s stress response and reduce anxiety symptoms. Learn more about how to quickly achieve the relaxation response.
If you have enjoyed reading this article, then please visit www.kavitabasi.com for more information about me.
My book Room 23: Surviving a Brain Hemorrhage is out now on Amazon.
In March 2015 I was taken into A&E with a life threatening illness – Subarachnoid Brain Hemorrhage. I was treated by The Salford Royal Hospital with 4 brain operations leading to a Shunt inside. This condition is 50% survival and the remaining have serious disabilities like hearing, unable to walk, partially paralyzed, and brain damage.
I’m extremely lucky that I’ve overcome most of these and now trying to do my best to give something back to be able to help others. I have created video blogs, do regular motivational talks at schools and for charity including the Royal College of Surgeons London. I am also Ambassador for the Brain and Spine Foundation Charity that have been a great support network for people and families like mine. This unfortunate situation has also given me focus and direction in my work – I’m a VP in a multi-global fashion company, which has helped me to be able make a difference on how I now approach any situation.