How To Overcome Anxiety in One Sitting (Without the Xanax)

June 24, 2015 | Written with Love By: Shaina Leis

I know a feeling is just a feeling and it’s not going to kill me (not right away anyway), but I hateeeeeee feeling anxious. It’s the same feeling I get after drinking a strong cup of coffee- jittery to the point that I feel like I’m on drugs, trouble concentrating and an intense stomach pain.

Maybe unlike millions of people, I’m just sensitive to a good ole cup of Joe, but like millions of people, I’m very susceptible to the uncomfortable feeling of anxiety.

We each have unique triggers to this nervous tension. For some people it’s dating or interviewing or public speaking or flying. Identifying your trigger makes it a lot easier to recognize anxiety when it rears its ugly head. (Just knowing it is in fact anxiety that you’re feeling can ease some of the side effects right off the bat).

So how do we move through this feeling?

Personally, I don’t like to take medication on a regular (or even occasional) basis if I don’t absolutely have to. (Strep throat- antibiotics please!)

In fact, I know enough to know that a majority of our physical ailments are caused by our own erratic thinking and stress- all of which can be prevented and treated without a prescription!

Just recently, I was overtaken by an overwhelming sense of anxiety- to the point that I thought I may have developed a sudden intolerance to gluten or that some other digestive issue was going on.

As it got increasingly worse, a bell went off inside of me:

(Ding. Ding. Ding.)

I was now a day away from my 2-week vacation. This was my trigger. Vacation is my trigger. It’s always been my trigger. But, this time I really did not like the way it was making me feel. I didn’t like the way I was making me feel. It had to stop! For the sake of my internal state and the sake of my upcoming travels.

The first thing I did was buy a bottle of Pepto Bismol, grab my heating pad and chug some water. I wanted to fix this and fast! But, I knew these methods were nothing but a quick fix.

It was time to deal with my anxiety (and this ongoing trigger) once and for all. I actually really enjoy planning trips and it would be really nice to actually enjoy the week leading up to it.

So I sat with my physical pain and worked through it.

Here are the 7 simple ways I worked through my nervous tension (and physical manifestations it brought on):

1. I sat with my feelings. I chose not to run away and just deal.

2. I meditated. Please don’t let this scare you away. I just so happen to have 15-minute meditations on my ITunes library and thought, “This is what I need to do first and foremost.” But, you don’t need to meditate per say…

You just need to sit silently, breathe deeply and focus on the here and now.

3. I repeated, “I am OK,” over and over again (until I actually believed it). The more I told myself , “Something feels weird. Something is off,” the more anxious I felt. I had to turn this around. Using a calming mantra works wonders.

4. I asked myself, “In this moment, is there anything to feel anxious about? This was another way to remind myself that I was just fine. I sat down, asked myself this question, then looked all around my bedroom with all five senses. This immediately calmed me down and I felt an instant wave of relaxation come over me.

5. I did something that felt familiar. Most of our nervous tension arises from anticipation of the unknown. Ground yourself in something that feels comfortable-anything. I watched a video of my favorite country singer on YouTube. Simple enough! I watch YouTube videos in bed all the time. (Nothing to feel anxious about here!)

6. I took out my journal and identified WHY I was feeling this way. At first, my response was “I don’t know.” Then, I asked myself, “If I had to guess, what would my answer be?” and then I just kept writing. See what comes up for you and pinpoint the thoughts behind your feelings. These thoughts are the cause to your anxiety!

7. I came up with better feeling thoughts. My current thinking was not making me feel good so I decided to choose a thought or two (on purpose) that made me feel better. This was me controlling my anxiety.

Other key points:

  • I woke up early the next morning and went on a 30-minute run. Exercise can be a key factor in managing nervous tension!
  • Stay away from caffeine as it can intensify your anxiety.

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