If you’re reading this blog right now, I literally feel you and I’m sorry you’re feeling that way.
My good old friend anxiety. She can sometimes be a royal bitch.
And it royally sucks!
But there are ways you can manage and even, overcome anxiety.
Here are some telltale signs of anxiety
These are my personal favourites;
- Ja clenching – generally unconsciously and so much so that the muscles in my bottom jaw hurt. It’s a miracle I have teeth left.
- Aaah that magnificent punched in the stomach feeling. It’s not so much a churning in the bottom of my stomach. It’s more my solar plexus.
- Overeating. Serve me another slice of pizza or two, please. And when you’re done, could you bring on over the dessert menu?
- Undereating. I’m not one to stop eating often (I generally have to be seriously ill in order to do so) but when extremely nervous, or anxious, on occasion, I’ve stopped eating.
- Breathing, or rather lack thereof.
- Temperature changes. I can tell I’m super anxious when I suddenly get hot. And no I’m not yet due for menopause.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of sleep. Thank goodness it doesn’t happen too often but when it does, my mind feels like it’s chosen the ripe old time of 3am to think about all the world’s problems, the majority of which I can’t do a thing about.
And then there’s the absolute clincher, irritation.
Okay, so how do you manage anxiety?
That in itself is an interesting question.
I think it’s good to accept first of all that some day’s its harder than others.
Well, I tell you what, we’ll break this up. First, we’ll talk about how to manage anxiety and then we’ll talk about ridding yourself of it.
There ARE ways to manage anxiety. And if it’s a short-term thing then quick fixes are a great solution. But if anxiety persists day after day then something significant has to change.
Some quick fixes to anxiety?
- Take a breath! Right this second, literally close your eyes. Stretch your hands up in the sky and take a breath.
- Exercise. This is a short and long-term fix not just to anxiety but to EVERYthing in your life. Just do it and drop me a mail after 21 days to tell me the differences you’ve noticed.
- Limit stimulants like alcohol or caffeine. Okay, I suck at this because even on the days I feel anxious I drink 2 cups of coffee. Try not to use alcohol to calm your anxiety.
- Get out into Mother Nature – she works miracles!
- Shift your mindset. Sometimes all it takes is 5 minutes of being in a different situation to calm the f down. Been inside all day? Get out. Go for a walk. A drive. Or in my case, a bicycle or motorbike ride.
- Keep up that sex routine with your partner. Endorphins, endorphins and more endorphins! Obviously, I’m taking it for granted that I don’t have to preach here about safe sex.
So these quick fixes will work in the case when you’re anxious or stressed in the short term. E.g. If you have an exam or need to deliver on a project at work or even have just been feeling anxious just recently.
But for a long-term fix?
Well, now it becomes more interesting because it’s about changing the brain’s chemistry and patterns.
And yes. You can. It’s called neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the brain to form new neural pathways and reorganize itself in response to experiences, learning, and changes in your environment. Neuroplasticity allows us to learn new skills and make behavioural changes.
This may take more than a few moments or even a few days. It may take weeks or months but it’ll be worth it!
It’s all about training yourself into a different way of being. How?
- Taking cold showers
- Learning a new skill
- Creative activities like art or writing or even dance
And yes, exercise! You can check out my blog post on this but moving your body will move your life!
All of these will not just shape the way you feel but shape the way you think thereby getting you out of the anxiety loop.
What to do when you can’t manage anxiety?
What happens when you can’t get rid of anxiety? When you’ve tried everything?
Then it’s time to get up close and personal with it.
And now for the unthinkable. What if you just allow yourself to be anxious? Take an enquiry into your anxiety. Sit. Breathe. Feel it. But really feel it.
Where does it sit within your body?
What is the sensation? Can you name it?
Is it more like panic? Or more a sense of nervousness? And if it is nervousness perhaps it isn’t bad?
It’s time to get up and close and personal and see what happens.
Have you felt this way before?
Can you identify why you feel this way?
It might also be time to get some help. We all need help sometimes. Look up a therapist – yes I always recommend my sister because she’s quite simply the best.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t and don’t have to suffer from anxiety on a long-term basis. Although I did not believe it myself, you deserve a life of freedom of being.
Identifying the core issue
I’ve spent my whole life not feeling enough. It’s a dam shame.
It’s been my cross to bear and has meant that I’ve often sacrificed my own needs in intimate relationships. Or I’ve interpreted it as not having enough in my life with a certain existential anxiety,
Therapy and the enneagram have helped me to find a level of understanding around this and where the core of my anxiety comes from. This has been fundamental in learning not just to manage my anxiety but really to shift the way I live my life.
I would highly recommend the following resources if you’re serious about getting to the core of your anxiety;
- Therapy – my sister Lauren Steingold is brilliant
- Therapy – my old therapist Rachel Tillier is equally brilliant
- Enneagram coach – Angela Deutschmann is the most profound coach I’ve had the privilege of working with
- Enneagram test –
- Book – Encantado de conocerme de Borja Vilaseca
- Enneagram test –
But Lisa, aren’t you a coach?
Yes I am a coach but I’m the Begin Again coach but A) I don’t specialize in anxiety and B) I work with clients only in workshops and through my books and courses.
If you’ve been feeling anxious for some time and feel like you’ve shifted into depression, check out my book “Out of the Shadows“.
Anxiety is your friend
Anxiety is your friend? WTF Lisa? Have you gone mad?
Yes! Anxiety is your friend. It’s yourself trying to get your attention. Um hello human? There’s something here you need to pay attention to. If you could just listen to me for a moment.
If anxiety were a human, what would it tell you?
- That you always feel this way just before you see your sister at Christmas and maybe you need to have a conversation?
- That you’ve been feeling this way for 8 months now and it’s time to change your habits and work routine?
- That you’ve been avoiding facing your finances and it’s time to pay attention?
- Or that maybe you need to go for that annual heath check?
Perhaps it’s time to pay attention to what your friend anxiety wants to share with you.What Triggers Anxiety? Causes That May Surprise You
It’s natural to feel anxiety if you have to show up for an exam or need to deliver on a deadline, or even speak in public but there are a few other causes that may surprise you.
What triggers anxiety?
- A messy home
- Family occasions
- Stress and over-commitment
- Skipping meals
Do any of these resonate?
Then there’ll be your specific flavor of anxiety that ties into your life, like a partner or boss who shouts at you. Or the possibility of a crime if you’ve been affected by such an event before. What not to do when you have anxiety?
I’m going to share some helpful tips here with the full disclosure that I have ignored doing these on occasion, when I feel anxious.
So feel free to use them or lose them.
When you feel anxious DO NOT;
- Ignore it until it hopefully goes away
- Use alcohol or drugs to calm your nerves
- Shut out friends and family
Give yourself a break
Give yourself a break.
If you’re reading this you’ve probably lived through 9-11, Coronavirus, the Ukrainian war, and whatever personal trauma you’ve experienced. Never mind just your usual day-to-day stress.
It’d be pretty strange if you hadn’t felt some anxiety over the past few years.
Be kind to yourself. More than that, think about what that means for you in your specific set of life circumstances.
It’s really about the way you deal with yourself when you’re suffering from anxiety.
In the past, I used to get super angry with myself for feeling anxious.
“Lisa, WTF is wrong with you? Get your shit together!”
This of course only made things worse.
Being kind doesn’t mean you stay in bed all day eating ice cream and watching Selling Sunset. No, it means kindness but with personal responsibility. You’re going to approach yourself and solve the situation as you would if it were your best friend; with kindness, compassion and support.
Let me know how you go.