I got a question recently which sparked my interest in writing this particular post. I want to address this topic much like my cat attacks her food at mealtime: raw, ferocious, and with no shame. I am not embarrassed to say that I have anxiety, and have been battling it for many years now…probably since I was born. For as long as I can remember, I was a nervous child, and into my adulthood it progressively worsened with the coming of life changes such as death, divorce, adult responsibilities, money, and other life changes. In the past five years I have turned my life into something I never thought it could be (in a good way). I did this by learning how to nourish my body, mind, and spirit so as to lessen the nervous tension, anxiety, and sometimes even depression I have been holding.
I remember the days when just getting out of bed was a struggle. I would wake up first thing in the morning with the feeling of having been kicked in the stomach, like the wind had been knocked out of me. “How am I going to get through this day?” I would think. Every day life was a struggle, and I’m not talking about the “Oh, I’m so tired today” kind of struggle. I am talking about utterly debilitating, can’t take a full deep breath into my lungs, can barely move, can’t think of anything positive, wondering what was the point of even waking up, kind of struggle. I would move through the day like a zombie, trying to take a full deep breath into my lungs to no avail, and at the end of the day wondering, “What good did I do today?”
I guarantee I’m not alone. I talk to people daily about their struggles with anxiety and depression. Unfortunately our society disregards the importance of self care, and most of us fall into this zombie-walking, tunnel vision, pessimistic survival mode, and we think this is just life and the way it has to be. Good news: It doesn’t have to be this way! Not for you, not for me, not for anyone. Each of us has the power within ourselves to change, to come out of the bubble, to realize our true potential, and most importantly, to clear our mind of all the garbage which creates this web of anxiety within us. The following are some important (and often underrated) strategies to support your nervous system and overall well being, so you can live a more fulfilling life.
1. Understand YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The presence of anxiety and depression in our society is overwhelming, yet most often is left unsaid. We have been taught that anxiety and depression are taboo, and if you are struggling, you are weak. Therefore most people just don’t say it out loud. Just because someone looks fine and acts happy doesn’t mean they don’t have some level of mental or emotional turmoil.
2. Which brings me to my next strategy, don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP. The truth is, when you are suffering on the inside, you become a stronger person by knowing your own value and asking for help. Do you have a trusted friend, family member, or coworker you can confide in? Do you know of a professional you can meet with who can support you through the tough parts and give you guided advice? There is no shame in asking for help. And you never know how bright you can shine until you do!
3. One word…DIET. Diet, diet, oh my! I know, it’s my never ending mantra about changing your diet once again! But after all, it does dictate 70% of our health. Sugar in particular is a huge trigger in anxiety and depression. It is in almost all processed foods in some form or another…watch out for sugar, fructose, sucrose, agave nectar, brown sugar, syrups, and any processed sugars whatsoever. These wreak havoc on the nervous system and definitely do not help nervous disorders. If possible, get them out of your life if you suffer from anxiety or depression.
4. CARVE OUT TIME FOR YOURSELF. This is crucial. Whether it’s exercise like yoga, tai chi, walking, jogging, or bike riding, or just quiet time with meditation, journaling, massage, or energy work (Reiki, for example), this will help support your nervous system and help nourish you in all kinds of ways.
Above all, remember that it’s ok to be who you are. You are important, lovable, valuable, and a person of body, mind, and spirit. Awaken to the idea that you may not be perfect, but you are worthy. You are human, with potential to be happy, prosperous, and fulfilled. Give yourself some TLC, because after all, you need you.
The Power is Within You by Louise L. Hay
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Contributor: Andrea MacLaughlin – Hair Designer / Health Advocate