That Feeling Called Anxiety!
The tingling sensation in the throat feels uncomfortable, having to clear the throat every half a minute is becoming a pain in the back, literally speaking. Heat shoots up from the feet that travels to the abdomen like the speed of lightening and stops in the chest area. Bursting out in a spite of cough and a tightness in the chest, the air is being squeezed out of your lungs. Your heart rate speeds up, your body heats up and you can feel the blood pumping in your ears, a convincing feeling of this is what a heart attack feels like.
All you can think about is “what am I going to do when I get there?”, “Are people going to judge me for what I do?”, “This is a make-or-break situation for me”, “I don’t know how I will cope if I fail again!”, “I am not confident enough to pull this through.” This loop of thoughts keeps playing on repeat in the mind. The heart rate ever increasing, the blood pumping even faster and at times ends up with a feeling of nausea followed by vomiting, this is what ANXIETY feels like in the body, at least for me it does, the physical aspect.
Amygdala, an almond shaped structure buried deep in our brains, also a center, where anxiety and fear are triggered. Amygdala sends a warning to the core of the brain which then evaluates whether this is a concern or not. However, the Amygdala keeps sending the warning signals flooding the core of the brain and in turn it is unable to process all the messages it receives that leads to anxiety.
When it comes to worrying it is second nature to the stomach, that has its own nervous system, these nerve endings behave erratically which leads to increasing or reducing the digestion leading to nausea, heartburn, or diarrhea. Worrying and anxiety are an unpleasant feeling and can affect the health due to the expectation of the worst-case scenario and in most cases overthinking.
Andrea Petersen the author of On Edge, A Journey Through Anxiety, in an article “Anxiety affects your entire body, and it’s time to treat it that way.” mentions a four step plan her physician outlined for her in differentiating other issues and anxiety.
First step is to identify the symptom; by stopping and listening to your body to assess the symptom.
The second step is to attempt a standard anxiety treatment; getting a diagnosis and then with appropriate treatment the symptoms often disappear. Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindful practice and techniques and in some cases medication.
Step three is to wait and watch to try the treatment for at least two weeks, the prescribed medication, mindful exercise, and keeping a journal to monitor any changes.
And the final step is to know when to alter an approach, anxiety can degenerate conditions such as chronic disease, heart disease, always seek medical advice and avoid self-diagnosis just to make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions. After all prevention is better than cure.
Image from Canva
We have evolved over the years to understand the best way forward and many prefer not to heavily rely on medication and look for alternative home remedies that assist with taking the edge of anxiety as Dr Mehmet Oz describes it. Quietening the brain and breaking the worry loop, by spending 15 minutes a day in understanding and acknowledging your worries with a quantifiable approach. List down top 10 worries, generally upcoming events and break them into individual problems that can be manageable in smaller chunks.
Other natural methods include breath work, learning deep breathing and moving meditation helps with moving the focus from the worry loop about future events and being in the present moment, with your breath. A personal favorite is yoga in the park, absorption of the earth’s energy ideal for grounding, the fresh air, the super Mr. Sun tying in with the sun salutations works the entire body muscles and organs releasing endorphins, natural pain killers into the body.
Natural teas with natural ingredients, a favorite pick-me-up potion, that is an old Indian remedy for digestion, is a blend of 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon of honey and a ¼ teaspoon of turmeric in hot water. The lemon juice lowers the blood pressure, reducing the sensation of feeling the blood pumping in the ears. The ginger has a calming effect on the stomach, honey controls the instability in the levels of the blood sugar of worrying and turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic that eases of heart burn and boosts the immune system.
Essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, petitgrain, bergamot and jojoba can create an immediate calming effect and lowering the blood pressure, takes away the energy from the mind chatter. Try out the Hakuna Matata candle by Kiran’s Magic Candles, the candle is scented with lavender and is charged with reiki healing energy for relaxation, for only £12/ KES 800.
Anxiety is associated to be living in the future, always thinking about it and all the “What If?” questions we pose to ourselves, the loop of thoughts, the overthinking. This hinders the peaceful living in the moment, in the NOW. A friend once told me “I am working hard so that I can retire at 45.” It is human nature to think of the future, but what about the 39-year-old present you? What are you doing to live in the moment? Are you preparing for an early grave? And how sure are you that you will make it to 45?
Step back take a deep breath go within and reflect on living in the present moment, in the now and center to that peace of mind that you deserve and want.
by Kiran Kaur
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