Two Teens And Their Mama: The Positive Fight Against Anxiety

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Positive Fight Against Anxiety


I come by my anxiety naturally - I inherited it from my father.  I've had it my entire life, and it's part of who I am.  I worry about everything - big or small.  I worry about things that have happened, things that might happen, and things that will NEVER happen.  

It's a part of my personality that I really despise.  My life is GOOD.  I have nothing to complain about, and the constant anxiety makes me feel like a very weak person sometimes.  I want to be strong.

In the past six months my anxiety has been more persistent.  My doctor thinks it's probably hormonal, related to the start of perimenopause, and she has put me on a great combo of vitamins that has helped quite a bit. 

But I knew that I needed to DO more.  I was becoming anxious about my anxiety.  One day my husband asked me if I was happy.  I gave it some thought, and I realized that I AM happy - but my anxiety was stopping me from enjoying my happiness.  Does that even make sense?  It did to me, and I told myself enough is enough.  

The next day I started blogging. 

Blogging has been the jumping off point to taking control of my anxiety.  Not only is writing very therapeutic, it has led me to other wonderful bloggers who have given me inspiration, helpful advice, and concrete suggestions that help me chip away at my worries.

I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking.  Somewhere along this journey of my life I had forgotten that.  I was letting the negative thoughts and worries overtake who I am and steal my happy.



Slowly, day by day, I have been beating back the anxiety.  Some days are more successful than others.  This is what I've discovered....

--I start off my mornings with five minutes of meditation.  In the beginning it was only one minute - that was all I could do.  Mornings are my most anxious time, and this helps me face the day on the right note.  I focus on my breathing and push all other thoughts aside.  My goal is to work up to fifteen minutes.

--Keeping a gratitude journal reminds me every day of the good things in my life - and there are many.

--Positive reading is key for me.  I keep a list of inspirational quotes, prayers and sayings on my computer, and I look through them at least once a day.  Right now I'm also reading Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs.  I'm only a few chapters in, but so far I like what she has to say.

--I've increased the amount of time I devote to volunteer work, and I've added some new activities.  It's impossible to worry about yourself when you're helping others.

--Exercise, exercise, exercise.  Every day - even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood.

--When all else fails, and I find myself getting anxious, I tell myself to STOP.  I say that word, out loud. Unless I'm in public, then I say it in my head - I don't want to scare anybody :).  It's surprisingly effective.

I'm waging a war against my anxiety, but it's a positive fight.  I know it will be a lifetime battle.  But life is good, and I am happy and strong, and I will WIN.

39 comments:

  1. I go through phases where I'm really anxious too! Exercise always seems to help. I need to do more positive reading and I love the idea of keeping a gratitude journal!

    Jill
    dousedinpink.blogspot.com

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    1. Exercise seems to help the most. I'm loving my gratitude journal!

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  2. I think I'm in the lifetime battle too. I also inherited it from my father but he passed away so young that I never got to see what worked for him.
    Sometimes mine goes away on its own for YEARS. Sometimes not. I'm still working that all out. I want to try meditation and exercise more. And blogging helps a lot!

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    1. My father has spent his whole life on medication - most of it hasn't worked. I'm trying to stay off of that as long as possible. Meditation is new for me but really helpful.

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  3. There are some wonderful guided meditations for this on Youtube. I like them because my thoughts are more focused on the meditation than if I free form. When I had panic attacks decades ago I would rationalize myself out of it: what's the worst that could happen--i'd pass out and my body would keep breathing..etc. Good luck with this--but check out youtube, good stuff

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    1. Thank you for the suggestion. Meditation is very new for me, but I'm finding it extremely helpful. I'll check out you tube.

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  4. I know how you feel! Here's how I stopped expecting the worst: http://www.midlifecrisisqueen.com/2014/08/25/defeating-constant-feeling-defeat/

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    1. Thanks Laura! You're always very inspirational.

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  5. Sounds like you have a plan and are acting on it which is more than many people ever get to. I suggest talking to a professional, some one you click with for a one on one to fine tune your efforts.

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    1. I've actually been looking for someone - it's a great suggestion.

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  6. Great post Lana! I think you are doing a wonderful job! I know for me the writing has been a big help in itself. The other things you are doing sound like great tips to try out! Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Thanks for your wonderful support Rena. It's meeting people like you in the blogging world that has made it so fulfilling!

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  7. This is a powerful statement - I'm waging a war against my anxiety, but it's a positive fight. I know it will be a lifetime battle. But life is good, and I am happy and strong, and I will WIN

    I love your attitude and yes, you will win! I can relate 100%

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    1. Thank you Carol. This comment means a lot coming from you. I will not let the anxiety beat me.

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  8. I'm so glad things are getting better for you!

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  9. I'm a naturally anxious person, too. My husband definitely is not. I'm always thankful that he balances me out! Good for you for putting positive steps in place to help you feel better!

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    1. My husband isn't anxious either - but he puts up with my worries, poor guy.

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  10. The 3 step technique that has been recommended to me and that has worked for me is 1)The “stop” technique along with the imaginary visual of a stop sign 2) Engaging the “frontal cortex” with a memory task (ie reciting a poem or a song or a prayer to break the rumination cycle) and 3) thought replacement (a prepared list of alternative thoughts that are distracting enough to swap out for the anxiety and worry thoughts). But, it looks like you have found a formula that is helping you through blogging and exercise.

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    1. This is REALLY helpful. I like the visualization techniques. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    2. I'll have to give this a try Ines. I'd love to hear more about it!

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  11. Congratulations on the work you're doing to cope with (and maybe even vanquish your anxiety). I discovered Zentangle which I didn't start as a tool for dealing with anxiety. However, after a few weeks, I realized I felt less anxious.

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    1. I have heard such good things about Zentangle. Doing something creative is a great outlet for anxiety.

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  12. You list all the key tactics for working on this. Super kudos to your ongoing success! As a fitness professional, I can attest to the efficacy of exercise (especially cardio) for reducing anxiety. The latest research on meditation also shows it's more powerful than western science had thought until recently. Go go go!

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    1. Thank you! Exercise and meditation have been a huge help.

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  13. Such a good post! I've suffered with anxiety since I was a child, although I didn't know what it was then. It was at its worst after I had my daughter---six weeks of postpartum anxiety and depression, thanks to wild and wacky hormones.

    My worst times are if I wake up in the middle of the night, which are hard to deal with because it's the middle of the night. I use a similar form of self-talk by focusing on the concrete, tactile things around me...like my breathing, the feel of the breeze blowing over my skin or the sheets against my arms and legs, my husband's chest rising and falling with his breath. Focusing on the real and now vs. the maybe and future helps take me out of my mind, which is my worst enemy.

    Anxiety is insidious. I'm so glad to hear you've figured out ways to kick its ass to the curb!

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    1. Postpartum was very difficult for me too. Anxiety sucks, plain and simple. "Kick its ass to the curb" - LOVE it!

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  14. Anxiety can be so difficult! the worries seem to start a cycle that is hard to stop. It looks to me like you are doing some really great things. I have been really interested in mindfulness lately and that has helped me with many things.
    I would also recommend - for your inspirational reading - The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. Really great stuff! I just finished reading it for the second time and I just get more and more out of it!
    Hang in there!

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    1. Thank you for the suggestion! I have read other books by Brene Brown, but not that one.

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  15. love the simple to follow (yet always welcome reminders) on fighting anxiety. This gives me inspiration! Brava! SITS Share fest always brings out the best stuff!

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    1. Thank you! If it isn't simple, I probably won't do it :)

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  16. Positivity is one of our strongest forces, sadly, our own worry and negativity is quite strong as well. I believe a strong positive mind can be SO powerful and clear, I aim for that mind but sometimes I miss.
    My anxiety comes when it wants and how it wants. Thankfully, I'm becoming much better at battling back.
    Your suggestions are great.
    XOXO
    mrsaokaworkinprogress.com

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    1. I agree that being positive, even when you don't feel like it, is very powerful. I never know when my anxiety is going to hit either - but I feel like I'm getting better at fighting it too.

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  17. I suffer from anxiety, too. I feel like I don't have TIME for meditation, exercise, etc., etc., with my schedule, which just stresses me out more, causing depression to set in. I'm working on it...these are all GREAT suggestions!

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    1. You're right, it's time consuming to fight anxiety and depression! Small steps...

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  18. Definitely can relate to this whole post. I have anxiety, too, and I try to stop it in its tracks instead of letting it get to me like I have in the past. I have tried many of these suggestions -- and they really do work! I have taken Xanax in the past to combat it in certain situations, but I don't want to rely on pills or chemicals (unfortunately, I'm sure some reach a point where they have tried everything, and I can understand that). You have a great attitude about it! My mantra is "Worry in advance," but now when I think about it, a little worry is a good impetus to be prepared, a lot is something to be overcome. Visiting from SITS Sharefest.

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    1. I know what you mean about the prescription medicine - I'm trying to avoid it as long as I can, but if someone needs it, they should definitely use it. My biggest problem is worrying about things that haven't even happened, and probably won't.

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  19. Oh, Lana! I just loved this...all of it. THIS made total sense: "anxiety was stopping me from enjoying my happiness." I said for years that I was unhappiest happy person you would ever meet. I am so glad you are in a better place and the cloud feels like it is lifting. These are great tips and much of what I do. I am doing the Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life Challenge. It could be a 30 day challenge, but I am going to shoot for the 365 day version. I nourish my mind with good thoughts every day just as I feed my body healthy food. Beautiful post. <3

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    1. I'm definitely finding that good, positive thoughts are key. Whenever I start going to a negative place, I say stop. It helps.

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